The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Giddy with anticipation and a little nervous....

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David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Giddy with anticipation and a little nervous....

As any of my loyal dear readers and followers know, I have been in a wonderful rut of baking the Tartine Basic Country Loaf.  The vast majority of my loaves have been, dare I say, excellent.

If you have not baked this loaf because you are intimidated by it, fear not.  I had nearly zero baking experience when I purchased the book and baked my first boule.  I would, however, urge you to get that sourdough starter going before you invest money in the book.  I say this because I have seen many people having trouble creating a starter, and it would be annoying to have purchased the book if you never were able to get a starter off the ground.

But, I digress. Saturday marked the arrival of my Komo grain mill. Unfortunately, I had three country loaves in various states of rising at the time, so I was not in a position to make much use of the mill.  I did, however, grind 3 cups of Quinoa on a course setting to clean up the grinding chamber. I was disappointed that there was a virtual "cloud" of quinoa.  I really expected a cleaner grind.  Ironically, to me, it seemed less "cloudy" when I used a finer setting. I probably will not grind Quinoa on a course setting again to know if this was a grain-related incident or a "first time grinding" incident.

My next important project was to grind a cup of organic hard red winter wheat berries, which I used to feed some starter.  I am still maintaining my white flour starter because I want to be sure I don't mess up my refrigerated starter by feeding it the good stuff.

There was no cloud of dust grinding the wheat.  I actually ground most of it right into my bowl that had 200 grams of water and 20 grams of dispersed starter, and mixed it into a whole wheat leaven while it poured out of the spout.

After 10-12 hours, the whole wheat leaven stopped looking so lump and began to aerate nicely. I popped it in the fridge and this morning it looked like it was ready to bake some bread!

Of course, I have a job to get to so I won't be baking with this leaven. Instead, I will likely make pancakes or waffles with it tonight or tomorrow.  But it was fun to see the flour pouring out and I really couldn't wait for the next weekend to try it out.

I did follow Komo's suggestion and stuffed a tea bag in the spout.  The thought of moth larvae laying eggs in my mill was enough to make me okay with a string hanging out of the flour spout.

I was pleased that the noise level of the grinder was much less than I feared it would be.  Obviously it is not quiet, but at least it did not hurt my ears. Then again, my three-year old was not home so I don't know whether he will come running into the kitchen with his ears covered, yelling, "what's that noise"  like he does when the blender is in use.

This weekend I will turn to baking a whole wheat loaf, alla Reinhart's Whole Grain Bread book.  I should still have a backup Tartine Loaf available should things not come out right....

 

Comments

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Now you can start to make some really fine bread using the best ingredients at their freshest. I guarantee you that you will notice the huge taste difference, sometimes for the better, in every bread you make:-)

Happy Milling,

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Congrats. on your KoMo.  As you found out very quickly milling soft grains does produce more dust.  You will find that rye is dustier too.  I keep a dish towel over the mill to help contain any dust when I am milling a lot of grain at one time. To clean the stones I use hard grains and find that rice works the best.  Oats are very soft and may gum up your stones so keep an eye out when milling any of them and follow with a bit of rice.  (I use the rice flour to dust my proofing baskets so none goes to waste.)

I mill daily so have never had a problem with moths settling in either of my mills so I haven't had to use a tea bag as prevention yet….

Have fun baking Reinhart's breads.  I suggest that you start with his Master loaf and then go from there so you get a feel for the dough consistency now that you are using whole grains.  Having done the Tartine loaf I suspect you will have no problems..

Take Care,

Janet

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I definitely do plan on starting with the Master/Teaching loaf, as I did with Tartine.  I was considering the transitional loaf, but I am so curious about what a "properly" made freshly milled whole wheat bread tastes like, that I can't delay any more than I need to.  So, I will start with the Master Loaf and hope that I never wish to make a transitional loaf after eating it.

Thank you for the tip about the towel. I think I may improve on that by using a clear garbage bag.  That way I can monitor the output and keep my bowl from over-filling.

Our of curiosity, do you have book that you prefer over the Whole Grain Breads book for making breads with 100% home-milled flour?  And, also, do you find that those breads are worth eating regularly, or do you wind up using all purpose or bread flour for your regular go-to breads?

 

 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

 I can't eat my breads so I bake as a 'hobby' for friends and neighbors all of whom prefer whole grain breads.  My husband and children prefer whole grains too.

Once I baked my way through WGB I learned how to convert all other recipes that called for all purpose or bread flour to whole grains.  I also converted them to using WY rather thank IY as I prefer using leavens in my loaves and allowing them to bulk proof over night.

This is a link to my other favorite whole grain book  .  To me the author, Laurel Robertson, is the Queen of whole grain baking as she has been at it for decades.  Her book is excellent too although most formulas are written for IY as it is geared more towards home bakers.  She does have a desem loaf but the instructions for creating a desem are daunting.  I have converted a lot of her formulas to YW and my method of mixing and they are great too.

After mastering the epoxy method in WGB another big step for me was learning how to mix my doughs using txfarmer's instructions.  Her BLOG INDEX contains a section on whole grain breads, if you scroll down you will find it, and all of them produce excellent  loaves.

My other 'source' for whole grain breads are the loaves PiPs has blogged about.  Using the search box above you will find his breads most of which use whole grains though he sifts the bran out in his earlier loaves.  I have baked most of his and learned a tremendous amount about spice and fruit combinations that I never would have tried in breads without his inspiring loaves.  I do not follow his method though.  Once mastering txfarmer's method that has remained the one I use on pretty much all of my loaves because it fits in so well with my daily schedule and is what helped turn me into a daily baker too.

Have FUN.  The flavor will get you hooked in no time :)

Janet

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

It will be a while before I get to another book, but I will come back to this thread when that itch needs scratching. As well as read through more of your blog. 

golgi70's picture
golgi70

I just got the little Nutrimill and was just as giddy to use it but also not really ready to grind grain for use.  So the couple cups suggested to grind and clean was fun enough.  I sure wanted a Komo but couldn't bare the cost difference at the moment.  Now your in for even more fun figuring out grinds, making high extraction flours, and consistently using fresh milled whole grains.  The flavor you are about to experience will take you far from the white side and over to the dark and whole.    Fun fun fun

Cheers

Josh

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

My wife asked, what is next, a cow?  I tell you, women have no business keeping a man out of the kitchen. 

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

My starter fed with the milled flour doubled up nicely in the fridge, a day after feeding it. Could be partly due to it absorbing more water and thus being a bit stiffer. 

My leaven, 2 days later, was also thick. i needed to thin it out with 3 TBSP milk to make pancakes. I don't think they come out any better than non sourdough, using the wheat berries without grinding (but blended in the blender), so I probably won't bother intentionally making enough starter for pancakes. 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Your starter needs more water.  Freshly milled grains are thirstier so add more until you get the consistency you are used to with you 'old' starter.  Check in WGB and see what #'s he gives for the quantity of water needed to compensate.  I know he wrote about it but I can't recall the figures now.  I just know I keep my leaven at about 80% HL.  Sometimes lower.

Good Luck,

Janet

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I have been keeping my starter at 100% hydration. He suggests a stiffer starter at 75%. I don't really care at this point and will probably follow his formula when making his bread. I just wanted to do something with some flour so I fed my starter and created a leaven for pancakes.  Hope to bake this weekend.