The Fresh Loaf

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Smackdown! Fresh vs Aged Home Milled Flour

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proth5's picture
proth5

Smackdown! Fresh vs Aged Home Milled Flour

Since the discussion continues on aging flour, this week I had the opportunity to mill and bake all in one day and I thought I would document the results.

I used the milling routine from my former post, but added two “medium coarse” passes prior to removing the bran. Immediately after milling I made the dough using the same method as my prior loaf. I really attempted to go “by the numbers” – number of strokes, dough temperature, fermentation time and temperature, and proofing time and temperature so the only difference would be between aging and not aging the flour.

What I observed was that I really didn’t feel the need for any adjustments. At no point was I thinking “Wow, this is different!” All seemed to move along as it had with the aged flour.

The final loaf (although somewhat more “boldly baked” shall we say) bore this out. Given small variations of shaping and slashing, it was nearly the twin of my other loaf.

The crumb – likewise.

The taste was a bit fresher, a little more lively – in short better to my taste.

My results seem to be consistent with Mr. Reinhart’s advice to bake quickly or wait two weeks. What I really can’t reconcile is the science – that says that oxidation is required to bring the flour to full gluten development potential. I will need to read and research more on this.

Unfortunately, my personal schedule will prevent me from running an experiment on aging day by day for some time – and that would be interesting. But for now, if my schedule permits – fresh flour it is.

Happy Milling!

Comments

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Pat,

Very interesting experiment. It's great you tried to build them exactly the same way. I am still very curious to see if you also find that 2 weeks and immediate are better than in between, as JMonkey posted recently.

In my case, I have let the flour sit, just due to circumstances, for a few days. I didn't notice a big difference in the handling of the flour and dough, but I was adjusting other variables between the aged version and the straight-out-of-the-mill version, hydration and extraction rate in particular, so it wasn't a good way to compare results, other than the fact both produced a reasonable loaf.

If you find a good source that reveals more details on what goes on in the first days and weeks with freshly milled flour, that would be really good to hear about. I'll have to recheck JMonkey's blog to see if anyone found more details behind the "instant or more than 2 week" recommendations. I searched all through WGB and didn't find much. I feel like I'm missing the right book or paper that gets more into the science behind the aging process.

Bill

proth5's picture
proth5

Bill,

I feel like I'm missing something on this, also.  I hear about the absolute need to age flour - and then - this.

I am going to gear up my research muscles in the next few weeks.  Next time I have the opportunity to run an experiment, I'll think ahead and mill enough flour for an even more controlled experiment.  Meanwhile I do have some flour from this batch aging and though I will not be able to duplicate this loaf size, I'm going to bake it at a week and see what I find.

Let me know of anything you find - I'm anxious to know more.

Pat

charbono's picture
charbono

has mention of this issue in his Camp Bread Day 1 notes.  He says that Keith Giusto busted the required aging of flour as a myth.  No details.  Maybe Emily Buehler knows the answer.  If someone has the science, I hope it can be applied to whole wheat.

 

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Charbono, 

That's very interesting. I'll have to go check out Mike Avery's site, which is a great sourdough resource, for the discussion you mention. I have Emily's book. Maybe I'll go searching for the answer in there. I haven't read the whole book, yet.

Bill

proth5's picture
proth5

I have been scouring the web for references on flour aging. I have found at least one paper "Effect of Wheat Flour Aging on Starch-Granule Surface Proteins" by Masaharu Seguchi. It is tough reading, but the bottom line is that at ambient temperatures aging for a month or so makes no impact on the flour quality.  His results show that it takes 130 days to reach maximum starch granule suface protein at room temperature.

Additionally, The "Food Industries Manual" (Rankin, Baker, Kill) suggests that white flour increases in baking qualities for a year and whole wheat for 2 months (the shortened time due to whole wheat's tendency to go rancid.)

There are additional references from the Seguchi paper that I will need to pursue when I can get to my local library, but what I am thinking is that I have seen my results not because aging doesn't matter, but because I am not aging nearly long enough.

That being said, the flour inventory implications for aging 2 months to 130 days are a little staggering for me.  I may be able to try the 2 months aging and if I do will post results. (but not soon! :>)  )

The march of science continues...

Pat