The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Mockmill 100, high extraction flour & commercial bread flour

love4000's picture
love4000

Mockmill 100, high extraction flour & commercial bread flour

Hi,

I recently bought a Mockmill 100 and set the mill's stones to just barely not touching (I'll call this setting 0). The resulting flour is significantly more coarse than commercial bread flour.

I bought a #40 sifter to try and make high extraction flour, and it did sift off 20% of the weight of the flour. However I tried baking two identical loafs of bread side by side, but one with King Arthur bread flour, and one with the high extraction flour I made, and the King Arthur flour was much fluffier.

I then tried pushing the mill further by setting it so that the stones are pushed up against each other, and would turn it off right when the grains were done so the stones wouldn't be grinding away. The resulting flour was just like commercially milled flour, super fine, except I couldn't help but feel like this was misuse of the mill. The flour got really hot, there was a different smell in the air, and setting 0 had now moved, which tells me some of the stone might have ground away, or that the screw that holds the adjustment knob in place got pushed back. I made cookies with this batch of flour since there wasn't much, and the cookies looked distinctly more like those made with commercial flour rather than a previous batch I had made with setting 0 high extraction flour.

Am I missing a part of the process, or is it not currently possible to achieve flour of the same consistency (and also perhaps neutral taste, if desired every now and again) of commercially milled flour? I would love to make fluffy bread with home milled flour. Perhaps I'm just not good enough at bread baking yet?

Thanks!

headupinclouds's picture
headupinclouds

I was just revisiting this practice after comparing my home-milled wheat berries from my MockMill Lino 200 with a bag of stone-ground flour from the same wheat and seller.  I noticed significant differences in the dough feel and the final bread.  The commercially milled flour performs better, which isn't a big surprise, but I'd like to try to narrow the gap.  The fresh milled version of this particular wheat seems to be very active and is more prone to breaking down than the bag of flour I bought, which makes direct comparison harder, but I can tell a fair amount from the feel of the dough.  I had been experimenting with this brief-pause-then-set-to-negative-two approach a while ago but backed away from the practice due to the concerns you mention.  I recently came across this note about a milling workshop that included Paul Lebeau of MockMill.

https://www.sourdoughhome.com/grain-mill-test-results/

However, I still wasn't 100% sold.  And then I went to a class at Central Milling in Petaluma, CA.  Guy  Frenkel taught the class, Paul Lebeau of MockMill was there, and Craig Ponsford helped immensely.  It was a great class.  And I learned I wasn't milling the flour finely enough.  My approach was to move the stones of my MockMill closer and closer until they touched and then back off one step to mill flour.  Guy started there, but when he started milling he moved the stones at least two steps closer together.  The grain and flour keeps the stones from rubbing, so this isn't a problem - it's genius!  Before, my flour had a slightly gritty quality, now it feels silky or like velvet, and my loaves are getting better.

This technique would probably work with KoMo or other stone mills, but not with the KitchenAid and is completely inapplicable to micronizer mills.

Example: https://youtu.be/SS4GigDY630

It does produce very hot flour and I've been using a funnel for intake restriction as a remedy, which reduces the temperature considerably.  I've also read it will produce a more uniform product.  For small batches of flour, this is just barely manageable with two hands, so I'm currently trying to find something to mount above the mill that can produce a fine but constant stream of wheat berries or coarse flour in the case of multi-stage milling. 

FWIW, the MockMill FAQ has this to say about temperature:

The flour temperature depends on the amount and fineness of the grist: the finer, the warmer!

We work with a scientist who stores almost all known mills from around the world in his university laboratory and whose milling results he regularly tests. He bakes with the flours heated differently by the milling. His result: Up to a temperature of 60 ° C he could not find any disadvantages for the baking process in any of the tests. The bread volume and taste also remained the same up to a temperature of 60 ° C during milling.

This is much higher than the 110 F threshold I was previously adhering to, so I've become a little more relaxed about this.

Your high extraction flour is not going to be anywhere close to King Arthur bread flour, but I would expect it can be fairly close to stone-ground whole wheat flour you can buy commercially.  The #40 sieve is still quite coarse.  The commercial stone-ground flour I bought passes fairly well through a #60 with only a few flecks of bran remaining.  I have a 30cm stack of #30/40/50 sieves and am picking up a #60 and #70 for additional testing.  My hunch is that finer flour is more advantageous than I was originally thinking, especially in the context of 100% whole grain bakes.

TFL users bwraith and proth5 have a number of relevant blog posts that you might find of interest:

Also, of interesting  (discussion):

This makes 2 attempts total with tempering, so I'm thinking I have a long way to go, but tempering and staged grinding made a difference over earlier attempts.

love4000's picture
love4000

Wow, thank you for such a thorough response. Very eloquent writing too!

If Paul Lebeau recommends a setting of -2, then I suppose that can be considered as a minimum and I don't have to worry about wearing out my mill. I'll also try using a funnel, and it's nice to know that hot flour may not be as big of a deal as I thought. I've never heard of tempering wheat, perhaps I'll try that once I bake some more bread. I'll also look into finer sieves.

I read those forum posts you linked, and it seems like apart from tempering they were experimenting with multi-pass milling and sifting. Has there been any empirical progress or consensus among home millers since then as for what process yields good results? As in, number of milling passes, number of sifting passes, is it mill -> sift -> mill -> sift... or mill -> mill -> sift -> sift? As of now my process would simply be taking wheat berries straight from the bag, milling them at a coarse setting, then milling them at setting -2, sifting that once with a #40, and then making dough from that.

Also, regarding the Mockmill specifically, I tried milling on setting 0 and then subsequently on a negative setting, but I noticed that the flour wouldn't fall down into the milling chamber and the stones would start to grind on each other. I had some success shoving the flour down with my fingers, but that doesn't seem like a very robust solution. This makes me wonder if multi-pass milling is even an option below a certain coarseness. I'll try using a funnel tomorrow.

Thanks again!

headupinclouds's picture
headupinclouds

> If Paul Lebeau recommends a setting of -2, then I suppose that can be considered as a minimum and I don't have to worry about wearing out my mill

I think it is still very important to wait until the stones are buffered before lowering the grind setting, as you suggested previously, and to reverse the process once you hear the flour begin to empty out.  This process requires some dexterity, and some kind of mounted flour dispenser will help considerably.  I would also like to have more of a physical guide or stopper to make the -2 setting more repeatable between runs, instead of the -2 + or - 0.5 that is likely happening when I attempt this by eye in each session.  Having a repeatable setting will make back-to-back bakes more comparable.  At such a fine setting a very slight difference can have a significant impact on flour properties, which is something I recall from discussions between proth5 and bwraith about their experiments.

> I'll also try using a funnel, and it's nice to know that hot flour may not be as big of a deal as I thought.

Hot flour is still a problem, but I'm slightly less concerned about it than I was previously.  Without reducing the intake, I believe the temperature can exceed their recommended threshold.  The funnel helps, but I haven't found a large enough funnel to contain the 500g I typically mill, so it requires refilling several times, all while making sure the mill doesn't empty while at the finer setting.  It also clogs, due to the clumping properties of flour, so it requires constantly tapping, shaking, and/or agitating to get a constant flow.  You can see the problem.  You can also refrigerate, which adds additional scheduling constraints, but I have read that it leads to additional fragmentation of bran, which is problematic for bolting.  I've also seen several academic articles that suggest finer bran particles are also ultimately detrimental to oven spring.

> I've never heard of tempering wheat, perhaps I'll try that once I bake some more bread.

I don't have a grain moisture meter, as they are quite expensive and I would likely use it once for every bucket of flour I purchase.  I found THIS THREAD to be helpful for some ballpark tempering guidelines.

> I'll also look into finer sieves.

related discussion: https://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/67807/recommendation-hand-crank-sifter-high-extraction-flour

> I tried milling on setting 0 and then subsequently on a negative setting, but I noticed that the flour wouldn't fall down into the milling chamber and the stones would start to grind on each other.  I had some success shoving the flour down with my fingers, but that doesn't seem like a very robust solution

This is part of the challenge.  I also used my finger to avoid clumping in the hopper.  It works, but I agree that a more repeatable and hands-free solution would be worthwhile.

I made a post looking for ideas here:

https://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/67828/grainflour-mill-flow-restriction-device

I was hoping to find something I could buy to repurpose for the application, but it might require building something custom.

 

https://mechamechanisms.com/grain-material-dispenser-1

 Absurd, right?  Maybe a hacked fish food dispenser?

> Has there been any empirical progress or consensus among home millers since then as for what process yields good results?

I don't think so.  I've rarely seen a consensus on anything related to baking, and I think the same goes for milling.  I would like to find more consensus on this, or at least find more peer-reviewed articles on the subject from those who are able to test it more thoroughly.  I am interested in this, so perhaps we can keep the conversation going.  Part of the problem is that it is very difficult to test and compare something like this quantitatively in our home kitchens with the limited scale we tend to bake for home consumption.  We could do side-by-side bakes for different grinds of the same flour with a similar process, however, each grind may call for a different process for optimal results.

Here is a post by @danayo (and follow up posts by a number of other experienced bakers) where he was exploring 5 stage milling on his Komo model:

https://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/62154/oven-spring-possible-miche