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Baking with home milled and bolted flour

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varda's picture
varda

Baking with home milled and bolted flour

Lately I have been baking with flour home-milled from hard red winter wheat from Upinngil Farm in Gill Massachusetts.     I have also been experimenting with sifting the milled flour to achieve different results, and after reading about bolting - see Andy's post and note below - with bolting as well.   My first attempt at bolting using a knee-high nylon didn't go well.   The less said the better.    Then I realized that cheese cloth has a fine mesh and might possibly be well suited for the task at hand.    So I have been playing around with using cheese cloth to bolt fresh milled flour, without much good baking results.   

Today, I came back to it and made another attempt.    I decided to use my regular white starter, rather than working with a whole wheat starter, which adds another layer of complexity.   And also constrained the process by determining that I would only use the Upinngil whole wheat for the final dough.   

I proceeded as follows:  

1.  Mill 514 g of wheat berries at medium setting

2.  Sift with #24 wire strainer

3.  Mill what is caught in the sieve at fine setting

4.  Sift with #30 wire strainer

This process removed 50g of bran.

5.   Place flour on top of a square of cheese cloth and form a bag by folding up corners and securing with a twist tie

6.  Shake, bounce, bump, etc. into a wooden bowl.    (Note this step takes awhile.)

At the end of this process I had 226g of golden flour with only tiny flecks of bran in it, and left in the cheese cloth was 226g of a coarse flour / semolina mix.  

I decided to make two loaves - one with the more refined flour, and one with the less refined flour.  They both came out quite breadlike.

The one with the refined flour was a bit better behaved than the other.

I would say both tasted good with the second loaf with a much more rustic, coarse crumb.

Here are the formulae:

 

Starter builds

 

 

 

 

 

12/7/2012

 

2:30 PM

9:30 PM

Total

Percent

Seed

29

 

 

 

 

KAAP

16

47

95

158

95%

Whole Rye

1

3

5

9

5%

Water

12

34

67

113

67%

 

 

 

 

280

9.7

12/8/2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final

Starter

Total

Percent

 

KAAP

 

71

71

24%

 

Whole Rye

 

4

4

1%

 

Bolted Upinngil Tier 1

226

 

226

75%

 

Water

149

50

199

66%

 

Salt

5

 

5

1.7%

 

Starter

125

 

 

25%

 

 

 

 

505

 

 

Factor

0.45

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final

Starter

Total

Percent

 

KAAP

 

71

71

22%

 

WR

 

4

4

1%

 

Bolted Upinngil Tier 2

226

 

226

69%

 

Med Rye

25

 

25

8%

 

Water

182

50

232

71%

 

Salt

7

 

7

2.1%

 

Starter

125

 

 

23%

 

 

 

 

565

 

 

Factor

0.45

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I mixed the first dough for 10 minutes, and the second for 20.    It was necessary to add a bit of medium rye to the second dough to make it adhere.   I was very worried about over fermenting and proofing these loaves so I erred on the side of under-doing it.    I fermented the first loaf for 2 hours, and the second for 1.5 hours, both with two stretch and folds.   Then proofed each of them for only 45 minutes.   They were baked together at 450F with steam for 20 minutes, and without for 25.  

Note:   Bolting is an old (say 17th century) method of refining flour by passing milled wheat through successively finer and finer cloth mesh tubes.   See for instance http://www.angelfire.com/journal/millbuilder/boulting.html%C2%A0%C2%A0   So technically I have done a hybrid of metal sifting and cloth bolting, as I only have one cloth mesh size.  

[Addendum:  For those of you who think that milling, sifting, and now bolting is too messy, please note that only 13g of flour was missing in action.    I'm sure it will be all cleaned up in the fullness of time. ] 

 

Comments

bakingbadly's picture
bakingbadly

:) Well, I'm envious. I wish I could mill and sift my own flour but that shall remain a wishful dream.

I don't know much about bolted flour, never heard of it until now, but it seems you've learned a lot and making tremendous progress.

Great effort and great bake, Varda! 

 

varda's picture
varda

I guess I was rushing and so obscure.     Bolting seems to be an old (say 17th century) method of refining flour by passing milled wheat through successively finer and finer cloth mesh tubes.   Despite its age it is still an industrial process and not suitable for home kitchens so I was trying to adapt it at least in spirit.    I had linked to this article in an earlier post.    The key thing here is a baker's assistant who stands there and beats the cloth tubes to drive out the fine flour.   In my adapted process, I am the baker's assistant, gently pounding on my little cheesecloth bag.    I'll add some of this to the main post.   Thanks so much for your comments.  -Varda

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

to decide if I like the bread behind door #1 or door #2 or wait for your next bake of this bread.  Both look just about as good as can be done.   The color and multi-hued brown flecks of both crumb and the crust is spell binding.   They have to taste as good as they look or ..... there are no bread gods or...... whole wheat and rye goodness in the world!

Happy Hanukkah!

varda's picture
varda

I think the more refined loaf is tastier and actually very rich flavor.   The other flour is pretty gritty.   In future, I think I'll try mixing the gritty flour with medium rye in equal parts.   The golden flour (for lack of a better name) is so nice I will have to make more.   My other choice for the grits was hot cereal.   They cook up really nicely in boiling water.   I was hoping some of the engineers in the crowd would chime in with productivity enhancement suggestions for bolting, but no such luck yet.   Thanks so much for your kind words.   Happy Hanukkah to you too.   I am making sufganiyot right now - one of my infrequent forays into deep frying.    So good and so good for you too :-)  -Varda

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

to see you use the less gritty version in some bagels since you are working on them too.  Con you imagine how rich and great they would taste?  Way better than NY I'm guessing :-)  I'm know its not all in the flour but it has to be some good flour to get a crust and crumb coloring like that. 

varda's picture
varda

Way better than NY?   Ha!   I laugh at you.  -Varda

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

With your flour that they could never reproduce, your bagels should taste better than the stuff they call NY bagels today.    Get some blisters, a thin crunchy crust going, bagels than don't sink and next thing you will know the NY pros will  be prostrating themselves , if not something else, at your feet begging you to give them your bagel secrets :-)   I, if no one else, knows you can do it before....... my apprentice does !!

varda's picture
varda

Hey DA.   There is the grail and then there is the great unknown.   In the case of bagels I'm searching for the grail.    In that department at least I leave the great unknown to you.   I wish you and your apprentice great explorations.  -Varda

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Varda,

The loaf made with the finest flour ends up with extraction rate of barely 44%!   You can see why it's such a "nice" loaf!

I really think you need to be hitting 80% extraction rate when sieving your flour, if at all possible.   Can you find some means to re-sieve the coarser bits so you can release the best bits from that?   You should be aiming to take off the outer bran layers only.

However, I love the look of these breads, and I'll bet thay all taste fantastic.

All good wishes

Andy

varda's picture
varda

to get the coveted Upinngil Golden classification is to get through the cheesecloth.   So maybe another run through the mill would release more.   But of course between the two loaves I got 90% extraction.   Next time I'm going to mix the gritty stuff with medium rye and then follow your Maslin flour formula.   Thanks so much for your comments.  -Varda

isand66's picture
isand66

Nice baking Varda.  I hop to hav my own mill one I these days so I appreciate your experimentation.

Ian

varda's picture
varda

It is fun to experiment with the flour.   I know you would enjoy it as well.    Thanks so much for your comments.  -Varda

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Hanukkah yesterday so you still have 6 more chances Ian.  Tell that wife of yours to get you one that is heavy duty, can handle your baking creativity,  ingenuity and serendipity -  and a few auto parts :-)

grind's picture
grind

I line whatever I'm proofing the bread in with the gritty bits, either cloth or basket.  Anyways, the bread looks delish.  Interesting that the refined flour tastes richer and fuller - less is more, I guess.

varda's picture
varda

roll the shaped loaves in it before proofing which gives a nice effect.    I think the refined flour loaf just behaved better the whole way so that is probably why it came out better.   But I was really focused on that and didn't pay much attention to the poor gritty cousin.    Trying to bake two different breads at a time is a challenge for me.    Next time I'll make a little schedule.   Thanks so much for your comments.  -Varda

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Varda,

I noted your comment on the grittiness of the flour in the coarser loaf.  I also noted that it didn't have a long 'wet' time.  

If you are so inclined you might try soaking the coarser flour overnight in a portion of the water in your final dough and a bit of the salt to keep it from fermenting.  Soaking does wonders for whole wheat - flavor, texture and gluten development wise.  All of this I learned from Peter Reinhart in his book WGB.  He goes into depth on why it is important to soak the whole grains.....something I never knew before and what a difference it made in my loaves :-)

Your loaves are very pretty and I am very impressed by your persistence with bolting the flour.

Take Care,

Janet 

varda's picture
varda

I know I'm supposed to get that Reinhart book but haven't yet.   You are right I need to think more about how to handle the gritty flour (and find a better name for it.)   Thanks for commenting.   -Varda

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Really attractive crumb on the refined flour version, Varda! Your milling skills are improving fast.

I have a cheescloth too, or a muslin cloth, which i bought for making cheese. I thought about using it in sifting milled flour, but could not experiment due to my physical limitations. 

As to sifting, i have learned how to mill the berries into a high extraction "golden flour", granted, it is no less messy than your method. I begin milling the whole berries at the "almost" coarsest setting, which produces cracked wheat or bulky bulgur, and a few bran shreds. I then remill the lot to the exact coarse setting,  producing more distinguished bran this time. I sift out the bran, and from then on, i mill and resift in a similar way as you did. In my opinion, Starting with this method rids you of the tougher outer layer bran, and leaves you with wheat semolina, and smaller, softer bran/fiber. To enhance the effects of the method i mentioned, i would start of by tempering my wheat a head of time, and refrigerating it.

Khalid

varda's picture
varda

Interesting about your initial steps.   I will try that.   I'm still skittish about the tempering given how badly my first attempt went.   Can you give me more details on how you do it?   I hope your recovery is going well and that you will be back to milling and baking soon (but not too soon.)   Thanks for your comments.  -Varda

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Can't remember really.. It has been a while since i last tempered wheat for milling. search TFL for wheat tempering you'll come across a TFL member whom i had a conversation with, he gave me tips on how to temper wheat. 

Khalid

varda's picture
varda

Thanks Khalid.  -Varda

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

I'm enjoying reading along with you on all these milling projects, very inspiring!  Love the look of the crumb on these breads.  

I agree a flour without as much bran generally tastes richer, the bran brings a bitterness and acidity (in sourdough) to the bread that masks the underlying rich flavors.  Had a side-by-side comparison of sd miche at King Arthur, one was made with high-extraction and the other with a blend of white and whole wheat designed to mimic the HE flour.  The two breads were surprisingly different tasting, the HE was rich and wonderful.

varda's picture
varda

I've stumbled into High Extraction.   Even though technically my golden flour is 44% extraction that is just because of my primitive methods, and I bet if you measured ash content it would be a lot higher than 44% suggests.    I had wondered about the comparison you are writing about, and interesting how that came out.   I see you are from Massachusetts.   Any chance near me?    Thanks so much for commenting.   -Varda

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

If those pictures could talk, they'd say FLAVOR.  Your latest milling/bolting efforts have yielded what appears to be a thoroughly satisfying bite.  I admire your attempts to replicate the old bolting methods with cloth -- hosiery & cheesecloth.  I can't imagine how only 13 gr was MIA.  What a triumph!  But I must again suggest a fantes dot com 50# sieve alternative, perhaps as a hint for Santa.  It's become my most precious breadmaking tool.  Every levain loaf here lately is HiE ('home cleared', as I'm preferring to call it).  Plus you can make some really nice sort of 'reconstituted whole wheat' by soaker-ing the retained 'gritty bits' (bran + germ + a little attached endosperm) in a 20% (gritty bits) + 80% BF or AP dough.  Will post on that at some point.

Thanks for sharing your milling/bolting journey.  Tops of TFL's current vicarious attractions.

Cheers,

Tom

varda's picture
varda

I had put a Chinois from Fantes in the shopping cart but hadn't pulled the trigger.   I don't know whether to go with that or the 55 sieves I see there.   Looking forward to your post on "reconstitution".    Thanks so much for your comments.  -Varda

proth5's picture
proth5

I am totally submerged in seasonal baking/cooking - but had a minute, saw your post and wanted to respond

Bolting is quite an interesting little discipline.  I had been considering that I need a larger variety of mills so that I can really understand the challenges of stone vs steel - electric vs hand turned.  Saw a Fidibus in the clearance bin at Plesant Hill Grain and couldn't resist.

So, hopefully, I can do some work with tempering (since I have a proper moisture meter), remillling and bolting and have a better understanding of those challenges when grinding with stone.

Your cheescloth innovation is a great idea, but I do really recommend the mining classifiers - fitted over a bowl, they are much less work and mess than you might think.  Although Komo makes a sifting apparatus that goes on their mills.

Happy Milling!

Pat

varda's picture
varda

Oh my.   Didn't know there was such a thing.   So how many mills do you have so far?    I am resisting, resisting the mining classifiers.   Looking instead at 55 drum sieves from Fantes.    And/or a chinois.     I suppose this resistance has to do with how kitcheny things look.   I tend to leave this kind of equipment out (on top of the refrigerator which is getting crowded) so I like to have it look nice.   Thanks so much for commenting, and hope you are enjoying your holiday baking.  -Varda

proth5's picture
proth5

Just the two.  I think about the dearth of really good information for home millers and wonder if there is some need to fill and a second mill seemed like a small investment (at least to me - who has been know to drop a dime or two for toys.)

I've had good luck with buying mills (universe telling me something?) No one believes how little I paid for the Diamant.

The soil classifiers are not things of beauty to be sure.  Mine reside in a container in my basement where their workaday looks are not a problem (I have a very small kitchen and I have the same "thing" about it being a place where each object should be beautiful as well as useful.)  But they do yeoman's work and that is something I respect.

To really keep the process efficient, you want something with a large sifting area(like a tamis - or the drum sieves).  Rather than shaking the thing (which was the method that bwraith used - even getting a machine to do the shaking) I have found it most effective to sweep my hand through the milled grain and push it around and through the classifier.  This is actually one part of how an eccentric sifter (the real deal) works.  There is usually a chain on the screen to help distribute the flour and push it through.  From my perspective, I love to get the feel of the flour - I consider it a useful hand skill to cultivate.  I've gotten pretty good at estimating the need for another mill pass or the yield through the sieve by the feel of the flour.  I can also tell the transition point where I've got mostly bran in the sifter by the way the material clings (or doesn't) to my hand.

Komo also makes drum seives although I would suspect they would be a pricey option.

I absolutely would not advocate a chinois where you could not do the "sweep" motion (good for other things, though).  That is also why I lack enthusiasm for the strainers.  You end up having to shake them and that's just a lot of work. I'm willing to do a process from start to finish (grind grain - bake bread) but I hate doing a lot of work.  :>)

I'm always having fun if an oven or stove is involved.

Happy Milling!

Pat

varda's picture
varda

I have gravitated from shaking to running my fingers through the sieve (rather than the flat of my hand.)   This works fine with the strainers.   (It's another story altogether with the cheese cloth.)   And I agree that you can tell a lot by the feel of the flour.   One of the things I discovered is the milled flour is quite moist which is perhaps why I had so much trouble with the tempering.    So I will skip the chinois, as you suggest,  and go for the drum sieve.     Yes, the universe is telling you that you should be filling the gap of information for home millers.   Go forth!   -Varda

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

fwiw, this is what I've had very satisfying results with (from fantes dot com):

12" Round Stainless Steel Sieve, Fine Mesh

$23.99
#17214
Temporarily unvailable
until February
12" diameter,
3" high,
Stainless steel,
55 mesh (approx. 0.0107", 0.273mm, 273 microns)
For very fine sifting
Made in China

I can drop this into a 13" diameter ss bowl that I already had, dump a few scoops of flour in the sieve, grab both the sieve and bowl and shake side-to-side, front-to-back and get it through in less than a minute.  At first, the white fines begin to plug the sieve, but the coarseness of the bran retentate actually rubs the white fines through towards the end, acting like your and Pat's fingers against the screen.  I can run through a 5# bag of store-bought flour, to make my "home cleared" 50# pass-through, in a few minutes. (now that I look at the listing again, I guess I should be calling it 55# pass-through, not 50#)

Sorry to read that sieve is unavailable until February though :-(

-Tom

 

varda's picture
varda

I just bought this based on your earlier referral, but in the 10 inch version.    I do a lot smaller amounts than you at a time - just the amount I plan to bake with. 

But I'm still staggered by your times.    I may be asking you more about this.    (I was hoping you would chime in with some efficiency tips.   I think of you as an engineer.   Are you?)  

-Varda

proth5's picture
proth5

I think your problem with tempering may originate with your method.  I read your post on that but was too slammed to sit down and write a comment.

I live in an arid climate and my grain comes in very dry (9-10% moisture) - I will add maybe as much as 1/2 ounce (goodnes only knows how many grams - I'm still not completely converted to metric) of water to 2 pounds or so of grain.  I then shake the container to distibute this tiny amount of water over the grain.  It gets uniformly and lightly moist.  A lot of writeups on tempering talk about "soaking" the grain, making one think that you take a big tub of water and dump in the grain.  No.  You take a very small amount of water and get the grain to absorb it. The millers at Heartland tell me that the first mix needs to be quite vigorous.

In 12 - 24  hours, my grain is bone dry to the touch - and may go up to 12% moisture.  I then add another ridiculously small amout of water and go again.

I'll admit that the moisture meter helps a lot with this - but I did do it for awhile by hope and feel.

Yes, there's quite a bit of moisture in the fresh flour.  14% is the preferred level for a lot of the tests typically run on flour, but somewhat less is fine. I really enjoy the feel of sweeping my whole hand (and part of my arm) through the flour.  But that's me...

There are days that I think this whole Supply Chain Planning professional thing is starting to interfere too much with all the real work I need to do....

varda's picture
varda

and it pays for the toys.    But that does not constitute advice.    I had to walk away from a perfectly fun and lucrative career because of my younger son's issues (autism spectrum) and as an unexpected silver lining have discovered the fun to be had baking and gardening and so forth.   Who knew.  

Thanks for your words about tempering.    But a question.    If the grain is sufficiently moist, it shouldn't be tempered right?   I know I overdid the water last time but note that by the time the grain dried out enough to mill, it was back to its original weight.  

-Varda

proth5's picture
proth5

I really need to do some research into the exact science behind tempering, but in general the principal is to bring the grain up to a particular moisture content, not for the moisture content itself, but to toughen the bran.  (Also, I re read your post and you really shouldn't heat the grain - cool tempering is generally considered superior to hot tempering.)

We are aiming for a moisture content of 13-14%  Generally buyers don't want to purchase grain at that high a moisture content as they would essentially be paying grain prices for water.  Since you are buying a local grain, this has interesting implications for you and the supplier.  As I said, most ot the analytics that are done on flour are done at a normalized 14% moisture, but this is not what we want to find in our grain when we buy it.  The moisture content should be more in the 9-11% range.

So, even if you had to re dry the grain, it might still have benefitted from the process - but I won't say for sure.  Which is why I need to do some research.

My immediate family includes an individual with autism.  I can actually imagine the challenges that you face on a daily basis and for the future.  It is wonderful that you can find the silver lining.

Pat

varda's picture
varda

Pat,  I didn't heat any berries I was trying to use - just a small test sample to try to figure out their water content.   Whatever I figured out was wrong as I way underestimated the percentage water.   So I'm with you on the cool tempering.   And yes, I am wondering about tempering flour that doesn't "need" it because it is already wet enough, because it does something good to the bran layer.   So if you do find out more, I would love to know.   I had never considered the surcharge I was paying for fresh, wet grain.    How often we pay more for water.   Ah well.   And thank you so much for your kind words.   -Varda

grind's picture
grind

I tempered some soft white wheat flour last week and this is what I did -

1 kg wheat kernels

100 gram of water

Mixed it all up and kept mixing it every now and again, just to make sure the water didn't sit at the bottom of the container.  Next morning, felt the grain and it felt dry.  I added another 40 grams and did the same as above.  I milled it the next day.  Then I sifted out the bits and now the flour is aging.

varda's picture
varda

That sounds like a lot of water.  Was the grain particularly dry to start with?   What kind of mill do you have?   

grind's picture
grind

Yes, it was dry.  I don't know the official stats on it and I pretty well just went on what I read on TFL and on intuition (if there is such a thing).  However, even after all the tempering, the grain was still quite dry when I ran it through the Samap mill.  I just checked the container and the flour seems fine - smells fresh, no funny stuff growing.

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

How long do you age your home milled flour before you use it for bread?

What do you put it in while it's aging (paper bag? bowl? something else?)

Do you age it at room temperature or in the refrigerator?

Would appreciate as detailed an explanation of your process for aging flour as you are willing to give.

Looking forward to your response.

Thanks - SF

grind's picture
grind

I'll wait two weeks, although I've heard that some use freshly ground flour after six days.

I've used empty flour bags, but this current batch is in a small, plastic pail.

Room Temp.

grind's picture
grind

Thought you might be interested in this company, varda.  I spoke with them once and at the time they were amenable to smallish orders of mesh and/or bolting cloth.

http://www.ferrierwire.com/products.asp

varda's picture
varda

Hi,   Do you have any idea what this bolting cloth is used for?   I'm guessing the typical application is not hobbyists sifting wheat  :-)   Thanks for the link. -Varda

Update:   I just found this: http://www.compasswire.com/definitions.html

Tensile Bolting Cloth - Woven of extremely smooth, durable stainless steel with a plain square mesh pattern. It features high capacity and strength, and is widely used for accurate dry or wet sifting and separating. Primary fields of application are flour and grain milling, food processing and general industry. 

(Emphasis added.)

grind's picture
grind

Sorry, didn't intend to be so vague!

 

I spoke with some one there a year or so ago and he said they have a very small minimum, like a yard of bolting cloth in whatever size.  I was exploring making a motor powered sifter back then but realized I did not have the skills to pull it off.  Just thought I'd pass it along in case you wanted different mesh sizes for your milling and sifting journey.