The Fresh Loaf

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Beginner question: mimicking different types of flour

francisaugusto's picture

Beginner question: mimicking different types of flour

Hi there,

I came to develop an interest on home mill because I was started to be frustrated with the lack of flour variety in Norway, where I live, or, if I can put it better, with the lack of variety of flours I'd like to use. To find a simple type 1 flour is not easy, and I would like to experiment with some Swiss flours.

Then, while reading about it, I realised that home flour milling is a lot about the nutrition side of it, so I got that.

I understand that home milling requires a lot of experimenting, and also requires a change on recipes.

I wonder if anyone could help me finding guiding material on the following topics, as they are really what I want to achieve:

- I found some almost contradictory texts on the topic of fresh mill vs letting it age in order to get good sourdough rises. Is it possible to get good loaf rises with open crumb with freshly milled flour, or one should really investigate ageing?

- Is there any guide on how to achieve flour similar to known, commercial ones? Is it all about sifting? I am very interested in getting bread flour, as well as some Swiss flour called "Ruchmehl". Or is it unrealistic to pursue these goals, like, it's another type of game?

- Lastly, is there any sifting accessory to the mockmill series? I see that KoMo has a sifting attachment for their machines, but oh boy, the machine and the accessory cost an arm and leg, and I was aiming for a Mockmill 100.

I am perusing the forum topics to try to find some answers to these topics, but I haven't really found something very conclusive (although there was a nice topic discussion on how to mill your own bread flour).

Any tip on those topics or point out to useful guiding/reading material would be greatly appreciated!

Justanoldguy's picture

I have never followed the 'let it age' advice with one exception; I used to keep a quantity of rye sufficient to refresh my starter pre-milled in the refrigerator. My objective in home milling has been to capture the best flavor and optimum nutrition efficiently in my bread, basically a sandwich loaf. My three-year-old grandson prefers "Pa's bread" to commercial loaves and often asks for a slice that he devours unadorned. So I guess I'm at least half way there.

I use a Mockmill attachment to my KA mixer. It and the Mockmill 100 you're considering produce stone ground flours. Very few of the commonly available commercial flours are produced by that method which makes duplicating them difficult for a home miller. As far as I know there's no sifting attachment for a Mockmill. You certainly could manually sift out bran and germ but that would remove many of the nutritional benefits home milling has. Unshifted the flour coming out of your mill will be as close to ruchmehl as you can get. In my opinion duplicating commercial flours is an unrealistic goal principally because you're giving away the benefits that home milling provides.

This is just one opinion. I'm sure there will be others. Good luck.   

francisaugusto's picture

Dear @Justanoldguy,

Thank you so much for sharing your experience. And oh my, if I get my little one to enjoy my bread as your grandson, then I'd call myself an accomplished man! :) She does like some of my sourdough bread, actually, but I am focused on increasing its nutrition value as well as getting to bake bread that tastes good and have a nice texture.

My plan is not to sift out all the bran and germ, but only some, as the flavour might be too strong for the family with 100% whole wheat flour. 

I so wish I could just get the Mockmill attachment for my kitchen machine, a Kenwood Prospero, but it seems that there's no flour mill attachment for this model/line.

Do you get good rise with your home mill flour? 

Justanoldguy's picture

For my purposes, a sandwich loaf baked in a Pullman pan, I get a fine rise. The timing on it is different from a loaf made from commercial flour because I'm using a rye sourdough starter that's given a small boost from IDY about an hour after the dough is started. I'm using a hard white spring wheat, Prairie Gold from Montana Grain, for most of my loaves but even when I use a hard red wheat it doesn't have that bitter edge that most commercial WW loaves have. The main difference of freshly milled from commercial flours is the need for higher hydration and longer time for the flour to fully hydrate. Once you've taken those factors into account it behaves much the same way as factory flour --- until the bread touches your tongue. 

francisaugusto's picture

You guys are really inspiring! Thanks a lot for taking time to share these things.

I've bitten the bullet and just ordered a KoMo miller with a sieve attachment. Can't wait to use it when it arrives!

bigcrusty's picture

Dear Francisauguto,

I've been milling flours for 7 years now and originally thought I could make a 1st Clear Flour for Sour Rye Bread.  I have a Nutrimill which gives me a non-Coarse flour.  I used a #30 and 50 sieves to do this but I found it wasn't worth the time. ( it was hours to get a Kg. of something close.  I mill my rye and whole wheat flours along with Spelt, Kamut and Buchwheat once in a while.  I make about 7 different types of bread.  

I located in the Midwest and have access to grains from a local farmer.  I buy 50 lbs. sacks of rye and wheat and 10 lbs. sacks of semolina.  I buy white bread flour from the store and have some choice but not a lot.  To produce a white flour from a whole wheat requires a commercial grade sifter and simply isn't worth the cost.

I agree with the prior comment.  Milling whole grain is about nutrition and taste.  If you can get a decent Hi Protein Bread flour and mill your own whole grain flours you should be in good shape.  I've also never aged my flour.  My grandkids devour my breads as do my friends and neighbors so it's not an incentive to try to mimic commercial flour. Do you have any access to German flours in Norway.  Their bread tradition is strong and varied.  Having had German bakery bread in Austria and Germany I can attest to that.

I also have a mill attachment for my Anskarum Mixer which I use to yield Rye chops and coarse flour for my Dark Pumpernikel bread.  Good Luck with your milling and baking.  Contact me if you want some recipes.

Big Crusty 

francisaugusto's picture

Wow, thanks a lot for sharing your experience!

You see, one would expect to find good flour in Norway due its proximity to Germany, but that's not the case. I do find some good type 1 and Manitoba flours from Italy, though, and that's what is keeping me going. There's also some good flour from some wheat varieties from Sweden that people praise a lot, but I didn't have the best results with them.

I can buy 25kg of Emmer, Rye, Spelt and Wheat, and that's what I am aiming for.

I might save up a bit and the the KoMo model with the sifter, as I really would like to get some sifted flour to get a better rise - but again, do you have a good rise and nice crumb without sifting any of your flour? I know that the main reason to use home mill is not exactly about getting a better rise or open crumb, but I would like to do something to get the best of both worlds, if that's realistic at all.

And I'll surely get back to you about those recipes! :) Today our family is really happy with my loaf made with emmer, rye, tipo 1 and Manitoba flours, and I imagine that going home mill will change a bit our paradigm, but I am really willing to try it.