The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Black specks appearing in 100% whole wheat flour

queenbee's picture
queenbee

Black specks appearing in 100% whole wheat flour

Hi,

I’m new to baking bread and pastries and this is absolutely doing my head in. I’ve been using Waitrose strong whole meal flour (which has been fine and turns out beautifully) and recently “upgraded” to Bob’s Red Mill’s 100% Whole Wheat Flour and 100% Whole Wheat Pastry Flour to bake for my parents. The flour itself is beautiful but there are these black specks that keeps coming up - and I know they’re not bugs (or at least I hope they’re not!!)

I’ve been picking them out for now. My concern is - is this something that’s going to be harmful if eaten (eg paint/machine coating) or is it a part of a bug or part of the wheat berry. 

Any suggestions of what it might be and how I should handle it would be really appreciated!!!

Thanks in advance!!

 

 

 
Edit: I have an answer from Bob’s Red Mill!!! It’s oxidised bran/germ 😂😂 these guys are seriously amazing - one of the best customer service I’ve ever received. 

So after some research, I found that this is becoming more common due to the way wheat berries are milled. If it’s not insect, then test whether or not it’s magnetic (if it sticks to your fridge then it is) and then there’s concern but if it doesn’t, then there’s a 90% chance it’s oxidised bran or germ and it’s perfectly safe to eat. 😬

 

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

They look big enough that you should be able to sift them out. As to what they are, I have no idea. Could be insect parts going through the mill. I would contact the manufacturer. 

queenbee's picture
queenbee

thanks for you reply Dannielle I’ve reached out to Bob’s Red Mill with the photos, now waiting on their reply :)

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Hi Queenbee not sure where in this wide and wonderful world you are but i suspect waitrose is a give away for the UK. Are the black specks appearing in both the Bob's Red Mill flours? if so then a good chance its coming from your machine, i cant tell from the pictures  what the mixer is , but it could be coming from that especially if its appearing in doughs from 2 different flours. Have you tried a mouth test to see if its food or even bug debris rather than machine fragments (bearings/seals) try making a small dough by hand to see if the specks still  persist that will eliminate your mixer as a source. If  the specks persist you may want to contact the supplier of the flour along with a couple of samples they have extensive test facilities and would be anxious to know if there was a problem. Perhaps try spreading your flour out over a large flat bench area and see if you can detect any specks in the flour  it can easily be scooped back up again. A possibility is Roach poo it looks very similar to the pictures this can have come in the flour. Any way a bit of detective work for you good luck.      

queenbee's picture
queenbee

I’m an Aussie stuck in Hong Kong right now where local whole wheat flour is not an option 😂 

They are appearing in both whole wheat flour and I also thought it might be my machine. However I also make ridiculously unhealthy brioche for myself all the time (the whole wheat options are for my lovely parents) and the black specks don’t appear with their all purpose flour 😩

I have tried to rub against it and use mouth test but have had no success (it doesn’t break when you rub against it, it feels almost like plastic)

I have resorted to sifting and then picking it out by hand - simply because the bran and other parts of the whole wheat can’t be sifted out. I pray to God it’s not roach poo 🙈

Thank you so much for your reply! I’ve contacted Bob’s Red Mill CIA their website and they’ve replied saying it could be part of the wheat berries and asked for photos which I’ve sent since. Now I’m waiting on their reply - will update once I get a reply!! 

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Which state do you normally reside, i am fortunate to live in Perth WA. lets hope you get  a good response from the flour company.

 

queenbee's picture
queenbee

But I couldn’t stand how commercialised it became so I moved up the coast a few years back being being duped into spending time with dad in Hong Kong which resulted to my current situation 😂

As for the flour, they did! It appears to be oxidised bran due to the way it’s milled - 100% ok for consumption just a bit icky appearance-wise

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Excellent good to see they admitted it as a manufacturing problem. i guess its a result of high speed steel roller milling that does produce heat rather the the slower stone grinding. At least you are not going to die from the bread. Hong Kong just 8 hours away from Perth  Normally with a number of flights a day normally and on the same time zone.  Big push on to get stranded Aussies back in time for Christmas just need enough spaces for the 14 days quarantine that is  working really well catching new cases that returning travellers are bringing with them. Hope you make it back soon.

 

queenbee's picture
queenbee

I’m sad to see how the numbers have been up and down and with all the drama regarding quarantine. This is the major reason I haven’t returned home to be honest. I don’t want to be the reason as to why Australia’s numbers are still fluctuating, especially in NSW and VIC. As my situation permits me to have this flexibility, I would rather stay away than to increase the risk of hurting our homeland. It hurts me to see our home is in this situation where we usually pride ourselves in our quarantine efforts but that’s another can of worms. 

Luckily work has been super understanding with how I feel and has let me work remotely for now - until it all settles for me to come home. :) and being able to make bread also makes me less homesick 😂

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Whilst you are there and remedying your homesickness we shall look forward to seeing some of you therapy work, with or without black specks, at least we will know what they are or you could disguise them with a good handfull of black sesame seeds. A good friend of  mine whose sons where living there for a while and one of them marrying a Chinese girl told me that kitchens are quite small as most people tend to eat out rather than cook at home, or at least that was his impression.

Abe's picture
Abe

In a bag of Einkorn flour. Contacted the company and sent them a photo which they requested (looks like the very same thing) and they said it was either husk or wild black oats that can sometimes get into the grain and they're very difficult to remove. They are edible. 

As long as they aren't moving!