The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

To Mill or Not To Mill

Diane's picture
Diane

To Mill or Not To Mill

I guess I have more questions than answers as I read through posts about grains and milling.

Is there a cost savings (forgetting the initial cost of the unit) ?  In other words, how much flour does 1 lb of rye berries make?

Do rye and wheat berries have a longer shelf life than purchased whole grain flour?

Do most folks use their mills in the garage because of the ensuing dust?

Beyond health benefits, is there any taste difference with bread made from freshly ground flour?

Are all rye berries alike?  Or, is the difference just organic or non-organic?

Thanks,

Diane

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Diane,  where I am, the cost is about the same between wheat berries, and wheat flour by the pound, and 1 pound of wheat berries gives you one pound of wheat flour.   The shelf life of an unmilled wheat berry is measured in years or decades, so long as they are kept cool and away from insects.  On many mills, there is no dust that escapes due to the seals and filters, I keep mine in my pantry. Once it is ground, I keep mine in the freezer, on the counter you start loosing nutritional benefits within a day or so, and it can go rancid in several weeks. I have not made enough direct comparisons to be sure, but I don't think there is much of a taste difference in what I have made between KA Whole Wheat, and home ground.   I haven't bought rye, but find that the organic wheat berries look better than the non organic, but can't be sure that there is any difference in taste.

Funkhouserb's picture
Funkhouserb

Diane,  I just reviewed my mill here www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAlTreb-mqY  It answers some of the questions you have.  I have found the taste to be fairly similar to good fresh whole wheat flour but superior to the stale whole wheat flour I have accidentally purchased.   As the video notes, I find variety of flour to be a major selling point.

Bill
www.woodfiredpizza.org

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

In your youtube video review of the Fidibus grain mill you say that "whole grain flours lose considerable nutrition within three days of milling".

What are your sources for that statement? Can you provide references / URL s?

gerhard's picture
gerhard

Wow that is nice looking bread.  So are you only able to make whole wheat flour or can you filter out enough bran to make white flour?

Gerhard

Funkhouserb's picture
Funkhouserb

Gerhard,  I am hoping you are referring to my bread in the video?  Those were not all 100% whole wheat.  I do not filter my flour, but I do sometimes use white unbleached bread flour.  

proth5's picture
proth5

because you want to mill.  There could be a minor cost savings and fresh milled is tasty.  There is some difference between most of the whole wheat flour you can buy and what you grind at home.  Most whole wheat in the five pound bags is roller milled - the streams of output from the ground grain have been separated into bran, germ, and endosperm and then recombined.  Even stone ground grain (unless you know/trust the miller) only legally needs to pass across stones (it does not need to be fully ground on stones) at some point in the process and could also be roller milled.  There is a great debate going on in baking circles about grain that is ground whole on stones vs that which is roller milled and recombined.  The general consensus is that whole ground grain "tastes better" - but there is no specific evidence that it is "better for you."

I mill in the house - I find that the dust from milling is only a minor contribution to the general floury atmosphere in my kitchen on my baking days.  I have a nice vacuum and, frankly, a cleaning lady who didn't realize she would be cleaning a bakery/mill but doesn't seem to mind.  If even a little dust freaks you out, you want to choose a mill with that in mind.  Depending on the general climate in your garage (and your fondness for the cleanliness of your cars) the garage may turn out to be a cold place to mill in the winter and you may get a cold reception if you get a lot of mill dust on the cars or other stuff stored there.

But it takes some time, some extra storage, and some investment.  The better of a mill you buy, the more versatile it will be.  If you invest in hand sifters you can do some sifting (and I have milled a flour that is almost a white flour - my blogs are getting old, but they are still around) - if you have the money to put into an eccentric sifter you can do more (see blogs by my much missed milling buddy bwraith).  I can have just about any flour I want - from any grain I want.  That means something to me.

But, as someone who has kept up hand cranked milling over the years when all around me laughed that it would never last - do it because it is something you want to do - because you enjoy the process  - then you cannot go wrong.

Hope this helps.

loydb's picture
loydb

> Is there a cost savings (forgetting the initial cost of the unit) ? 

No -- unless you can buy wheat berries by the ton like the big bread bakeries.

> Do rye and wheat berries have a longer shelf life than purchased whole grain flour?

Absolutely. My soft white wheat berries are at least two years old and still taste fantastic. I don't cook a lot of stuff that uses them, so a 25# pail lasts a long time...

> Do most folks use their mills in the garage because of the ensuing dust?

My mill (a Retsel) is a slow stone grinder, and produces no noticeable dust. YMMV.

> Beyond health benefits, is there any taste difference with bread made from freshly ground flour?

I think the flavor is noticeably better, especially versus mass produced loaves. My nephew -- a 13-year-old sworn devotee of Wonder and its ilk -- pretty much devoured an entire four-braid whole wheat challa by himself over the holidays. He was amazed that it was whole wheat.