The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Home-milled flour for quick breads

MontBaybaker's picture

Home-milled flour for quick breads

I've done some milling for yeast breads.  None yet for quick breads, but would like to start.  Mostly quick loaves/muffins, waffles/pancakes, cookies, biscuits, and the occasional pie or cake.  I'm about to get soft white or red wheat. 

Not interested in going gluten-free, but do you have a suggested blend of soft wheat and other grains quick breads?  Wheat is fine, but I'd like to maybe combine a few for various textures & flavors.   Becker's Flour Book gives pretty good guidelines on uses of grains, but her recipes measures only by cup/ml.  Thanks to TFL I always convert to weight:  takes longer but results are better.  Per the KAF Ingredient guide, various flours can have weight differences of 1 oz. or more per cup.  If I combine 2-4 grains and they're not close, how crazy to I have to get calculating for recipes to work?  Other than newer recipes which often have weight & volume, I'd be converting favorites from 3+ decades of cookbook collecting.

Thanks for the feedback! 

David R's picture
David R

If you mean how to measure a combined flour, just weigh it as is - then after baking it once or twice by weight, mark any needed adjustments onto your recipe.

Justanoldguy's picture

I don't know if this will help but Erin Alderson's book, The Homemade Flour Cookbook, has volumetric measures converted to grams for a huge range of grains. They are included the bottom of the page that describes the grain at the start of the section that has recipes using the grain. For example:

1 cup of durum wheat berries = 180g

1cup of durum wheat flour = 120g

1 cup (180g) of durum wheat berries = 1 1/2 cups (180g) durum flour

I really can't testify to the accuracy of her measurements. After all different lots of the same wheat with different moisture contents would exhibit some variation in weight. But it's 'close enough for government work' as we say up here in the mountains. So if a recipe called for 2 1/2 cups of durum flour you could multiply 120g by 2.5 and get 300g. Fractions of a cup would require using decimal equivalents - 1/3 cup would be 0.33 x 120g = 39.6g. I'd say 40g is close enough for government work. Hope this helps.

MontBaybaker's picture

Thanks!  I wasn't aware of her book, or the calculation.  I'm getting used to baking with a calculator.  I often increase by strange percentages to fit various bannetons.  I thought my better half & I were the only ones who say "close enough for government work"!  Don't know where we learned it (we're 60).  

clazar123's picture

Seems to me that you are asking 2 questions:

1. Any recommendations on the ratio of soft wheat flour to regular or whole grain flour when using for a quick bread recipe?

Soft flour is really designed for cakes and tea (or quick) breads. The AP flour was designed as a compromise in order to bake reasonably tender cakes and reasonably structured bread using a single flour. It's not really great for either one but adequate for most. The gluten content is why most muffin and cake recipes say to stir only until flour mixed. Any extra will really activate the gluten and make the product tougher/chewier.

Soft whole grain flour will tend to be tender but denser if used for 100% of the flour in a recipe. I imagine,  a 100% soft WW may need time for the fine branny bits to soak just like any WW bread or your tea bread will be crumbly when sliced. This would have to happen before the leavening, I believe. If you want a little more chew, add some AP or WW flour but you can experiment with the ratios to see how you like the final product. Start with a small recipe of 100% soft wheat to see how the product behaves. You may even do the same recipe with 100% hard WW to give you an idea of the range. Adjust your ratio from there. It will take a few bakes to decide what you like. It also may depend on the type of product you want-dense,chewy,fruit laden vs light, tender, melt-in-mouth pound cake.

2. How do I convert volume measurements to weight of my home milled flours?

Easy- put 2-3 cups of your milled flour into a big bowl. Stir so it is fluffy. Have your scale at the ready. Now fill a 1 cup measuring cup (scoop and scrape or fill with a spoon, however you want-just be consistent). Weigh that cup. Repeat a number of times and see what YOUR cup weighs in YOUR kitchen using YOUR scooping technique and YOUR measuring cup. Just for laughs, do it with several different 1 cup measuring cups and see if they are the same. You may be surprised. I never trust the online conversions. They never work out right for me. Now make a dough and see if the measures seem right by how the dough comes out. Now you know how to convert your recipes because you know how much 1 cup of flour weighs using your equipment.

Some experimentation is called for. I now write all my recipes in spreadsheet fashion with volume and weight measures. Interestingly, my daughter and I used our own measuring cups,identical flour, side-by-side and weighed 1 cup each and weighed. There were significant differences with how the cup was filled and some 1 cup measures were clearly over or under 1 cup. No wonder recipes from someone else may not turn out when given in volume. And no wonder the conversion tables are so different. Good thing most recipes are not needed to be terribly precise in order to turn out.

Happy baking!

MontBaybaker's picture

for the info.  Food for thought and experimentation.   Even with good commercial flour and converting to weight, I often have to adjust for the factors of that day (or ingredients)  that can skew a recipe.  Quick breads in general are pretty forgiving, and always edible as long as you don't forget the leavening.  

SeasideJess's picture

I have been getting Kamut brand khorasan wheat berries from the bulk bin at Staff of Life and milling it fine with the MockMill 100. I'm using it unsifted at 100% in all my quickbreads, pancakes, and muffins. It's sweet, mild, and delicious and makes a wonderful fluffy product with no trace of the gritty throat-catching bran texture I remember from whole-wheat baked goods of my childhood.

If only I could figure out how to be as successful with 100% WW yeasted breads I'd be a happy camper!

Best wishes, Jessica