The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Aging home ground flour - thoughts?

the hadster's picture
the hadster

Aging home ground flour - thoughts?

Hello All:

So, I was reading "The Taste of Bread" by Raymond Calvel, and he suggests aging the flour for 1 to 2 months.

Some of what I will be using in my bread is sprouted grain, so all bets are off.  I'm going to wait about 24 hours or so for the moisture to equalize.

For my next few loaves these are my percentages of grains:

50% commercial strong white wheat  (Thinking of Farmer Ground AP flour)

Of the remaining 50%:

20% ground sprouted grains

30% home ground flour - Einkorn and Emmer specifically

Of the above 30%, my current thinking is that 80% of that will be home ground and aged 1 month, and the remaining 20% will be freshly ground - for the flavor.

What are your thoughts and experiences?

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

but I use my freshly ground grains within 24 hours. I have no scientific evidence but wouldn’t the prolonged exposure to the air affect the vitamin and nutritional content?

IceDemeter's picture
IceDemeter

but the oxidation of thiol compounds achieved by aging is, for me, not worth the loss of flavour and nutrition. 

I most often use my freshly milled flours within 24 to 48 hours, and have not had any noticeable issues with either weak gluten development or early breakdown of gluten that might signal an excess of thiol compounds.  I'm of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality, so... :)

 

HansB's picture
HansB

I'm with Danni3113 & Ice. I bought a mill so that I can get all of the nutrition and flavor from fresh milled wheat. I just received my Mockmill on Monday so my ground flour went immediately into my dough. The dough performed great and the flavor was excellent with 70% fresh milled flour. To me I see no use in home milling if I was going to let the the flour sit for a month or two. In that case I could just purchase flour...

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

I am assuming you bought the Mockmill 100? I am trying to decide between Komo and Mockmill so wondering if it performed to expectation.

The ageing of flour is another question I had so this thread is great.

Does freshly milled flour need more or less water? 

Leslie

MonkeyDaddy's picture
MonkeyDaddy

Take a look at breadtopia.com     They do detailed reviews of several of the major brands of grain mills, have demo videos, and even sell the mills directly from their site.  It's a great resource.

     --Mike

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

I have looked at videos and it looks good.

Leslie

MonkeyDaddy's picture
MonkeyDaddy

When you said, "how did you find the Mockmill," you were asking "what did you think of it?"  

I mistakenly read it as, "where did you locate it?"   I am usually checking and posting on TFL during my graveyard shifts at work, so I can be a bit dense at times.  Sorry for the pedantic response to your question.  ;-)

     --Mike

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

I should have been clearer with my question.  I have ordered a Mockmill 100 not sure when it will arrive but looking forward to its arrival.  This post has been awesome, 

Leslie

HansB's picture
HansB

I bought mine from breadtopia.com

 

When there was a delay of the 100 I asked the breadtopia owner Eric if he prefered the Komo or the Mockmill. He stated that the Mockmill would produce a finer flour so I waited for the Mockmill. 

Here is the first loaf that I made with freshly milled flour. I made the dough within minutes of milling the berries. Great flavor!

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

it is good to hear, the bread looks lovely!

Leslie

Bob S.'s picture
Bob S.

Hadster, it sounds like your approach should work well. Freshly milled should be used as soon as possible. If not, baking properties will begin to deteriorate after several days. The flour must then be aged for a period of time to allow oxygen to be absorbed by the flour. Store the flour in a breathable container (such as cloth or paper) in an environment that is not excessively humid has light circulation of air, and is protected from insect and rodents.

Bob

Justanoldguy's picture
Justanoldguy

I know very well what aging has done to me and the thought of subjecting some poor, innocent, 'new born' flour to that isn't very appealing. So I guess I'm on the grind-it-use-it team. I add a small amount of ascorbic acid powder, 1/4-1/2 tsp, to the flour because it's supposed to help with the thiol problem according to some of the information I've seen here. I also autolyze the flour/acid/hydration mix before proceeding. So far that's worked with hard red and hard white wheat. I look at it this way: I've gone to all the trouble of home milling to maximize flavor and nutrition. If I wanted aged flour I'd buy it off the shelf. 

HansB's picture
HansB

Well said!

Mr. Waffles's picture
Mr. Waffles

I've been tempering, milling, and bolting wheat for a couple years now here at home. While I was once in the "day-of" camp, I'm now convinced flour should be aged.

Having read through many old accounts of French bakers' and millers' approaches, not to mention modern studies on the issue, there's a strong consensus that several days to several weeks is key. Of note is that small batches oxidize sufficiently between 10 and 21 days. I've also done my own tests on moisture content, and it really does take about 7 days for the moisture to decrease and stabilize. So that's my minimum aging period now. 

HansB's picture
HansB

See my bread above. The dough was made within minutes of milling. How would the flavor and nutrition been better had I let it age? Before getting the mill bought from Anson Mills. They shipped orders on the day of milling and recommended freezing/using as soon as possible. Why would I want the moisture to decrease before using? Thanks!

Justanoldguy's picture
Justanoldguy

You mentioned that you bolt your home milled flour. I'm wanting to use whole grain flour with the bran and germ along with the endosperm. Wouldn't rancidity of the germ become a problem if I aged an unbolted whole wheat flour? 

Mr. Waffles's picture
Mr. Waffles

So flavor and nutrition aren't the major concern.  That said, some say fresh flour tastes "grassy".  There would also be some nutritive changes, though from what I remember, they're supposed to be rather small.

The big issue is that the texture of the eventual dough changes with the age of the flour, and it's mostly related to oxidation and proteins. The moisture differences can basically be corrected for by adding less water; the advantage of aging is that you don't need to correct for it. But there would be no substitute for the effect oxygen has on the protein molecules. Aged flour is stronger. And that was particularly important for pre-18th century bakers in much of Europe, France in particular. They only had soft white wheat, so the advantage aging gave to dough strength was crucial. 

If you're baking with hard wheat (red or white), aging would still help, but the grain alone would already be stronger than what so many chefs of "antiquity" had. So ... do as you like. I still feed my sourdough starter with fresh flour, but when I turn it into bread I only use aged flour.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

So I normally bake the day I mill, but I mill a bunch at a time, so some flour is left over and goes in the freezer --  will it age in the freezer, and at the same rate, as at Room Temp?   

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

is there a difference between the same day bake and when you bake using flour from the freezer? 

Leslie

HansB's picture
HansB

different results. Flavor and nutrition are my only concern. I know back in the day 50's-60's they aged for commercial production. Today the trend in bread baking is to use fresh milled flour as I will do. Thanks for your input!

Mr. Waffles's picture
Mr. Waffles

I read into the issue a bit more. Apparently, rancidity usually becomes evident after 2 weeks.

So I'd say 7-10 days is probably the sweet spot, but that's if you're tempering.  If you're using whole wheat that's untempered, maybe 3-7 days would be the sweet spot.  That would give enough time for moisture to be let loose and for protein to strengthen, but it would cut down on spoilage.

And I also learned nutrition actually does degrade profoundly. For some reason, I thought nutrition was little affected by aging, but it's quite serious and fast.  If you don't use fresh flour within hours, it loses a lot of vitamins.

HansB's picture
HansB

For the additional information!

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Leslie,  I don't really notice a difference, but in fairness, I usually use what I have in the freezer, then mill some more .  Taste is similar to me, my understanding was that keeping it in the freezer helps keep the nutritional value, and of course keeps it from going rancid.

HansB's picture
HansB

Before getting the mill I bought a lot from Anson Mills. They mill to order and recommend freezing to maintain freshness. I think you are doing the right thing.

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

will see how I go.

Leslie

the hadster's picture
the hadster

My computer was having a brain transplant, so I was unable to log in for over a week.

Thank you all for all your input.  I'm going to experiment.