The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Home milled WW flour -- should I wait some time before using it for bread?

improbablepantry's picture

Home milled WW flour -- should I wait some time before using it for bread?

I've been milling my flour at home for a few months (mostly red fife wheat) to excellent result with sourdough starter.  I was telling an acquaintance about my experience, and he suggested that he'd heard that you should not use fresh milled flour right away, but should wait some (unspecified) length of time and it would be "better".  I've been pretty happy with what I've been doing, but "better" would always be better!

Anyone have any experience with experimenting before I dive in?


Gail_NK's picture

Steve Jones, head of the Washington State University Bread Lab, actually mills right into the mixing bowl. He says it's the very best way to have "lively" bread.

Happy baking!


golgi70's picture

If you want to use fresh milled flour you want to mill it and mix it as soon as possible.  This flour has outstanding flavor and is very lively.  If you mill your flour and leave it for a few days it will begin to perform worse and worse until it has been properly oxidized.  I usually mill no more than 12 hours before the flour will be used myself.  As to the proper aging if that is something you'd like to do the "standard" is 1 month.  But it's really to each it's own as every grain is different from harvest to harvest.  

So there is some validity to your friends notion but only if you aren't using it immediately.  And I believe using fresh milled flour makes the finest of breads.  

Happy Milling



wildcat's picture

There is science that says that oxidation is required to bring the flour to full gluten development potential, but it comes with some loss of flavor.

Reinhart’s advice is to bake quickly or wait two weeks (at room temperature not in the freezer.) There has been a fair amount of discussion on TFL on this subject. Put "aging flour" in the search engine to see a lot of it.

I think most home millers use their flour immediately and/or store it in the freezer to preserve freshness (i.e. inhibit aging). Well, that's what I do.

barryvabeach's picture

I am with wildcat,  either I use it immediately or I store it in the freezer.  I have never tried aging it. 

improbablepantry's picture

Thanks everyone for the thoughtful responses.  I'd done some searching on the site for this topic before posting, but didn't land on the key word "aging".  I did find this link particularly enlightening, with some suggestion that the sweet spot for aging was between 3 and 7 days:

I may give that a try, but given that I mill on demand for a loaf or two, using fresh flour makes sense for me, and since I haven't had any of the crumbling issues suggested in that post, I'll probably stick with it.  If I do experiment, I'll come back and report.



Melesine's picture

I mill immediately before using. 

dabrownman's picture

because my freezer is full of bread and no room for flour:-)  I have to admit I have let the flour age from 1 to a bit more than 2 weeks and cannot tell the difference in how it tastes looks or performs.  I also know that the flour you buy in the stores is probably at least 4 weeks old and is inferior to what I mill at home - including King Arthur but it has been sifted in ways you can't at home.  I still think that fresh milled flour is the best.