Hand Milled White Flour Baguette
For the few of you following this adventure in milling, I thought I would post the baked results. I used my standard baguette formula which is posted elsewhere on this site, but briefly is all levain, 65% hydration with 15% of the flour pre-fermented with an inoculation rate of 25%. This is a formula that I have been baking every week for years with fairly consistent results. My standard baguettes are pictured elsewhere in my blog.
The flour used for this bake was the first batch, milled on 25 February and has been aging in an uncovered plastic container since then. It was about 70% extraction and contained very fine flecks of bran. Since I could not get a Falling Number measurement on this flour, I did not attempt to correct the Falling Number by malting the flour. Details on the milling process are posted in earlier blog entries.
My first observation is that the levain build was somewhat different than that made at the same time with commercial flour. I would have to say that it was more fluid than the commercial flour, and matured with larger bubbles.
Although I was attempting to go strictly "by the numbers," after the autolyse phase the dough was very stiff and I added additional water. The dough developed "pretty much like" my normal dough after that, and bulk fermented "about like you'd expect." The color of the dough was distinctly more grey than normal, probably reflecting a higher ash content in the flour (since it did contain some bran.)
After dividing, I shaped the dough as normal. It was at this phase that it felt "different." I would describe it as being just slightly less elastic than my normal dough.
The final ferment had a duration of one hour - which is the standard length for this formula's final ferment. I felt that the dough was somewhat under "proofed" but wanted to try to keep the process as close to "by the numbers" as possible, so I went ahead to scoring and baking.
The crumb was a bit tight - probably reflecting my skimping on the final ferment or the lack of malt - but not horribly so. The taste is quite nice. I'm not good at the "notes of grass" sort of language, but it tasted "more" than my normal loaf. A bit more there there, as it were. Again, it may not show well in the pictures, but the crumb color was a bit deeper than my normal loaf.
The results are pictured below. Despite all the good advice on these pages - photography continues to elude me, but I gave it my best shot (as it were.)
Would I hand mill this flour again? I might. It does not have nearly the taste impact of fresh milling a whole wheat or a near whole wheat flour, but it is a nice flour with nice baking results. Next time I might add just a pinchlette of diastatic malt.
I will say that I normally dust my peel lightly with flour and this particular flour - being a bit more "sandy" than commercial flour makes a great flour for dusting the peel.
I ate a half baguette as I typed this up. I usually have pretty good self control around my normal baguettes. I'm guessing this one WAS pretty darn tasty.
Hope this is of some interest to those of you contemplating advanced home milling. I still have my second batch of "pure white" flour to bake - hopefully next week.