The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A class of better breads

agres's picture

A class of better breads

I have an old friend that grew up in Russia, including much time in St. Petersburg. For years she told me that she could not get bread as good as she got in St. Petersburg.  I tried many different approaches - different recipes and different commercial flours. What worked was freshly milling the grain.  We now have a class of breads, that we consider excellent -  as good as she got in Russia, and as good as she gets some high end bakeries.   All are based on (organic) grain berries freshly stone ground, and often rather carefully sifted.  I no longer worry about elaborate recipes and procedures. Today my breads are made from good fresh flour, water, salt, and yeast and /or sourdough starter.  Sometimes, I  make a straight dough in the mixer, and sometimes, I do it on the counter, it does not matter.  Some times I knead, and sometimes I do not.  Sometimes it is all rye, sometimes all wheat, and sometimes a mix, it does not matter. Certainly, I also put other things in my breads.  Timing depends on the season and the weather, I do not have to finish the bake by a certain time, so I can, and do wait for the dough to tell me when it is ready to bake.  

Grain is like vegetables. When very fresh, and treated respectfully, they will be excellent.  It is worth making an effort to get very fresh vegetables. It is worth making the effort to baking with very fresh flour.

barryvabeach's picture

Agree, fresh whole wheat has great flavor.  Many struggle to get a certain look, or holeness with WW, but for those of us that focus on flavor, home milled is great. 

Justanoldguy's picture

Amen Brother! (or Sister as the case may be) Amen! There's nothing like the bread from freshly milled wheat or rye. There's a learning curve, at least there was for me, in transitioning from 'boughten' flour to what I mill myself but it's worth the effort. My only regrets are for the bags of commercial flour unopened and aging none to gracefully in the pantry or the freezer. 

RobynNZ's picture

Perhaps there is a charity in your community who would welcome the flour in your pantry & freezer which you are giving a cold shoulder to 🙂.

Justanoldguy's picture

Unfortunately they've past the point where they could be depended on to produce a decent baked product or they are not in their original packaging. I'm not sure they'd benefit anyone. Most of the food pantries in my area want canned foods and dried pasta in full, original packages. I do contribute those types of foods.