Why is grinding temperature important?
I've looked around online a bit, and haven't been able to find a discussion of this question - why is the grind temperature of flour so important, when it's going to be baked to much higher temperatures anyway?
Say the flour gets really hot during the grinding process, say 130F. Given that some enzymes are going to die off at that temperature - but wouldn't they anyway, in a loaf that reaches at least 190F in the oven?
I'm a very beginning baker, about to buy my first grain mill, and I'm wondering how big a consideration grind temp needs to be. This is my first post here, but I've read some wonderful threads here, and am very grateful for all the voices of experience here in one place. Any information on my question is very much appreciated!
You need those enzymes to work prior to baking and yes they are then neutralized in the baking process.
Temperature will change the way a flour behaves. How much water it will absorb, nutty flavor if you are doing a whole wheat, how much strength you are able to achieve, etc.
I've seen dozens of comments over the years about how important it is to keep flour from heating up in the grinding process, but never before the reasons why.
Thanks so much, Jeff and Baker, I see why it's important. One more related question, if that's okay - I've heard of people refrigerating or freezing grain before milling, so that the resulting flour will be cooler. Is that a good idea?
Thanks again! - Carol
It is a good idea if you want your freshly ground flour to have a cooler temperature. Sometimes I grind my flour right into the bucket with the room temperature water. The flour warms up the water nicely, and the water cools the flour. The final dough is still somewhat warmer than the formula calls for, but I haven't noticed any ill effects, perhaps because my room temperature is slightly cooler.
I don't usually bother to refrigerate the grain, but have done so in the past to get cooler flour.
What kind of mill are you using? I have never frozen grain prior to milling and cannot see benefit in doing so.
I do freeze grain and flour to kill any bugs present.
How do you mill frozen grain without condensation forming on the grain in the hopper?
That's a great idea, David, grinding the flour right into the water. When I get my mill, I'll try that.
Yerffej, I'll be getting a Nutra Mill in the next few weeks. I hear you re: bugs, years ago I had a terrible onslaught of disgusting little moths in my kitchen. Ever since, I've been very careful about storing carbohydrates, and I've frozen things too.
Charbono, I appreciate your point about condensation. Also, frozen grain would be somewhat harder than room temp, wouldn't it? - and therefore harder on the mill. If I want to start with cooler grain I'll just refrigerate it, as David does.
Thanks all for comments and advice, it's great for a beginner to be able to get answers from experienced bakers.
And those won't let you grind into a bowl of water. That isn't really a tremendous downside to those mills. My mill doesn't have a hopper so rather than dirty another bowl I sometimes grind into the mixing vessel with water added as I described.