The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Right kind of grain to mill for Italian loaf?

afjagsp123's picture

Right kind of grain to mill for Italian loaf?

My Nutrimill just arrived this afternoon, and I'm rarin' to go! I know I'm going to love the whole grain, but I also want to continue baking my Bread Baker's Apprentice Ciabatta, Pugliese, etc.... recipes using home-milled grains.

Is there any way to replicate high protein bread flour milling whole grains at home? I have a bucket of WM Prairie Gold and a bucket of WM Bronze Chief.

I think I know the answer :( but I thought I'd ask if anyone in this corner of the forum has been able to get this type of flour out of their mill.

rockfish42's picture

You would need to sift the grain to the right level of extraction and either start with grain that was high enough in protein or supplement with vital wheat gluten.

sewcial's picture

I have a Marathon Uni-Mill (stone mill) that I've been using since 1976. I love it and it is infinitely adjustable, but I usually grind my wheat very finely. I've been tempted to try grinding it a little coarser to see if it will sift the bran out. As I grind it now, I can sift about 8 cups of my flour and only come up with about 2-3 teaspoons of bran and that's using my very finest micro mesh tea strainer -- only an experiment. It took forever because the strainer only holds a couple teaspoons at a time. The flour sifter leaves virtually nothing behind. I suppose you would need to experiment with different grinds and see if you can sift some bran out. There is probably some sort of professional type sifter that would do it, short of u sing a loosely woven linen cloth.

I am having fun with the white breads since finding the artisanal bread books, but I have had to resort to buying white flour. 


colmin's picture

I just got a Marathon Uni-Mill from my husband for Christmas. Unfortunately it had no directions with it. I was wondering if you happened to still have the directions that came with yours, or some tips on using and cleaning it?



proth5's picture

You can read my blog on this very subject - just search for proth5 and you will find it in short order. Yes, I have done it.

There is a lot that goes into milling white flour, including adjusting the falling number, aging, etc. that we manage to avoid with the whole grain type flours.

Extraction rates are pretty low and hand sifting will be a lot of work.  You can purchase commercial sifters for home use, but that will be a significant investment in $$$ and space.

My judgement is that there is little advantage in terms of taste (unlike more whole wheat flours) for the effort involved.  I buy white flour and am grateful for the miller(s) who produce it.

Hope this helps.

loydb's picture

I have a small seive that sifts out at 85%. I use that when I want 'white' flour.



subfuscpersona's picture

You cannot apply proth5's approach to get high extraction flour because impact / micronizer mills are not designed to re-mill flour. Attempting this can damage your mill. Micronizer mills only accept whole grain and therefore only produce 100% whole grain flour. All you can do is pick a fine setting, mill the grain and hope for the best.

You could try buying a very fine seive for the resulting flour but I'm not sure any bran particles would be sufficiently large to sift out. When I mill hard wheat with my Nutrimill on a fine setting, the resulting flour feels only faintly sandy - the bran is very very fine and pretty well incorporated into the flour.

For the kinds of breads you mention, I would suggest using hard white spring wheat (Prarie Gold) rather than hard red spring wheat (Bronze Chief) for a taste that will be closer to commercial bread flour.

I would also suggest starting with a mix of home-milled and commercial bread flours, rather than simply substituting home-milled for commercial. To be safe, you might start with 30% home-milled and see how it performs. Master the bread at that percentage and gradually increase the percent of home-milled in subsequent bakings of the same recipe.

Home-milled whole wheat flour does perform differently from commercial whole wheat flour or bread flour. There will be a learning curve, which is why I suggest a gradual approach.

Best of luck with your mill.

==== EDIT =====

PS  If you want to create a wheat flour that is weaker (eg - less protein, lower gluten) you could try mixing flour milled from hard wheat and soft wheat. (Used alone, soft wheat produces a flour that is not suitable for bread, as it does not develop gluten). I would strongly suggest, however, sticking with what you have and trying it first.

proth5's picture

I spaced on the type of mill owned by the OP.

Of course, you are correct about not re-milling in an impact mill.

I do stand by my general opinion that white flour is best left to very serious home millers, or the pros.  The end result just doesn't justify the effort.

subfuscpersona's picture

proth5 on Sep 12, 2009 wrote:
I...stand by my general opinion that white flour is best left to very serious home millers, or the pros. The end result just doesn't justify the effort

You know that I am an avid follower of your home milling experiments. I also appreciate that, despite the expertise you have gained, you are not against using commercial white flour.

While I respect those who wish to produce 100% whole grain breads, in my own baking I am not, frankly, a purist in this respect.

afjagsp123's picture

Thanks all!

I made Pain de Campagne yesterday using his BBA formula -- using the homemilled WMBC for the whole grain flour component. WONDERFUL! I'll be posting pix on my blog presently.

I think I'll just stick to purchasing good quality commercially-milled white and using the mill for whole grain baking -- I don't have the time to dedicate to sifting etc. with a 5 and a 3 yo running under my feet...! However, it is interesting to know that I'm not the only one exploring the home-milled white question and at some point I think I will try to sift out some of the bran for other uses.

pixielou55's picture


I have never used a starter for bread. I don't like sour dough (or it could be I might like it homemade, I've tried some at the health feed co-op and still don't like it) and it seems that it is for sour dough bread.

Does a starter make bread taste like sour dough bread or is it just another way to make bread?

Once it's made, do you just keep it alive - do you have to use it by a certain time, how do you store it (you know, all the basic questions)?



Pjacobs's picture


I always use a starter that usually sits around 8 hours or over night and use it all in the next bake. It does not taste like sourdough but rather it helps evoke the most taste from the flour. I usually use a recipie that makes 3 loaves using 40 ounces of All Trumps flour, 24 ounces of water, 3 tablespoons of sugar, a tablespoon and a half of instant yeast, a teaspon of salt and a quarter cup of olive oil and all of the starter, which is composed of 7.5 ounces of bread flour and 7.5 ounces of whole wheat flour, a pinch of yeast and 15 ounces of water mixed well and covered with plastic wrap and left on the counter.

mrfrost's picture

Pjacobs, that's actually probably a pretty good formula you have there. However it undoubtably contains far too little salt for normal tastes. I suspect you are limiting your sodium intake?

Maybe it is a typo and you meant 1 tablespoon, but I suspect even that is only about half as much needed for the over 6 pounds of dough the formula would make.

sewcial's picture

LOL... I did an experiment yesterday just to see if it was possible to sift my home ground wheat for white flour.  The end result is that I have very high respect for whatever methods the commercial millers use. I don't think it's possible to make white flour at home. I found some loosely woven linen cloth in my fabric stash so I made a "sifter" from it.

Conclusion:  Way too  much work and not good results. What I got was some very fine pale tan flour--about half the volume I started with-- and the same amount or a bit more of the bran and germ.

I will stick to grinding my wheat extra finely for my whole wheat baking because that's how I like it. I would not attempt to grind it coarsely just to be able to sift out the bran and my mill recommends against milling it a second time. 

I am happy to be able to buy good white flour, but I will still make my whole wheat breads with my home ground flour.

afjagsp123, What is WMBC flour?



subfuscpersona's picture

...the orginal poster's acronym for Wheat Montana Bronze Chef. Bronze Chef is the name that the mail order firm gives to their hard red spring wheat.

Prairie Gold is the name that wheatmontana gives to their hard white spring wheat.

sewcial's picture

I feel pretty dumb now. I used to get that Bronze Chief wheat until I recently switched to their Prairie Gold. Thanks for clueing me in on the acronym.