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Grinding whole wheat berries and making All-purpose flour

shandy's picture

Grinding whole wheat berries and making All-purpose flour

Hello, I am new here but not new to baking bread. I use anaerobic fermentation methods as that is the only way I can consume wheat without sinus issues. This is my question - I want to grind all my own wheat for my boule. I want 70% to be classified as All-purpose (and be 8-10% protein) and I want the other 30% to be other grains, probably the 7 grain blend from Wheat Montana (that I will also grind myself). The total of that 70% + 30% needs to be less than 12% protein.  Using storebought flour is NOT an option as I don't want all the fortification they add to it.  Can anyone help me make my own AP? The Soft White Wheat I have is 10.9% and the Hard White I have is 12.5%. I prefer not to use any hard red. *I do not enjoy that hearty whole wheat flavor so I plan to sift out at least some of the bran*. The 7 grain blend from wheat montana is 12g protein per cup of grain.  Any math whizzes that can help, I would be so grateful! I have tried for years to figure this out and I tend to meet dead-end after dead end. When I made a boule from 50/50 hard white and soft white (and more later changing these ratios), all were too hearty for my taste. Sifting with a super fine sifter is not something I have tried yet. Thanks!!!

Justanoldguy's picture

If you're going to sift your flour once ground you will be removing some of the protein. How much? Only careful testing could answer that. For one manufacturer, King Arthur, the protein content of their AP flour is 11.7%, well out of the range of 8-10% you mention. Even the soft white wheat you have is out of your stated AP range of 8-10% although once sifted it might be 'near enough'. To actually know the percentage of protein in the 7 grain blend you'd need to weigh a cup of the mix in grams and divide 12g by that weight. I suspect cup of mix will weigh more than 100g and that will make the mix protein less than 12%. That answer would allow you to compare its percentage to the protein percentage of other grains and you can make the math work. I'm not quite sure what you mean by "too hearty" for your taste. Are you referring to flavor alone or does "hearty" have to do with the crumb's texture  as well? Good luck.

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

Some thoughts regarding your query, from a home-miller:

•  It would take a math "whiz" of truly extraordinary capabilities to devise a formula for mixing wheats of 10.9% and 12.5% protein to obtain a final product of 8-10% protein.  It cannot be done.  Which is perhaps a good thing, since 8-10% protein would be frustratingly low for any bread flour.  Crumb structure would be profoundly compromised by such low gluten.

•  If you search Fresh Loaf for "home made all-purpose flour" or something similar, you will find many postings by learned bakers urging those in search thereof to desist from such folly forthwith, the reason being that "all-purpose" flours are precisely formulated mixtures -- every brand slightly or majorly different from the next -- from different mills.  The best source of all-purpose flour is your local store's shelf, not your own mill.  You cannot make it at home.  You cannot even mill flour at home the way mills do to remove all the outermost layers and leave only the innermost = starch.

• "Super fine sifting" isn't that hard to do.  It just takes patience and can be messy without a dispo shower cap snuggly fitted over the upper rim of your tamis and a catch-bowl with a larger rim diameter than the bottom of your tamis (shake tamis and bowl together as one).   A 55# sieve works well to remove a respectable fraction of the larger bits.  But sifting only differentiates your flour by particle size, which very imperfectly correlates with protein concentration if you are home milling with stones.

•  I don't know to what sort of "fortifications" in commercial AP flour you are referring.  I believe there is truth in the labeling of most commercial flours and I'm not aware of any "fortifications" in the AP flours I now or have previously purchased.  Perhaps you can elaborate on what you mean by "fortifications".

• If you have hard white wheat berries at 12.5% protein and plan to use 30% of some "7 grain" mixture, and if the latter contains some low- or no-gluten grains (rye, millet, quinoa, oats), then your 70:30 mixture will end up well below 12.5% protein.  Indeed, it may be close to 11 or 11.5% protein which is perfect for your boule. 

• While hard white wheat is indeed blander than hard red (and we like it for that), it still gives some (but less) of the "hearty" flavor of hard red.  If I really ("really" because sifting takes patience) wanted to do what I think you are trying to do, I would get a 55# tamis and sift your fresh-milled hard white wheat flour, saving the retained portion for another purpose.  The pass-through fraction won't be "all-purpose", but it will be free of at least some of the "hearty" notes retained above the mesh.

Good luck,


bigcrusty's picture

Dear Shandy,

I''ve tried this to get to 1st Clear Four for my sour rye bread.  It is very time consuming since the only way to get to white flour is sifting.  I used a 20 and 50 sieve and it took hours to get a lb of flour.  Not worth it I buy uncoordinated, unbrominated Dakota Maid. I find it at my Walmart.  I only use my mill for whole wheat and rye flours.