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help with home milled flour baking

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patman23's picture

help with home milled flour baking

I have begun a new saga in my life that involves home milling my own flour.  I have had exceptional results when using a 2/3 home milled flour to 1/3 KA white bread flour.  I want to eliminate the KA flour but when I do I get almost no oven spring and sometimes the great ends up falling.  I believe that I may be doing a few things wrong.  


1.  The wheat is very cold when I mill it. It May be shattering bran instead of crushing it, maybe this is causing a problem?


2.  I am using a motorized CL mill and I have it set on a very fine setting. Maybe it's causing too much starch damage?


3.  I am not using a soaker or a bigs.. Maybe not enough enzymatic activity to get the sugar development?


I have pulled my grain from the freezer to let it get to room temp so it's warmer when I mill it.  

Are there any other things that I may be missing?

beeman1's picture

I usually add a little bread flour to soften thecrimb. I use the CL also. I have  had good luck with Reinharts whole grain sandwhich bread.

ryechief's picture

I am using a Komo Jumbo to make a rye, spelt, red fife sourdough and have just discovered that a single light sift of the flours and three folds after mixing go a long way towards a light holey crumb and respectable oven spring. Minimal and very gentle shaping also help. My recipe is loosely based on a Daniel Leader rye spelt sourdough. I dont kow why, but my freshly milled breads are always better when they are sourdoughs. Perhaps it's the long cool fermentation. Try retarding your bread overnight.

PEI Baker's picture
PEI Baker

How much flour are you grinding per day/week with the KOMO Jumbo? I am thinking of purchasing one. Any info or tips would be great. Thanks!

PiPs's picture


What formula/recipes are you using?

What wheat are you using?

So is it just the oven spring, or are there other things your not happy with?


shastaflour's picture

I've experienced this, too. I also use a CL grain mill (manually), but any lack of oven spring or falling have been related to technique rather than the mill. Most breads baked around here are 100% whole wheat.

From my (very humble and not-so-experienced) observations, lack of oven spring can result when dough is underkneaded, esp. with the freshly milled flour. When I use the mixer (or use the dough cycle on a bread machine), the spring is excellent. The few times I tried a straight stretch & fold on 100% whole wheat (despite resting times of 45 min.), the loaves had no spring and didn't rise outside the oven very well, either. Adding a couple minutes of kneading between resting periods remedied this, and the loaves had good spring.

I do utilize a sponge for 20 minutes (or sometimes longer) but have yet to try an overnight resting period. Hopefully soon!

Loaves have caved on me when I forgot them and they over-rose prior to baking or when I hadn't added enough flour (too much hydration). No doubt other things can make loaves fall as well, but these have been the primary causes I've experienced with home-milled flour.

Keep experimenting! It may be helpful to add in a Tbsp. of vital wheat gluten to pump up the gluten development. Trying new recipes is also a good idea. I ran through several before finally finding one we really liked, and even then I've made adaptations.

Also, we recently switched to Pyrex bread pans and the oven spring has been amazing. It may have to do with the slight insulating factor of the glass, which gives the yeast a little more time to multiply before the heat kills it. If you have any Pyrex around, you might give it a try. Just remember to lower the oven temp by 25 degrees.

Please forgive me if this is all basic stuff you've figured out already, but I do hope it is helpful in some way.


subfuscpersona's picture

Since you say

 I have had exceptional results when using a 2/3 home milled flour to 1/3 KA white bread flour.
then ask yourself is there anything different (other than the elimination of white flour)?

I would suggest reverting to the 2/3 whole wheat:1/3 KA bread flour and gradually increasing the WW proportions for each bake. Keep notes and observations for each bake. See at what point you start to experience problems. Review your notes for clues.

I would definitely do a soaker of at least an hour. Longer won't hurt. Did you do this before?

Remember that the KA bread flour has malted barley (for enzyme activity). You no longer have that using 100% WW flour. That's one thing that's different.

Set the stones on your mill only as close as is required to get the flour fineness you prefer. Experiment with increasing the spacing a tiny bit with a small amount of grain and see if your flour is still to your liking. Setting the stones too close stresses the motor and (as you noted) may result in starch damage (though this is more a problem with commercial roller mills than home mills).

Are you possibly using a different source of wheat for your flour than you formerly did when your bakes were successful?

 Why do you keep your grain in the freezer? (Just curious)

best of luck - do post back and keep us informed -SF

loydb's picture

I also struggle with oven spring with my home-milled flour, so you're not alone. 

patman23's picture

Phil - I am not using a formula as much as I'm using a recipe.   My recipe is as follows- 

900g  Whole wheat flour

12g Salba  seeeds

12g flax seeds

10g pumpkin seeds

20g sunflower seeds (toasted)

4g sea salt

2 3/4 c warm water

3tbsp canola oil

3 tsp active yeast

40g brown sugar


I have been combining the dry ingredients (excluding the yeast). Adding the water and allowing for an automate of about 1 hour.  Regarding all of.the other ingredients to my Viking mixer.  Once all is combined. I continue to mix on med speed for about 6 min or for 3 min after the dough clears the sides of the bowl.  I let it rest for a few min then kneed by hand until I like the feel of the dough,(usually only a min or two).  I place that into a greased bowl and place it in the oven for its first rise.  I also add a Pan of boiling water to the oven to increase the humidity.  Once the dough has doubled in size (about an hour or more. ) I shape it and put it in their pans.  Again letting it rise a second time. 

After the second rise I bake at 365 until my internal temp reaches about 200.


I am using prairie gold wheat.


my flavor is good, the crumb is a little tight but I'm ok with it.  

varda's picture

I notice a few things that may be accounting for your issues.   To me it sounds like you don't have enough dough strength to support a good expansion in the oven.    When you bake with your fresh ground flour you are baking with 100% whole wheat i.e., no bran removed. Bran even as ground fine, is sharp and can puncture the gluten matrix.   In addition, your recipe calls for a lot of seeds.   These also interfere with the gluten development.   Further, you are mixing for a very short period to develop this type of dough.   I don't know about Viking mixers, so maybe you can get really good dough development in that period, but maybe not, and you really need to be doing a slow mix for around 20-30 minutes.   Finally you are using a very small amount of salt for the amount of flour.   Salt helps with dough structure - usually people use a bit less than 2% of flour weight.    All of this is leaving aside questions of correct proofing or not.   Hope this helps.   -Varda

patman23's picture

Thank you guys and gals for your advice.  The soaker was a huge help as was adding salt.    I have not done the slow kneeding yet but it is next on my list.  I really appreciate y'all taking the time to help me out!