The Fresh Loaf

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Sparse documentation on 100% freshly milled breads... Reason?

Kooky's picture

Sparse documentation on 100% freshly milled breads... Reason?


Having gotten a stone mill at home recently and having found a source for organic wheat berries that cost less than non-organic store bought flour, I tend to have the desire to utilize as much freshly milled flour as I can, for whatever health benefits may be there as well as cost effectiveness.

It seems though, that there is so little documentation about recipes and tricks. Surely breads made with all freshly milled flour are closer to traditional and ancient breads. Most recipes I find use 100g freshly milled flour, or something similar. Is there a reason? Is it simply not possible to make breads we are accustomed to and that can wow us in the modern age utilizing all freshly milled flour? Similar to how ancient beers would not be as desirable as the beers modern techniques can provide (this is a bit derivative since aging beer can be good and this doesn't necessarily correlate to the quality/freshness of ingredients, but it's close enough).

Is this the reason? Or is it uncharted territory still that hasn't gained momentum in the scene? Am I pretty much on my own left to experiment and only find out what is and isn't possible relative to the specific grains that I have and how they react? I've got a 100% freshly milled sourdough loaf about to go in the fridge overnight before baking tomorrow. The sourdough loaf was a YouTube recipe I followed as closely as I could utilizing some freshly milled flour and mostly store bought, lots of differences along the way, I basically winged it the entire way except for the percentages.

I did sift a good bit of the bran out from the majority percentage flour. So far I've done 100% freshly milled blueberry muffins, and 100% freshly milled banana bread. Definitely a lack of a rise on the muffins, probably the best banana bread I've ever had.

Next up I'd like to work on a 100% F.M. buckwheat loaf (maybe 50-100g buckwheat)... If this is possible. If I have to temper my expectations as to how I can utilize fresh flour I will.


barryvabeach's picture

Yes, when you look at the number of people that bake bread, the percentage that use 100 home milled is quite small, and when you break that down into particular grains, yeast v. sourdough, sifting v. none sifting, the groups grow smaller still.

  I have often thought that the reason for the small population of home millers is that to to into bread baking, for those they just want to dip their toe into the pool, they may start with a bread machine.  Others will go with yeasted bread with a mixer they already have, so the out of pocket cost to get going is quite small.   The leap to a mill can be quite expensive.  Before the Mockmill came around ,  you could either buy an impact mill for $250 or so, or a stone mill , which started in the $400's and went up substantially.  That is a fairly large amount to spend just to see if your were interested in home milling.  So that is a deterrent.  

I don't sift, and find that I am not able to achieve the lightness that I see in AP or BF loaves, but enjoy the taste much more.  While I can get a fairly open crumb, you have to get everything spot on. 

BTW,  I use a soft white for my banana bread and banana muffins, and they come out very moist and sweet. 

If you are looking for info, here is a good place to start.  Some like the Sourdough School by Vanessa Kimbell.  Here is a good description of the process for home milled

charbono's picture

Others disagree, but I have not noticed a difference between fresh-milled and reasonably fresh, store-bought flour, assuming granulation is similar.  Of course, every lot will have a little different absorption.


Kooky's picture

I too used a soft white wheat berry for my banana bread. I topped it with some leftover bran for a nice health crust on top.

Regarding consistency between store bought and freshly milled, I would love for that to be the case but it's been the opposite for me. I think maybe I jumped too far in the deep end by trying 100% F.M. sourdough but I simply needed a loaf to make croutons out of for a dish. I may have to purchase my first sourdough ever or just go back to my regular 400g King Arthur bread flour + 100g freshly milled hard red berries.

My blueberry muffins were completely unsifted, it resulted in an almost cornbread like texture but they were a big hit, they disappeared in a single day which is unusual, as did the banana bread.

After lamination and coil folds tonight, when I went to shape it, the dough lost a huge amount of volume, I'm guessing due to the bran so easily destroying the gluten structure? This dough ended up being extremely wet, I barely added any extra water, 1-2 TBSP when I added the salt because it seemed a bit stiff. I wasn't sure whether to let it rise more at room temp or just salvage whatever may be left, so I ended up sticking it in the fridge. Quite a learning experience I must say, when nothing goes particularly well and there's no real information to fall back on or verify against.

I might have to do a medium sift every time for all the flours, there's still a solid amount of bran left even after I sift with the medium fine strainer. I sifted the hard white berries, and I left the hard red and spelt whole.


Edit: thanks for that link... I'm thinking the solution I needed after about 10 seconds of reading = freshly milled must have such a high nutrient content for yeast that it ferments rapidly! As in many magnitudes faster.

justkeepswimming's picture

Fom my experience, fresh milled wheat does ferment more quickly, especially in a warmer environment (like my kitchen this summer, lol). Add a little fresh milled rye and it really takes off.


Yippee's picture


I use a unique sourdough starter to make high-quality 100% freshly ground whole-grain bread. If you check my blog, you will see the fantastic results of applying the new technique I recently learned to all my bread. Try this technique; its "magic" will amaze you.


P.S. I didn't sift the flour in any 100% whole-grain bread that I've made so far.

idaveindy's picture

Be advised that buckwheat has no gluten, and it isn't wheat. Hence it will be difficult to make a "loaf" out of 100% buckwheat.  It can be used as part of gluten-free bread, or even as part of regular wheat bread, but you'll need a pre-tested formula/recipe for it. Designing your own recipe for it from scratch would take a lot of trial and error.

Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book is all whole wheat recipes. You may find inspiration there. But it is not specific to home-milled.

There are 3 books on Amazon about home-milled flour, but none of those 3 have really good reviews.

Kooky's picture

My loaf turned out relatively well, I used 3/4 cup buckwheat, usually I use grams. I know it was irresponsible but it's what I did since these flours weigh differently, I wanted to hit a volume instead.

It did end up getting a bit wrinkly as it cooled, I probably should've let it cool in the clay maker I used. I think the rapid cooling from high clay heat to wire rack shrunk it too fast. Oh well. This was NOT freshly milled flour. I was making this for someone and didn't want to ruin it. Plus it was my first time baking with buckwheat (I've made other things using buckwheat flour, pancakes, crepes, etc.). Freshly milled flour is going to be a slow burn for me. Due to the price, and the fact I can compost failures, I will be burning through the grains, but I presume it will take a very long time to develop the know-how it requires.

Sorry, I should've said that I want to make a 100% freshly milled loaf, but the grains/product I use are not the focus. I am willing to use anything I freshly grind. Ideally the successful loaf will just be 1/2 freshly milled hard white berries, 1/2 freshly milled hard red berries, it's a pretty basic spot to start. I think I will sift once and re-mill the bran I get. I am going to make a new sourdough starter from scratch utilizing all freshly ground organic flour. My current starter has seen about 5+ different brands of flour since occasionally the stores have run dry of what I had been using.


Here's the 100% freshly milled sourdough loaves, not remotely good, but they weren't a complete failure. The essence of the flavors are unbelievable I must say. Quite dense and nonexistent oven spring, however I over fermented by many hours due to not knowing how quickly fresh milled ferments.

clazar123's picture

I bake 100% fresh milled hard red spring wheat loaves all the time. The trick with ANY whole grain in regards to hydration-whether it is freshly milled, aged or commercially milled- is not only the correct amount of water BUT THE CORRECT TIME TO ABSORB IT. All the flour has to have a time to soak up the liquid completely. I often build in a sponge,biga, preferment, retard or autolyse.I use natural levain and commercial yeast or both.

Also, with freshly milled flour, the dough tends to proof faster and can overproof in the blink of an eye. Freshly milled flour has always been involved when I had a dough failure due to enzyme activity and natural levain. Made ok pancakes, though. Nothing goes to waste!

My favorite way to make a WW sandwich loaf is with freshly milled hard red spring wheat (not sifted), a preferment, a good mix to develop a windowpane, and then the slightly sticky dough goes into the refrig for an overnight rest. By morning time, it is slightly tacky and usually risen to double and ready to pan. If not, complete the rise on the counter before shaping and panning. Voila. Soft, sandwich loaf that doesn't crumble.

WW baking has a few techniques that are critical to obtaining a properly fermented non-crumbly loaf, whether it is a lean loaf or an enriched loaf. Adequate hydration, a soaking time so all the branny bits get soft and won't rob the crumb moisture after a bake, kneading to window pane and attention to not overproofing . Any technique to increase the gelatinous starch component helps. I'm talking about a tang zhong or yudane or even using a little rye. Making a hybrid mix with AP flour increases the starchy content.

I went to freshly milled WW because the taste was incredibly,deliciously different. To me it is a sweet,grassy flavor to the loaf. IMHO, store bought WW flour tastes mildly bitter and requires some sweetener.

So experiment and have fun.

Kooky's picture

I must say although this is the most disappointing in size, shape, aesthetics, crumb, etc. sourdough loaf I've ever made since my very first loaf, it has had the best flavor of any bread I've ever tasted. A world of difference, it was remarkable really, the first bite I took was astounding. So delectable, but I had also never cut into a warm fresh sourdough. I figured it was so small due to losing all its structure I'd eat the whole thing and I did.

You're right about the overproofing. That was my issue yesterday, I think I'd rather stick an under proofed loaf in the oven with adequate steam than these overproofed tiny loaves. In no time it went from terrible mass, to looking good, to wow this looks like I should put it in the oven, to I shaped it and it basically lost all its structure and still has to sit in the fridge for 11 hours according to the recipe... From the first link in here it seems like a 3 hour bulk including all the kneading is already pushing it. I started autolyse at around 10am and it didn't go in the fridge until 10pm. Had to be around 6-7 hours with starter added.

I am following that recipe as we speak, I just started my levain. I have great confidence in that recipe, those pictures are scrumptious. I think I will use a mix of hard white berries and hard red, probably less red.

I suppose with commercial everything, it always behaves the same. Very rarely will there be variables in a recipe outside of temperature and humidity. With freshly milled, everything is a variable...

justkeepswimming's picture

First, welcome to TFL! And nice looking bread you have there! 

I dove into the deep end of the home-milling pool a little over a year ago. While most of my loaves are not Instagram worthy, they certainly taste wonderful and are much better than anything I have purchased at the store. 

Books: Initially I dove into Peter Reinharts "Whole Grain Bread" book - but found after just a few months, I wasn't making anything out of that book. I discovered several more simple approaches, so really haven't recommended it (though he does have a wealth of information about whole grains, fresh flour, and some different bread making approaches, if you are interested. A Kindle sample is a nice free way to check it out....)

I second Dave's (aka idaveindy) suggestion re: Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book (thank you Dave, for pointing me to that a while back!). While not sourdough specific, she has a lot of great information and recipes that have been very helpful to me as a newbie. This book has turned into my favorite/go-to book in recent months.

Videos: There are quite a few out there. The one that really helped me most when I started milling at home is Elly's Everyday Wholegrain Sourdough youtube channel. She uses a Mockmill, and has the simplest approach to making 100% whole grain sourdough that I have found so far. She is very creative, and enjoys playing with a variety of grains, makes sandwich bread in a pan as well as artisan loaves or whatever suits her. Her videos were what got me to relax and enjoy the process while learning how to improve the whole time. 

Hopefully something in all that is useful to you. Best wishes on your home milling discoveries!


Kooky's picture

Thanks, I suppose the nomenclature throws me for a loop. Does whole grain automatically imply freshly milled? Is there really a difference in use case? (i.e. baking with freshly milled whole grain vs. store bought whole grain)

When I think of whole grain from the store, it's usually a thick brown flour. However, whole grain now apparently can mean even my hard white berry flour with all the parts intact, as well as the "classic whole grain" flour, which are just hard red berries... So I guess every berry can be whole grain, not just what constitutes what most think of as buying whole grain flour from the grocery store.

Lastly, the difference between whole grain and whole wheat... Whole wheat is just a branch of whole grain? As in it uses whole wheat, whereas whole grain encompasses everything that is grains, rice, corn, etc....

Sorry, I'm new to this even though I've been a health-food nut most of my life. This is new, exciting territory for me. I've been baking since a bit before the pandemic but I spend almost all day thinking about it now.

justkeepswimming's picture

Ok so I am not an expert, but have learned a few things that might help. Try this for starters:

Basically any flour (wheat, spelt, oats, barley, buckwheat, rye, corn, rice, etc etc etc) is considered whole grain as long as all it's "parts" (bran germ and endosperm) are included. A few examples: whole wheat flour, whole oat flour, whole spelt flour all have the bran, germ, and endosperm. Most rice flour is from white rice (bran removed), unless it says brown rice flour - then it's whole grain rice flour. 

Each type of grain has particular properties that tend to make it useful for specific applications. The properties of hard wheat  (red or white) make it really useful for baking bread. Soft wheat is often better for pastries. Rye makes great bread, but needs a little different technique to do so. Othee grains are great for cookies, porridge, flat breads (i.e. corn tortillas) and as an addition to wheat bread, but may lack the properties required to capture gas (a quality needed to make bread rise).

Back to the video from Elly - she mills a variety of grains. Mostly wheat, but she also incorporates spelt, or a little oats, or buckwheat (which is not wheat) into her breads. I think the thing that appealed to me is she is a home baker who enjoys experimenting and seeing how things turn out. And she makes baking sourdough bread from home milled flour look really easy. Much easier than what I had been doing with the Peter Reinhart approach.

Oh and I don't know where you are located. (US vs ? If you add that to your profile, people on here can make more helpful comments specific to you). Grain has different properties depending on where it is grown. Wheat in the UK or Australia is different than US or Canadian wheat in strength/protein content and more. As you read, you will come across terms like falling numbers, ash content, and more "stuff" that may be of interest - or not. All you really need to know is a) what works in your kitchen, and b) what you like to eat. 😊

Hope something in that helps! 


Kooky's picture

Thanks, I will be letting you know how the sourdough bake goes tomorrow from the very firs think in this thread...

1 hour autolyse, 1 hour bulk ferment after adding starter... unheard of!

Followed by a 12 hour cold retard in fridge. That is the entire opposite end of the spectrum as to what I tried today. Once this dough comes together after adding the starter I'm going to pop it into the Ankarsrum for a good 10 minutes to develop gluten without any sort of folding. The Ankasrum at low speeds is gentler than I can be, I imagine, a bit of a squishing and rotating motion.

Yes, this too is a rabbit hole. Just like coffee/espresso. I've picked my start and stop points there, I know when I've had enough. With bread I feel like I'm willing to be a bit more scientific than I am with coffee... Extraction levels with refractometers, pH levels, grinder distribution tests via sieves... With coffee that stuff isn't very intriguing once I hit that wall but I think I'd enjoy it with bread.

Slipstream's picture

When flour is freshly milled it is actually not at an optimum state for making bread. To get stronger gluten bonds the flour has to oxidase for a while, either naturally or chemically. This is why there is a marked difference between a bag from the shop and what you churned out from your mill. It’s a bit of A or B but as long as you are judging your loaf on the qualities that matter to you then that is what is important.

Also, commercial mills put a lot of effort into measuring and keeping flour at a consistent protein level. Your wheat berries most likely fluctuate from bag to bag. 

Kooky's picture

I've only had one bag of berries per each type so far, 25lbs and 50lbs. Whenever in the next few months I use it all I will determine that when I get new bags. I will take the fluctuation, freshness and easy access to organic berries in lieu of mechanical consistency. Though I'm sure I'll always have a 10lb bag of store bought bread flour on hand.


So when people back in the day traditionally made a miche bread to last them for a while, did they let the flours age first?

Here's the sourdough utilizing the "Fighting Gravity" recipe. 100% whole grain (hard white berries, hard red berries), freshly milled directly into autolyse.

No ear present like in the recipe's pictures... :(

It turned out quite well, the process went very well with little stress, super fast room temperature bulk and an overnight cold retard. It held shape better, I probably could've incorporated more tension. The issue for me was I turned the heat down because I made the recipe for 1 loaf instead of 4. I think it would've benefited from the higher heat levels due to the decrease in temp after adding the steam. So I didn't get the nice dark crust like I prefer. Regardless, a quick fermentation here was the key to grasping my initial failures. Onto experimentation phases!


barryvabeach's picture

Looks nice to me.  Love the Ank in the background.  

Kooky's picture

I probably should've made this thread in the whole grain section... Regardless, I am wondering how the PiPs from the "Fighting Gravity" post got such an amazing ear and spring. As I said I probably should've kept the temp higher after steaming, but that doesn't have a whole lot to do with the ear. Perhaps I need to cut a bit deeper with this dough?