Wonder Junior Hand Grain Mill

by M.D. Creekmore on May 3, 2011 · 40 comments

Review: WONDER JUNIOR HAND GRAIN MILL

pic of wondermill

If you’ve read my book “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” and or my blog post on selecting a grain mill then you already know, that I use the Corona hand grain mill for all of my day-to-day milling, it is a strong and well-built grain mill and for less than $100 it’s hard to beat.

However, I’ve never liked having to run the meal through the Corona several times to produce a usable fine enough flour for baking. That is one reason, I made my homemade sifter to speed up the process, but it was still always necessary to run the bulk of the flour through the mill two or more times.

I mill grain several time per week and needed a more efficient mill. I considered the Country Living Grain Mill but never could find enough extra change for the purchase. So I started looking for an alternative, I eventually decided to order the Wonder Mill Deluxe from www.thewondermill.com.

I’ve used the Wonder Mill for the past three weeks and so far I’ve been extremely pleased with my new mill. In fact, I think I have retired the my Corona and will be using the wonder mill deluxe exclusively. Yeah, it is that good…

I love the one piece construction of the mill and hopper. There is no separate hopper that can fall off during operation or any pins or clamps that could be lost. This is one thing, I never liked about the Corona as there has been several times the hopper has followed off during aggressive cranking of the handle.

pic of clamping system

Double clamping system is very strong

Another big improvement over most hand grain Mills is the double clamping system used on the Wonder Mill, which is the strongest I’ve ever seen on any mill. When properly clamped to the table, I had no problems with the mill moving out-of-place or coming off during grinding.

pic grinding heads

Mill comes with both stone and stainless steel burr heads

However, since all of my grinding is done in the same place, I will likely remove the clamp altogether and bolt the Wonder Mill directly to the table. This will provide the strongest possible mill to table mounting system.

Another thing I loved about the Wonder Mill is the quick change head system that allows you to easily switch from grinding dry grains, beans and legumes to oily grains, nuts and even coffee in just a couple of minutes. The Wonder Mill Deluxe comes with both steel and stone grinding heads, which can be changed out in under one minute.

Specifications:

Weight: 10 pounds
Height: 12 ¾ inches (without clamp)
Hopper capacity: one quart
Crank handle: 10 inches

And best of all, the WonderMill produces an excellent, fine flour (with no sifting or re-grinding required) this saves a lot of time and effort. And fineness is easily adjusted using a simple knob to adjust from pastry flour to cracked grains.

In fact, 90% of flour files through the sifter screen after the first pass through the mill. Again, this is a huge improvement over the Corona. And because of the excellent bearing system, (that never needs lubricating) cranking the handle is much smoother.

pic of ground wheat flour

Wheat Flour

The flour guide directs the falling flour into the catch pan or onto the screen without any mess around the milling heads or thrown flour on the table and floor. This is always been problem with the Corona, when grinding pieces of grain and flour would be thrown all over the place, one solution was to secure a plastic bag over the grinding head to catch the flour.

I do wish I had a Country Living Mill to compare against the WonderMill, I’m sure there would have been some interesting findings. The folks at WonderMill.com did perform a speed comparison between the two and according to their website:

“In a test performed at the WonderMill test kitchen, the Wonder Junior was able to grind 1 ¼ cups of flour in a single minute *80 turns* (see our video speed test). This is 65% (about 1/2 cup) more than we were able to produce with the Country Living grain mill with the same flour setting and the same amount of turns *80 turns*, and for half the price.”

I know what you’re thinking, it sounds great, but “can it be motorized” – yes it can. There is a motoring pulley is available that will allow you to do just that, however doing so will void the warranty. I only grind a small amount of flour at a time (why grind more than I need) I will not be adding a motor, but it is an option.

And your next question is probably going to be “what will it grind” – I’ve used it to grind wheat, corn and beans. It can also grind spices, herbs, oily grains, nuts and seeds – see WillItGrind.com for more info on what the WonderMill will grind.

Highly Recommended

Based on my tests, comparisons and use, I give the Wonder Junior Hand Grain Mill my highest recommendation. If you are looking for a hand grain mill this is the one you should get…

40 comments

Schatzie Ohio May 3, 2011 at 8:57 am

I knew you would be as happy as we are with the Wondermill jr.

Carl May 3, 2011 at 9:48 am

I have a couple of hand driven grain mills and perhaps will try this one. But I have a Kitchen Aid Pro series mix master and I bought the grain grinder attachment for it. It was about $150.00 and I highly recommend it if you already have a Kitchen Aid Mix Master. It has metal burrs and is adjustable. I have ground wheat fine enough in one pass to use for bread flour. I wouldn’t buy the mixmaster just to buy the grinder but it is a very well built attachment.

Kate May 3, 2011 at 10:16 am

I have one too! I love mine as well.

Bill May 3, 2011 at 11:03 am

I’ve read reviews saying there were metal filings in the meal when it was first used. How about it, any truth to it?? I plan on getting one also, and wondered if this was a valid issue.

Kate in GA May 4, 2011 at 10:08 am

Bill,

The instructions specifically say to grind a little flour then throw it out so you don’t eat the metal filings. You only have to do this once when you first buy it (or when you buy replacement grinder stones.)

Carl May 4, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Bill, Kate is correct, You need to clean the entire unit before you use it. But you would anyway since it is food related, right?

I'm not sure... May 3, 2011 at 11:31 am

Please don’t flame me, but I’m just not yet sold on the idea of grinding my own grain as an emergency supply staple. Maybe I’m just not fully informed so please consider this an opportunity to enlighten me.

Based on my calculations, planting a 10×10′ plot of wheat will produce about 18 loaves of bread, give or take. Assuming I’m only feeding myself half of one loaf every day, this comes out to 36 days worth of food. For a family of four those same loaves would last 9 days. To grow enough grain to give me a full years’ worth of bread I would need to plant a 100×100′ plot of wheat, but a family of four would need a 400×400′ plot. That’s an awful lot of seed cost, time, and work effort for just bread alone.

After harvest I can’t make the loaves all at once because they will become stale and moldy. Meanwhile, my yeast has an expiration date. The salt and honey I will need to make the bread won’t perish, but the oil I stock could become rancid after a while. I’d also need a lot of oil and honey to make that bread, about 120 cups each for the year.

If wheat is purchased rather than grown just where am I going to store it? Certainly 55-gallon drums come to mind, perhaps even a dozen of them, but grinding grain is a lot of work, takes too many bulky ingredients which require additional storage space, and expiration dates of certain ingredients are a concern. Baking bread also requires a patient cooking environment using several loaf pans.

All things considered, I think the excessive storage space needed, time and work required, expense, expiration dates involved, limited portability, and low volume of food produced makes homemade bread one of the least efficient means of feeding my family during emergency situations.

Am I wrong? Is there a simplified recipe I am not aware of? Does hand-ground grain make more loaves of bread than I have been told? Is it more efficient than I have come to believe? I’d appreciate your thoughts or links to more information.

Thanks

MOPrepper May 3, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Valid points, no flame taken.

Here’s my 5 second response…

Someone will grow the wheat, you can trade something for it.

The key here is to stock up on wheat (it stores for a long time) if you are going to grow your own. harvest it and store it.

You’d probably starve anyhow while waiting for the wheat to grow in order to harvest it.

While it is true that a family of four can live on 5 acres of land and have an entirely closed eco-system, it’s not very practical for most of us.

In a post-shtf world, unless you are the last man standing, some form of society will re-unite or reform. Barter will ensue and eventually some people will try to gain control over others. It is basic human nature.

Papa Squirrel May 3, 2011 at 3:05 pm

You don’t need oil, eggs, or honey for the bread. I have a very simple no-knead recipe that uses 1 lb of flour, 1 1/3 cups of water, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp yeast to make a big, hardly loaf of good bread. And while yeast does expire, there are natural yeasts in the air that can be “cultivated” and a sour dough starter can be made. This is a dough with active yeast that you break off a piece to bake, add more flour to it, and keep the starter going – I’ve heard stories of sour dough starters being kept for years and years, as it is basically a tough, living organism that you feed like a pet. Here’s a quick link I googled about sour dough starters.

http://www.io.com/~sjohn/sour.htm

I’ll be stocking up on as much wheat as I can since it will last a long time, I’ve been learning to bake bread, and then make sure I can barter for more wheat from local farmers whenever possible.

Judith May 3, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Thanks for the link Papa Squirrel.

Ok, I'm warming up to the idea... May 3, 2011 at 5:08 pm

I appreciate you all taking my doubtful comments seriously and I learned a lot today! Thank you.

I like the fact Papa’s link lists so few ingredients in such small measured quantities. They wouldn’t take up much storage space at all. Another interesting thing is the fact it the yeast starter can be maintained without refrigeration if no electricity is available (long-term). Rather than having one container you’d have several of them, each started on a different day. Generally speaking, by the time you’ve mixed up the 7th batch on the 7th day the first one is ready for use in baking. Then you would make up a new batch to replace the one you just used.

All in all, making a starter batch and baking 1-3 loaves of bread every day sounds so much more reasonable in terms of time and effort. It could quickly become part of the daily routine with all the hand grinding to be done one day each week.

Ok, you succeeded in opening my eyes a bit more. Thank you again!

Judith May 3, 2011 at 3:46 pm

I store wheat , don’t grow it. Like Mo Prepper says you can always trade for it.
Also, not all bread takes oil to make. You can use butter, lard and probably ghee. Havn’t tried ghee though.
There is a website called the fresh loaf that has the recipe for Methodist White Bread starter. It comes from and older B. Clayton Bread Book I have in my collection.
This is the way my grandma made bread using potato water to grow their own yeast. They kept this starter alive forever and passed it around to new friends and old.
You can use google books for Bernard Claytons Methodist White Bread for the recipe I just noticed.

Mike Wilcox May 3, 2011 at 5:57 pm

I have a recipe that only uses water, yeast, salt and flour, no kneading is required. The actually work time is less than 15 minutes. As far as yeast goes it’s dead easy to make sourdough yeast from any kind of fruit juice/sugar , flour and water.

Here’s my fool proof bread recipe, it makes two good size loaves:

6.5 cups of flour
1.5 tablespoons of salt
2.5 tablespoons of yeast
3.5 cups of water

Combine water with salt and yeast ( heat the water to about 100 degrees)

Mix with water and place in large bowl
let it rise for two hours.

Divide the dough in two and quickly form into two balls
place each ball of dough in a greased bread pan

Let rise for 45 minutes, score the tops with a sharp knife and place in a preheated oven ( 425 degrees) with a pan of water below

Bake for 25 minutes and you’re done

Judith May 3, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Sounds great! I am making this bread.
One question though. Does the ball of dough fill out the pan or do you mean shape it into a loaf?

Mike Wilcox May 4, 2011 at 6:56 am

I usually flatten the ball to the edges of the pan, but it will fill the pan even if you don’s as it rises.

MOPrepper May 3, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Thanks for the recipe, I will try it soon.

When you said, “Mix with water and place in large bowl
let it rise for two hours.” did you mean to say, Mix with flour and place in a large bowl…? because prior to that you said Combine water with salt and yeast. Just clarifying.

Mike Wilcox May 4, 2011 at 7:08 am

You combine the water salt and yeast first, then mix it with the flour. I stir the water, yeast and salt together for a about a minute to get the yeast to dissolve before it’s poured int the flour.

The Prepper May 3, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Mike — how do you make your yeast?

Mike Wilcox May 4, 2011 at 7:05 am

Here’s a link describing the process.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cyVJVeYB8M&feature=related

SrvivlSally May 4, 2011 at 12:47 am

Mike,
Great recipe! No Crisco/shortening/other oil, either, except for greasing the pans. I love the water pan method of cooking. My mother used to use pans of water under some baked goods and your recipe takes me back to the good ol’ days. Thanks!

Kate in GA May 4, 2011 at 10:24 am

Grinding does not take that much effort. Making bread is easy once you get the hang of it. Also, you don’t need oil or honey if you don’t want it. There are thousands of recipes out there – I just made a loaf using sugar and no oil.
As far as the yeast goes, if you don’t want to store it, use a sourdough starter or potato starter. This is what people did when there was no refrigeration. Also in the late 1800′s and early 1900′s city people purchased yeast cakes. They are rock hard and shaped like a disk. These last a long time – I have found a few recipes to make yeast cakes on the internet if you want to make your own.
If you use 5 gallon buckets to store other things, adding a few more for wheat is no big deal. I don’t have a basement, I store mine under the stairs. Even at room temperature wheat is expected to last a very, very long time.

Carl May 4, 2011 at 12:10 pm

I have grown wheat, The reason you store wheat is to not have to grow it. It is hard work with the right equipment, without it is near impossible. Harvesting is whole nother issue. Believe me it is for the serious “prepper” in great shape.

So storing is the better option.

BrianW May 9, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Great discussion thread! Just one point about the size of plot… if 100′ X 100′ feeds 1 person, then 400′ x 400′ would feed 16, not 4, since it’d be 16 100′ x 100′ squares. To feed 4 would be 200′ x 200′, or 100′ x 400′, or some other way to come up with 400 square feet. That is, of course, if 100′ sq would in fact feed 1 person.

don May 3, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Maybe someone could post about sourdough starter.If I understand correctly with sourdough starter you don’t need yeast.Not sure about the other ingredients needed.

Sylvia May 3, 2011 at 4:56 pm

We make almost all of our bread using sourdough as the leavening agent. The sourdough is the ‘yeast’ so you are correct that a commercial yeast is not needed.
I caught the starter a couple of years ago and keep it maintained by using it regularly and feeding it equal parts of flour and water. The loaf bread that we use for sandwiches and toast has very few ingredients. Just starter, water, salt, a small amount of natural sugar or honey and flour. I do use a little oil or butter to grease the pan.
With my starter I also make pizza, tortillas, pancakes, waffles, crepes, cake and keep ‘bucket bread’ in the fridge (a no knead bread ready to use for artisan bread or flat bread at a moments notice). A great resource for sourdough is this book http://gnowfglins.com/ecourse/sourdough-ebook. The author also offers an eCourse with video demonstrations.

SrvivlSally May 4, 2011 at 12:38 am

Don,
No, you don’t need yeast. The way I mix mine is to put 1 cup of flour in a glass or stainless steel bowl, stir in 1 cup lukewarm water and combine thoroughly or until there are no chunks of flour left holding together, should that happen. I cover the bowl, with a lightweight towel ,and leave it in a warm place for a few days. The usual temperature for starter is room temperature or somewhere around 78 degrees but higher than about 81 is not necessary. If the starter does nothing or turns moldy and smells bad or is lightly colored and foamy-looking, kind of bubbly or effervescent, yeast have invaded but they are no good-throw the starter out and make a new batch. The main point is to keep your mixture evenly warm until it turns to starter. I once made a batch and it took over a week to get it to go but it eventually did and it also had a nice dry top on it when it was finished. The skin on top, as time goes by, will get very thick and dry to the sides of your bowl so it might be best to pull it off before it gets to that point. When ready to use a ‘good’ starter, if a skin is present, remove it, pour off what you need into a mixing bowl, and (back to your starter so you will have more for another time) stir in another cup each of flour and water and continue the process of keeping that ‘good’ starter going. I have known two people over the years who had a starter that was begun back in the late 1800s. At the time, if I had known what ‘starter’ was and how to use it, I would have grabbed it up right away. If you refrigerate it, the cold will slow it down but not stop it from aging. To make what is called a “sponge” for cooking, put a cup of your starter in a mixing bowl and stir in 2 cups warm water and 2-1/2 cups flour and let it sit in a warm area for 2-3 hours or for a night. The rule to remember is that when you are making a sponge, it gets stronger the longer it sits so if you are going to make pan cakes but do not want them to knock you out of your chair then take care. Yeast, as you know, makes bubbles and the live creatures love to eat, sugar being the prime source of their dietary intake. If you have ever made bread with purchased yeast, then you know that to add a little sugar to the packaged yeast after you mix it with water helps to make them grow very rapidly in the proofing container (glass or bowl) and I am sure that you would agree that the smell that yeast gives is wonderful. Once they stop making bubbles, just add more food (flour and water) and watch as they make their environment into bubble soup. You do not need to add sugar, salt or anything else to a starter because flour already contains what they neeed. The type of yeast you will be working to catch are known as “Wild Yeast” and they can only be caught by placing food out for them to land on because they are the airborne kind. Good luck and I hope you catch and tame some nice ones.

blindshooter May 3, 2011 at 5:29 pm

#2 (the one that nearly done me in) was a great bread maker. In fact that was her business for a while before trying to ruin me. The ones she made from her “starter” were the best of them all. I am useless as a baker but I can make pan bread. My trouble is that I don’t do wheat so well, might be a bit intolerant of gluten? I’m thinking about trying to store corn if I can find any that’s dry enough. I understand corn has to be really dry to keep for any length of time. Either way, thanks for the review, I have been mulling over the grinder question for a while.

wheelsee May 3, 2011 at 6:10 pm

I have the electric version of the Wonder Mill (sound like a jet turbine winding up).

I grind my own wheat (for flour) and corn (for cornbread). I don’t buy cornmeal or flour now.

If you’ve never had FRESH ground cornmeal, you’re in for a treat. More robust flavor. I buy 50 lb bags of popping corn at Sam’s for about $15. I freeze what cornmeal is left over and use throughout the month.

If you’ve never had FRESH ground wheat flour, you’re also in for a treat. Again, more robust flavor and the smell is good (gives more allergies though for me….:( ). I buy 25# bags at Sprouts for $23.

Is it “more hassle”? I guess so, but the trade-off flavors are worth it. Gave away ALL of my Jif-Mix cornbread (helped a newbie get started).

Cheaper?? Don’t really know (don’t really care :) )

rambling……..

SrvivlSally May 3, 2011 at 11:49 pm

Thank you for the review, M.D., and I will keep the mill on my ‘to get’ list as the one that (we) had has been missing for a while. I have been wanting one that would grind some really hard substances and, from your experience with it, I think this will be the one. There’s plenty of hard red wheat, beans, etc. that we will be using for food and it sure will be nice to have a good machine that will withstand the use.

elt2jv May 4, 2011 at 12:25 am

I was all set to buy one of these mills until I found a used Country Living Mill on Craigslist. Guy was dumping all his Y2K preps and I loaded up.

Consensus is that this is a good quality mill. If I was looking to buy a second one (yes I know I should have a spare anyway) then I’d buy one of these.

I was baking my own bread before I started hand milling the wheat, and the fresh ground flour is far superior. I tried to get a starter going, but it got very stinky. I’ll try again once my schedule settles down.

Once you’ve had home baked bread you’ll never be able to stand store bought bread again. The difference is huge.

CBP May 4, 2011 at 7:42 am

I am so glad you reviewed this grinder. I’ve been debating with myself for a while and had settled on this one, saving up the money to purchase. I don’t think I’ll be disappointed!

Ridge Runner May 4, 2011 at 7:43 am

I put it on my wish list at Amazon.

Question: Any suggestions from anyone on storing dog food? Specifically, what kind/brands store best?

Kate in GA May 4, 2011 at 10:30 am

My dog is allergic to dog food. I must cook for her. I store ingredients for her right along with the family’s food storage.
I did have to take her to a doggie nutritionist to make sure she was getting all the vitamins she needed. Boy was that expensive!

OhioPrepper May 4, 2011 at 11:18 am

The main problem with storing commercial dry dog food is that it has rather high oil content, and tends to go rancid after a while. This is a good question and one to which I’ve never seen a really good answer.
Making your own from ingredients that last longer might be an option.
Keeping in mind that humans have kept dogs for a millennium or more and commercial dog food is a relatively new item, there must be some way to feed these critters; however, I have not yet found a good answer.
Anyone?

Ridge Runner May 4, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Thanks all. We cook for our dog too. Probably the best way to go.

Ridge

lilmorse May 4, 2011 at 7:48 am

Don’t forget about tortillas! You can make them without yeast and they cook up quickly!

robert in mid michigan May 4, 2011 at 5:51 pm

was planning to buy obne of these in a couple of weeks glad you did a review on it makes me a lot less uneasy about dropping just over two bills on a grinder. thx

Kyrsyan May 4, 2011 at 8:26 pm

I purchased my Wondermill Jr a couple of months ago. I love it. One of my main deciding factors was that it came with both steel and stone burrs. We are on a gluten free diet so I wanted to ability to use whichever worked best with what we needed to grind. So far it’s handled everything beautifully.

T.R May 9, 2011 at 3:26 am

I have several turn of the century grain/coffee/ and meat grinders that are in perfect working order . I found all at flea markets and antique stores . The old things are made of iron or steel , simple as dirt with few moving parts , and reliable . They will last another 100 years if taken care of .

Everett R Littlefield June 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Hi all, I bought a Diamant mill from Lehman’s a couple of years ago and so far it is still in the box. I bought it in anticipation of when TSHTF. Has anyone out there used one of these and does it have any quirks I should be aware of? I know I should set it up and use it to see how it does but am reluctant to clean all the preservative off it and then put it back in the box. Just lazy I guess.
Have been making bread for years and have two sourdough starters named Dudley Dooright and Snidely Whiplash after the Cartoon guys from the Bullwinkle Moose/Rocket J Squirrel show. Anybody out there as old as me? Anyway they are 18 and 21 years old and always work for me no matter how long I forget to feed them!
Thanks for any future help. BTW Mr. C. this is a great site! After I scope out all my other sites I always come here last for the day to get the straight skinny. 30 years USN.

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