The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I want to replicate King Arthur's bread flour with my own milled grains....KNOW HOW?

FourPointer's picture

I want to replicate King Arthur's bread flour with my own milled grains....KNOW HOW?

We just started milling grains for our flour.  I really love what King Arthur's Bread flour does for my sandwich bread.  It's got malted barley in it though.  DO I just get barley and add it to my hard red wheat?  ANyone replicated their flour before with home milled grains?  Or have a fabulous recipe for sandwich bread that is light, fluffy made from home milled grains?




Chuck's picture

It's got malted barley in it though.

The name "diastatic malt" may be more familiar than "malted Barley" (which is nothing more than a way diastatic malt is commonly made). The amount pre-mixed into retail flours is very small (probably measured in teaspoons per five pound sack of flour). The exact amount varies year to year and batch to batch, which is why sacks just make a general statement without giving specific quantities.

One of the tests for whether or not flour will make good bread is "falling number". If this number is outrageously high, many professional bakers will try adjusting the "falling number" downward -hopefully without changing anything else- by adding tiny amounts of diastatic malt. Flours you buy in the store already have the diastatic malt added, sometimes a bit more and sometimes a bit less as necessary to make the flour's "falling number" reasonable.

King Arthur Flour's procedure isn't really different than most others, they're just more open and honest about it than many brands. What KAF may be somewhat better at is putting in exactly the right amount of malted barley. Any brand of flour will have enough malted barley to make the "falling number" acceptable  ...but some have a pretty wide range of what's acceptable.

The amount of malted barley pre-mixed into retail flour this way tends to be a bit on the low side, so typically you can add more diastatic malt on your own. Doing so can be somewhat risky though, because if your amount plus the amount pre-mixed into the flour (whatever that is) is "too much", your crumb will turn into a gooey mess, sometimes so much so your loaves are inedible. The changeover from "enough" to "too much" is a sudden jump (like falling off a cliff); it isn't gradual. The only way I know to determine exacty what's "too much" for a particular batch of flour is to keep baking loaves with more and more until a bake suddenly fails, then back up one notch.


(BTW, making Barley into diastatic malt takes a particular procedure involving sprouting the Barley. Just any old Barley won't do.)

proth5's picture

I do know how.  Doing it is another matter.  If you read my older blogs I did a couple of white flour runs.  I found that malting (and aging) was needed.

But you are attempting to produce a very specific flour with very specific baking qualities.

To malt correctly, you will need to test for Falling Number - which involves equipment not really within the price range of your average home baker.

You might also wish to get lab tests for ash content, starch damage, mixing tolerance - or maybe get alveograph readings.  Of course, some of these qualities will depend on the grain and others on the milling - so you may wish to do a sample mill on your grain and get tests before you buy. 

I sift my flour by hand (to get KA style flour you will need to sift through a 100 mesh sifter) but if you want to do large quantities, an eccentric sifter would be a good investment.

Of course, King Arthur white flours are milled on roller mills, in a completely different process than most home millers use.  Many millers feel that there is a difference between flour produced on a roller mill - where various parts of the grain are separated early in the milling process and your typical home milling process which involves grinding the wheat as a whole and then bolting or sifting it.

I don't know what your situation is, but milling large quantites of high quality white flour at home is a stupendous undertaking.  You may have the equipment and drive to do it and if so, I'd love to hear about your results and techniques.

Not to discourage you, but I have home milled pure white flour - and except for very special needs, I concentrate on grinding whole grain or near whole grain flours as they are more appropriate for the average home miller.  The white flours I leave to the big dogs. It isn't worth my time or effort and I don't have the lab equipment to do the appropriate tests.

Hope this helps.

Yerffej's picture

Attempting to replicate a commercial flour such as this is an undertaking of grand proprotions and generally well out of reach for the home miller.


sam's picture

Not to go off-topic...  but I think regular home-milled barley is awesome.  It's thirsty and tends to be pasty, but works great if you mix it with some bread-flour.   I once tried a 100% barley-flour bread and it's a brick.   50/50 barley / white is delicious.  It makes really good french toast for breakfast -- with peanut butter and maple syrup.   They say barley is for "animal feed".  I guess I am an animal too, I love it.   :)


plevee's picture

Barley is also for whisky and beer.  Some barley flour in bread gives it a very crisp crust. I love it. Patsy

FourPointer's picture

Thank you for the responses.  That's too complicated I am thinking as I am a pure novice. 


So next question would be What grains do y'all mill when a recipe calls for "All purpose flour" or "Bread flour" then?  I need to figure out how to do this and a good sandwich bread now too from freshly milled grains.  I am placing a grain order with Walton Feed with friends in a week and don't really know what to get other than hard red wheat.  thoughts?

Mary Clare's picture
Mary Clare

And there are ENDless possibilities.  I use hard white spring berries for bread flour  because I like white wheat.  If I am making pancakes or something like that where I don't want a lot of gluten, I mix in some freshly milled soft wheat, or barley flour -- I agree with gvz, barley is delicious.   I have some spelt berries and kamut for fun, too, and oat flour is yet another possibility.

For a sandwich bread, I have great luck with mixing the liquid (water, eggs) with as much of the  whole grains as I can to make a very, very soft dough (no salt or yeast) for an hour.  Then I add the rest of the flour and other ingredients, except cold butter.  I let it sit another 15 minutes, then add butter and knead about 5 minutes in my Kitchen Aid.  This softens the bran and allows time for the flour to absorb water, without making soakers or bigas the day before (I usually don't plan ahead that far).   I get a nice gluten windowpane, and soft rolls or sandwich bread. Best of luck to you!

Mary Clare

proth5's picture

Hard White Wheat, Hard Red Wheat, Triticale, Rye, Corn.  I've milled soft white wheat, but don't really have a lot of uses for it as I mainly do breads.

Triticale is tricky to bake with - so not for beginners.

I sift most of my wheat flours to get either "near whole wheat" or "nearly white" flours. 

I have no problem with commercially produced white flour and use it when I really need to use white flour (there are times....)

For anything else, I tend to look for formulas that use whole grain flours. Txfarmer has published some excellent ones in blogs - use the search feature to find them.

Happy Baking!