The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Why do YOU home mill?

wlaut's picture
wlaut

Why do YOU home mill?

In another comment, I mentioned my long-awaiting Grain Maker #99. That got me thinking, and so I thought this would make a fun weekend question.

So, why do YOU home mill your flour?  And if not, why not?

For me, I'm deep into the self-sufficiency movement, inspired by memories of my grandparents who grew and canned their own food.  I got started over a decade ago, when I began pressure-canning food. That led me to toying with the idea for years of buying a grain mill, but it wasn't until the Panic Buying earlier this year that coaxed me to "pull the trigger."

And I'm glad I did!  Before my purchase, my interest in baking was pretty much limited to the occasional batch of Tollhouse cookies and/or loaves of white bread. However, while waiting for Bitterroot to build my mill, I began researching bread and artisan baking. A whole new world opened up to me! I'm like the proverbial baby bird with its mouth wide open, devouring everything I can as time permits.

And then I discovered TFL.  The rest, as they say, "is history."

At the moment, I'm a newbie struggling to take his baby steps. But that will grow to walking, then running, and finally soaring.  Thank you all for reading and responding to my posts.

 

gavinc's picture
gavinc

The main reason I bought a home mill was because it was difficult to purchase rye flour here. I now buy rye and wheat grain and mill it on demand. I usually mill 100 to 200 g a week. There is only two of us at home now, so I bake once a week.

I include 10 - 25% stone milled flour into my doughs. The flavour boost from the freshly milled flour is remarkable.

My mill is a Hawos Billy 100.

Cheers,

Gavin

 

 

wlaut's picture
wlaut

Thank you!

wlaut's picture
wlaut

Hello Gavin:

I looked up your mill and learned it uses mill stones. Did that gravitate you to that mill?  What is your opinion on mill stones vs. steel burrs?

I agree with you on flavor. My limited experience of milling Hard Red Winter using my coffee grinder was a revelation.

gavinc's picture
gavinc

I picked that mill due to a recommendation and demonstration from a good friend. The appearance also was to my liking and they have a good reputation.  It does a great job. I can't comment on the steel burrs as I have no experience with them.

I went with the smaller model as I only mill small amounts the evening before I bake.

Cheers,

Gavin.

charbono's picture
charbono

I mill for fresh flavor and not worrying about rancidity. I also mill to create flours and, with sieves, granulation fractions that are virtually unobtainable in the market.

My mill is a Retsel Mil-Rite.

 

wlaut's picture
wlaut

What are "granulation fractions," and how do you implement them? What are the applications where you would want a coarser grind?

What features of your Retsel led you to purchase it? I noticed that it can grind sprouted / moist grains, as well as anything else except for salt,  popcorn, and rice.  Its ability to grind nixtamel to make Masa is very intriguing!

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Was one of the reasons. Nutrition and flavor were important considerations because store bought flour removes a lot of that. The wide variety of grains like spelt, rye, kamut, buckwheat and the heritage wheats to have on hand ready to be milled fresh rather than going bad in a bag. Whole wheat waffles and The Approachable Loaf are benefits as well.

I have the Mockmill 100

wlaut's picture
wlaut

The flavor and nutritional aspects I learned of after buying my mill. In fact, for a time I formerly dismissed store-bought flour as "chalk dust."

The other grains you mention intrigue me.  Buying smaller quantities of them to bake with is on my "to-do" list.I thoroughly enjoyed a loaf of Kimmel bread and that introduced me to other styles of baking.

Kimel, Ezekiel, 100 WW, Pumpernickel, and more, as my mastery grows.

Whole wheat waffles (baked on a wood-burning cookstove) and served with homemade syrup is definitely on my list!  Thank you for that idea!

What features led you to buy the Mockmill?

 

 

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

I was going to get the Komo and The Mockmill 100 came out at a special introductory price so I went with that and have been very pleased with it. I was looking at the Grainmaker because it is made in Montana and could grind more things than a stone mill can but price and the manual crank was a deal breaker. 

ifs201's picture
ifs201

Mostly for better taste but also because the cost of buying milled heritage grains in NYC would be astronomical. They charge $8 locally for King Arthur so I can't even imagine the price for the organic heritage grains I buy! I also prefer to support regional farms and the green market than a large corporation.

wlaut's picture
wlaut

My rural property is part of a farming community. Your preference resounds with me as I, too, want to support my neighbors. And grow as much of my own food as possible.

Which mill do you own?

 

 

BaniJP's picture
BaniJP

My main reason is that I'm just curious about what goes on under the surface of things. I want to know the process, keep control of it and what goes in my bread (both ingredients and process). Home milling gives me independence from poor quality supermarket flour and allows me to adjust to my needs.

More flavor and higher nutrition value are secondary, but obviously also deciding factors.

(Komo Fidibus 21 here)

wlaut's picture
wlaut

An engineer after my own heart!  I am exactly the same way.

What led you to select the Komo mill?

 

BaniJP's picture
BaniJP

Somebody in my town just happened to sell one for cheap, so I read about it and took the opportunity. It's certainly enough for my needs and it's quite new (2 years old).

ifs201's picture
ifs201

I generally make my loaves pretty heavy on whole grain so I generally do 50/50 whole grain/white bread flour. I've never gotten into sifting so I mill my own whole wheat and just buy KABF for the rest. How many of us are 100% home millers and sift to get their white flour? I'm slightly tempted, but it also seems like a lot of work!

wlaut's picture
wlaut

The knowledgeable folks here have said the most you sift out is perhaps 20%of the bran.  That encouraged me to put  my engineering cap on to find another way of de-branninf wheat.  When and if I obtain results, I'll be posting them.

 

BaniJP's picture
BaniJP

I'm sifting out the bran so it doesn't interfere with gluten development, but add it in the end because still I want every part of the grain. Unless I'm making a white bread like baguette or ciabatta of course.

wlaut's picture
wlaut

How much of the bran can you sift out?

 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Wlaut -  I started home milling for nutrition, but converted to 100% home milled for bread, pizza, pasta, etc  for the flavor.  At this point, white flour tastes like cotton candy to me - no substance at all. 

wlaut's picture
wlaut

When I visited our Amish store to buy my wheat berries, we told the cashier I had purchased a mill.  She knowingly smiled and said, "once you've tasted freshly-milled flour, you'll never go back." She's right.  I've been able to grind a small amount in my coffee grinder, but the results are staggering. I eagerly await my GrainMaker so I can learn how to make 100% Whole Wheat bread and more.

albacore's picture
albacore

I'm sure you can sieve out a lot more than 20% of the bran when you sift home milled flour - I'm not sure where you got that figure from?

I can't speak for hammer mills, but for a stone mill, eg Mockmill, Komo, I would say if you use a #40 sieve you will separate off most of the bran and end up with something approximating a high extraction flour.

Use a #50 and you will pull off some germ too and have a slightly whiter flour.

I wouldn't bother with anything over #50 or #60 - it will be a lot of effort and you will loose so much of what you have milled - better to buy some BF or AP and do a blend.

Lance

wlaut's picture
wlaut

Thank you for commenting.  I have both a #30 and #50 sieves.  Is there a technique somewhere for doing this?

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

I took an artisan class where we made pitas with fresh milled flour and with expensive commercial flour. The fresh milled blew the commercial flour out of the water. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t tasted it myself. So after that, you can’t accept not milling your own. 

wlaut's picture
wlaut

Amen! I toyed with the idea of home milling, until I actually tasted it. My only regret is not getting a mill sooner.  Thank you for commenting!