The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sifting

John Cullen's picture
John Cullen

Sifting

I'm really new here, so if I am in the wrong place, sorry, let me know where I should be. I have checked through the blog and forum and other places as well but am having difficulty figuring out the information I am looking for. So here goes; I want to start sifting my flour. I am looking at the round stainless steel sieves, the 8" ones. I want to do it in a stack, leaving the bran on the top, fine flour on the bottom and varying degrees of middlings between. [If I've got the terminology wrong here, please correct me.] I'm not sure what sieve sizes or how many to use. I was thinking of either using #40, #60, #80 and #100, or #30, #50, #70 and #90. Should I go courser? I've seen references to #20 and #25. Are the #90 and #100 over kill / not necessary / not worth it? Any help would be appreciated. 

msneuropil's picture
msneuropil

I can only hope your asking cause your grinding your own grain...but lets make sure your not *thinking* you have to sift commercial flour for some reason.  :-P

 

John Cullen's picture
John Cullen

Yes, I have a grain mill. I also brew, all-grain. I want to pick up some sieves to evaluate the crush as well. I did some more thinking about this last night and came up with this as a possible set; #14, #18, #30, #60 [#80] and maybe #100. All but the #80 are what I think is necessary--as best as I can determine--to evaluate the crush. Would the #80 or anything else between the #60 and #100 be useful in sifting the flour? And, actually the #18 isn't absolutely necessary. And the #100 isn't absolutely necessary either for the crush evaluation, but would it be worthwhile for the flour? Hmm ....

dsb66's picture
dsb66

I use a stack of #50 and #60. Using a Mockmill at it finest setting (stones barely touching), I retain ~11% total flour in the #50 (all bran by look and taste). The #60 retains an additional 10-15% (some bran and reddish looking flour), so that the sift-through is ~75-80%.

It takes about 1min/100g to sift through the #50, maybe 5 times as much to go through #60. I have also used a #70 but it is not worth the effort: sifting takes forever and the yield is less than 60%, with lots of good-looking white flour remaining in the sieve.

John Cullen's picture
John Cullen

Very helpful. Thank you. Just to be clear in my mind--which is not an easy thing to do--when you say, "lots of good-looking white flour remaining in the sieve," you are referring to the #70 sieve, right? I'm kinda thinking that I don't really need to go below the #60. But it's good to hear other opinions. 

dsb66's picture
dsb66

yes I was referring to #70. I think that #70 is overkill: you discard way too much flour and it takes a lot of effort, you might as well buy some commercially bolted flour.

The #50-#60 combination is reasonable, though often I just use #50 (it is fast and removes most of the bran) and swap 10% of the sifted flour with AP flour if I want to lighten the loaf.

John Cullen's picture
John Cullen

Thanks again. I appreciate that. Very good. I may be just buying for crush then. That seems to cover everything.

AndyPanda's picture
AndyPanda

I recently bought a Mockmill 100 (I wonder if I should have gone for the 200?) and the only way I can get the flour to go thru the #60 screen is to really have the stones rubbing. That is about two notches tighter on the adjuster lever past barely touching.   At the barely touching I can get thru a #40 (and I'm guessing a #50 - #50 was back ordered and I should have it in a week or two) but I get virtually nothing thru the #60.   I'm wondering if it just needs to break in a little? Is yours the 100 or the 200?  Did it take some break in period before you got the results you are getting with a #60?

dsb66's picture
dsb66

I am also using a Mockmill 100, as I understand it the only advantage of the 200 is that it has a bigger motor and can grind faster. I set  the stones one step tighter than barely touching. I have tried tighter settings unproductively. The flour becomes really warm, and any moisture in the grain gums up the stones, and the resulting flour does not feel any smaller nor sifts better.

I cannot comment on a break-in period for #60, because for the first 9 months with the Mockmill I only had a #50. It is possible that the mill produces finer flour after a while, because the first few times #50 would retain 14-15% of the flour, and now ~11%. But I also got better at adjusting the setting on the Mockmill, so that may explain the lower retention.

Going through #60 takes time and some effort. Normally I use a combination of somewhat vigorous side-by-side shaking of the sieve, pressing the flour with a silicon spatula, and banging the bowl-sieve combination on the counter to help clearing the holes in the sieve. You should see the finest material going through right away, but it takes patience with the rest. At the end, the retained material looks visibly redder than the pass-through, and with a different texture that the fibery bran retained in the #50.

Cinnabon's picture
Cinnabon

Hello dsb66:

I noticed you have a Mockmill 100, as well as a few other on this forum.  Could you please tell me what you think of it?

I am looking into grain mills and this mill is highly recommended online, however, there are many others that are equally advertised as great mills. I am having a difficulty picking one, since some of the you tube videos on them are sponsored, which makes it harder to weed through the real reviews.

Does the flour heat up when its freshly milled? Do you find the consistency of flour milled to be uniform?

So sorry for all the questions, I would appreciate any input you have since you own a Mockmill!

Any regrets on choosing the Mockmill?

Thanks in advance!

 

dsb66's picture
dsb66

I am very happy with the Mockmill 100. Before the Mockmill I had a Nutrimill Plus, which was more cumbersome to use. On the other hand the Mockmill is very simple to use and clean (but it doesn't need much cleaning). The flour does definitely heat up during milling, but never more than warm - keep in mind that I normally mill 500g and never more than 1Kg. I would probably take a break if I were to mill more than 1kg.

The consistency of the sifted flour is very fine and uniform. The bran is of course coarser (it can be removed with a #50mesh sifter), and there is coarser material  that can be removed with a #60 or #70 mesh sifter (similar results, but #70 is much slower) which looks like a mixture of bran and outer endosperm.

Overall, I would buy the Mockmill 100 again today.

Cinnabon's picture
Cinnabon

I will look for the best deal on a Mockmill and make it my own! 

Just a few more questions if you don't mind?

For the sifting part!  If I was to acquire a #50 and and #60 mesh sieve this would be adequate enough?  It seems the information available states that if you go any smaller mesh it would be counter productive in the amount of flour retained and the time it would take to sift with a #70 mesh. I have seen on Amazon test sieves or pollen sieves that are fine mesh, would these work or do you have a preference in a brand that has served you well and of course won't rust, stainless rims?  I see many reviews on Amazon and there are many negative comments on some that mentioned rusting and flimsy!

Again, Thanks in advance for your quick response .

 

I hope to contribute to the forum with some recipes that I'm sure people would love to try!

 

Cheers! 

 

dsb66's picture
dsb66

I bought a #50, 60, and 70 for testing. I didn't find much difference in retention between 60 and 70, but 70 is very slow and overkill. I end up using only the 50 most of the time, it retains 10-11% of the flour, mostly bran by the loom of it, and is quite fast (a couple of minutes for 500g). So if you just want to get started with sifting, buy only a 50.

I bought this technical brand (they make all the sizes):

https://www.amazon.com/Gilson-Stainless-Steel-Round-Sieve/dp/B00BOVR6PG/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=gilson+%2350&qid=1573192079&s=industrial&sr=1-3

Though more expensive, these sieves are very well built and feel durable; they still look like new. I recommend full height if you want to sift 500g of flour without making a mess.

Cinnabon's picture
Cinnabon

Thank you for the reply and link.  I will see if this is available in Canada.

Much appreciated!

 

charbono's picture
charbono

What is your objective?  Do you have a sieve shaker?

John Cullen's picture
John Cullen

Yes, I plan on getting a sieve shaker. My objectives, other than the crush analysis, are to produce flours that are primarily for bread, wild fermented exclusively, but also pasta flour, durum, semolina, and to a lesser extent for cake and pastry. I plan on milling ancient grains for the most part; except for brewing.

mikedilger's picture
mikedilger

I bought a honey strainer.  It is two stainless steel sieves that nest, about 8" diameter.  I think they are #18 and #35.  The result is still too course and I'm on the lookout for a finer sieve, but I thought you might want to know about that option.  If you google "honey strainer" you'll see the pictures.

John Cullen's picture
John Cullen

Oh yeah, interesting. My hives swarmed on me two years in a row a couple of years back. That reminds me that I have to try to get back into that. But for my current purposes, I think I'll stick with the sieves I've found so far. But thank you for that.