The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Aging

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proth5's picture
proth5

Aging

Oh, the flour that is...As promised, I have let my home milled high extraction flour age for the 2 months as recommended by a number of texts.Once again, I made this loaf "by the numbers" - dough temperature, strokes, folds, ferment times and temperatures, etc.This time, I did feel a need to adjust - the dough seemed to "come together" a bit faster than my earlier home milled trials - but I soldiered on with the test method.

Once baked, this was the result: http://i264.photobucket.com/albums/ii183/proth5/HomeMilledAged2MonthsCrumb.jpg

It really did seem a bit more open in the crumb than earlier attempts which is consistent with the theories that aging is required for the best gluten development. Although the loaf was pretty tasty and showed no signs of the flour having become rancid with the long storage, it did lack that “fresh from the berry” taste of truly fresh milled flour.

So, what to do?  Two months of flour is quite an inventory for flour storage if you are baking on a regular basis.  Although the results of this loaf (in terms of lightness of crumb) were better – the freshly ground wasn’t bad.  So, as usual, it’s all a matter of personal preference.  But as earlier experiments seem to show – if you are going to age the flour, it should be quite a long aging – a few days or a couple weeks does not suffice.

Happy Baking!

Comments

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Pat,

Thanks for doing this test. It's especially useful since my process and resulting flour is so similar to yours. I'm not very inspired to age my flour, based on your test. I think the flavor of freshly ground may win me over more than a little extra rise. In any event, I feel like I'm getting a decent rise from my home milled flour, whether I use the Wheat Montana spring wheat berries or the Heartland Mill winter wheat berries. Add to that the extra hassle of aging, and I'd rather just make flour as I need it and use it fresh.

What I may do based on your results, though, is be less concerned about making a larger batch and having some left over. It would make the process of milling and sifting less complicated for me, if I'm not trying so hard to blend just the right proportions, choosing just the right recipes, to use up the flour I make. If I have some left over, it seems that it would be fine to hold on to it and use it here and there, probably mixing it with my purchased white flours on the shelf.

Can you remind me exactly how you stored your flour to age it?

Bill

 

proth5's picture
proth5

Bill,

I stored it in a food safe plastic tub - the same way I store my other flours.

Theoretically, I should have stored it in a flour sack, but, well, we all have our limits.

There was plenty of air space in the container and I opened it from time to time - so I'm sure the flour got plenty of oxygen. It was stored at cool room temperature.

I tend to agree with you - aging the home milled doesn't seem worth it.  I have heard horror stories from bakers who have gotten green flour, but most of these dealt with white flours.  I continue to wonder if "Mother Nature knows best" and when we work with the more complete flour there is a balance intrinsic to it. Aging - falling number - starch damage - things seem to balance out...

Have fun with the sourdough - I'm following along, but don't have the time to dig into it just now.

Pat