The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Milling Hard White Wheat

dablues's picture
dablues

Milling Hard White Wheat

I'm new to milling and have a Wondermill.  I bought Hard White Wheat Berries to make bread.  I milled and need to know is this type ok for Italian Bread, or any type of white bread?  Once milled and you want to measure out the amount do you need to sift it first?  I know nothing about this so hope someone can answer.  I normally buy King Arthur Bread Flour and make Italian Bread, or dough for pizza.  So is the Hard White Wheat Berries ok to use?

 

mikedilger's picture
mikedilger

I mill my own flour.  I've used both hard red winter wheat and hard white spring wheat.  They taste different (red wheat has more flavor) but behave identically.

I prefer to sieve my flour.  I use two sieves, an 18-hole-per-inch (0.7mm?) standard kitchen sieve, then through a finer (0.5mm) honey strainer.  That ends up with an 85-88% extraction rate in my case (based on my kind of mill).  You can also go with 100% extraction (no sieving) and just mix with white flour.   If you are using yeast, I'd definitely recommend sieving as much bran out as you can, especially for Italian style breads.

The amount of bran you are able to remove depends entirely on how your mill performs, and also partly on the moisture content of the grain.  Some mills leave the bran in large flakes, easy to sieve out.  This is especially true if you temper your wheat first (add ~5% water by weight, shake it a bunch, and give it a day to evenly distribute but not longer -- you don't want mold!).   Other mills grind the dry bran up superfine so you can't sieve very much of it out... in that case it might not be as much of a problem anyways.  I've never used a Wondermill.

If I were in your position, I would do experiments.  The flour from your wheat will be fine.  Sieving or not it will be fine either way, just different.

David R's picture
David R

Keep in mind also that different batches or different varieties of the same basic grain will not behave exactly the same. Moisture levels are never exactly the same, etc etc. So continue to adjust based on the results you're getting.

dablues's picture
dablues

I did a test run with the flour I milled.  Made some rolls.  Came out fine, but next time might add a tad bit more water.  Waiting to hear what hubby has to say.  Probably won't like them since he knows it is wheat flour and not "pure white" which is ok if he doesn't.  I'll eat them.

clazar123's picture
clazar123

Even if it is creamy colored, white whole wheat is still WHOLE wheat. The dough and crumb are not the same as baking with highly refined (NOT whole wheat) AP or bread flour. What ever recipe you use must be adapted for whole wheat.

Whole wheat requires some kind of soaking time-an autolyse, retard, a sponge or biga method (look these up in the search box)- in order for the flour particles to fully absorb the water. Otherwise, all those branny bits (no matter how finally ground) will continue to absorb water from the loaf after it is baked. That is when the slice just crumbles as you bite into it.  So it needs water and time to absorb it.

Also, it requires kneading/mixing/stretch&folding to a windowpane. Another term to look up in the search box.

Whole wheat is not difficult to do, it just requires a few different considerations that a dough made with AP or bread flour.

 

dablues's picture
dablues

I didn't know that all grains would be whole wheat.  Now I don't have a clue what to do with all the flour except add white flour to it.  My hubby won't eat whole wheat.  He likes the regular Italian Bread I make from Bread Flour.  Maybe I shouldn't have bought the mill.

 

Justanoldguy's picture
Justanoldguy

If your hubby's aversion to whole wheat comes solely from his experience with commercial loaves of WW or from loaves that have included commercially milled whole wheat his attitude may change when he tries a loaf made with freshly ground whole flour. Commercial flours like AP and Bread, have two of the three components of the wheat, the bran and the germ, removed. They are both important elements of the wheat's nutrition and flavor. That's why commercial flours have to be "enriched". Spread out a fine Irish linen table cloth, use your best china and freshly polished silverware, light a couple of candles and wear your most flattering apron when you serve it. Alternatively you could brandish a rolling pen and use a threatening tone but get him to give it a try. He might be very pleasantly surprised. 

dablues's picture
dablues

He doesn't like things to be different than what he is used to.  I want to try pesto but never have.  Should just go for it and see if I like it which I probably will, but it is "green", so he's off put on things green except for split pea soup and I don't make that since I don't eat it.  I told him I can make a small portion for him but he said not to bother, so I don't.  He wouldn't eat margarine until I snuck it in.  I know why, growing up his family had the butter/margarine whatever you call it colored with a yellow dot or something, so to me it must have been colored lard.  I grew up eating butter and bake with butter but do eat margarine.  He now eats margarine.  I guess from what I hear butter is better for you but they keep switching things like butter is bad, now butter is good, coffee is bad, coffee is good.  I eat what I want and don't go by any of that.

mikedilger's picture
mikedilger

It's confusing to say the least. White flour usually means refined (bran and germ removed to improve shelf life).  White wheat is a wheat variety with a milder taste, so white flour is usually made from it.  But without special roller mill processing facilities you won't be able to make "white flour" from "white wheat".

Nonetheless, what everyone else is saying here is spot on.  It will taste great and it won't taste "healthy" if you focus on a few things:  Sift out as much bran as you can, and do an autolyse step to soften the remaining bran and make it virtually disappear, and just mix in some purchased white flour (bread flour or AP flour).  It's not a waste to have only part of it home ground, because you get the fresh taste out of your flour without the heavy grassy "healthy" taste.  I always mix in some AP flour with my home ground flours, and I'm proud of my loaves.

But do let us know how you get on.

mikedilger's picture
mikedilger

Use a bit more water than normal.  It will soak up more than store bought bread flour.

dablues's picture
dablues

Why can't it be made into white flour?  Do you need a commercial mill? 

 

dablues's picture
dablues

I always do S&F when I bulk ferment.  I knead normally 5 minutes, and 2 minutes mixing.

dablues's picture
dablues

What do you do if you want to make your own bread flour?  What do you use?   Or can't that be done?  I know it's a dumb questions, but since I know nothing about milling thought I would ask.  I really just want to make my own bread flour.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Others can help you on getting white flour from whole wheat -  IIRC,  you can't get the same thing as white flour, but you can do sifting and get close.  I wanted to chime in about your husband.  When he says he does not like whole wheat, he is complaining about the "grassy" taste from red whole wheat.  White whole wheat will taste very similar to white bread flour, though a little better since it is fresh from your mill.  While I agree it needs to be treated a little differently in preparing the loaf as opposed to white flour,  I have served 100% home milled white whole wheat to  many people, and as far as I can remember, they all loved it.   Keep on milling, and I am sure he will be happy with what you bake.  

David R's picture
David R

It might be the grassy taste all right - it might also be other things, texture for example. I've eaten a lot of grocery stores' dry, scratchy whole wheat bread - but there are recipes where that's not such an issue.

And don't forget rye - maybe there's some rye bread in your future. 🙂

dablues's picture
dablues

He loves rye.  I've made rye bread before and he liked it.

dablues's picture
dablues

I only use White Whole Wheat Flour.  But he knows!  Except when I make my banana bread, and my carrot cake, then all of a sudden he doesn't know and says, don't change the recipe.  He has an aversion to different things, and if I sneak them in when I can he can't tell.  Like my Belgian waffles.  Sometimes I use Almond Milk, and he doesn't know I did.  There are some changes when I use Almond milk but if I told him he wouldn't eat it.  Go figure!  Rice, he won't eat brown rice.  Because it is brown.  He won't eat anything that is green if it isn't supposed to be green.  Other than that he's ok.

mikedilger's picture
mikedilger

People have been sifting (bolting) flour for thousands of years.  The Romans had seven different grades of flour.  They put flour into sacks and flogged them, and only the finest particles that came out were swept up and used for the upper class.  Before roller mills and modern white flour, the French had separate bolting facilities just for this task (separate from the miller, separate from the baker) because they considered it a career in and of itself, and because bolting facilities would have fine flour dust covering everything.

Getting the annoying bran out is entirely possible at home.  What is difficult to do is to remove 100% of the GERM. That's what they figured out how to do in the late 1800s with steel roller mills. The germ is the oily part that has all the vitamins and makes the bread taste wonderful.  But that is also the part which makes the fresh flour start to turn rancid after a month or so.  They didn't do this for flavor, they did it for longer shelf life.

What I'm trying to say is... you can do better than store bought white flour.  You can get rid of most of the bran, but keep the tasty germ.  How far you are willing to go is up to you.  Finer sieves, bolting clothes (silks of 120 threads per inch), etc, etc.  You just have to grind it fine and then find a way to keep only the very finest particles.

Good luck.

David R's picture
David R

There's also a trick that used to be used dishonestly by butchers - if you grind it over and over, they won't know what's in it. 🙂 It somewhat applies to flour too, but it isn't dishonest. 🙂

dablues's picture
dablues

I have read all posts, and responded to a few but you will get sick of hearing from me if I respond to all.  My rolls came out fine, but next time will try adding some white flour to it.  He's diabetic and doesn't follow what he should do and I thought milling my own flour would be more healthy for him but not sure if he will eat it.  I didn't even tell him to "try" the rolls.  I noticed he took one to toast tomorrow.  I told him if he didn't like it don't throw it away, I'll eat it.  I love all kinds of bread, wheat, rye, etc., so change doesn't bother me.

Yippee's picture
Yippee

So, would sieving make the freshly ground flour not whole-grain? 

How do you get 95% extraction rye flour (if there's such a classification) from home milling? 

P.S. Wait, let me see if I can get this right: I sieve the freshly ground flour until I get 5% (by weight) of bran, the remaining non-bran flour is of 95% extraction. ✅ or ❌, ❓❓❓

Thank you. 

Yippee

mikedilger's picture
mikedilger

In Canada, you can remove up to 5% of the wheat berry and still call it whole wheat flour.  In the USA you must keep 100% of it to call it whole wheat flour.

Most home bakers can't get an exact extraction rate. The get whatever their sieve gives them.  But you can find out what you ended up with by weighing the final flour and dividing by the original grain weight.  If you're unhappy with that extraction rate and you have multiple sieves of various opening sizes, you can try again with a finer or courser sieve, but most home bakers just learn to leave with whatever their kitchen sieve gives them, or else they go off in search of a finer sieve.

In the olden days, people went so far as to sieve flour with 120 thread per inch silks for the finest pastry flours (not quite so fine for regular bread flour). They still make bolting clothes out of silk but not for the bread industry, rather for the silk screening industry.

 

Yippee's picture
Yippee

= high extraction flour.

Easy enough for me!😗😙😙

The sieves are very expensive❗️

Thank you.

Yippee

 

David R's picture
David R

Your equation is right: the weight of the good flour divided by the original total weight, then times 100, equals your extraction percentage.

Or weigh the leftovers, divide THAT by the original total weight, times 100, and subtract FROM 100. Same thing.

dablues's picture
dablues

Thanks to everyone who has given me info.  Saving all of the info and will refer to your suggestions!

albacore's picture
albacore

I home mill and use sieves all the time to get the flour grade I want. I would say it's pointless trying to make a true white flour, though - it's not really possible, it's wasteful and there is no need - better to add some commercial AP or BF.

But with a #40 sieve you can make some nice high extraction flour - most of the bran removed, but most of the germ remaining. I have a #50 as well, but use the #40 more.

If you use Ebay, just search for #40 test sieve - not expensive and a great addition to the breadmaker's kit!

Lance

 

mikedilger's picture
mikedilger

I use a #18 then a #35.  But I'd go finer if I had the sieve.

As an aside, white wheat isn't as bitter/tanic as red wheat, so whole grain from white wheat tastes mild even when there is significant bran left.

charbono's picture
charbono
Yippee's picture
Yippee

of sieve(s) would you recommend for home milling?

Thank you.

Yippee

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

Hi Yippee,

I don't know where you're located, but I bought a #55 sieve from Fantes when I was struggling to get enough useable flour from my KA KGM every week for a 2 kg miche.  I don't see that on their site now, just a #50 that is 10" in diameter whereas mine is 12".  So their product offering has changed. 

I used to run all the KGM's output through it and remill the retentate, then repeat that.  Slow but produced nice flour.  A lot quicker and simpler now with a Komo Fidibus XL.  But the #50 is a good bet.  I would position it over a slightly bigger stainless steel bowl, cover the sieve with a shower cap and shake shake shake the sieve and bowl together.  Good exercise.  If you shake tilting to the left for a while, then tilting to the right, the retained larger particles sort of push the powder through the sieve as they traverse across the screen.

Hope that helps,

Tom

John Cullen's picture
John Cullen

Very interesting. Although I think that the article is referring to efficiency as opposed to time. And particularly in relationship to a stacking method of course to fine. In my application, having to transfer from a finer sieve to a crosier sieve at least twice, I think that it would, in fact, triple the time. I may try it, but I think I'll stick with the stacking method. The tapping and time, being the two most important factors contributing to efficiency according to the article, I will keep in mind.

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

One comment I want to make about extraction that I haven't seen acknowledged in this thread:  Percent extraction means what percent of the original weight of grain is represented in the flour produced from milling it.  100% extraction is, by definition, 100% whole wheat, or whole grain.  But one miller's 90% extraction is not the same as another's, unless they are using exactly the same equipment in exactly the same way.  So my 90% extraction prepared using my Komo Fidibus XL followed by sieving with my #55 stainless steel tamis will be different from another loafer's 90% extraction using a different mill and tamis.  And any home miller's 90% extraction will be radically different from a commercial roller mill's 90% extraction, where the 10% removed in the latter milling will contain more of the outermost layers (seed coat and aleurone -- the "bran") than a home miller's would.  The milling mechanism and separation technology will result in different separations in the commercial versus home milling environments.  We home millers just grind it up and separate by particle size with a sieve.  Commercial mills are more selective in how the grain is abused by the mill, making it easier for them to separate those outer layers from the starch-rich endosperm.

It has bothered me since T3 came out that the "high extraction" flour Chad Robertson has custom-milled by Central Milling or whomever bears questionable resemblance to any "high extraction" product we might try to prepare at home.

Not a big deal, but a fine point relevant to this thread.

Tom

David R's picture
David R

I find it interesting that home bakers probably have the potential (not necessarily easy to achieve) to make better bread than a commercial bakery could, because we can give more time and attention to each loaf - but that with grain milling the potential is just not there - because our available milling tools are small and primitive, we have no chance of achieving the accuracy or consistency of industrial milling equipment. (Home-milled flour is good in several ways, just not in the accuracy or consistency departments.)

dablues's picture
dablues

I normally use commercial bread flour.  Bread Flour or AP-Flour and I use King Arthur.  I bought this mill mostly to grind sweet rice but since I have the mill thought I would try something else to make it into white bread, but now know I can't.  But, I'll use what I have up.  Rolls I made came out good.

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

Ok, now I'm curious.  For what purpose do you "grind sweet rice"?  I ask because just yesterday I had an idea for a (savory) recipe concept for which I as thinking sweet ("glutinous") rice flour might work.

Thanks!

Tom

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Tom, I had to Google “sweet rice”. I think it is short grain rice. What I have is used for sushi. At ant rate I mill the rice to make rice flour to dust banneton.

BTW; it mills exceptionally well.

HTH

Danny

dablues's picture
dablues

I was trying to figure out a dessert that I get in a Chinese restaurant to no avail.  I tried everything so tried the sweet rice but the flour is too fine, they make Mochi mostly with it or rice cakes.  Those desserts are good but not what I was looking for.  The first batch I milled on pastry setting too fine.  Second batch on bread setting still too fine for what I'm looking for so will try coarse grind.  The store bought sweet rice flour that I have is Mochiko by Koda Farms.  Since I had a bag of whole sweet rice thought I would see what I could do with it.

mikedilger's picture
mikedilger

absolutely true.  How the grain breaks up, what sticks to what, how fine it breaks down... it's all very different between stone mills, burr mills, roller mills, pin mills, etc.  And depends on moisture content and fineness of the grind as well.

The milling industry has this down to a science with different "streams" of material coming out that they can then mix or re-mill after the fact in whatever proportions they desire for their end product.   On the other hand, we get whatever we get based on somewhat random crushing of the grain.

But we still make good bread.

dablues's picture
dablues

Very informative.  Thanks so much for your input!

Yippee's picture
Yippee

for your input. I've learned something new today.

Yippee

clazar123's picture
clazar123

Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to understand something, we hesitate to try anything until we understand it. Try adding a little hands-on to the mix. Besides furthering your understanding, it will be a delicious experience!