The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Got a grain mill, what now?

BaniJP's picture
BaniJP

Got a grain mill, what now?

I just bought a grain mill (Komo Fidibus 21) and will mill my own flour from now on.

When working with freshly milled wheat flour:
- What changes should I expect and what should I adjust compared to store bought whole wheat flour?
- I heard higher hydration (like 90%) is a thing?
- Should I autolyse? Yes, no, how long?
- How does it affect fermentation?
- Baking time? Lower temp and longer (read somewhere that's a thing when using 100% whole wheat)?

Same questions, different grain: what should I expect when working with freshly milled oat flour or oat flour in general? (not a gluten thing, just a request from my partner)

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

SeasideJess has a good beginner's guide for home-millers:

https://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/64101/tips-100-freshmilled-whole-wheat-baking

My thoughts are at:

https://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/64863/7-things-about-freshmilled-flour

Welcome to the home-milling club!

Also keep your eyes on: SheGar, ifs201, danni3ll3, barryvabeach, MTloaf, UpsideDan, DanAyo, dabrownman, and deblacksmith.

Update:  and pmccool !

SheGar's picture
SheGar

Thanks for the mention!

BaniJP's picture
BaniJP

Thank you very much, those are very useful tips! Or at least good guidelines, the best procedure still seems to be trial and error :D

SheGar's picture
SheGar

Here are my 2 cents

- What changes should I expect and what should I adjust compared to store bought whole wheat flour?

Muuuuch better flavour.


- I heard higher hydration (like 90%) is a thing?

I wouldn't. Start with a recipe you know well. Some are thirstier and some aren't much difference.


- Should I autolyse? Yes, no, how long?

I do! Only the fresh milled flour and all the water. 20-40 min. is enough in my opinion


- How does it affect fermentation?

Whole grain always goes a little faster but I don't think there is much difference between fresh milled or store bought.


- Baking time? Lower temp and longer (read somewhere that's a thing when using 100% whole wheat)?

Same.

Same questions, different grain: what should I expect when working with freshly milled oat flour or oat flour in general?

Have you worked with oat flour at all? It's very different. No gluten. Start subbing a small percentage only and see how you like it.

 

BaniJP's picture
BaniJP

Thank you so much, very clear and helpful answers!

I have no experience with oat flour, just in Finland (where I lived for five years) oat bread is very common. Let's see how far I can push it ;)

SheGar's picture
SheGar

You are going to love the Komo! Have fun.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Most of the recipes I see for oat bread use rolled oats that are soaked or cooked. I have put oat groats though the mill on the coarsest cracked grain setting and made porridge from that and it had a nice flavor in bread. A flaker is probably the best tool for rolling your own oats and making a porridge. I have never used my mill for making oat flour though but if do please let us know how it worked out.

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

I know you are already getting great feedback and I'm still a novice to this too. But, I haven't noticed much difference with using freshly ground versus store-bought ground flour except that it's pre-warmed for you if you do it yourself!. And now that I'm really learned how important an autolyze is, I'll never skip it again for any bread.

ifs201's picture
ifs201

In terms of hydration, I always start with a number in mind based on the mix of flours (generally around 85% since I use at least 50% whole grain), but then add more or less based on the feel of the autolyse. I never stick to an exact figure - just go off of feel. 

SheGar's picture
SheGar

Some grains like less water!

ifs201's picture
ifs201

At least for me, my home milled grain is never as fine as a store bought whole grain (like a KA Whole Wheat). The pieces of bran that are more visible in home milled make good gluten development a bit tougher. While I never do this (too lazy) some sift out the bigger pieces of bran and add it to the levain so it has more time not soften. 

asj's picture
asj

Her methods date back to a prior generation, but it wasn’t until I discovered Laurel’s Bread Book that I actually made a good loaf of 100% whole wheat, or even knew it could be done.  I find her text and discussion of working with whole wheat the best part. Every grain is different, and you have to work with the feel of the dough not the numbers in the recipe. 

What do I mean she’s old school, she doesn’t autolyse, or talk about hydration and kneads like crazy.  And it works. I’ve made bread with American wheat, Canadian and Australian. There is some 70’s hippyness to Laurel, but that’s the world she came out of. They’re mostly enriched breads and not “artisanal”.  I’d post a photo but I’m on mobile, and can’t shrink it under 4 megs. :/

I've also tried Reinhardt’s WGB and been doing his methods recently. He doesn’t use home ground flour, and his recipes work well enough. But he lacks the true knowledge of working with home ground flour. 

 

Be careful with oats. Some grain I got was not 100% dehulled. There must have been the odd kernel? Not enough for me to notice prior to grinding. And the shards left over in the flour ruined it. Presumably it would have been ok rolled? Or maybe for beer? But as flour it was terrible. 

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

I LOVE Laurel's bread book. I got it shortly after I got married 27 years ago based on Jane Brody's recommendation which was our go-to cookbook. I have used sooooo many recipes from that book over the years and it has never failed me.

It did scare me off from starting a sourdough until recently, but the recipes are top-notch.

asj's picture
asj

The sourdough recipes, especially the desem need so much work! Never had true success with that one to be honest. 

Ive been using the book for about 25 years. Bought in an honest to goodness book store while just browsing. What a find!

This is her buttermilk bread recipe:

 

isand66's picture
isand66

You will definitely notice a fresher and more flavorful final result using fresh milled.

Depending on the grain you are using will definitely effect how much you can push the hydration. Per some other advice on this thread, start with a hydration you are comfortable with and go from there.

I always autolyse for 30 minutes to an hour and it really does make a difference.

I tend to mix my fresh milled flours with some store bought and don't have any issues with fermentation.  I have made 100% fresh milled breads and you do need to watch it so it doesn't get over-fermented.

I do not nor have I ever lowered my temperature due to using whole wheat.  I could be wrong, but I always start hot at 540F and lower my oven to 450 once the bread is put in the oven.

As others have pointed out oat flour does not have any gluten so you can only use a small amount of it.  If you use too much you could be asking for trouble.

Most of my bakes in the last couple of years have all included fresh milled flours.  Feel free to check out my posts on this site.  I like to bulk ferment my doughs over-night and bake them the next day.