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Advice on milling my own flour

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Justkneadit's picture
Justkneadit

Advice on milling my own flour

When I return from this dismal country I would like to begin milling my own flour to bake my loaves. I have zero knowledge of milling and am humbly requesting the knowledge of my fellow TFLer's to point me in the right direction as far as books to read or videos to watch, or even what brand would be good to start out with.

Apart from growing the wheat myself, a feat I will soon accomplish once I have land, it would be a great accomplishment to nearly make a loaf of bread from scratch.

Thanks everyone!

Lane

proth5's picture
proth5

Number 1, Lane - stay safe.  I think about that little corner of the world every day  - for far more personal reasons than I wish to state. - so, stay safe.

Anyway, there is precious little written on the subject of home milling.  The book "Flour Power: A Guide To Modern Home Grain Milling" by Marleeta F. Basey (which is now back in print) claims to be the only book on home milling and that is a mostly accurate claim.  If you can order from Amazon, that might be a good place to start.  I own and have read this book and frankly it is mostly an overview of mills, some information on the wheat berry itself, and then a very long sermon on the virtues of whole wheat.  But it will give you some of the basics.

Frankly, I feel better about the information in Mr Hamelman's "Bread, etc..." on grains, flour, and flour rheology - which is another place to gain knowledge.

The blogs written by myself, bwraith, and others on this site are in some ways far more informative than the "Flour Power..." book and have taken home milling a bit further than the author of that book.

But you may wish to contemplate the whys of your milling so that you will know what your proper mill setup should be like.  What kind of flour do you want to mill?  What is the milling experience that you want to have? (What?  For example, I wanted a very hands on experience, that led to my interest in hand turned mills - which despite the common clamor of "you'll never keep it up" I have kept up, because that's the milling experience that I wanted.) What is your budget? How will milling fit with your life, your esthetic, your budget, your available time, and  your living space?

In essence home milling can be as simple as putting grains in the hopper of an electric mill, setting the grind fineness and hitting the "on" button - or as complex as getting tempering equipment, multiple mills, and eccentric sifters.  You must know where your passion lies and follow it.

Stay safe.

Happy Milling!

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

I second what Pat has just written so eloquently.  Dream on but ground your dreams with some practical expectations.  

Good to give this thought now so you don't end up like I did.  When I took up baking again a couple of years ago I bought one mill (a Nutramill) based on how I use to bake...but my baking all changed radically once I began using sd and I had to relegate that mill to my basement storage area to make way for a different mill that fitted my needs better. (a KoMo)  An expensive lesson.

How long will you be in Afghanistan?  I imagine it is quite the culture shock - on top of everything else.  I will toss in a bit of 'motherly' advice that has been passed on to me....'try to see some beauty wherever you are everyday'......(Sorry, I am a mother and these things do just slip out...part of the job description :-)

Take Good Care of Yourself,

Janet

nhtom's picture
nhtom

I put the wheat berries through the grinder 3 times - tightening the stones a little each interation.

It works for me.

cjc's picture
cjc

Is there any way to obtain "white or unbleached" flour with a home grinder?

proth5's picture
proth5

a way to do that - search on "proth5" and look at some of the older blogs - I have done it, but it is not easy.

There is also little advantage to it (except for the pride that comes from "doing it yourself") - frankly, I would leave the pure white flours to the big boys with roller mills.  What can become a fascinating hobby is "less than whole grain" or "nearly white" flours - this is a little more suited for home millers.

Happy Milling!

LRBY's picture
LRBY

Janet...why did the KoMo meet your needs better with sourdough?  I pretty much only use SD and an looking into mills.

 

Thanks!

 

Jamie

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Jamie,

The KoMo is much easier to use/clean and has a wider range of fine - coarse settings for milling.  I do several leaven builds daily and I grind the flour as I go and it is usually in small amounts....  

Cleaning the Nutramill was a hassle because it had to be taken apart to  access the flour which became tedious quite quickly......

With the KoMo, the flour is dispensed right into a bowl at the end of the 'spout'.   The KoMo just needs a brushing off occasionally.  

Janet

 

LRBY's picture
LRBY

Thanks!  It is so tempting to get one.  Christmas is coming up:)

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Grains and milling forum - If you are into milling at home, this is the place for you.Whole Grains forum - Whole grain and multi-grain breadsOr use the search box in the upper left of the site.Reach out and explore the site.Best of luck to you in your baking education. Have fun.