The Fresh Loaf

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milled grain vs. commercial bread flour

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hamletcat's picture
hamletcat

milled grain vs. commercial bread flour

I have tried baking with wheat berries that I have milled myself and I am not getting anything that closely resembles the type of bread you get when you use commercial (pre-refined) bread flour.  Can someone please explain the difference so that I can understand why.  Even the commercial whole wheat or whole grain flour comes out so much better than when you mill the berries yourself.  So what has the pre-refined commercial flour got that milled wheat berries does not.  Or is the problem more with my technique in preparing the flour.  

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Bread Flour is the whole wheat milled and then has all the bran and germ removed.  Or I should have said white flour.and bread flour is a variety of "white flour"  You can make a great loaf with milled whole wheat but it takes a different formula and adjusted technique than breads made with "white flour".  

The removed bran/germ take much more water than the "white" part and also have much more hard bits that interfere with gluten development.  It also makes fermentation move much more swiftly as it has all the goodies that yeast love. 

Before I try to tell you how to make bread with your own milled wheat what are you milling your berries with?  What type of wheat berries are you milling?

Josh

hamletcat's picture
hamletcat

The berries are hard spring red.  I bought them to germinate them to make sprouted grain brain, but had no luck with that.  Then I tried milling them.  The grinder I have is just a coffee grinder, it works for just about everything, so I also used it for the wheat berries.  I did use the same amount of water as I normally do though, and also the fermentation time was the same.  It just came out as a dense ball with gluten formation, but fairly weak.

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Fresh or Green Flour is weaker than aged flour but can make a fine loaf but it needs to be used in a short time after being milled (within in 8 hours is what I've read).  In order to get it to perform it requires quite a bit of hydration.  I've read the reasoning behind this but I'm not gonna attempt to restate it as I'd probably get it wrong.  A good hard red winter wheat freshly milled loaf will take anywhere from 100-115% hydration.  Also I've found these dough perform better with a cold bulk fermentation and low quantities of starter.  That's my experience at least.  I'm afraid a coffee grinder would make for poor quality flour.  

Josh

Antilope's picture
Antilope

but I have read that gluten is weak in freshly ground flour. The home ground flour has to age a week or two for it to act more like a commercially made flour, according to Peter Reinhart. Commercial flour also usually has some diastatic malt added to it.

jkandell's picture
jkandell

I add "flour" like that, coarsely ground in my coffee grinder, at about 50% of total flour.  I usually soak it overnight after grinding and add in equal quantity store bought whole wheat.

hamletcat's picture
hamletcat

Oh ok.  I am using it as though it is regular commercial wheat flour.  So basically the commercial type is just starch and gluten.  And starch works well with gluten, when you go to knead it.  Having the germ and bran in there just basically works against you.  I must add that the taste was great, but it was as dense as a baseball.  

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Hamletcat, It is my understanding that commercial whole wheat flour is not the same as grinding whole wheat 

  quoting BBQin Maine   Commercial "whole wheat" isn't whole wheat at all. Commercial millers separate the wheat berry components , mill the endosperm, and add back only some of what they removed to gain shelf life. They do this with USDA approval and still get to call it whole wheat. It isn't whole wheat at all. Real whole wheat is found in the refrigerator section of a natural food market and has a shelf life, or is freshly ground at home, and I by far suggest the latter. Real whole wheat can go rancid because of the naturally occurring oils contained in the germ.  http://www.thefreshloaf.com/comment/274211#comment-274211

I don't know much about coffee grinders, but does the flour that comes out of it feel like store bought flour.  It should feel very fine, it is quite possible that a coffee grinder won't do a good job of grinding wheat berries.   With properly ground flour, I generally get pretty good results.  You might want to see if there is a health food store nearby that sells freshly ground whole wheat to see if the grinder is working.

 

 If you want to read about adapting a regular recipe, there is an interesting article testing 100% AP,  50% AP and 50% Whole Wheat, and 100% whole wheat http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2014/02/28/yeast-bread-rolls-and-pizza/

 

suave's picture
suave

That's because milling is a complicated technology where little is left to chance, whereas when you when you grind at home you are entirely at the mercy of the chance.

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Quote:
when you grind at home you are entirely at the mercy of the chance

When you grind at home you are entirely at the mercy of your knowledge, skill and experience

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

My home milled flours are not anything like the ones sold by stores.  They don't look or smell the same.  It is like half the stuff is missing in the store bought flour.  The bread made with home milled flour is far superior in every way to the store bought ones - especially in flavor and  texture.   The quality of your home milled flour is dependent on the quality of the whole berries you buy.As luck would have it Whole Foods, Sprouts and Winco have good quality berries.

Its like trying to compare Wonder Bread  with a Tartine loaf - there is no comparison .

hamletcat's picture
hamletcat

Well this is all very enlightning, thankyou for all your responses.  Is there a basic recipe that would produce a decent bread that would just incorporate just water, salt, fresh milled wheat flour and yeast.  Just so I could experience some success?  I like the taste of the real wheat berries, freshly ground, but don't really like the baseball like density.  Thanks so much.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Then i would make an overnight - 12 hour poolish to get some more flavor.  Grind up 432 G of wheat berries.  Sift out the hard bits and hope to get around a 15% extraction or 60 g with 372 g of 85% extraction.  Make the poolish the night before using all the harder bits (60 g) and 60g of water with three pinches of commercial yeast - this sponge should double in 12 hours.  With a fresh ground whole meal bread I like to be at around 85 -90% hydration .  So 378 g of water would give you 85% hydration.  Since you have used 60 g each of water and flour in the poolish this leaves 373 g of flour and  flour and 318 g of dough flour and water.  This will give ypu a 808 g loaf with the salt at 85% hydration and the poolish being 15% of the total flour and water.

Autolyse the dough flour and water for 2 hours with 8 g of salt sprinkled on top,  Add the poolish and mix it up and do 3 sets of slap and folds of 7, 2 and 1 minute - 20 minutes apart. IF the dough is too stiff you can add some more water during the first set of slap and folds at the 4 minute mark to get it just right  Then do 3 sets of stretch and folds 20 minutes apart .  Let the dough ferment for an hour and then shape into a boule and place in a rice floured basket to proof. One it hits 80% proof fire up the oven to preheat to bake with steam at 500 F on a stone  for 2 minutes.  Then turn the oven down to 465 F and continue to steam for 12 more minutes.

Remove the steam and turn the oven down to 425 F convection and bake until 205 F about 14 more minutes fora total of 28 minutes but use the thermometer  not the clock.  If you go a  Lot wetter you can put it in a loaf pan as an alternate  If you want to use a mixer do 8 minutes on speed 1 and 4 on speed 2 in place of the slap and folds.

Happy Milling and baking

hamletcat's picture
hamletcat

Wow thanks.  I will give that a try today!  That is very helpful.