The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sifting, Sieving and some basic questions

pmiker's picture

Sifting, Sieving and some basic questions

My equipment consists of a Country Living Mill, an Oneida hand sieve and a L'Equip 70-mesh sifter for the Bosch Universal Plus. 

When I just use the hand sieve, which must be around 30- mesh or so in size, I am left with what I would call bran.  Dark and hard little pieces.  I tested the sifter for the Bosch and was left with quite a bit more.  The resulting flour was lighter but I'm concerned about how much was left behind.  It was more like flour.

I believe I can crank the mill down a bit tighter for finer grind.  This will slow the milling and I'll have to keep an eye on heat buildup.  If that works, would I leave less behind?  Or is a 70-mesh screen too fine for baking flour?

Right now I am experimenting and want to see what I can do with sifted flour.  I used the hand sieve on my last batch and the bread was a bit denser than when I used bread flour for about 60%.  I'm wondering if the finer screen in the sifter will make my flour more similar to bread flour and result in lighter bread.  I just hate wasting flour.  Currently my left over bran has gone into fruit smoothies.

pmiker's picture

I put one cup (6.6 oz) of hard red wheatberries into the mill to grind.  It was set to about as fine as I could get it.  It took 43 minutes to mill those 6.6 ounces.  The temperature at that time was 96F.  I placed a heaping tablespoon of flour into my Oneida hand sieve and this time you could count the flecks of bran left behind.  It would be no use using the hand sieve on this.  I haven't fed any of this into the Bosch sifter yet.  It's a bear to do cleanup on.  I'll try to test it tomorrow.  I did notice that while this was fine flour, it was not as light in color as what I previously ran through the Bosch sifter.  I'll be curious to see how much the 70-mesh sifter holds back after sifting.

While I like the fine flour, it took way too long.  My usual recipe calls for about 47 ounces of flour.

For those of you with Nutrimill's and the like, how fine is your flour and how long does it take to get it there?


pmccool's picture

Paste this link into your browser , Mike:

it talks about some sifting experiments and has links to related posts, too.


pmiker's picture

I've revisited the older entries by bwraith, proth5 and others.  Very interesting.

I'm not going to go that deep into it.  I just don't have the time with my work schedule and such.  I was surprised to see that I could crank the mill tight enough to pass through the Oneida hand sieve/sifter without leaving hardly anything behind.  I will be loosening it up a bit because it takes too long at this setting.  I'll see how fine I can get it and still get flour in a decent amount of time.

I'm curious to see the impact of finer ground whole wheat compared to what I have been using.  Will I get a better rise?  I'll find out.


pmiker's picture

I made some bread last night with some very finely ground whole wheat. It didn't work quite like I wanted.  Perhaps the dough was too dry.  Whatever the case, rise was fine, oven rise a bit anemic and texture is dense.  Not bricks but close to Styrofoam.  Edible, but I've made better.

Today I'm backing off on the fineness.  My previous breads have all be what I expected when I've set it that way.  It mills faster as well.

I'll try fine flour again once I can do a more controlled test.  I had to make 4 loaves last night and today 4 more loaves.  This time, cinnamon raisin bread.  Busy, busy.

BTW, I also have to drive my wife to and from work, go to the PO, see about having rock added to the driveway and stop by the lawnmower repair shop.  .busy!

SweetMK's picture

We fought with "bricks", "Styrofoam", and other dilemmas in breadmaking, our problem was insufficient kneading.

After getting the machine in this thread,  , our bread became more successful.

We continue to learn, but, my wife feels successful bread is dependent on proper kneading,

We see no difference whether we sift or not, in the success of the bread.