The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Making white flour at home

markw's picture

Making white flour at home

I am recently the proud owner of a whisper grain mill. I'm quite enjoying using it, but I do rather like white bread which is what I have been baking for the last 10 years. Ive always used white unbleached flour, and havnt died of malnutrition yet.

So, how do I make white flour in my mill? The internet and google are strangely quiet. Does anyone one have any links or ideas? Can I sieve it? I believe that the ancients used to just let the bran blow away in the wind by tossing it.

Which got me thinking. The whisper mill uses very fast rotating steel blades and the actual flour comes out of a pipe along with a great deal of air. This goes into a bucket type thing with a hole at the top. This is in fact a centrifugal seperator, so that you do not get flour all over your kitchen. It works by causing the air inside to rotate very fast so that the flour is flung to the outside where it falls to the bottom.

I was wondering, If I had two little buckets instead of one, and an adjustable pipe so that I could adjust the height and diameter of the air extraction point, would I be able to leave the flour in the first bucket and have the bran go on to the second one. Its clear that flour being heaver than bran it must seperate first from the air so there must be some sort of stratification system that one could take advantage of to get white flour or nearly white flour at little extra effort.

Would very much appreciate any information anyone has on this or other methods of producing white flour.


Mark Winder.


naschol's picture

You can sift out some of the bran, but you will probably never get the "white" flour that you are wanting...  However, you will be able to get rid of some of it and that will help make your breads a bit lighter.

The ancients didn't let the bran just blow away - it was the husks.  The bran is an integral part of the grain and without the modern equipment we have today, it would have been too tedious for them to remove the bran. 


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Sieves and you're all set! They come in different sieve sizes and round flat ones are my favorite. Don't get them wet and they will be nice to you and last a long time. By the way, Welcome to The Fresh Loaf!

Mini O

bwraith's picture

Mini Oven,

Sorry, I know this is an old thread, but I'm curious to try sifting whole grain flour, as the original poster mentions. It sounds like you've used sieves on whole grain flour. When I look for sieves on the internet, I see mostly what look like fairly coarse sieves. Is there a product name or brand that will bring up the type of sieves you are suggesting? How is the sieve's degree of coarseness measured? Is there a particular sieve you would suggest?


markw's picture

I'll try the sieves - Guess they need to be as fine as possible. Thanks for your suggestions everyone!

JERSK's picture

    You can theoretically sieve atone ground flour to get white flour, but there are some problems. Commercial millers use a rolling process to extract the bran, wheat germ and some of the endosperm. about 72% of the grain is left. The other 28% is used for animal feed and is of higher quality. Freshly ground white flour needs to oxidize before it is suitable for bread baking. This can be done chemically(bleached), mechanically or by aging the flour for about ten days or so. Roller extracted unbleached white flour is very stable and won't go rancid. However, stone ground sieved white flour still contains oils that can go rancid. Of course, you can have this same problem with whole wheat flour.

detrickm's picture

A few years late on the comment perhaps, but I have done this successfully for rye flour.  I don't see why the same wouldn't work for wheat.  Now, successfully is perhaps a matter of opinion in this case ... I really have no idea how much bran and endosperm were left in my white rye flour, but it seemed to be very very little to me.  It turned out silky smooth, and made nice (but of course bland) quickbread biscuits.  Anyway, onto the method:

I also make wine, and so I have something called a "grain bag" on hand.  These "grain bags" are often used in beer making, and sometimes in wine making.  Alternatively, some people use double-thickness muslin in wine making.  I tried the muslin (even single thickness) for making white (rye) flour, and it failed miserably.

So, I take my grain bag, which is a very fine nylon material, and fill it with a few cups of whole grain rye.  Then, I shake it up and down over top of a bowl.  This makes for a bit of a dust cloud, but it's not really all that bad.  Most of the flour does seem to make it into the bowl.  The real downside is that it takes a *long* time to sift this way, but it does work, and seems successful to me.  There are probably ways to do it inside of a sealed container to lessen the mess.

Of course, you're left over with a lot of material.  I'm thinking of making my leftover rye bran (and other bits) into granola bars.  Oh, and next time probably just buying some commercially produced white (rye) flour.  King Arthur has some.