The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Just bought a Retsel stone grinder, want good tasting wheat bread and sourdough, tips?

Nick Sorenson's picture
Nick Sorenson

Just bought a Retsel stone grinder, want good tasting wheat bread and sourdough, tips?

I bought a stone grinder. I made a few loaves with the wheat flour ground at the store and wasn't impressed with the taste (I'm a white bread guy).

That said, I've heard sprouting and or sifting can help. I know nothing about sifting or the tools involved. I'm interested in anything that can make my bread taste better. I don't like the bitterness in most 100% wheat breads. Also if I do sift it will that take out all the nutrients I'm after in the first place?

Looking for any tips to making the switch to whole wheat.

barryvabeach's picture

There are a few ways to address bitterness.  One is to add some orange juice, and reduce the water portion the same amount, of whatever recipe you are using. If you don't like your current recipe, check the King Arthur website, they have free recipes, and they are quite good and they suggest OJ, if I recall correctly..  Another option is to use mostly winter white wheat - which does not have the grassy taste of red wheat,  or use all winter white wheat if you like a bland taste.  While I prefer the 100 percent red for some loaves, like ciabatta,  I also like 10 % red to 90 white   and as high as 40% red to 60 % white in other doughs  - it is mostly a personal choice. 

subfuscpersona's picture

It has the mild taste similar to white bread but the nutrition of whole wheat (since it is whole wheat). For more information see

A number of members use a retsel mill. I believe TFL member Mebake has one. You might check out his blog or even send him a personal message.

dabrownman's picture

started to do is mill a 75% extraction flour for the bread by sifting out 25% of the weight in brand and what not with a fine kitchen stainless sieve that seems to work perfectly.  It will take about 85% hydration to do this fine flour justice but the taste is just great is not like any whole wheat bread you have ever had.  Make sure you autolyse the bread flour for 2 hours up to 4 hours.  Makes all the difference in the world,

I don't know if you do SD but,  I also use up the 25% sifted out brand portion to feed the 100% hydration SD levain used for the bread.  This puts it back to 100% whole grain bread but the bran is softened greatly and the bitterness seems to go away too!  Best WW bread i ever made.

If you are not using SD you can also create a 100% hydration poolish using a pinch of yeast and use the sifted out portion for that .  Just let it sit on the counter for 12-24 hours until it looks frisky.

Happy milling and baking

Janetcook's picture

I mill my own grains and use both hard white and hard red wheat berries.  I agree with cjjj above about no bitterness when using freshly ground grains as well as the book recommendations.  

When I first started using my whole grains I found the Whole Grain Breads book the most helpful.  Was very easy to switch from IY use to WY use in my breads based on his epoxy method.

One of the primary reasons I mill my own flour is that I get the whole grain rather than flour where the bran and germ have all been sifted out.  I tried sifting once and that was enough to make me quit sifting for good :)

Check out PiPs blogs for excellent whole grain breads.

Have Fun,


subfuscpersona's picture

Several years ago I asked 2 owners of the Retsel mill how they used the mill to produce flour for bread baking. Both said that the Retsel produced a somewhat coarse flour using a single milling, even with the stones set very close, though they said the resulting flour was adequate for bread baking. Both milled 2 x if they wanted a flour closer in feel to a commercial, white bread flour.

charbono on Apr 2010 wrote...

When milling wheat with the Retsel Mil-Rite, I set the stones to mill as finely as possible. Nevertheless, at least 5% of the resulting flour will not pass a 20-mesh strainer. (In the flour world, #20 is not very fine.) The held material is mostly flaky and is not white, so I assume it is mostly bran. The material that does pass the strainer feels pretty fine, but it is not as fine as refined all-purpose flour. It could be that, while the bran comes off in relatively large, thin flakes, the endosperm is finely milled.

The Mil-Rite is my only mill experience, so the only comparison I can make is to commercial flour. Without sifting, I’d say the Mil-Rite flour is slightly coarser than commercial whole wheat flour; but it is adequate for bread-making.

link to above quote:

link to beginning of the exchange on the Retsel


arydberg's picture

I am not able to proof my yeast if I use Domino sugar.   It does not froth up.    It does work when I use honey.      Can anyone explain this?

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

Yeast, sugar or honey do you use?