The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Fineness of Flour

piashaw's picture
piashaw

Fineness of Flour

Hi


 


I am looking at purchasing a grain mill and I spoke to a company who makes mills with Natural Granite stones.


 


They advised me that IF I wanted they could make the stones such, that i could mill an even finer flour than normal. Obviously it would take longer.


 


What are the advantages of using extra fiine flour for breadmaking as well as any other uses, eg cakes etc.


 


Hope this makes sense.


 


Many thanks


 


Peter

shakleford's picture
shakleford

Speaking strictly for bread, I've always read that finer flour yields a better rise.  My experience seems to confirm this, although I do occasionally enjoy the texture that comes from a coarser grind.  I have no experience with whole wheat flour in cakes.


Offhand, I'd be a little skeptical of claims of "finer flour than normal," at least without more details (including how much they want to charge you for it).  I have a KoMo Fidibus 21 mill without any custom stones, and I find that it mills whole wheat flour that is pretty well indistinguishable in feel and performance from high-quality store-bought whole wheat flour (i fact, it's finer than store-brand whole wheat flours).  That's not to say that it couldn't be improved upon, but I would suspect that you'd see rapidly diminishing returns.

piashaw's picture
piashaw

Hi thanks for the reply.


 


They're not charging extra for it, it's just something they'll do IF people request it. Instead of giving a fineness, they just advise that instead of approx. 105gm/min it'll be reduced to about 90gm/min.


 

shakleford's picture
shakleford

Grinding rate is definitely an easier metric to understand than specifying the average particle size, or something like that.  If you do go for it, I hope you'll post here with your results - I'd be curious to learn what you find out.

Amadeus's picture
Amadeus

What was the brand of the mill with "Natural Granite stones" you were interested in (web page?) and did you end up buying it, and if yes, could you please share info? I am also looking for a home mill which would give the finest flour possible. Thanks!


 


Adrian

TheVillageBaker's picture
TheVillageBaker

I used to set the stones on my Golden grain mill as close as they would go without too much rubbing. You can easily hear the stones touching if they are hand spun.

This used to involve carefully setting the rotating outer stone so that the two stones were as horizontal to each other as possible with my ideal setting at the point when they just stopped touching. 

It was only when I came to use the mill to break up some wheat berries for chick feed that I was surprised just how far apart the stones needed to be to produce anything which couldn’t be mistaken for flour. As a consequence I now use a more open setting about 90-100 degrees from close. The stones have not glazed over since this adjustment, which previously happened maybe once a year – and a right pain it used to be, cleaning the impacted grain from the stones.

When sieved, the flour is used to make all the usual cakes, guests seldom notice the difference; they all get eaten with a pleased and quiet determination.

I guess that I am trying to say that my partner and I find it extremely difficult to tell the different grades of flour apart from each other and that the finest grades possible with the Golden grain mill are just not necessary for ordinary baking.  

Thomas Mc's picture
Thomas Mc

If you get the moisture level in the wheat right, you can open the stones up quite a bit, and still get very fine flour. The starch just crumbles between the stones, instead of remaining in hard pieces of semolina as they do if the grain is too dry. When I sift, all I get is bran, no semolina. I have a non-motorized mill, and you can really tell a difference, it is much easier and faster to grind with properly tempered wheat.


Also, I run a couple tablespoons of non-tempered brown rice through at the end of each batch. It's very hard, and picks the stones clean of flour.


 


 

TheVillageBaker's picture
TheVillageBaker

 


I guess that hand milling brings you into more immediate contact with the nature of your grain then when I flick a switch. I have missed an important learning opportunity here.

My grain supplier is a miller and the original farmer so I would expect the moisture content of my wheat to be consistent with good milling practice. Although I have had a sack that was too moist (it glazed) so the batch went into the airing cupboard for a spell. I think this was due to the way I had previously stored it outside of the bin.

I am intrigued by your advice that the grain can become too dry. Apart from the direct experience of hand milling is there an easy way of detecting this?

I intend to start weighing the sieved (extracted) part of my flour to assess the extraction rate and general efficiency of my milling. Should be an interesting process, something I have not tried before. Normally I use whole-wheat flour but recently and after many years, I have decided to change for a lighter product.


Thanks for the tip about using hard rice for cleaning the stones.


 


 

Thomas Mc's picture
Thomas Mc

Well, I live in a very arid climate, high altitude on the edge of a desert. Humidity is often in the single digits here. In the winter, when it freezes ALL the moisture preciptates out of the air. Most people keep a pot of water boiling on the stove all winter just to keep their skin and lips from cracking. I'm sure those who live along the coast have a very different experience. But wheat stored here is hard as gravel.