The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

New toy

pmccool's picture
pmccool

New toy

 My running debate with myself over whether to buy a mill or do without came to an abrupt end the week before last when I saw a post about a KoMo Fidibus Classic for sale at an attractive price.  The new-to-me mill arrived early last week but I wasn’t able to play with it until I purchased some wheat this weekend.  

My first thought had been to make a 100% whole wheat bread.  After some further thinking, I realized that would be more of a test of my baking ability than a real experiment with home milled flour.  Happily, I noticed some buttermilk in the refrigerator and thus was born a buttermilk whole wheat bread.  And not just one bread but two: one using flour I milled and one using some Pillsbury whole wheat flour that was in the pantry.  To the best of my ability, they would be identical in all ways except for the flour.  Which means, in real life, that they are exactly similar.  

Knowing that 800 grams of dough would fit well in my 8 inch by 4 inch loaf pans, I worked backward to specific quantities using bakers percentages.  The initial formula looked like this:

  • Whole wheat flour 75%
  • Bread flour 25%
  • Buttermilk 80%
  • Active dry yeast 1%
  • Diastatic wheat malt 1%
  • Salt 2%

The mill worked flawlessly, turning the hard red winter wheat into a steady stream of fine flour that was only slightly more coarse than the Pillsbury flour.  Ambient temperature in my kitchen was about 78F and the temperature of the flour exiting the mill was about 117F. 

The initial mix of the flours, malt, and buttermilk felt quite dry and stiff, so I decided to add enough water to bring the hydration up to 90%.  Naturally, I overdosed the bread made with the home milled flour, making it very loose and only just barely manageable.  After a short initial mix, each dough was left to autolyse for an hour.  

When the autolyse was complete, the yeast was added along with approximately a tablespoon of water to make a slurry.  The yeast slurry was then mixed in, followed by the salt.  Then each dough received 10 minutes of slap and folds.  The slap and folds, along with salt, tightened the dough nicely but it was still very wet and sticky.  The Pillsbury loaf, having received the correct amount of water, was slightly less sticky.

Each dough was allowed to double during bulk fermentation, which took about an hour.   Then they were shaped into loaves and allowed to ferment until the dough crested about 3/4 inch above the rim of the pans.  

The breads were baked at 375F for 45 minutes.  When checked with a thermometer, their internal temperature registered 205F, so I deemed them to be done.  

There is an appreciable difference in crust color (Pillsbury loaf on the left, home milled loaf on the right):

I'm not sure what caused the difference in oven spring for each loaf, seeing how each had the same bake.  Maybe the extra water in the home milled loaf was a contributing factor.  

This next view shows that the particle size of the home milled flour is just slightly coarser than the Pillsbury flour:

Updated with crumb photos.  First up, homemilled loaf:  

And the Pillsbury loaf:

When sliced last evening, both breads were slightly gummy.  Oddly, the Pillsbury loaf with the lower hydration seemed gummier, contrary to my preconceptions. As of this morning, the bread is extremely moist but no longer gummy.  Apparently it just needed more time for the crumb to stabilize.  

The flavor differences were more subtle than I expected.  The Pillsbury loaf had a faintly bitter flavor note.  It could have been the tannins or perhaps it’s an early indication of impending rancidness. The home milled loaf is slightly sweeter and the grain flavor is more rounded.  It's possible that the germ in the home milled flour contributes some additional flavors that are missing from the Pillsbury flour.  All in all, I didn’t experience a profound change in flavor that some people report but it was an improvement.  

If I were to repeat this bread, I would dial back on the hydration; perhaps to 85%.  Although the dough seemed rather dry during the initial mix, 90% was rather wet for a panned loaf.  Or, keeping the hydration, bake as a hearth loaf instead. 

Looking forward, I plan to use the mill frequently.  It may help the bread texture if I drop the malt content to 0.5% of the home milled flour.  If I can locate a local farmer with grain for sale, that would be a plus.  There are a whole lot of new possibilities and new learnings to explore.  I think it will be fun. 

 

Comments

isand66's picture
isand66

welcome to the wonderful,world of home milling.

Next you need a mesh sieve.  I use a #40 and remill once, sift and then for wheat berries I remill the flour as well.  The leftover bran I save to add to my levain.  

Happy milling Paul

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Just to be sure that I understand your process:

  1. Mill the grain
  2. Sift out the bran
  3. Remill the bran
  4. Sift out remaining large bran bits; save those for the levain
  5. Remill the flour
  6. Combine the remilled flour and bran

Did I follow correctly?

Or is it more like:

  1. Mill
  2. Remill
  3. Sift
  4. Remill again

Do you use progressively finer settings on you mill for remilling steps?

One harebrained idea that occurred to me was to remill semolina flour for homemade rimacinata durum flour.  Semolina is easy enough to find but the rimacinata stuff is more elusive.  

Lots of avenues to explore!

Paul

hreik's picture
hreik

I think Breadtopia has 2 of them: one is 40 mesh the other 50 mesh.  https://breadtopia.com/store/flour-sifter-50-mesh/

I bookmarked this for the recipe.  Loaves look terrific.

hester

pmccool's picture
pmccool

For the compliment and for the tip.

Paul

isand66's picture
isand66

Here is how I do it:

Mill

Sift

Remill Bran

Sift

Remill Flour (not all the time, but definitely whole wheat and rye)

I don't put the bran back in.  I save it and use it my next levain build.

I only use the lowest setting. Tried using higher to lower but didn't really accomplish anything.

I think if you do remill store bought semolina you should be able to get the finer version.

Good luck!

Ian

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

glad you have a mill to play with. I need to get a sieve also. Will wait for Ian's answer as to how he handles the bran as posed in your question. 

About the semolina I got some wonderful flour on Amazon and had free shipping as well. I posted the links to Ian . Here it is. The flour is fantastic. 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00VN3MZB0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00WQ75O2Y/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

the supplier is Brick oven baker and you get a coupon for a discount in the packaging when your order arrives. Hope this gives you some new baking ideas. c

pmccool's picture
pmccool

And thanks for the tip about the flours.

Paul

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

new toy of yours:-)  Well you have discovered what old flour on the shelf ,that is supposedly aged because fresh milled flour can't be used, is really just stale flour - but that is the nest it ever gets.  I always thought that he aging thing was just a marketing tool to cover up the fact they couldn't get their flour on the shelf in less than 30 days from milling it: and, as an old distributor of milled flour, that would be the best date they could get it there-)  I am too lazy to re-mill any flour and don't know if I could tell the difference anyway but sifting out the bran and using that to feed the levain is a great way to make sure the bran is as soft as it will ever be and less likely to cut gluten strands.

I personally think that keeping the bran as large as possible, and as few as possible, actually is better since there aren't as many knives cutting the gluten.

Whole wheat in a pan for support should have a more open crumb the wetter it is I would think.  100% hydration with fresh milled flour should be possible if it is large holes you are after.  For sure the crumb on your fresh milled loaf will be better than the other that looks stunted because of inferior flour and lower hydration.

You will love that fine mill for sure!

Happy milling Paul.

pmccool's picture
pmccool

It didn't emit showers of blue sparks or trip a GFI, so I think it should be fine.  Besides, I don't plan to do any milling in the bathtub.

Right now, I'm not inclined to temper the wheat.  That means the flour will be somewhat at the mercy of fluctuating humidity levels and produce larger or smaller flakes of bran.  Maybe sometime down the road, after I have something of a baseline for understanding how to use the tool effectively...  Still, a sieve is probably something to look for.

The crumb was moderately open, rather than being the closer grain that I get with the traditional push-turn-fold kneading motion.  That's probably the result of the combination of higher hydration and the slap and folds. 

Thanks,

Paul

treesparrow's picture
treesparrow

Hi, I'm new here - my first comment... Congrats on your new toy - and these are two really nice-looking loaves! I just treated myself to a KomoMio (introductory offer so good value for the money) a couple of weeks ago and I am totally happy with it. I see yours came with an instruction leaflet, does it mention remilling? Just asking because mine says not to do it, because it'll clog up the stones. Instead, set the mill to the finest setting you want and then just mill the grain once.

pmccool's picture
pmccool

I will take a look at the manual when I get home this evening and see what it says about remilling.

The new toy is definitely a keeper.  And thanks for your compliment.

Paul

pmccool's picture
pmccool

is that it is recommended for very large grains and seeds, such as corn or soybeans.  The first pass is intended to crack the grains in to smaller fragments that can then be ground into flour on a finer setting.

It did advise that spelt and oats should be ground more coarsely because of the tendency for their flour to clog the stones if ground finely.  

And that was all it had to say about that.

Which leaves plenty of room for testing various milling strategies, it seems.

Paul

Justanoldguy's picture
Justanoldguy

Congratulations on a fine looking first loaf with home-milled flour. The yea-or-nay on re-milling may have to do with the feed method to the stones. Particles of the wrong size may have a tendency to 'bridge', that is jam, in the feed passage and fail to enter the stones. It looks like the mill has a wide range of settings so there's plenty of room perhaps to find a finer output. Have fun with a whole new set of capabilities.  

pmccool's picture
pmccool

The home-milled loaf exhibited a more open crumb, while the Pillsbury loaf's crumb is somewhat tighter.  My guess is that the lower hydration of the Pillsbury loaf is the driver for it's finer crumb.  Since these are intended primarily for sandwiches and toast, I wasn't in pursuit of big bubbles.  I'm happy with each of them.

My wife had a slice toasted today and informed me that I really must keep this formula for future use.  She thought the flavor was wonderful.  I've been enjoying it in my lunch sandwiches.

Paul

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

I used to make a buttermilk yeast bread...for years and years. it's crumb was pretty much what you got. I of course was doing the regular " knead" for the bread. I love buttermilk in anything LOL ! We use it all the time. Can't go wrong with your formula. 

I think the whole " hole" thing is another " whole" hole that we can all get lost in !  I only  want an even beautiful crumb and you sure have that. c

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Buttermilk is one of those unsung good things in whole-grain breads.  A buttermilk rye bread, for instance, is also a very good thing.

Yup, big holes are mostly flavorless booby traps just waiting to drop jelly on your lap or your shirt.  While I can admire the skill involved in managing all of the process steps superbly, in much the same way that I can appreciate the technical virtuosity of an opera singer, they aren't something I particularly want.

Paul

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

all of the above !  One time or another I have cursed the " big plop" of filling on my front LOL !   It takes a LOT of skill to get a fine even crumb....random big holes are not as hard IMHO as a perfectly fermented crumb like you posted. Good on ya ' as they say. c

treesparrow's picture
treesparrow

I'm glad I'm not the only one preferring a fine even crumb here! As a kid, I always thought the baker had cheated on us when there were big holes in the bread, lol! Your loaves look perfect to me, inside and out.

pmccool's picture
pmccool

I'm pretty happy with the way the bread turned out.

Paul

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

Congrats, Paul.  I have the same mill and I couldn't be happier with it.  I also got the sifter attachment, which is a messy affair, but probably a bit easier and less messy than other sifting.  It's so great to be able to mill your own grain.

Phil

pmccool's picture
pmccool

She Who Does Not Like Messy would tell me to take my messy dust (or is it a dusty mess?) somewhere else, methinks.  I'll have to think about dust control.

There is much for me to learn about milling my own flour but I think that this mill will be up to anything that I am want from it.

Paul

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

Some things I've encountered.

  • If/when you remove the hopper, there are two very small springs in the holes of the white plastic part the hopper rests on and screws into that you could easily lose.
  • Threading the hopper can be tricky.  It will often not be threaded, but feel as if it is.  This is my only big complaint.

  • I was told for the finest grind, turn the hopper with the motor on until you begin to hear the stone grinding, then turn it back two clicks.

  •  There is a great range of fineness to coarseness.  I haven't bought cracked grains or pumpernickel grind since I got the machine.  But it's not so high tech that there isn't a significant amount of finer grind that comes through.  This could easily be sifted, but I usually don't bother.

  • I found the first bakes were as soft as sandwich bread.  The freshness and the extra germ and bran seem likely reasons.

  • I've had grains hatch bugs, so at the very least keep them tightly wrapped inside a strongly sealed container, so at least the infestation is limited to that particular grain.

Happy milling!

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

and the good looking loaves! My cousin in Germany has one of those and I keep longing for one of those...it is on my list....

I have friends in Germany keeping an eye open for a good second hand one as more commonly used as it appears...

Oh....milling..how much fun!   Kat

isand66's picture
isand66

While Paul's Mill is awesome, you should consider the Mock Mill I or II as it is less expensive and the owner/inventor used to work for the other company.  I have the Mock Mill II and couldn't be happier.

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

when the time comes to seriously buying a machine....now a bit of a dream only.... Kat

pmccool's picture
pmccool

As Ian mentions, the Mockmill that attaches to a stand mixer is less expensive; no motor to pay for, after all.

The Fidibus Classic that I purchased used was a few dollars less than the price of a new Mockmill 100. 

Not sure of your location but make sure that a mill purchased in Germany has a motor that will run successfully on your local electrical current.  A motor designed for European current (50Hz, 220V) would not do well here in the States (60Hz, 120V).

Paul

isand66's picture
isand66

The Mock Mill II that I have is a stand-alone unit equivalent to your Komo.  I did have the Kitchenaid version as well, and upgraded to this new version earlier in the year.  It is less expensive in general and works great.  It doesn't look as nice as the housing is plastic versus the wood of your Komo but to me it was worth the cost savings.

Regards,
Ian

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Paul, im not sure if you know this, but on my KoMo the finest setting is to the right of the first mark. To find the finest setting, turn the mill on when empty. Then slowly rotate the bowl clockwise until the stones just begin to touch, then back off a smidge. I put a make on my mill for future reference.

I remill grain at times and for me it has caused no problems. I’ve owned my mill for 10 years or so, and only recently have I looked at the stones. I don’t clean may mill as I don't see a reason. My mill have 2prongs also. Since it is made ofnatural wood, I guess electrical shock is not an issue.

Glad you got a good deal on a fantastic mill!

Nice bread. 

Dan