The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What a difference fresh makes!

clazar123's picture

What a difference fresh makes!

This week, I made a batch of bread in the evening and was short on time so I used some whole wheat flour I had in the cupboard to use it up, rather than grind my own. I didn't realize how old the flour was and how the age of the flour affected the flavor of the final product until now.  The bread was picture perfect-great texture and chew but it tasted.......old. It tasted like old oil. Yuck. The rest of the flour is going in the garbage! From now on-fresh milled for me!

subfuscpersona's picture

clazar123 on August 20, 2008 wrote:
I used some whole wheat flour I had in the cupboard to use it up, rather than grind my own. I didn't realize how old the flour was and how the age of the flour affected the flavor of the final product until now.

There have been many posts on TFL re storage of whole grain flours. Virtually all posters agree that, to preserve taste and nutrition, whole grain flour should be stored in the freezer. Whole grain flour stored in the freezer should be good for about 3 months.

If your whole grain flour will be used, after purchase, within 4-6 weeks, storing it in the refrigerator is sufficient.

If whole grain flour is stored in a cupboard, the oils in whole grain (or whole bean) flour can become rancid fairly quickly. For this reason, it is best to store all whole grain / legume flours in the freezer.

If you mill your own flour, there are many posts on TFL discussing the baking properties of freshly milled flour (used within 12 hours after home milling) vs storing or aging home milled flour for a period of time. The general consensus is that, for maximum taste, home milled flour is best used within 12 hours of milling. However, if you wish to store home milled flour, it should be aged for 6 to 8 weeks prior to use in baking.

knit1bake1's picture

I had been thinking of getting one, but read that a lot of times it strips the gears or something like that, and mixer is then useless. I don't know if my kitchenaid is heavy duty or not. It's about 18 years old, and operates with the lever. I had been thinking of getting the Nutrimill or the expensive handcrank one - is it Country Living - with the aid to make it easier to turn. I haven't been good about keeping flour in the freezer. Our freezer isn't big enough to accomodate both bread and flour (we just have the small on top of the freezer). I assume that with a grain mill one can keep the berries at room temp. 

 By the way, I made the whole spelt sourdough from King Arthur Whole grain the other day, though I didn't have time for the sourdough so I changed the recipe and added yeast. We've never had freshly ground flour, so I can't compare, but this spelt bread (has some white flour) had a wonderful, sweet taste the first day especially. I recommend it.



subfuscpersona's picture

There was a 5 quart KitchenAid mixer that used a plastic housing for the gear shift - this is the model that people had trouble with. Since your mixer is 18 yrs old, I don't think you would be affected but to be sure, find the exact model number and contact

Most home millers prefer an electric model grain mill. The Country Living manual grain mill costs about the same as a Nutrimill and it will cost you more if you decide later to motorize it.

If you read the TFL link on kitchenaid grain mills I gave in this thread, you'll see I prefer the older model of the KA grain mill. The hopper design is better. Older grain mills do appear on eBay for about $100. Electric micronizer mills also are sold on eBay fairly regularly.

The KA grain mill cannot produce as fine a flour as the Nutrimill. However, it is fine for bread flour, though it will take longer to mill the grain than a Nutrimill or similar micronizer mill. If you follow the directions on how to use it that I gave in the link, and are careful about monitoring motor heat, you should not have a problem.

Like you, I don't have freezer room for whole grain flour. I keep my grain in cupboards and grain will last for several years. Only if you live in an area that is hot and humid for prolonged periods would you need to consider purchasing gamma seal buckets.

If you decide to start milling your own whole grain flour, you will find lots of support at TFL - many home millers are site members.

Best of luck - SF

subfuscpersona's picture

an older model Kitchenaid grain mill (the design I prefer) is on sale now on eBay - current asking price is $40 (plus shipping) and the auction ends Sep-01-08 11:21:10 PDT. Search for Item number: 230284029787 (listed as Vintage KitchenAid Metal Grain Mill Mixer Attachment)

If you live in an area where canning supplies are readily available, you can get a canning funnel (for a narrow mouth canning jar) that will fit the hopper perfectly. Any left over screw top jar (such as an old mayonnaise jar) will screw into the bottom to catch the milled flour. (Twist off jars may work also).

If you're interested in a Kitchenaid grain mill, you might at least track the auction to see what the final price is.

knit1bake1's picture

I'll definitely chart what's going on on Ebay.

prairiepatch's picture

I get my flour directly from the farmer.  I saw somewhere on TFL a farmer that is offering his products.  If you do purchase from a farmer just make sure that he has cleaned the grain (nothing quite so off putting as stones and grasshopper bodies) and also that there are no added chemicals or pesticides.  Organic of course is best.  If you can not find a farmer to sell directly to you the health food store will work but it will be much more expensive.

I have a nutrimill and I mill my flour as I need it.  I dump my seven cups of grain (makes three loaves of bread) into the hopper and as that is milling I collect all the other supplies to make bread.  I  mill I bake bread, I do not store the milled flour.  I have read that once the flour is milled it takes three days to lose 80% of the nutrients that are in the grain.  I have read on this site about aging flour I have never heard of this before.  I don't understand why would I do that on purpose.  I will have to investigate further to understand this line of reasoning.  Unless someone wants to enlighten me here. 

I think the pails with the gamma seals are a wise investment.  Keeps air, moisture and bugs out.  Nice and clean and dry just what for your new mill.  :o)

apprentice's picture

I suppose it's not that unusual for the rancidity issue to come up in more than one post on a given day at a bread website. But I sure did a double-take finding this thread just now. A few minutes ago, I theorized on my blog that old stoneground ww flour might have been the culprit in such a funny taste to the beer bread I made last week.

As the original poster said about his/her bread, I had maybe not picture-perfect loaves, but nice. Good crumb, good chew. But yuck! Unpleasant taste and aroma. Thanks for the confirmation. At least, I hope this is the culprit. If it isn't, I'm stumped!

You millers are inspiring. Haven't got into that yet. Maybe some day.