The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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loydb's picture

Experiments in Pasta: Milling My Own Flour

I finally got a new pasta maker to replace the one I destroyed via water and overestimating my ability to remember how to reassemble it. :) This time, I went with a motor! I stuck with an Atlas 150, which was a great machine for me until I went all Mr. Fixit on it.

Previously, I'd been using store-bought flour. Last night was my first try with it using flour I milled myself, though I hedged my bets on this one with around 33% King Arthur Bread Flour. I didn't find a lot on milling pasta flour using the search, so hopefully my experiments will aid searchers somewhere down the line.

Attempt #1
I didn't think to take pics of anything but the final product, I'll do better on the next run, promise. All grains are from Pleasant Hill.

I started out with 6 oz of durum wheat (14%)  and 2 oz of hard white wheat, milled fine, mixed with 3 oz KA. By the time it was all said and done, I easily added another 1-2 oz of KA.

Put the milled flour in a bowl, make a well, crack two room-temperature eggs in it, add a couple of healthy pinches of kosher salt (1.5 t maybe?). Whisk with a fork to blend in flour from the edges. When it gets too dry, pour in a little bit of room temperature water (I ended up using just over 3/4 cup of water). Eventually it becomes too heavy to stir with a fork, switch to a spatula or spoon or whatever you use. I chose to hand knead this instead of using my DLX, so I have some sense memory of the dough development as experiments progress. 

After it comes together in the bowl, move to a heavily-floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes. Mine was really, really soft and damp, and I used a lot of KA flour by the time the kneading was done. It still felt really soft, almost like focaccia. Put the dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. I let it sit 45 minutes. 

I rolled it out about 3/4" thick (using a lot more flour), cut off a chunk about the area of slice of cheese, and started running it through the Atlas. Lemme just say right now, if you're thinking of buying one of these, get one with a motor. It's so nice to be able to work solo, and it takes less than 3 seconds to move the motor from the flattening rollers to the cutter and back. I folded it back on itself a couple of times at setting 0 and setting 1, then progressed until setting 4, their recommended thickness for the spaghetti cutter.

Moved the motor to the cutter, and ran the first sheet through. It was a gummy, messy disaster. Fortunately, it was going to be discarded anyway (as per the recommendations for first-time use).

Clean up, consult the manual. If it fails to cut, add flour to the dough and run it through the rollers.

I liberally sprinkled the cutting board, cut off another square of dough, floured both sides, and ran it through at 0. Folded, floured, repeated. Move to 1, same thing. As it got thinner, I sprinkled flour on the sheet of dough and gently massaged it over the surface, then flipped and hit the other side. Finally, I sprinkled some flour directly on the cutting rollers. 

I should talk here about the texture of the dough. I didn't do any sifting, so all the bran was still in the dough, which felt kind of grainy. When at the final thickness, I could feel the bran in relief when spreading on the KA flour. This was the first thing that concerned me.

Back to the rollers -- this time, everything came through the cutter mostly intact, but the individual strands of noodles were, in some cases, still clinging to each other, looking vaguely like a computer ribbon cable. This was the second thing that concerned me.

I hung the noodles on the drying rack, and the bran in the tiny noodles made them feel almost like they'd been rolled in sand. This was the third thing that concerned me.

At this point, my wife is on the way home from work. I have a bunch of noodles that I'm pretty sure are going to be a gummy, grainy mess. Oh well, I've got dried pasta in the pantry, I can always break it out if necessary.

The noodles hang out and dry for around 45 minutes. Now, they feel like dry, sandy ribbons. I'm not optimistic.

I throw the noodles in 6 quarts of boiling salt water to which I've added 1 T of olive oil, and boiled them for 4 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so to keep them from clumping up, then drained them in a collander before adding them to the sauce for about 90 seconds on the stove.

Fearing the worst, I added some fresh-ground asiago and parmesan and tried some.

They were fantastic.

Nothing stuck together, and there was no grainy-ness. It was amazingly tender. 

Heartened by the success, I'm going to try using more fresh milled flour next time, perhaps only using the KA for adjustments (which would still end up being a couple of ounces if it runs to form).

breadbakingbassplayer's picture

10/2/11 - Kürbiskernbrot (Pumpkinseedbread)

gt40's picture

Mello Judith Flour vs Caputo Tipo OO differences for pizza

I wanted to test the differences between Mello Judith flour and Antico Molino
Caputo Tipo 00 flour  for use in my modded ciabatta pizza recipe here:

Both seem to be close on the protein levels:

Protein level listed for Mello Judith: Protein 11.8 +/- 0.3%

Protein level on Forno Bravo: 11-12% and on Amazon: Protein content 11.5%

I started a side by side comparison test to try and quantify the differences.  

Yesterday I made 2 batches of pre-dough sponge- one with Antico Tipo OO Chef's flour and the other with Mello Judith.  First I weighed out the water- 500g x2= 1000g total. I put it in one container and dissolved a total of4g of yeast into the water.  Added a teaspoon of malted barley syrup and stirred till the yeast and syrup were dissolved. I figured by making one batch and splitting it in half, both batches would get the same barley syrup and yeast in the water. Next I weighed 500g of each type of flour and mixed it one at the time with equal amounts of the water yeast syrup mixture so that I had two batches and put them in their own container. I measured everything out with a scale accurate to 10th of a gram and each container contains 500g flour, 500g water + the yeast and syrup that was dissolved in the water. I let them sit at room temp around 75 degrees for an hour and then let them slow ferment in the refrigerator for 24 hours and here is the result:

As you can see, the Mello Judith rose a lot more even though it had exactly the same amount of yeast, water, barley syrup for the same amount of time and temp.  I was surprised to see such a big difference under exactly the same conditions.  Any thoughts or suggestions on why there is so much difference  would be appreciated.


varda's picture

Andy's Gilchester Miche with Atta Flour

I have been admiring Andy's breads made with Gilchester flour for some time now - in fact since he posted this, and later this, and most recently this.   But I felt inhibited from trying it, since I didn't see any reasonable way to obtain the flour.   Recently Andy suggested that I might try using Atta flour, perhaps sifted to remove some of the bran.   The idea was to simulate the high extraction, low quality gluten properties of the Gilchester flour.   In fact I now have two different types of Atta in my closet - a 100% whole durum that I have posted on several times, and a more refined durum with some wheat bran added in, that I recently found at a local Indian grocery store (thanks Lynnebiz) both under the Golden Temple label.   I decided that rather than sift, I would just try the refined durum with added bran.    I proceeded exactly according to the instructions here with a couple intentional changes.   First the Atta flour rather than the Gilchester flour.   Second King Arthur AP rather than Carr's Special CC flour.   And one unintentional.   I autolyzed with starter rather than without.   I am so used to doing that that I didn't even check the instructions until it was too late.   Other than that I did the three starter feedings the day before, and left on counter overnight.   I did the first mix (before adding salt) in my Kitchen Aid, but did the rest of the mixing by hand very gently.    I also felt that more stretch and folding was necessary, so I did one more than the one that Andy directed.   And I baked in my WFO for around an hour.   I had a very hard time getting the oven up to temperature today since it has been extremely wet out, and no sooner was it up to temp when it started dropping off.   So while initial temperature was around right (600degF) by thirty minutes in it had dropped to around 380.  But fortunately crust had browned already and loaf had expanded.  

This is quite a large loaf - over a foot in diameter.   I had to score with my long bread knife - this dough is pretty wet, and a short blade would have caught in the dough.   We had this for dinner tonight - one slice was enough to cut in half for a chicken salad sandwich.   The taste is very mild given the high percentage of durum - that wouldn't have been the case if I had used the whole durum - but with very pleasant flavor.    Here is the crumb:

Reasonably even, but with mouse holes, which I've gotten every time I've used this flour.  

So in sum, I wish I had some Gilchester flour for this, but I think Andy's formula adapts well to this version of Atta and I'm glad I tried it. 


clazar123's picture

A question about fresh milled grain and fragile dough-are they related?

I just milled a batch of red hard spring wheat last week and used it to make a batch of multigrain bread today. What I noticed is that when I turned the dough out after a rise to double, it tore very easily when handling. I did 1 stretch and fold and let it rest for 10 minutes. There were several surface tears forming as it rose slightly in that 10 minutes. I was going to do another S&F after 40 minutes but I didn't like where this was going. I divided,formed and panned the dough. It seemed...fragile... when handling and tore very easily. I was going to just make boules but it seemed too stretchy and flattened easily. This was a well developed and well kneaded dough. That is an important factor in this particular multigrain loaf.

The only other significant factor I can think to add is that I use a preferment with equal volume flour,water(about 1 cup each) and 2 tbsp sourdough starter. It was "ready" last evening but I never made the loaf so I added an additional 1/2 c whole wheat flour that was also milled last week. It was quite cool in the house (65F) so I thought it would be fine. Today it looked quite satisfactory and smelled nice and yeasty. This dough was a "seat of the pants" put together of a large loaf so my measurements are non-existent. I've made it so many times I just do it. It is rising quite nicely in the pan but there are tears apparent in the surface where there was any tension.

 Is it a factor that the flour wasn't "aged" post milling? I've never had that issue before though I have had this tearing issue once or twice-never been able to pin anything down as to why. Is it related to the sourdough preferment? Is this an enzyme problem as a result of a longer pre-ferment?


ehanner's picture

Brod & Taylor Folding Proofer Review

A few Months ago, I applied to be a product tester for Brod & Taylor who designed a new folding proofer. It was a concept which appealed to me, due to our lack of counter space and my need to find a proper place to ferment and proof my breads. So I filled out the application and forgot about it. A few weeks ago I heard from the company who wanted to know if I was willing to try the folding proofer and let them know how I liked it. I was thrilled to be able to have one and run it through its paces. The company, is from Massachusetts. As far as I know, there are no other similar products on the market. They say you can warm, rise bread, make yogurt and melt chocolate. I think they missed the fact that while bulk fermenting could be considered rising, most people consider the two events (fermenting and proofing) separate events. Both require temperature control and can be reliably and easily accomplished in this product.

Counter space is hard to find in our house. When I told my wife I was getting a proofer to try out she gave me the rolled eyes “where’s that going to go?” look. Maintaining a stable warm temperature in our latitude is a challenge so she has endured foam coolers and all sorts of contraptions in the past. I’m sure I deserved the look, lol. I explained this is a folding box that compresses to a flat (sort of) profile and is easily storable.

The arrival of the folding proofer brought complements from my wife. She liked the design and the folding and unfolding concept. The controls are simple. Turn the power on and set the temperature you desire.  The range is between 70 and 120F. I did some testing the first day and found that it did indeed maintain a very close tolerance on my selected temperature of 78F. The digital temperature selector and heat on light flickered every few seconds maintaining the set temp within a half degree over 6 hours. I used 3 instant read dial thermometers I calibrated and an IR digital laser meter. Everybody read the same temp all around the inside of the box. There is a small tray that sits on the bottom of the heating element to boost the humidity inside the closed box.  You are supposed to pour a small amount of warm water in the tray during the 5-10 minutes of warm up.

Last night I mixed up a poolish preferment and placed it in the folding proofer. The temp was set at 78F. This morning it was all happy and bubbling and exactly 78F. I mixed the dough and undershot my DDT of 78 and had a dough temp of 73F. I put the fermenting dough in the box, set the temperature to 78F and gave it a S&F every 30 minutes for 2 hours. After the shaping, I placed the dough in my large banetton that will hold a 3 Lb loaf. It easily fit inside the proofer. I didn’t think it would be necessary to cover the dough since the humidity would be boosted by the water in the tray. After an hour and a half, the dough was ready for baking and there was no dryness on the top of the exposed dough. It also wasn’t damp like it sometimes is when I have used the oven or microwave to proof in. This is good as I know that can have the effect of gluing the dough to the linen lining. The dough popped right out of the basket which was a good sign. I loaded the bread into the hot oven, folded up the proofer in seconds and put it away in the pantry, out of sight. Smiles all around.

I haven’t made much yogurt but I know how important it is to hold the right temperature for several hours. This device will certainly make easy work out of holding 115F for 5-6 hours. No need to buy another kitchen device when this one will do double duty. I think I’ll surprise the wife with some fresh homemade yogurt. She will flip cause she knows I know nothing of yogurt.

I was thinking about the warming capability. I think the next time we have a family dinner, I’ll put the previously baked dinner rolls in the “warmer” and turn it up to 120F for a while before dinner. Nothing like warm rolls with a meal but sometimes the planning can get in the way.


After using the Folding Proofer for a few weeks, I am liking it more than I thought I would.

 I like how it works. It’s a simple device that is very cleverly engineered.  Yes, you could say it’s just a warm box of air, but the more I use it, the more I appreciate it for what it does, all by itself. Last night while I was enjoying our “ World Champion Green Bay Packers” playing (thrashing)  the Denver Broncos, I was baking chicken wings in the oven. At the same time my garlic bread stick dough was proofing in the proofer. The kitchen was busy with several projects all at once. It was nice to know I wouldn’t have to schedule my hurry up soft bread rolls to get them done.  I get it that cooks and bakers need to be clever to get things done in the kitchen. Multi tasking is a necessity. But, I am really appreciating not having to juggle anything else to get consistent results in my bread products. People coming and going out the door, wind blowing through the house when it’s nice enough to have a window open but it’s really only 50F outside. I like not having to guard my dough from the elements. It’s a personal indulgence.

I like that my KA mixer bowl fits inside the proof box. It is tall enough I can place the mixed dough directly into the Folding Proofer for bulk fermenting at an established desired dough temperature. I REALLY like it that my large DLX mixer bowl fits under the lid. I have to remove the screen below and slide the water tray over but it so so nice to be able to ferment 9 pounds of dough, right in the mixer. Set it and forget it, as has been said. The heavy stainless steel bowl can cool off in the kitchen and once it does cool, there isn't an easy way to get it back warm. I ferment until it reaches the top then divide and shape. Easy.

I like that I can place a 9X13 baking pan in the proofing box and watch my cinnamon buns rise through the clear window in the top, without opening the lid. Being able to see the dough easily, without opening an oven door when I think of it is a big help for my attention deficit forgetfulness. The family enjoys keeping an eye on the progress too by glancing in the top window.

I like that the amount of moisture seems to be just right for not allowing the dough to skin over while fermenting or proofing. A small amount of water in the tray below the rack delivers the perfect environment. I find I don’t need to cover the dough even during long bulk ferments. This is something professional bakers take for granted, with a dedicated automatic proofing oven which costs thousands of dollars.

I like that I don't have to cover my dough with plasticrap so it won't skin over. No more carefully lifting the film off the top of an over proofed dough, hoping it won't tear and collapse. This is not a small thing to consider.

Wrapping up my analysis of this new kitchen tool, I think some of you will appreciate the versatility and functionality that the Folding Proofer brings to the home baker. Using it gives me a certain control of things that are otherwise sketchy. If I have learned anything about baking over the years, it is that everything matters. The exact amounts of water and at what temperature? The exact amount of yeast and controlling the Desired Dough Temperature (DDT) by whatever means possible will assure predictable results. Sourdough starters are especially sensitive to minor fluctuations in temperature. Using this proofer overnight on your preferment will deliver a predictably fully active levain or Poolish or Biga in the morning, regardless of how cool it is in the kitchen. Once you know you can maintain a proper fermenting temperature, your Pain au Levain will rise much more reliably. We all know about waiting for the dough to kick off and increase in volume because it was a little chilly. Anyone who has tried to make starter builds using the “Detmold 3 stage method” will immediately appreciate the ability to control the process.

Many of the issues that arise with new sourdough bakers are related to not understanding how sensitive natural yeasts and bacteria are to temperature and how to provide the proper climate for success. Depending on where you live and your personal home situation, this can be frustrating for SD new bakers. This tool will smooth the road to successful results.

Some will say “It’s a lot of money for a warm box of air”. Some will say “I can get the same effect with a cup of boiling water in the oven”. Both are valid opinions and I also have used the hot water in the oven. I have also had the oven turned on while I was proofing/fermenting bread in it. Hot water in the oven is an imperfect solution that works to some degree for some people. First, you have to have no other need for the oven, and, you will have to abandon the dough during pre heating that takes upward of an hour if you are using a stone, 20 or more minutes without a stone. During this time your proofing dough begins to cool and shrink. Second, depending on your electric oven, the pilot light will either make it too warm of an environment or not warm enough. Sure, you can cycle the heat on and off while guessing at how warm the interior is. If you have no distractions and nothing else to do, that is a work around. But, it’s a work around for home bakers who don’t have access to a dedicated proofing oven.  Believe me; you don’t know what you’re missing.

The inventor of this product cleverly decided to make it folding so that you can remove it from sight when not in use. This is a much bigger deal than I had realized. It needs to be the large size it is to work with other kitchen tools (pans, bowls, bannetons). My wife really appreciates that it will be gone and out of sight when I’m done using it. She hasn’t mentioned that the foam cooler that lives in the garage I have used in the past looks bulky and trashy sitting on the counter but I know she’s thinking it.

The unit is high enough that I could envision a second shelf supporting another layer of proofing croissants or rolls. I think I’ll mention that to the designer.

The marketplace will ultimately determine what the price point will be. Like every new product, the early adopters will pay a little more to try out a new gadget. Eventually the price will drift down some as the mass market takes off. It’s not for me to say what it should sell for. I’m happy that there are entrepreneurs willing to take a chance on a product that helps me bake better breads at home. I like it, a lot!


 Here are a few photos of my use. The new Brod & Taylor web site has much more glamorous images and a full product description.

Proof box collapsed on counter. Can be completely assembled in 20 seconds.

Large lined basket easily fits inside. This is 3.5 Lbs of Stout and Flax seed sourdough.

The fact that I can bulk ferment a large batch of dough in the proofer is a big deal to me.

It just fits with room to spare for circulation of the warm moist air above.

My baking pans fit nicely and you can see that another layer would work above as well.

Dinner rolls that were fast fermented and proofed at 80F because I could, and time was short.
Being able to adjust the ferment/proofing temperature to accommodate my needs are a help.

gercio's picture

Interesting techniques/methods

Probably everyone heard about autolyse technique. Recently I read about Tang Zhong method. Do you know other interesting methods/techniques which can improve flavor or give other benefits.

Sorry for my english but I still learn.

jamesjr54's picture

Syd's multi-grain boule

Made Syd's multiple-grain boule this weekend. Very happy with the results. Followed the formula, with agave nectar subbing for the malt.

Bulk ferment 2 hrs with 2 S&F. Pre-shape, shape, then retard in the fridge 14 hours (overnight). 1 hr. At room temp, score, and baked with no pre-heat in combo cooker 30 min covered, 25 min uncovered. (heated gas oven to 550, cooked at 550 for 10' then lowered to 475 for duration.

sam's picture

80% rye


I have not made very many high-concentration Rye's, but I do like that you can make 'em in a day.   But then you have to wait a long time before cutting into them.   So I guess it's all the same.   In any case, here is the bake for today.    It is an 80% rye, 25% of it being what I refer to as my own "chunky rye stuff" -- milling rye berries beyond the Grob level of my Komo miller.   It results in a mixture of chunks of berries and meal.

Last week I attempted a similar bread but heavily favored towards a mash in the dough and not a lot of acidified levain flour, and the loaf literally collapsed in the oven, half way through the bake.   :)   For this bread, I did not do a mash, because I was not up to a mash experimentation mood after the last rye failure, and also a friend expressed desire for a high concentration rye bread and I didn't want to mess it up too much, so this bread is for him.  I did a room-temp soaker though, with the chunky rye + rye flour, and increased the percentage of levain.    This one did not collapse on me.  :)

Here was the recipe I made, and pictures.   (Sorry, no crumb shot yet, and apologies for so many pictures).   Yes I did use baker's yeast, but in retrospect, I don't think that was needed.    All weights in grams.

Total Dough Weight: 2000  
Total Dough Hydration: 80%  
Total Dough Flour Weight: 1111  
Total Dough Water Weight: 889

Levain Percentage: 35%  
Levain Hydration: 125%  
Starter Percentage: 10% of levain
Starter Hydration: 125%

Soaker Percentage: 36%
Soaker Hydration: 100%  
Soaker Salt Percentage: 1%  
Final Dough Salt Percentage: 1.5%
Baker's Yeast Percentage: 1.5%

Whole Rye Flour Weight: 372  
Water Weight: 465
Starter Weight: 39

Chunky Rye Stuff Weight: 278
Whole Rye Flour Weight: 122
Water Weight: 400
Salt Weight: 4
Final Dough:

All Levain
All Soaker
Whole Rye Flour: 100
Strong White Flour: 222
Salt Weight: 13
Baker's Yeast Weight: 17


Here is the soaker on the left, the levain on the right:


Closeup of levain:


Another closeup of levain.   It was a little bit past ripened as you can tell from the receeding, but still OK:



Here is the Chunky Rye Stuff + Whole Rye Flour soaker:



Here is the final dough after mixing.   I wasn't expecting any kind of dough ball to form.  I had to alternate between the Paddle and the Hook, several times, to get everything mixed thoroughly.   Probably should have simply used my fingers, in retrospect.  The dough Hook is pretty much useless in the beginning.



I got most of it in the Pullman pan.    I'd say about 90% of the dough.    I was worried it was too much for this size of pan.   The rest of the dough I tossed.    I smushed it in the pan with wet hands and smoothed out the top.



Baking, after the 1st 15 mins of steam:



Here's the final result minus the crumb picture:


I baked it at 475F for the first 15 mins, then lowered to 380F for 75 minutes.  Internal temp registered 207F.

In the latter stages of baking, the kitchen became full of such a strong, powerful Rye aroma, it should have been illegal.   :)  

If I can get a crumb shot I'll update tomorrow.

Happy baking!


Breadandwine's picture

Light-hearted breadmaking!

I teach breadmaking (around 10 hours a week, ATM) – and each session only lasts two hours from start to finish. I run two sorts of sessions; one for adults with learning difficulties, where we make different breads each week; and regular 5-week courses - for parents and children in a local primary school (Family learning); and community evening classes for the general public, where the content is fairly well structured (each course has a session on loaves, rolls, pizzas, etc.)

One of my oft-repeated maxim to my students is that anything that can be made with pastry can be made using a bread dough. Another is that pretty well any sandwich can be taken back a stage, with the bread and filling cooked together – which takes it to a different level entirely.

I’m always looking for new things to try; innovative (to me, anyway!) ways to use bread dough.

So I thought I would start a thread about the different ways in which a bread dough can be used.

Here are a few breads I make with my groups on a regular basis:

Stuffed mushroom en croute. This is simply delightful made with a bread dough. I used to make it stuffed with Roquefort cheese and pesto – now I’m a vegan I use mushroom pate and pesto. But whatever the filling it’s a very tasty dish:

Cheese, broccoli (or onion) and potato pasties. I make these for myself using nutritional yeast and flavourings instead of cheese – and I often include some curry powder in the filling. Great for using up leftovers:

As for taking a sandwich back a stage, what about a cheese and tomato sandwich? These wraps are the bee’s knees!

Instead of a jam (jelly) sandwich, try these healthy jam doughnuts:

Which leads me to petit pain au chocolat (chocolate rolls) – what could be simpler than these. Just squidge a bit of decent chocolate into a small piece of dough, seal it around – and that’s it!

The same method can be applied to anything you want to wrap in bread. I used to make small Brie parcels (Cheddar has more flavour, IMO – but it always finds a way out, no matter how well you seal the dough). If my lad was around when I was making them, he’d tell me, “If you’re making those bread parcels, Dad, I’ll have ham, cheese and tomato in mine!”

And iced buns. At its simplest, sweetened bread rolls covered with icing when baked – but very tasty (not to mention cheap!) indeed:

Pane frattau, from Sardini: One of the most far out (IME) uses for bread is to take a thin, crisp bread (musica da carta), split it and soak it in broth. Used instead of pasta in a lasagne it adds a whole new depth of flavour to the dish – and is a regular favourite of mine. It’s a bit fiddly, but, oh so worth it!

All these breads can be made with a dough as rich or as simple as you wish. They could even be made using sourdough!

I would love to hear from other posters about any unusual breads they make.

Cheers, Paul