The Fresh Loaf

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Cream of Wheat Middlings for Breakfast

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bwraith's picture
bwraith

Cream of Wheat Middlings for Breakfast

Cream of Wheat Middlings

My home sifting project resulted in "middlings", a term I may be using incorrectly. What I mean by middlings is the stuff I sifted out that is finer than bran but was coarser and darker than I wanted for the flour being produced.

This output of my milling and sifting process had a coarseness similar to semolina or maybe a little more coarse. It was a fairly dark brown. I refrigerated it, thinking it might be useful for dusting a couche or some other purpose eventually. To some extent, I was hoping to discover some good food use for this part of my output, which should contain a fairly large nutritional content, since it has much of the darker, vitamin-rich outer layers of the wheat berry in it. My more whole grain oriented friends might be less disapproving of my use of less than 100% whole wheat flour in some of my breads, if I could show that the other parts of the whole grain are still being used. Also, my wife is more interested in whole grain nutrition, so she asked me to save it, probably also imagining some good use she might discover for very freshly ground outer layers of the wheat berry.

The nice thing is that I can see this output will be consumed nearly as quickly if not more quickly than the bread that was made from this sifting session. My whole wheat loving friends would be happy, since we would be eating 100% fresh ground whole wheat by eating the bread and having the cream of wheat middlings and bran for breakfast.

This morning it occurred to me that the "middlings" were a lot like cream of wheat in consistency, just browner. I decided to try making "cream of wheat middlings". I forgot to measure, but roughly speaking the recipe was 1.5 cups water, 1.5 cups skim milk, 0.5 tsp salt, 1.5 cups of "wheat middlings", and about 0.5 cups of "wheat bran", the coarsest output of my sifting process. I then brought it to a strong boil, dropped the heat to low, and let it simmer, stirring periodically, for about 15 minutes.

The resulting gruel was served with some milk poured on it, and some brown sugar sprinkled over it. My 13 year old son wolfed this concoction down with great delight, saying it was very good. I thought it was a great breakfast, more flavorful than cream of wheat and probably nutritionally much superior, and it would have significantly more bran fiber, for those who might like that aspect of it. I tried adding raisins to some of it, which I thought made it even better but my son thought detracted from it.

Comments

browndog's picture
browndog

Oh, how charmingly Dickensonian of you, Bill--gruel!

You realize that was one of Mr Scrooge's more frequent bedtime snacks, and what poor little Oliver Twist wouldn't have done for an extra bowful or two. Don't I wish my kid would wolf down a bowl of any kind of hot cereal--I love Cream of Wheat myself. Looks like you are having a grand old time with the grist mill lark.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Browndog,

Yes, it's fun down in the workshop right now. Ash content tests with little electronic gadgets, big electric motors whirring, the sound of a river of grain flowing out of a feeder, loud rhythmic shaking all through the house, it's great stuff. You may want to reconsider your aversion to some extra equipment and gadgets. Surely, it will all be worth it for a bowl of gruel. I hope you will check out the video of my 2nd try at Bill's Grist Mill. Think of me trying to brush off the flour dust while the sieves shake and the mill turns.

Bill

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Bill,

I have no idea of how much dust your milling fun is creating but there is a potential (which you are probably already aware of) for fire or explosion if the air-borne concentration of dust reaches high enough levels.  Most home millers won't ever face much more than having to dust the furniture after milling, but it sounds like you are playing with bigger toys, especially the seiving/sifting operation.  While I would be surprised if you achieved dust levels in excess of LEL, please remember to keep your work area free of grain dust buildup and to employ some sort of dust collection system.  Have fun and stay safe.

 PMcCool

bwraith's picture
bwraith

PMcCool,

You make a very good point. The thought had occurred to me. I remember my science teacher in high school putting on a great demonstration by putting a candle in one of those metal milk urns with the lid on, and blowing flour into the container from a funnel in the container through a tube. The explosion knocked the lid right up to the ceiling of the gym. Very impressive.

So far, I think it's OK. Actually, the sifter creates surprisingly little dust. The stack of sieves seems to seal fairly well at the interface between them, and there is a reasonably tight lid on top and a bottom pan on the bottom. I probably spill a little flour around emptying and filling the sieves, but I try not hard not to, just to avoid having to sweep it up later.

In the case of the Retsel, the rotation rate of the stones is very slow, so the flour just drops lazily into the collection bucket with little dust escaping. The Meadows 8 inch mill is much faster turning, so the flour is sprayed out the bottom, creating a dust cloud if left open. However, it is set up to seal a collection bag around the output chute, which pretty much stops any flour dust from escaping.

So, if I am careful, especially once I get into a routine, it should be possible to do all this with a minimum of mess.

Here's a question. Do you think it's safe to vacuum up flour with a shop vacuum? I could do that, but so far I've just used a broom and a brush.

Bill

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Sweeping just stirs up the dust, Empty the vacuum after the dust has settled in it as soon as possible.  You might want an additional filter bag attatched to the shop vacuum or even an additional filter can (cost around 30$) like that used for chimney ashes.  Just an idea.  Wouldn't be a bad idea to have an exhause fan running when you mill lots of flour and wear a dust mask as silly as it might look. 

Mini O

bwraith's picture
bwraith

MiniOven,

Thanks for the tips. I'll have to check out the filter types available for my shop vacuum at the hardware store. They may well have a filter designed for things like ashes that would be good for flour, too. During the early exploratory stage, I did use a dust mask while hand sifting, before I got the sieve shaker. The dust was rising from the sieve into my face as I shook it. Once I'm in more of a routine, I expect it won't be a problem. The sieve shaker holds the dust in remarkably well, and the Meadows Mill has a tube that I will just attach a bag to. I've tried it, and there was little or no dust at all. I've been surprised by how little flour got on my tables and floor in the workshop even when I was pouring dozens of samples into plastic cups at one point.

Bill

browndog's picture
browndog

never shows up at your house, does he?

I wish I was clever enough to come up with a script for that video, it seems to be begging for one. The right captions would catapult you, or at least your workshop, into eternal youtube infamy.

And when you put it like that, Bill, why WOULD anyone ever just, um, open the cupboard and pull out a box of already-made, uh, Cream of Wheat..?

The color of the breads is really interesting-- not much like store-bought wheat flour.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Browndog,

We haven't seen Mr. Half-Way and aren't sure he exists.

This is different, Cream of Wheat Middlings - very good, but different. It's another good one for when you need to clean out the innards, as I think you mentioned about whole grain breads. I thought you were a big whole grain fan, only to hear now you're a white bread addict. I can't keep it all straight.

The colors are darker, but the bread doesn't taste like whole wheat bread. It's hard to get used to at first. However, there is no question that the ash content of my home milled flour, or at least the conductivity of the water it was soaked in, was less than that of Heartland Mills Golden Buffalo. To me, that should mean it's a little closer to white flour than the Golden Buffalo, although still very much a high extraction flour. The flavor and texture of the bread I made with the home milled flour is very similar to breads made with the Golden Buffalo flour, but the color is more like whole grain.

Bill

browndog's picture
browndog

My 'whole wheat' creds have gone through a few incarnations--started many years ago as the typical crunchy granola sort, with whole wheat and soy flour in everything, even sorry cakes and cookies. When bread baking took precedence I used more white flour but almost never baked an entirely white loaf. When I got interested in artisan bread, only last spring, I found myself making white or nearly all-white breads almost exclusively. Now the worm is taking another turn, and whole wheat or spelt breads are back up to maybe 50% of my baking, and I'm liking it more than ever. Lately it seems that the cupboard stores a white sourdough and a whole grain sandwich bread as standard issue.

But you won't find whole wheat, soy flour, milk powder & honey COOKIES at my house anymore. 

 

 

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Browndog,

There's a meaningful phrase. I feel deserving of some creds as of the mash bread, and I may begin to feel downright holier-than-thou when I get around to throwing out the sifter for a round of straight freshly milled whole wheat. Or, still using the sieve shaker, which is hard to leave turned off, I have this idea for a mash bread made with the same middlings that go into this Cream of Wheat Middlings. The thought was to sift out the middlings and bran, and then make a mash out of the middlings and bran, or soak the bran separately, not sure yet, and recombine them all with the sifted flour for the final dough. I also wonder what might happen if some of the middlings were used in a levain, too. Anyway, it's a concept of separating the whole wheat into its components, processing them in mashes, levains, and soakers separately, and recombining them later - only possible with my sifter, which is what makes it so attractive, at least when thinking superficially and out loud right onto the page - how I've gotten in trouble more than a few times.

I've ended up much like you after my bread baking meanderings, but I spent my initial forays on whiter breads first, then tried whole wheat later on. Partly, it was the lure of a better nutritional profile and just curiosity that led me to try whole wheat breads. In engineering terms, whole grains present a challenge that justifies some gadgetry and some creative thinking. Lately, I've realized that if done well, the flavors are equally good and provide greater variety on the bread menu. Without a doubt, my favorite breads are these country miches that fall somewhere in between white and whole wheat, and the flavor of the fresh milling makes them even better. I'd say the flavor improvement is undeniable, except I haven't done a blind tasting to prove it. On top of all that, the use of "bolted flour", even if ground and sifted with machines powered by electric motor instead of water wheels or muscles, allows for at least the illusion of experiences of a past era. It's a good combination of past and present, playing with current gadgetry while communing with ancestral engineers, millers, and bakers.

Bill