I recently purchased a Mockmill 200 as well as four varieties of wheat berries. I also got a couple of books so that I wouldn’t be completely reinventing the wheel while trying to learn new skills for baking breads.
For me, the purchase decision on the grain mill came down to the Mockmill 200 or a Komo. When researching the choices they seemed to be fairly even in terms of performance and quality — there are a whole bunch of sites that review and compare the two. I settled on the Mockmill partly due to appearance, and partly due to an aggregate of thoughts from reading about the “pros” and “cons” of each, though frankly there was a good amount of conflicting / contrasting information on both. My feeling is that they’re both quality products and I’m not sure there’s really a “wrong” decision.
The other potential less expensive choice would have been the Mockmill that attaches to a KitchenAid. I chose not to go that route because I think I’m already working the KitchenAid motor enough without adding another burden, and that all signs pointed to the grain mill being fairly “motor intensive”.
The Mockmill is easy to “set up”, easy to use, pretty quick, hassle-free, and somewhat loud (as expected). The “200” represents 200 grams per minute throughput, which translates to about 1/2 pound per minute; in two minutes it grinds enough flour for a good size loaf. One concern is/was that the unit comes with stickers that warn against using the spout as a handle since it can break if used that way. To my mind that’s a design flaw: If consumers can break the product that easily then it’s under-engineered and needs to be re-done. I wound up attaching the “don’t use as a handle” sticker to the front of the spout, which hopefully will discourage anyone else in the house from grabbing the machine at the sticker.
My “starter” grains are all wheat: Hard White, Soft White, Hard Red Winter, and Hard Red Spring. I bought a 5 pound bag of each with idea that I could try them all, then mix and match. I think by the time I go through 5 pounds of each I should have at least an idea of how they all behave. I went with Palouse Brand, as they’re reasonably local to the Seattle area. I’ve previously baked with pre-ground Bob’s Red Mill – Kamut, Spelt, Rye, and others. My plan is to (re)introduce the ancient grains after I have a better handle on the wheat varieties.
So far I’ve made two breads. The first was a 50/50 mix of Hard Red Winter Wheat with King Arthur Bread flour. The dough itself was 80+% hydration. It spread out quite a bit on the parchment sling, then about tripled in height in the oven. It was definitely rustic, but it tasted good and that’s the most important thing.
The second was a 100% Hard White loaf with 75% hydration that was baked in a loaf pan. The dough didn’t spread like the first. It was easy to slash and got good oven spring as well.
So those two breads represent an encouraging start. I baked them before I’d had time to dig into either of the books. (New Toy!) I think I’ll find there are many good books on the subject. I started with Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads and Leonti’s Flour Lab: An At-Home Guide to Baking with Freshly Milled Grains. I picked Reinhart because one of my first “regular” bread books was the Bread Baker’s Apprentice, which I sort of used as a jumping off point for everything else I’ve read. I also have read or seen enough of Reinhart that I know how he tends to present information. The Leonti book I selected because I think Marc Vetri is doing interesting things and he did the forward to the book.
So there’s all that. I’m looking forward to what comes next.