The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

New Nutrimill - In Search of Pointers

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

New Nutrimill - In Search of Pointers

My new Nutrimill arrived last week and I haven't had a chance to try it.  My next order of business will be to go to the natural food store and order a quantity of wheat and give it a whirl.  I guess I'll start small - 25 pounds, plus a few pounds of variety grains.  I'm seeking pointers, and that's how I found this site (and this is my first post - I'll introduce myself elsewhere).  I read Cliff Johnston's extensive posting on his experimentation with aging the flour.  I'll definitely try out his No-Knead Rye Bread.

What else do I need to know?  Storage.  I have several plastic buckets, but they're not food grade.  How bad would it be to use them?  How do others store their great quantities?

I've heard that it takes longer for fresh-ground flour to absorb liquids.  Do I understand that correctly?  Is that something that aging addresses?  Perhaps if I let the dough sit longer - rising at a cooler temp? - then I wouldn't need to let the flour age?

What other surprises await me?  And why does the Nutrimill come with such a cheesy manual?  I thought it would address the differences between store-bought flour and fresh-ground flour, but the recipes look like any recipes lifted from any cookbook.

Rosalie

spsq's picture
spsq

I can't help you, but I'll bump up your thread so that someone else can!  I also have a new flour mill, and wonder how to use this flour compared to commercial brands.  I'll add one question to your questions, if you don't mind...

 How fine should I grind the ww flour?  The manual says a fine grind is not necessary, but I made it less fine and it feels sandy.  It's so different than my commercial ww flour - where the "flour" is really soft, but the bran/germ are "flaky" - two distinct textures in the same bag.  A flour mill makes it all the same texture, either fine or gritty - so which is better for bread?

 Mine had a lousy manual as well. 

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

My new Nutrimill arrived last week and I haven't had a chance to try it.

Ah, welcome to the world of home ground grain. It's a good place to be!
Storage. I have several plastic buckets, but they're not food grade. How bad would it be to use them? How do others store their great quantities?

There's a lot of controversy over whether there's any difference between regular plastic containers and food-grade containers, aside from price. I've got a 2-year-old, so I decided not to take any risk at all, and bought a bunch of food-grade 5-gallon buckets as well as some gamma seals to make them airtight. I can't remember where I bought mine, now, but I got them online. Here's one vendor.

I buy my grain in 50-lb sacks, one of which will fill one and a half 5-gallon buckets.
I've heard that it takes longer for fresh-ground flour to absorb liquids. Do I understand that correctly? Is that something that aging addresses? Perhaps if I let the dough sit longer - rising at a cooler temp? - then I wouldn't need to let the flour age?


Personally, I've not aged my flour, but there are many folks who do and they have said they get great results. I believe them, but I've not been unhappy with the performance or taste of "green" flour either. Maybe I'll try aging it, to see what kind of difference it makes.

Fresh ground flour definitely absorbs more water than bagged whole grain flour, so you'll need to add additional water to your recipes to get the same dough consistency. In baker's percentages, I find I need to add 5-10 additional points to the water percentage.
What other surprises await me?
My biggest surprise was how sweet the bread tasted -- no bitterness at all! Also, if you can find field corn, try grinding your own cornmeal. That makes a HUGE difference. Very sweet, no bitterness. Best of all is fresh rye. The flavor is so much bigger than with bagged. Delicious.
And why does the Nutrimill come with such a cheesy manual?
I've got a Wondermill, and the manual's not much better. Ah well.

Sorry I didn't catch this the first time around. Good luck with your grinder. I understand it's a very nice brand. Unfortunately, with my WonderMill, I can't get coarse flour, just the super-fine stuff. I believe, if I've read right, that you can get a pretty wide variety of flours, from coarse to superfine, with the Nutrimill. Enjoy!
Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Thanks, JMonkey, for the pointers.  And thanks, spsq, for trying to bump my message up.  You got JMonkey's attention, but by the time I got online, it had got bumped off again.  Good think I asked for e-mail notification.

Yes, the Nutrimill will grind a wide range of coarsenesses.  I finally got my chance to try it out, but only the initial clean-thru where you throw out the flour.  I played with the speed knob (faster and noisier - cats were concerned; slower and quieter) and the resulting flour was gritty. 

Well the proof is in the pudding, and maybe this weekend I'll have a chance to give it a real trial.

Rosalie

vickistg's picture
vickistg

I've been grinding my own flour and attempting to make bread (some good, some not so good) for several months, but one of my best friends did it for years and actually taught classes, so I've been around it for a long time.

The Nutrimill is considered the best on the market right now, so you chose well. I guess I'd have to ask you why you want to grind your own to answer some of your questions. Most of us do it to preserve the nutrient quality of the bread. Nutrients escape quickly once the grain is opened, so I would not "age" my flour. If you're going to do that, you might as well buy it in a bag, already aged.

There is a company called Breadbecker's that has a lot of info and products. That's where I get my grain, since I never seem to order when the local co-op is ordering. Anyway, they have a lot of instruction on the why's and wherefore's. Here's the link www.breadbeckers.com.

That's where I got my storage buckets, too. I'm not fanatical about stuff like that, but I figured it just made more sense to use food-grade for something that would be sitting there so long. In my area, some of the donut stores sell their buckets for pretty cheap, so you might try that as well.

Hope that helps!

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

The problem with non food-grade plastic is what ~might be in it. There are restrictions on what can go in a food bucket, but not on what can go in a paint bucket.

It's been years since I've had bread from fresh-ground wheat, but I well remember the flavor.  It was incredible!  That's what had me consider getting a grain mill.  The nutritional benefits were the extra push that convinced me. I hope to get one sometime this year.