Baking with La Milanaise Flours
I had read about the organic stoneground flours from La Meunerie Milanaise (La Milanaise Mills) in Daniel Leader's Local Breads and through numerous posts on TFL. I was anxious to try them so a few months ago as I was in Montreal visiting friends, I was able to bring back three 20 kg bags of their flours. I had to contact the US Customs to have their blessing before driving back across the border with 132 pounds of white powder.
I purchased their All Purpose T55, Sifted Flour #100(T70) and Sifted Flour #50(T90) Flours. All are Organic and the latter two are High Extraction and Stoneground. The # designation indicates the fineness of the sieve. The T designation indicate the percentage of ash content of the flour and is based on the european model of 11.7% humidity content as opposed to 14% for the US. There was a discrepancy in the ash content listed on the bags and the specification sheets that I got from the distributor so I contacted the Milanaise office and got a detailed explanation from Mr. Robert Beauchemin, the Company's CEO. He explains that there is always a variation in the mineral content of wheat from year to year depending on environment and growing conditions. The key is the degree of "cleanliness" of the sifting to allow a percentage of the epiderm layer and the aleurone layer of the wheat kernel into the flour. The epiderm is the darker and tougher outer layer whose ground particles act as knife blades damaging the structure of the gluten while the aleurone is the lighter inner layer which does not damage the gluten. Based on this variation in mineral content, the two high extraction flours that I got are essentially T70/T80 (73.6% extraction and 12.7% protein) and T90/T110 (81.8% extraction and 12.4% protein). It is interesting to note that these are high extraction but not high gluten flours as the protein level is about the same as white bread flour. The All Purpose T55 has 11.4% protein.
I have been baking some of my favorite breads using different mixes of these flours and have been extremely pleased with the results.
The T55 flour is slightly darker color (light cream color) and grittier to the touch than the King Arthur AP Flour. The T70/T80 has specs of light color bran mixed in and the T90/110 is the darkest with bigger and darker specs of bran. There is no Malted Barley Flour added.
Counterclockwise from left T55, T70/T80 and T90/T110 Flours
All three flours are not as absorbent as the KA flours and I always get a wetter dough using the same hydration. The dough consistently feels less sticky and is more extensible than KA. The dough also feels smoother.
The breads are very aromatic during and after baking especially with the high extraction flours giving the crust a dark molasses, caramel, chocolate and roasted nuts fragrance . The crumb is always light, open and soft and the taste has a sweet, creamy and toasty wheatiness.
Baguettes au Levain using T55 Flour
Baguette au Levain Crumb
Pain de Campagne using T55, T70/T80 and T90/T110 Flour mix
Pain de Campagne Crumb