Will I like bread from fresh milled flour ?
I know it's a loaded question, but I'd hate to spend $300 (or more) on a home mill only to not like the bread from it. I'm the typical middle aged guy that grew up on wonder bread and doesn't like whole wheat bread. That said I absolutely love fresh made bread and to me store bought bread is all pretty bad (white and wheat). I'm wanting to step beyond my bread machine (been using pre made mixes and mixing my own simple 4 ingredient bread), and home milling with proper bread making/baking sounds intriguing.
I've done a lot of searching and it's hard to find an answer, will using hard white wheat berries give me a taste that is not like store bought whole wheat ? Does fresh milled hard red wheat berries taste a lot like store bought wheat, or totally different ? Is the answer somewhere in between ?
First, I agree, the price is a barrier, especially if you decide you don't like it.
Everyone who has ever tried my bread from fresh ground wheat berries has said they loved it - they could be being nice, but I think the test is much better . Wonderbread tastes like cotton candy to me.
If you use 100% red hard wheat, the taste has been described as grassy, I like it, but don't do it much, it is "stronger" than most store bought wheat products, which normally only have some red whole wheat, and usually have added sugar or other sweeteners,
When I got started, I bought a used mill, because like you I wondered if the taste improvement would be worth it. That was many years ago, and I haven't bought bread for use at home since.
If you use 100% white hard wheat, which is what I normally use, it will, IMO, taste like white bread that you got at a good restaurant - much more "full" tasting than Wonder.
You can mix red and white to get a particular taste profile you like - store bought is more like 25% red and 75% white to me, though again, the fresh ground is much better.
Last but not least, it also depends on your recipe. Some bakers add many other flavors or sweeteners, some make a quick loaf, others go for longer fermentation times, to develop the flavor more.
Paavo, have you searched locally for a source for fresh milled wheat? Maybe if you share your location, a baker with a mill can send you some to try.
If possible, follow Barry’s instructions and go with White Wheat for your first loaves. The flavor is much milder. I am hardcore, so it’s 100% Hard Red Wheat for me, but the flavor is distinct and strong. Whenever you have the option, go with Hard Wheat as opposed to Soft. It is better for bread baking.
I think the consensus on The Fresh Loaf among those that bought a mill is super satisfaction. As far as nutrition, it can’t be beat.
"I'm the typical middle aged guy that grew up on wonder bread and doesn't like whole wheat bread."
Can you elaborate what it is about store-bought whole wheat bread that you don't like? Taste, density, chewiness, "mouth-feel" ?
If you dislike whole-wheat from a store, you may still dislike whole wheat that you mill at home.
Home-milling usually results in a _coarser_ grind than store-bought whole-wheat flour, so that is why I suspect, based on your above statement, that you may end up being disappointed in home milling.
You could sift the wheat that you mill.... to a degree. But to make it close to white flour, you would be discarding maybe 30% of it, and still some bran would get through.
You could also mix whole-grain home-milled flour (unsifted) with store bought white flour, which is what most home millers probably do.
I would suggest trying blends of store-bought white and whole wheat flour in your bread machine first, to see what percent of whole wheat you can tolerate. Be sure to use a recipe for that specific blend or combination, because they cannot be directly substituted.
Also, to home mill cost-effectively you need a local supply of whole wheat berries, because shipping them is expensive due to weight.
If you are in the US, you probably have access to "white whole wheat flour" at stores. Prairie Gold at Walmart is white whole wheat. King Arthur brand, Trader Joe brand, And Kroger brand all have "white whole wheat" flour.
Good luck. Welcome to the bread world.
My Komo mills super fine flour!
Thanks She. If I get a stone mill, it will likely be a Komo then.
I guess I phrased it wrong, I love bread so much that I'll happily eat Wonder, it's just the bread baked in store, at home, or at a restaurant is so much better it puts any wonder type bread to shame.
First of all, I hate whole wheat loaves, you know the heavy and dark healthy breads you get in the store. I dabbled a bit with whole wheat flour when I started but quickly went on to the einkorns, emmers, spelts, etc in whole grain flours. I found the whole wheat bitter and yuck mostly.
Now I got a Komo mill in June and I have to say total GAME CHANGER! Fresh milled flours, while a learning curve, are very very tasty. I still love emmer, einkorn, spelt, triticale etc. but I sure love fresh milled Red Fife wheat for example. It's very pleasant, nothing bitter about it and a nice neutral flavour. I mostly do 50-60% of whole grain and then add bread flour instead of 100% but even 100% is enjoyable especially when you sift some of the bran out (5-10%).
Will you like it? Nobody can know. If you don't know anybody in your area that mills it will be tough to figure out. Other things to consider is where do you get the grains and how much is it if bought in bulk compared to flour. For me (I have a lot of space) it's more economical to buy bulk grains and store them (good for decades!) compared to having 5 different small amounts of whole grain flours (goes rancid, if you even get somewhat fresh flours). I also can only get whole grain triticale and emmer for example, I haven't found a source of their flours yet here.
It sounds like you don't have much experience baking with whole wheat, or sifted whole wheat. I suggest you do that before you get a mill. Look for flour with a recent milled date.
I have a stone mill and love it. My favourite bread only uses 10% stone-milled rye,10% stone-milled wheat and 80% bread flour. The flavour structure has gone from nice to fantastic since the stone-mill. My original rationale for getting the mill was because I couldn't get any rye flour. I haven't looked back.
Thank you everybody for all the input with such an impossible question that I asked. You've given me some great info that will help me decide what path to go down.
It sounds like you are looking to be convinced to purchase a dedicated mill. Before you do that, try it first. You don't need a fancy or dedicated mill. Just use a food processor or blender - you probably have one or both of these. Freeze the berries first. If you are in the US, you can get a small bag of various types of wheat berries (rye, kamut, farro/spelt, etc) at many urban grocery stores. It's probably a little harder to find the specific varieties, so just go with what you can get first. Outside US, no clue, but I'm sure others can chime in :)
I used to use my vitamix with excellent results. Flour doesn't have to be fine, results are absolutely delicious if you have a coarser grind, too.
"It sounds like you are looking to be convinced to purchase a dedicated mill."
That's not really the case, I've ordered some whole wheat white from King Arthur, and also some hard white fresh milled flour from Bluebird Grain Farms to try out.
I live near Seattle so sourcing wheat berries isn't really a problem. Thank you again to all the great suggestions that everybody has given me.