The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I'm disappointed

UnConundrum's picture

I'm disappointed

My Country Living mill arrived and I ran out and purchased a 50# of Winter White wheat.  Participating over on Mellowbakers, I made the light rye with freshly ground rye and wheat (instead of the high gluten).  That loaf did nothing for me.  Guessing I had to get my feet on the ground, I made one of my favorite multigrain loaves, substituting the freshly ground wheat for the white flour.  When I say "freshly ground." it went from the mill right into the mix once all the wheat was milled.  Once again, I wasn't happy.  The problem isn't the crumb or texture, I could deal with that, it's the flavor.  I don't know how to explain it, but it was like a totally different bread, not even in the same family. For example, the bread has some honey and brown sugar in it, normally resulting in a slightly sweet product.  The loaf made with the freshly ground wheat wasn't sweet in the slightest.  That masking of the sweetness wasn't the only issue, but I can't put the others into words. 

I haven't seen anyone else express a distaste for the results of freshly ground flour so I'm in a quandary.  It's not red wheat, so I can't blame it on bitterness.  Does anyone have an idea?  I'd hate to put the mill up on eBay :(

Nickisafoodie's picture

I've never used white wheat, but have read that the flavor is very mild.  I have gone through several hundres pounds of red wheat over the past 10years, alwys soaking the grain overnight in a sponge (and starter) before adding remaining flour in morning to the proper hydratio ratio.  Fabulous results with 100% whole wheat and 70/30 wheat to A/P flour.  so likely your wheat is the culpret.

1) try different wheat - and grind as fine as you can or make two passes if you are not getting a very find grind

2) soak overnight using most of the water in the recipie and enough flour to make a heavy spong- helps gluten form and removes phytic acid.

3) use a 100% rye or whole wheat starter, 200 grams or so in the sponge

4) use 1% of four by weight (SAF) yeast too. 

5) try 67% hydration ratio for final product, mine generally are 66-68% when using fresh gound flour.

6) Knead 4 minutes longer than after you think it is ready.

I think you will find it is not the mill.  Cheers and good luck





blaisepascal's picture

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding this, but you are using freshly ground flour in place of white flour and high-gluten white flour?

That might be part of the issue, as freshly ground flour like you are getting from your mill is essentially whole wheat flour, with all the bran and germ that that implies, and not white flour, which has the bran and germ removed.

maurdel's picture

I agree w/ blaisepascal above. You are grinding whole wheat, and you cite white and high gluten as ingredients in your bread recipe. Though the wheat you are grinding is called "white wheat" it is a whole grain and not equivalent.

inlovewbread's picture

I agree with the baove posters, 

-try a different wheat. I have been amazed at the difference in taste between the few varieties I've tried. I aspecially like Wheat Montana's Prairie Gold. Very nice flavor.

-You will not get anything close to the same flavor if you are substituting white flour with freshly ground *whole wheat* flour. 

-Try soaking the flour first before using (usually overnight) like said above, it will get rid of the phytic acid (which makes it more digestible and its nutrients more readily absorbed by the body), and it seems to me to condition the grain- the dough is a lot more workable/ extensible after an overnight soak. Reinhart's formulas from Whole Grain Breads would be a good starting place because they usually involve a soaker.

Don't give up on freshly milled grains! Just try a different batch of wheat if you think it's the flavor, and if it's that it's whole wheat- just start adding in more and more whole wheat to your recipes to get the flavor to your liking. Whole wheat flour (especially soaked) is way better for you, and well worth the effort of grinding it yourself. IMHO.

good luck, hope this helps.

Yerffej's picture

If you are not familiar with white wheat and this is your first time using it then I would say that the issue is white wheat.

I would not give up on freshly milled flour based on this short experience.


proth5's picture

I hand mill mostly white wheat and I use it mostly in lean doughs.

Are you sure your wheat berries are in good shape - no "off" smells, etc.?  Stored properly?

Did you make sure the mill was clean and free of any grease that may have been applied for shipping? (I had to wipe down every nook and cranny of the mighty Diamant before assembling it and mill a couple of pounds of wheat before it came out absolutely clean.)  I would check this first because if you are having taste issues, food safe greas residue can be a problem.

I do sift my flour to remove some of the bran.  Tha may have an impact on my experience.

I'll admit I like my flavors on the mild side and have never noticed that white wheat took away from the sweetness of a bread.  Some have noticed "grassy" flavors from freshly milled wheat and that may be the flavor you describe.

I guess that I would try aging the stuff a week or two. Yes, yes, you lose "some" nutrients. But it is still probably fresher than anything you could buy pre milled and it does change the taste.  Perhaps you will like the taste better.

There are also a lot of variables in hand milled flour that cause various baking problems.  You don't describe how you milled the flour, but making sure to mill less aggressively can do away with some issues...

Hope this helps.

UnConundrum's picture

Thanks everyone...

As to the grain, I had purchased a whole, unopened bag which I vacuum packed in 1K pouches.  Obviously, it's possible the wheat was still "off," but I didn't smell anything while repackaging it.  Unfortunately, the next closest resource is about 50 miles away.

I milled the flour rather fine.  I guess the machine could be set a little finer, but I'm pretty close to the limit.  Some of you think coarser would change the taste?

As to how I milled the flour, well, there's not much in the way of variation available that I know of other than coarseness.  I have a motorized Country Living Mill, so I dumped in the grain and turned it on.  I probably milled about a pound and a half that I disposed of, and the Light Rye before the multi-grain.  I've probably put about 6-7# of grain through the mill now, so I doubt there would be any meaningful remaining residue.

I'll give the sponge/poolish idea a shot, and ask the local bulk food store to let me know when they receive a new shipment.

Thanks again, and I'm open to other suggestions.

JMonkey's picture

I'm not a huge fan of the hard white wheat, either. I find it has a bland, almost waxy flavor. Ick.

However, have you tried freshly ground hard red wheat? I find that freshly ground hard red wheat isn't bitter at all. At least, not nearly as bitter as storebought, much of which I think has gone rancid on the shelf.  


subfuscpersona's picture

I always loved your posts to TFL and found them immensely helpful.

Then you got a new job, moved, and kinda dropped off the map.

As a fan, I hope you'll have the time (and interest) to become more active on TFL (I can dream, can't I?)

best to you and yours - SF


JMonkey's picture

I can't make any promises -- I work an East Coast schedule from a West Coast home and then take care of my 6-year-old in the afternoons. Plus cooking, cleaning, bill paying, etc. etc.

But I'd really like to more involved! I'll try ....

subfuscpersona's picture

I just want to encourage you to keep trying. I notice that many experienced bakers on TFL (including those who routinely make whole grain breads) go through a learning curve when they switch to home milled flour. Home milled whole grain flour is different in baking qualities from even the best commercial whole grain flour. I don't know why but I've read enough posts here over the years (and have experienced it in my own baking) to realize that it is true.

One idea is to try aging your home milled flour for about 4 weeks (put it in a paper bag and store in the refrigerator). While I realize that rather defeats the idea of milling your own flour (many millers here do, like you, use the flour within 12 hours of milling) it has, in the past, helped a few bakers who were disappointed in the quality of the grain they had purchased.

best of luck - SF

UnConundrum's picture


Soaking overnight seems to have helped quite a bit.  My first test was with a rye starter as suggested by Nick.  I didn't pay much attention to crumb, just taste.  The starter was about 1/3 the weight of the flour and let it sit overnight.  While I overcame the taste I didn't like, it turned out quite sour, not something I find appealing in a whole wheat.


Today, I moved on to Reinhart's basic bread in Whole Grain Breads.  This time, not only did I use the biga (didn't want the sour) and the soaker, but I sieved the flour as well, removing some of the bran (used a tamis I had on hand;  don't know the mesh size).  We are clearly on the right track :)



clazar123's picture

It sounds to me that you are encountering the normal taste of hard, white wheat that I would describe as bland or neutral.

I've baked with hard white wheat,hard red spring wheat and Kamut. I'd describe my home-milled red wheat as grassy and sweet,the white as and Kamut as slightly nutty and golden. Each grain can totally change the taste profile of a bread and each has unique characteristics in moisture absorption and handling.

So it all depends on what you want it to taste like.