Flour lab test results
The tests results are in! (It takes so little to make me happy.)
This particular batch of wheat was tempered for 48 hours with 20% of water added by weight of the grain.
It was then ground as follows
1 – Coarse pass sifted through #20 sieve – contents of sieve returned to mill
2 – Medium coarse pass sifted through a #20 sieve – contents of sieve returned to mill
3 – Medium coarse pass sifted through a #20 sieve – contents of sieve removed from process. This was about 20% of total weight
4 – Medium fine pass sifted through a #30 sieve – contents of sieve returned to mill
5 – Fine pass sifted through a #30 sieve – contents of sieve returned to mill
6 – Very fine pass sifted through a #50 sieve – contents of sieve retuned to mill
7 – Very fine pass sifted through a #50 sieve – contents of sieve returned to mill
8 – Very fine pass – results combined with the rest of the flour
This is a lot of passes and a lot of sifting and it take me about an hour and a half to do this for 2 pounds of wheat berries with my hand turned, steel buhr Diamant mill (brief tea breaks included.) However, the multiple passes are actually easier to do than fewer more aggressive passes and the sifting steps decrease the amount of material that needs to be ground in each pass. The resulting flour is fine and silky and bakes up pretty much the same every week. I am milling hard white winter wheat.
The flour was stored for about a week before taking the samples.
I had a very small number of tests run – I still need to produce some bread each week, – so I selected those which seemed to be under my control. Falling number seems to simply be high in these types of flour, and although I am adjusting ash when I extract material from the process, I haven’t been focusing on ash content (but that would have been my next test if I had enough flour.)
So the results are:
Farinograph (14% MB)
Peak (min) 7.00
Tolerance (min) 9.00
M.T.I (BU) 25
Starch damage % 6.23
The moisture is low despite my addition of water in the tempering process. This tells me a couple of things. One, the Mile High City is dry. Two, I need to get going on getting that moisture meter.
But the other numbers are within what is considered to be required for good bread making flour. The starch damage is actually on the low side – probably reflecting my “many small passes” approach – but still will within range. M.T. I. is also on the low end of the range and is not really troubling given how gently I mix my bread.
The bread has been bearing this out, but it is good to have the numbers.
So even with my low tech setup where I hand grind, hand sift, guesstimate moisture content and adjust grind by look and feel – a reasonable quantity of good quality flour can be produced on a regular basis. My hands on process not only takes the place of a trip to the gym, but gives me some quality time to think about the stupendous journey of the grain or wheat as it goes from field to table.
Now if I can just find a lab willing to give me an analysis of the critters in my levain…