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.