The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Soft Wheat Question

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patman23's picture
patman23

Soft Wheat Question

I mill my own soft wheat to make all purpose flour for biscuits and quick breads and the like.. I used some to thicken a soup and found that I needed to use quite a bit more than I would if I had used store bought.  Can anyone comment on why that might be? 

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Absorbence depends mostly on damaged starches. Maybe your flour doesn't have as many as store bought flour? Do you have an impact mill (that damages more) or a stone mill (that damages less)?

I'm not saying that damaging more starch is a good thing (infact for baking bread it's not); maybe for cakes and buiscuits the requirements are different, I don't know.  I'm just trying to find an explanation.

patman23's picture
patman23

nicodvb,

I use a motorized Country Living Mill.  I do have it set to pretty fine grain though.  My bread flour works great but I have only recently started milling for all-purpose flour.. I use the same setting for both.  If it means anything,  I'm using Wheat Montana's Soft White Wheat, it's an organic product that I get here locally from an Amish market just west of Dayton, OH.

 

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

Starch is what thickens soup.  All-purpose flour from the store is refined into a purer starch than home-milled whole grain flour, which contains the bran and the germ.  It may also be that your flour needs more time to absorb the water, since it is freshly milled.  Mine acts the same way when used as a thickener, by the way, both with hard wheat and with barley.  I mentally compensate by considering a soup thickened with milled barley to contain barley in whatever quantity I use, in whatever form I use it.  Sometimes I use the whole grain, and sometimes I use the milled grain.

shastaflour's picture
shastaflour

Patman, I suspect that what MangoChutney said about freshly milled flour taking longer to absorb the water has something to do with it. If you experiment by giving it a bit more time to thicken the next time you make soup, let us know how it turns out.

We have a Country Living mill as well, but it isn't motorized. I've noticed that it's more challenging to mill soft wheat -- just seems to take forever and a day. I'm guessing it's because it is lighter weight and doesn't press down as easily into the rotating burrs. Have you found this to be true as well? (We might notice it more because the mill runs off "people power." :)

 

patman23's picture
patman23

ok, so I made enough soup for a few days.  Day two the soup had set up really well.  So you were right, I  just needed to give it more time..  As for soft wheat being more difficult than hard wheat, I have not noticed.  Since mine is motorized I don't get the benefit of getting a “feel” for each grain.  I do know that milling corn was a bit of a bear.  Every 5 min or so a kernel would jam the mill and I'd need to turn it off, manually turn the mill backwards to dislodge the kernel and turn it back on.  Essentially I had to babysit the mill until I milled my cornmeal.  Still it was worth it, the cornbread was just awesome.