Thursday, July 16, 2009

WonderMill Junior Review

The WonderMill jr. is the namesake of the electric mill, which has been around for a number of years, and is manufactured in India.

The body of the mill is cast aluminum with a powder-coated finish. The grinding plates are artificial stone (for more on the debate about artificial stone see our Grinder 101 posting).

One nice innovation of the Wonder Mill jr. is the double clamp, which allows the mill to be easily mounted to any counter top of up to two inches in thickness.

As far as functionality, this mill turns with reasonable effort and produces a decent bread flour one pass through, which is no mean feat and is more than can be said for many hand mills. The grinding plates are adjustable by the front knob, however, I found that the stationary grinding plate is only loosely affixed to the body of the mill. Instead of being screwed down it rests on three posts, so that when the outer (rotating) plate is loosened the stationary grinding plate also loosens. The net effect is that this makes it difficult to dial in a specific setting for coarser grinds.

For in the range of $50.00 WonderMill jr. offers stainless steel grinding plates, which they advertise as being designed "for grinding oily or wet seeds, grains, nuts and coffee". Once again, these claims seem to be founded on wishful thinking. My test with peanuts resulted in the grinding plates clogging almost immediately, and I produced only a few flecks of peanut butter during the five minutes of grinding. Many companies claim their handmills will grind nutbutters and oily seeds, but I've yet to see one that wasn't a miserable failure in actuality. (I'll happily report otherwise when I see the hand mill that does a good job with nuts and seeds)

In summation, as long as the stone grinding plates aren't an issue for a person the WonderMill jr. is a quality grain mill effective for grinding a nice bread flour. Someone looking for a wide range of adjustability may want to look at other mills, and someone hoping to grind damp or oily seeds or nuts by hand should put aside the notion until a grain mill company releases an innovative design that actually works.


Heidi said...

Have you reviewed the Kitchen Aid grinder attachment? I'd love to know if it works well.

Trebor said...

We have not tested the Kitchen Aid grinder attachment. However, there are a number of reviews posted on Amazon at which you might find helpful.

You might note that even the five star review recommends putting the grain through three times in order to get a decent flour.

Stephen said...

Thanks for a great resource. Can you place the quality of the flour on your 1--10 flour continuum? I'm looking for a mill that will produce good bread flour as well as split grain for brewing. Would you consider the wondermill suitable? I'm also shortlisting the nugget and country living mills (although the later is pricey!). Can you comment?

Trebor said...

The Wondermill Jr will produce a nice flour in the 7-9 range. It may be iffy for cracking grains since the stationary grinding plate is just sitting on posts rather than being affixed.

The Country Living is adjustable so you can take it between cracking and a fine flour without much difficulty.

B said...

I bought one of these in November 2009, after I got to play with one in a store. It has a very smooth grinding motion and feels sturdy.

Well, lazy me, I didn't try to use mine until today, February 10, 2010. I found I was missing pins on the housing and figured that I would be SOL since it had been so long. My husband called Wondermill's number and got an answering machine. I'm now thinking, great - they'll probably never call back. Can you tell I've previously had bad experiences with customer-no-service at various companies?

About 15 minutes later, the phone rings - hey, Wondermill called! After a few minutes of explanation, my husband was told the pins should have been pre-installed in the housing and they would be shipped to us. My husband also mentioned to the guy that the backing plate on one of the grinding stones was slightly out of position and asked if it would affect its operation. He was told that it probably wouldn't, but to try it after the pins were received, and they'd send a new set of stones if there's a problem. WOW - great customer service (I'm now feeling all warm and fuzzy).

A few minutes later, they called back to verify that he was clear on the set depth of the pins, since there are no instructions for factory-installed parts. Since we're handy people, we didn't ask to have them installed, but I'm sure they would have done that for us. Nice follow-up!

I'm VERY pleased with their response and highly recommend them.

John Kindley said...

I am interested in finding a grinder that will grind soft wheat. From the review of the Diamant and other posts here I gather there is no hand-cranked mill that will satisfactorily grind soft wheat? What about electric mills?

Dave Mozine said...

This is good, but rather dated information. I've gone to and they have recent review videos comparing this to many other mills. Does anyone else know of more recent websites reviewing mills?

AK said...

I got one of these. Eventually attached a 1kW motor with a belt (I just had such, perhaps smaller would also work). I couldn't find a suitable drill for it.

I can say that it produces good flour from the first time. If driving by hand it is hard to do so though. But two times at most is doable by hand. As well it is not easy to mill the flour a second time because four is stuck if you don't help it flow. This is distracting if you work alone.

I bake bread and my wife all kinds of other stuff. We are mostly grinding spelt and tritticum monococcum (the latter is very soft but not oily). Still haven't tried corn but it does well with the millet. All with the stones. I've tried the steel heads but don't use them regularly. A bit harder to drive.

At the moment the mill is driven 120-140rpm. In summer with hard grains some parts become hot over time. I've at least 100kilos milled already. I generally like it. Simple design, will see for how long it lasts.

nickh said...

Thanks for this blog. I'm trying to decide between the Wonder Mill Junior and the Country Living Grain Mill. I'd like something that makes good, fine, bread flour. Can you compare the effort/time involved between these two mills? Thanks.

Unknown said...

The Wonder Mill has a slight edge in flour production if measured per turn. However the Country Living turns easier and more smoothly, in part because of the large flywheel--so you may be able to turn the Country Living a bit faster.

You'll be able to get a decent bread flour with the Wonder Mill, but it won't grind as fine as the Country Living.

nickh said...

Thanks. So would you say, if the Wonder Mill Jr is set to the finest flour it can practically do, and you set the Country Living to get a flour of similar fineness to that of the Wonder, which mill would be faster?

It seems like the speed tests I can find online don't really set the mill's fineness the same, so it's not really a fair comparison as a mill can operate so much faster if it's not milling as finely. It would be really useful to get speed measurements for a similar fineness setting between the mills.

Dare Tuitt said...

I worry about the stone grinding heads. I've heard stone is not good because chips get into the four. Many a person has bitten into bread and cracked fillings from stone burr heads baked into bread. Does the Wonder Mill Jr mill address this with their stone burr heads? I would prefer stainless steel heads for flour, but according to the video their stainless steel heads are just for more coarser grinding like nuts and legumes, not wheat berries. Does anyone know definitively?

Unknown said...

@Dare Tuitt. The grit from stone grinding heads is a legitimate concern. Mills with brass or carbon steel grinding plates are a good way to go. Stainless steel, however, tends to gall and dulls quickly so it is not a good option for fine grinding of wheat berries.