The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Discussion on grain milling

fleur-de-liz's picture
fleur-de-liz

Discussion on grain milling

Since Floyd was kind enough to give us a forum to discuss grain milling, let's continue the discussion!

I am very new to milling, having purchased a Nutrimill grain mill about a month ago.  My experience thus far:

The Nutrimill is very easy to use and produces a nice range of coarse to finely ground grains.  I originally purchased 25 lbs of organic red winter wheat berries from Utah  and 25 lbs of organic rye berries from Canada from my local health food store for a very reasonable price (about $30 combined).  I had instant succes with the rye --I used it right after milling and it tasted wonderful. The rye breads had about 50-60% rye.

The red winter wheat was a different story.  It had a decidedly off odor and taste that I would describe as "grassy".  I used it in a miche that was predominantly whole wheat. The grassy taste was really noticeable right after baking.  To what do you attribute this taste?  Should I age the wheat after milling?  Use a different type of wheat?  Or, just chalk it up to a lousy batch of grain?

Given this initial experience, I thought some experimentation was in order.  I purchased 5 lb bags of different types of wheat from Wheat Montana:  Bronze Chief, a red spring wheat, and, Prairie Gold, a white spring wheat, and red winter wheat.  Last weekend, I used the red spring winter wheat in a predominantly white Pain de Compagne.  The aroma and the taste was vastly improved over the previous red winter wheat.

Some questions to experienced millers:

  • What type of wheat do you prefer?
  • Do you use different types of wheat for different types of breads? 
  • Do you age wheat after milling? If so, for how long?  [A previous discussion on TFL focused on advantages of aging freshly milled wheat but that seems to counteract the nutritional benefits of using freshly milled grain.] Would love to hear about advantages/disadvantages of using fresh vs aged flour.

Thank you,

Liz

Susan's picture
Susan

A Magic Mill III Plus recently found me in a thrift store. I brought Millie home, cleaned her up, and she works like a charm, as far as I can tell. Sounds like a yard blower, which I understand is normal, and winds down like a jet engine. I've been working on 50 pounds of Prairie Gold WWW berries for some time now, and have hardly made a dent in the bag using my Zassenhaus handcrank mill. Now, thanks to Millie, 5 pounds of ground wheat are ready and waiting.

When milling, I set the dial to the third dot (smallest to largest), only because a picture in the owner's manual showed it set that way. After milling, there was an even coating of somewhat gummy flour adhered to the bottom of the mill and the inside of the stainless steel pan. Is that from too-fine milling? Or just normal? Should I be using a different setting for average use?

As far as baking with freshly milled flour, it seems to make a decidedly wetter dough than commercial flour, so I've cut back on water. Can't wait to hear more about aging, good or bad.

Thanks for any and all advice.

Susan from San Diego

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

The most detail I've ever read about aging was in the Q&A with Peter Reinhart.  He says to use your fresh flour within 8 to 12 hours, or else age it at room temperature for at least 2 weeks. This is due to the enzyme activity in the flour.  I've no idea how freezing might affect the enzymes.  I think that some enzymes remain active in the freezer, hence the value of blanching vegetables before freezing.

LLM777's picture
LLM777

Unconventionally I use a K-tec Champ blender (comparable to a VitaMix) at its highest setting for grinding my Prairie Gold wheat. My family definitely prefers the mild flavor of the wheat and it is not too strong to make for those not use to whole wheat bread. I have also read that to get the most nutritional benefit of whole wheat is to use it right after grinding. And since that is why I grind my own wheat, I don't want to lose any nutrients.

My quandry relates to the coarse grind I get with the blender.  It is ground fine but when you rub some between your fingers it feels grainy like sand.  It has not affected my bread making but it affects muffins by making them a little gritty.  For muffins, I end up borrowing my friend's Whisper Mill to get the fine texture desired.  I am experimenting now on soaking the wheat or using a whole wheat starter to soften the gritty texture in the muffins but have had little success so far.

I have found all other grains to be soft compared to whole wheat berries and they grind very nicely but the gluten factor is always an issue.  Spelt seems to work the best for a tolerable gluten mixed with the non-gluten grains for those interested.

So for those without a grinder, if you have a powerful blender, try that. I hope this doesn't make the die hard breadmakers cringe but I try to use what I have available.  After 10 or more years of bread machine baking, it has served me well. 

As for the "brand" of grain, I use Wheat Montana Prairie Gold White Wheat and love it.  I can get a 50 lb. bag for $22 through a local co-op.  See if there are any near you; it certainly is cheaper than the natural food stores.

Any comments concerning "softening" the grain for my muffins would be appreciated. 

 

 

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

The folks in my local co-op love the Prairie Gold.  I haven't tried it yet.  My blender will grind wheat, but probably less fine than even a VitaMix.  I haven't done it in years.

For  your muffins, you might try finding some very soft wheat to grind. I don't know if it will grind any finer, but it is a better wheat for muffins. You can find some small quantities at this eBay seller, along with other grains.  He's not the cheapest source around, but shipping isn't too bad if your combined order is 12#.

http://stores.ebay.com/Native-Foods
subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

The other TLF post on aging home milled flour is flour-open-discussion-about-aging-and-enriching-flour, especially the posts by cliff-johnston, who favors aging flour about 3 days (see his post of May 17 in the thread). I did try aging home milled flour after reading it; one batch was aged for 3 days and the second for a week. I thought the taste was not quite as good as fresh milled and flound no improvement in the bread's rise or crumb (but the whole wheat flour was only 50% of total flour weight, the rest was bread flour).

When freshly milled, I find that a few pinches of the raw wheat flour has a faintly sweet taste. This rapidly declines and I can't taste that sweetness after a day or two.

Flour is aged because bakers found that gluten didn't develop well with fresh wheat flour. Exposure to oxygen brings about chemical changes in the flour that help produce stronger gluten. Naturally aged flour is held for 1-4 months before use. Because storing flour adds additional cost, professional mills turned to chemical additives to speed up or replace natural aging.

Aging flour may also help correct that bitter/grassy taste that some bakers experience in hard red wheat. I'm thinking especially of fleur-de-liz with her 25 lbs of Utah red winter wheat that gave a grassy taste to bread. So, fleur-de-liz, if you ever read this, maybe see if a week or two of aging will improve that particular wheat, so it won't be a total waste.

Ramona's picture
Ramona

I do grind my own grains on a Kitchen Aid mill.  I originally used hard, red winter wheat and was not getting the results that I wanted and my family didn't care for the bread.  I use hard, red spring wheat now and my family loves it.  The bread does turn out really well and tasty.  I would not recommend aging flour at all.  The nutritional value does degenerate as it ages.  I usually use mine the same day that I grind it, but I have used 2 and 3 day old flour, that I kept in the refrigerator.  I always soak all my grains overnight before using them, usually in a sponge and autolyze, but I also soak my oatmeal and seeds too.  Phytic acid can cause alot of health problems and mineral deficiencies.  Unsoaked grains and some legumes have this.

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

What do you mean Ramona about soaking grains before using them? Do you mean the whole grain before grinding or do you mean the flour? Sorry I can't grasp what you are saying. And oatmeal and seeds? Do you soak and discard the soaking water? I can't imagine soaking grains before grinding.  Sorry for being so dense at the moment. Thanks, weavershouse

vickistg's picture
vickistg

Many of you have mentioned the strong flavor of red wheat. I, and most of my friends, find that it is too strong to use alone. I use a combination of hard white winter and hard red winter in a 3:1 or so ratio. I add my other grains, flaxseed, oats, and barley in smaller amounts and can usually come up with a great tasting bread. As to coarseness, I usually grind most of my grain at about a medium (3 on a Magic Mill), but flip back and forth between finer and coarser for the last few cups of grain. I end up with a lovely flour that still has nice flecks of bran, etc, and isn't too heavy. The finer grain does stick to the machine, but I just brush it off with a pastry brush and into the dough it goes.

I never recommend aging flour. If you're going to do that, why bother to grind your own? That's just my observation, of course, but the reason I go through all of that is to give my family bread that still has some nutrients in it.  

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Hi Vicki,

Other people have mentioned using a blend of white and red wheat, in various proportions.  I'm curious what you think the red wheat adds.  I'm still using purchased flour, but hope to have a mill soon. 

My husband really dislikes the bitter aftertaste of red wheat, something I don't particularly notice. The last multigrain I made had 100 grams of whole wheat, along with several grains and white bread flour. (Total flour and grains, 550 grams)  I grabbed the red whole wheat flour by mistake, and was pleased to see that he liked the bread quite a bit.  I don't know if it was too little WW for him to notice the bitterness or it just blended so well with the other grains.

fleur-de-liz's picture
fleur-de-liz

Thank you all for contributing to this discussion on grains, particularly on wheat.  The consensus seems to be to use the flour immediately after milling, which makes the most sense to me from a nutritional standpoint, which is the main reason to grind grains in the first place.

I really do like the flavor of whole wheat and have not been bothered by any bitterness in the past, but this first batch of red winter wheat that I milled smelled and tasted grassy, not bitter.  The red spring wheat was much better.  I really am to starting to think that I just had a poor quality grain.

Thank you, Kippercat, for reminding me to re-read the Q & A with Peter Reinhart on whole grains.  I had read it before, but obviously it had not registered as I was not milling grains at the time.  Now it makes much more sense to me...

Susan from San Diego:  May I ask where you purchased your 50 lbs of Prairie Gold?   Since I live relatively close to you, I would be interested in knowing if you purchased it locally. The price of shipping flours and grains is just getting too steep to justify.  I did buy 5 lbs of Praire Gold from Wheat Montana to test and am anxious to see how it tastes freshly ground.   My very preliminary experience on using freshly milled flours, however, seems to indicate the need for more water, not less.  I am finding that the freshly milled grains just soak up any liquid, and I have to add more water. Interesting that you have had the opposite.

I do have to add that for those who are milling their own grains, you simply must try rye.  The freshly milled rye is just so terrific -- it's impossible to describe what a different and wonderful taste it has. 

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

Hi Fleur,

I don't remember if you mentioned elsewhere where you buy your rye grains. I want to order some soon but can't decide where to order it from. Is there any way we can know if the grains are from this years harvest or another year. And, does it matter?

 

I wonder if we should consider buying our grains at certain times of the year and ask for this years harvest. But then again, maybe fresh grains need time to cure or whatever. I remember reading that if you grow your own corn for grinding it should age for a time before using. I don't remember what amount of time it was.

 

I'm so glad for this thread. I never found a book on grinding grain that I was happy with. Most tell about why we should be eating whole grains but not much on how to. weavershouse

Susan's picture
Susan

Sorry to be so long in answering; just read your question for me. I called the mill and asked how to contact the sales rep for my area. He was happy to help me out. Hope it works out for you.

Thanks for taking your time and the effort to give us a report on aging flour. I'm looking forward to your results. And thanks for urging us to try fresh rye. I will do so very soon. I'm also anxious to mill popcorn, as well.

Susan from San Diego

fleur-de-liz's picture
fleur-de-liz

Subfuscpersona:  I appreciate your write-up on the history and reasons for aging wheat flour.  Before I dump my Utah red winter wheat, I will grind some up this weekend and age it in a paper bag (as suggested by Peter Reinhart) at room temperature and see if it improves.  Reinhart recommends storing wheat flour at least two weeks.  Do you agree?

Thanks!

Liz

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

If you're up to it, I would appreciate if you would do two experiments.

Mill a sufficient amount of your Utah red winter wheat for two bakings according to your preferred recipe.

Age half in a paper bag for two weeks and half in a paper bag for four weeks.

Make your preferred recipe in two weeks with the aged wheat and again in four weeks with the same aged wheat.

Report back to all of the eager lurkers here your evaluation.

I know this is a lot to ask, but I am sure that others may have purchased a large amount of whole wheat for home milling that may have disappointed them in some way. Your testing would be extremely helpful to determine whether simply aging flour milled from hard red (winter) wheat can reduce a grassy / bitter taste or whether it is better to mix or cut red and white hard wheat for the desired taste.

I've suggested a 2 week and 4 week testing on the basis of my dedicated lurking at TLF and my research re aging flour as done by commercial mills.

I would be *extremely interested* in your results. Others who are interested should likewise post their encouragement and interest.

I look forward to your response... SF

 

 

 

fleur-de-liz's picture
fleur-de-liz

Weavershouse:  I purchased 25 lbs of organic rye from a local health food store.  The vendor is Grain Millers (http://www.grainmillers.com/).  The rye was grown in Canada. The wheat I purchased also came from Grain Millers (grown in Utah), which I haven't cared for.  Through the health food store, I tried to order grains from Giusto's, but, for some reason, they can order flours from Giusto's but not grains.  They recommended Grain Millers as an alternative. 

I really like the rye, but I haven't used whole grain rye before, and have no idea of how it compares.  My only comparison is to packaged rye flours -- and the freshly milled rye is vastly better. 

I don't know about checking 'vintages' on grains.  When trying to find out more information about the grassy tasting wheat grain that I purchased, I was told by someone at Heartland Mill that last year's wheat crop was poor due to growing conditions that were too good, which did not sufficiently stress the wheat. It would be interesting to explore this further.  Are grains aged at the mill before milling?

fleur-de-liz's picture
fleur-de-liz

Subfuscpersona:

I will be glad to perform the wheat experiment that you propose.  I will grind the wheat this weekend and put two batches aside, one to age 2 weeks and one batch to age 4 weeks.  I will try to select a recipe that has a good amount of wheat in it.  I will report back. 

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

hi F-D-L

Thanks so much!

It's a major investment of your time to bake bread simply to test whether aging home-milled flour can correct the taste of certain sources of hard red wheat.

I appreciate your willingness to do this to educate all of us home millers and look forward to posting(s) re your results when you're done.

Ramona's picture
Ramona

Sorry, I should have said that I grind my grains first and then put half into a sponge and half into an autolyze.  I put the oatmeal, sunflower seeds, millet and salt into a bowl and pour very hot water ontop to cover and allow for expansion.  I do add this water into the dough the next day as well.  I have been trying to get this down to the point where I don't need to add any additional flour the next day. 

Ramona's picture
Ramona

I have read many on this site that don't like the flavor of a complete whole wheat bread from the red wheat.  I did switch from the winter wheat to the spring, but not because of flavor.  I did it because the spring performed better.  Just about every recipe that I come across for whole wheat breads only calls for about 1 tbsp. of sweetener.  I always add at least 1/3 cup of maple syrup or sometimes honey, and with my main bread, I add 3/4 cup of maple syrup. This doesn't make the bread taste sweet though.   I also use real butter, an average of about 1/3 cup.  I also use milk with some apple cider vinegar for some of the liquid.  These just add to the nutritional value of the bread, as well as, they make a great tasting full grain bread.  I recently had relatives visit that are from across the country and they aren't very health conscious.  I didn't think they would like my bread, but in fact, they loved it.  I was very surprised.  I am not trying to boast in any way, I am just saying that I think a little more needs to be in the bread than just flour, salt, and water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

It's going on in another thread started by Countryboy that is very interesting and informative. I'm wondering what those who grind their own rye have to say about different types of rye and how it's used. I never ground my own rye, only wheat and spelt. I'm ordering some soon so I find this discussion interesting. How much whole rye can be used in a recipe and do any of you sift your rye before using? Is there only one kind of rye grain unlike hard/soft/red/white/winter/spring wheat? Thanks.                                           weavershouse

fleur-de-liz's picture
fleur-de-liz

Weavershouse:

Have been following the rye discussion as well.  Since I am so new to grinding my own grains and have just baked a few rye breads, please take my comments accordingly.  The ryes that I have made thus far have less than 50% rye flour, as I am treading slowly.  All the recipes have come from Leader's Local Breads where some recipes call for whole rye and some for white rye. For the white rye recipes, I sifted finely milled flour through a fine sieve.  The sifted flour is noticeably whiter in color, lighter in texture, and the flavor is milder, similar to a high extraction whole wheat flour like Heartland Mill's, Golden Buffalo.  I actually like the taste of the whole rye, but it does produce a denser bread.

I believe there is only one kind of rye.  I purchased organic rye berries that came from Canada.  Varying amounts of rye can be used in a bread; the more rye, the denser the bread.  Hamelman has number of ryes with percentages of rye up to 100%.  Working with rye is quite different from wheat, which is why I am gradually working my way up to breads with higher rye percentages.

If you enjoy rye breads, I think you will be amazed at the flavor of freshly milled rye. The qualitative difference over packaged rye flours is even greater, in my opinion, than with whole wheat. 

Liz

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

I'd be happy if there is only one kind of rye. One less choice to make :)

 

Thanks for the info. Sounds like I'll be experimenting.  I think I'll start with the whole rye and sift after that to see what I like. I do like a dense rye and when I've made rye breads with rye flour I bought I usually used medium to dark rye more than the light.  As long as it's true that there is only one rye I'm going to pick some rye grain up this week in the bulk food section of my local organic grocery store. I look forward to using fresh ground rye. You make it sound so good. Thanks.            weavershouse

fleur-de-liz's picture
fleur-de-liz

about freshly milled rye. I'll be interested in hearing if you find it so remarkably better than packaged rye.  In addition to the taste, I really enjoy that I can store the grains indefinitely and then grind as I go.  It's such an improvement over all those little bags of flour taking up precious refrigerator space.

Note to Subfuscpersona:  I ground up two batches of my "grassy" wheat (~ 1900g) and put them into brown paper bags to start our wheat aging experiment.  In two weeks I will bake my first loaves.

Liz

fleur-de-liz's picture
fleur-de-liz

Weavershouse:  I neglected to mention one important part of my recent rye bread baking adventures.  I really prefer a rye starter to a white starter for rye breads.  I maintain a 100% hydration rye starter -- it  has a wonderful tang to it and is so appropriate for rye breads.  I tried one of Leader's French-style ryes that uses a white starter, and I thought it was terribly wimpy and didn't really taste like rye to me.

There are several concurrent rye discussions going on.  Countryboy just did a very nice summary of the different types of rye. 

Do let us know how you like freshly milled rye.

Thanks,

Liz

harrygermany's picture
harrygermany

Hi rye fans,

as baking rye breads is common in Germany, I have some experience with the different kinds of rye breads.

The easiest to make is a so called "Mischbrot" which means "mixed" bread, as the flour is a mix of 50% or less light rye flour and 50% or more wheat flour.
The gluten of the wheat flour helps a lot.

The most difficult to make rye bread is a 100% rye wholemeal bread.
There is no gluten, and compared to the elasticity and softness of a wheat dough, a rye dough feels harsh and almost "sandy", not elastic at all.

All rye breads, from wheat-rye bread to rye wholemeal bread, I make with a rye sourdough made by a rye starter.
For the rye wholemeal bread one has to sour 50% of the rye flour by a sourdough.

To grow a sourdough from a starter it takes 12-24 hours of fermentation.
One can do it in a one-stage fermentation or, better, in a three-stage fermentation.

Rye doughs and especially wholemeal rye doughs need a lot more water than wheat doughs. And they are sticky, even when they are dry and stiff.

But they are so tasty !!!

I wish you a successful rye bread baking.

Harry


---------------------------------------
Everyone is a stranger somewhere -
so don´t give narrowmindedness or
intolerance no chance nowhere.

naschol's picture
naschol

Because there is little to no gluten in rye flour, I wonder if anyone has tried adding xanthan gum to a whole rye bread? That's typically what those who are gluten intolerant do to add elasticity to the flour they use.

 

Nancy

harrygermany's picture
harrygermany

Hello,

as this thread is about grains, a short remark on varieties of wheat inside USA and outside USA.

smallgrains.org - "Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers" says:
There are several hundred varieties of wheat produced in the United States, all of which fall into one of six recognized classes. (This is in market contrast to the one or, at most, two wheat classes produced in other nations.)

For Germany this is correct.
If you ask for wheat grain (berries) in Germany, noone will ask you what variety of wheat you were looking for.
There is just one kind, and that has the more or less same quality and characteristic every year.
So no choice, but easy choosing :-) .
And easy baking with the same kind of flour every year and everywhere in the coutry.

On the other hand choosing the suitable variety in USA seems to be a bit of a science.

Harry

---------------------------------------
Everyone is a stranger somewhere -
so don´t give narrowmindedness or
intolerance no chance nowhere.

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Yes, the type of wheat does make a huge difference in baking. I grew up baking everything from an all-purpose wheat flour, with no idea that there was any other kind, nor that "all-purpose" varied a lot from one region of the country to the other.  Now there are several varieties on my local grocery shelves, and yet I still call around to different stores looking for something in particular!

Childebert's picture
Childebert

in response to harrygermany's post on November 11, 2007 which said in part

Quote:
There are several hundred varieties of wheat produced in the United States, all of which fall into one of six recognized classes. (This is in market contrast to the one or, at most, two wheat classes produced in other nations.)
For Germany this is correct.

actually there is a little bit more variety... in Germany there are four major classes (different classification than in the US though) and about 20 varities (only counting the major ones).

 

Childebert aka Wilfried
jimk9999's picture
jimk9999

Hi, is there any consensus on how long you can store wheat berries before the oils go rancid?  Most places I've read say you can store them indefinitely if you keep them dry.  Bob's Red Mill however insists no more than one year and refrigerated or frozen.  Any thoughts on which is correct?

 

Jim 

Ramona's picture
Ramona

I buy 5 gallon food type buckets and use lids that have gaskets in them, called Gamma seals, that are good for storage of grains for years.  You can find them at www.pleasanthillgrain.com

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

I do exactly the same thing. Gamma seals aren't cheap, but if you're in it for the long haul, they're absolutely the best way to ensure that your grains stay fresh and free of bugs. I had flour moths infest nearly all the grains that I kept in my kitchen in resealable jars and plastic bags (very yucky to open what you imagine will be a lovely bag of field corn and, instead, find little maggots, winged creatures and insect leavings), but nothing got to the wheat, spelt and rye I had stored in 5 gallon buckets fitted with gamma seals.

Besides, in the long run, you'll end up saving money, since grain costs half as much as the flour. Tastes better freshly ground, too -- or seems so to me anyway.

As for my favorite grain, I prefer red spring wheat, though I've used winter wheat to good effect. Spelt and rye are also favorites, and soft white winter wheat is great for quickbreads of all sorts. I'm not so fond of hard white wheat's flavor, except in English muffins. Those were delicious.

deepa's picture
deepa

I have seen the gamma seal buckets and now am convinced to go ahead and make the purchase.

I use a nutimill to grind my wheat (esp. hard red spring wheat). But my nutrimill gets hot very soon and I wonder how much flour does everyone grind at one time and at what setting? I usually use the finest setting that the mill allows and a medium flow.

thanks

deepa. 

 

 

goetter's picture
goetter

Another gamma seal user here.  I had a few that just didn't want to go onto the bucket all the way, despite mineral oil on the bucket lip and a lot of pounding with a rubber mallet.  I finally decided "good enough" even when it didn't snap down completely, as they were at that point sufficiently snug to keep out insects and rodents and stray toddlers.  Not sure whether the problem was in the particular batch of lids or the particular buckets I was using (I got the colorful variety from Pleasant Hill, because they make my basement look like a toybox full of Lego bricks).

My Retsel stone mill is quiet and runs very cool.  (In compensation, it is enormous and looks like something I could lower into the creek for power generation.)  Even so, I only mill as much as I plan to use in a day's baking, plus a little more if I'm milling rye so as to have food for the starter.  My travel schedule makes it difficult to experiment with aging flour, so I like to err on the side of freshness.  I know that new-milled wheat has weaker gluten, but then my wheat breads usually contain at least 20% strong white flour, which probably compensates.

fleur-de-liz's picture
fleur-de-liz

Subfuscpersona:

I peformed the aging experiment as you suggested. I am pleased to report that my previously tasting "grassy" red winter wheat tastes just fine after being aged for two weeks. I used Laurel's Buttermilk Wholewheat Bread recipe as I wanted to test it in a 100% whole wheat recipe to get the full taste. The recipe makes two loaves: one loaf I baked as a normal whole wheat loaf (wiith sesame seeds on the top), and the second loaf I added some cinnamon sugar and currants spiraled through the dough. Both taste really good.

A few additional observations: The flour absorbed an incredible amount of water. I kept adding and adding more water (I didn't measure, unfortunately, so I can't report on exactly how much water I used). I also had to knead the heck of out it to reach windowpane. The resulting loaves are nicely moist and tender. I didn't get the great ovenspring that I've had in the past with this recipe, but they did rise nicely.

And a few more questions: Do experienced millers find that they have to add a lot more water than the recipe calls for? Do you also find that you have to knead the dough considerably longer? Is there less ovenspring from freshly milled flour?

Thank you, Subfuscpersona, for rescuing my red winter wheat from the trash!

Liz

 

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

I'm so glad my suggestion worked. Your recipe choice is great because it uses no white flour. With no white flour to mask the wheat taste, if the whole wheat flour still tasted "grassy" you certainly would have known it.

Lots of posters on TFL have noted that whole grain flour absorbs a lot of water. The issue is, I think, primarily the bran particles. Not only do they absorb more water than the endosperm particles, they take more time to do so and they retain more of that water during baking. The San Francisco Baking Institute Newsletter has two excellent articles on making bread with whole grain flours; here's a brief quote on the effect of bran on the baking process

Quote:
Breads with a high proportion of whole wheat flour should be baked at lower temperature for a longer time to make sure to dry them out well...Soggy crusts can be caused by the high level of moisture retained by the large amount of bran naturally present in the bread. When not allowed to properly evaporate during baking, this moisture will migrate to the outside of the bread during cooling and will get trapped by the dryer part of the bread (the crust) causing it to lose its crispness

The links for these articles are SFBI newsletter Winter 2007 Vol I and SFBI newsletter Summer 2007 Vol II. The newsletters are in Adobe Acrobat format. The main page for the San Francisco Baking Institute Newsletter is here.

Do you use a soaker, poolish, or autolyse when working with whole wheat flour? All of these techniques help with the water absorbtion issue. Since they also all help develop gluten, they *may* shorten kneading requirements. I haven't done a whole lot of experimentation in this area so its just a thought based on reading more than experience.

You ask a lot of excellent questions. Maybe you could get better answers if you started some new posts in this forum and asked each question separately. When a thread gets very long (like this one) it covers so many topics that it loses focus. I know I almost missed your reply to me!

====== PS ========

At some point in our dialogue you asked about my experience with hard white spring wheat. At that point I had none but I've since been milling some of the Montana hard white spring wheat I purchased and testing the performance against hard red winter wheat using the same recipe and techniques. I have a lot of notes and even more photos. Hopefully sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas I will have time to post my observations to a new thread in this forum. If the holiday craze is too overwhelming it'll have to wait until 2008, but it will get posted eventually.

As a teaser, the identical recipe and technique produces very different breads. I am astonished that breeding out a few genes for bran color makes such a difference in the flour.

may your bread always rise - SF

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

I'm really looking forward to your notes. DH really dislikes the taste of red whole wheat so I use white with an occasional handful of red ww flour.  I don't know if this taste preference will change when I have fresh-milled flour.

Ramona's picture
Ramona

I do get good oven spring from my whole wheat, oatmeal, loaves.  I don't knead my dough.  I use the fold methods.  First, I use a spat to flip the dough from the middle up over the top towards the middle and go around the dough in a bowl.  The next time, I do the folds, every 30-40 minutes.  I don't measure my exact ingredients, but I probably do add extra water. 

fleur-de-liz's picture
fleur-de-liz

Subfuscpersona:

Glad you read the results of the 2-week aged whole wheat, and I appreciate your observations. I rushed a bit with these loaves as I am in the midst of Thanksgiving preparations, but this weekend was the 2-week threshhold, and I promised to report back.

Regarding water absorption, after adding what seemed like a lot of extra water to the dough, I did do an autolyse of about 30 minutes, which helped. I will read the SFBI articles you mention to get more information on water absorption. My very limited experience with freshly milled flour has been that it does absorb more water, but this particular flour was a non-stop drinker!

I look forward to reading about your experiences with hard white spring wheat. I did try some of Wheat Montana's Prairie Gold (which I assume is a white winter wheat) in a mixed flour sourdough recipe and while it performed well, I thought the taste was too mild. I really do like the flavor of whole wheat.

One last question -- although I used the finest setting on the Nutrimill, the flour felt gritty, and more so than the milled rye. Is this typical?

I do think that, thanks to you, we've eeked some life out of this red winter wheat, but that it is of marginal quality. I will try to order red spring wheat next time.

Thanks so much!

Liz

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

I think you've provided valuable info for all us home millers. Couldn't have been easy or convenient to squeeze it in with the holidays approaching.

FYI, Wheat Montana's “Prairie Gold” is Hard White Spring Wheat.

happy turkey day - SF