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Aging Oxidizing Freshly Ground Whole Wheat Flour

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

Aging Oxidizing Freshly Ground Whole Wheat Flour

I recently purchased "Bread; A Bakers Book of Techniques and Recipes."

The entirety of page 8 is devoted to "Oxidizing and Overoxidizing."

The gist of his argument was that "Green Flour" needed oxidation, and over-kneading produced too much oxidation.

On page A-17 he went on to say that it took about "3 weeks or so to stabilize the baking quality of flour."

Benzoyl Peroxide or Mauturox is used to bleach (oxidize) flour and eliminate the 3 week waiting period.

Another oxidizer, Potassium Bromate, is banned in Europe.

Lastly, Ascorbic Acid has been used, producing good results when used in the correct amounts. The mills add about 1/4 teaspoon per hundred weights of flour.

===================================

This has been discussed before:

https://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/2165/flour-open-discussion-about-aging-and-enriching-flour

https://forum.breadtopia.com/t/aging-freshly-milled-flour/19015

https://bakerpedia.com/processes/aged-flour/

https://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/37950/purposely-oxidized-my-bread

====================================

I don't find anecdotal accounts of bread that "turns out fine" after milling and baking the same day credible evidence that better bread isn't made from aged flour. I suspect that flour with an oxidizing agent like fava bean flour or ascorbic acid as an amendment performs better.

I know from personal experience that I don't like the results of baking with freshly ground whole wheat flour.

______________________

Edit 10/27/2022: Conclusion: I think there is consensus that we should only grind flour on an as-needed basis, knead a little longer and perhaps add a pinch of ascorbic (not citric) acid to optimize results using freshly ground flour.

 

 

gavinc's picture
gavinc

I get good results with home stone ground wheat, spelt and rye. I mill the grain the day before baking.

Examples:

Debra Wink's 100% whole-wheat sandwich bread | The Fresh Loaf

Honey Spelt Bread | The Fresh Loaf 75% whole spelt

I've hit the maximum capacity of my oven. | The Fresh Loaf (only 10% whole wheat)

Community Bake - NY Jewish Bakery/Deli style Rye breads | The Fresh Loaf (40% whole-rye

 

 

Yippee's picture
Yippee

All the 100% whole-grain loaves I baked were made immediately after the flour was freshly ground. These loaves were soft, airy, and delicious. I believe the Concentrated Lactic Acid Sourdough (CLAS) used in these bakes contributed to the good results.

Yippee

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

I use a similar method and keep the acidic 100% hydrated sour in the fridge. I use it in 30 to 50% rye breads I make both with and without fermented red rye.

I am addressing Wheat in this post as gluten formation is not the same with rye.

Yippee's picture
Yippee
Isand66's picture
Isand66

I use all my flour freshly milled and I don’t believe for a second that you need to age your flour.  I have read in the past that if you don’t use fresh milled flour right away it is necessary to let it age but not the opposite.  I have made plenty of breads with 100% fresh milled flours and no added gluten etc.

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

I've read that too (the freshly ground comment you made) not sure how or why that would be the case.

I went to great lengths to provide documentation, going so far as citing page numbers and links, to question the fresh flour/oxidation information that I've encountered along my baking journey.

Supposedly, this is why flour was bleached, I don't know if it is true or not. I've caught plenty of false, misleading or outright incorrect information in the baking books I've bought.

An example is in "The Rye Baker" by S. Ginsberg: Where he mistakenly claims that Red Rye Malt can be made by toasting Malted Rye. When it is, in fact, an extended fermentation of the malted Rye that brings out its extraordinary qualities. Toasting is a very poor substitute for the real thing.

It could very well be that this, and the subsequent post and articles I've read are mistaken as well. I simply have no idea.

Isand66's picture
Isand66

I only know from my own experience.  Some people have also tempered the grains which I forgot what the actual process is but I try not to make things overly complicated.

Yippee's picture
Yippee

Here's how to make red rye malt the right way at home:

https://youtu.be/CTa19hYag4Q

http://brotgost.blogspot.com/2019/06/red-rye-malt.html

Yippee 

 

alcophile's picture
alcophile

I, too, have wondered why Ginsberg got the red rye malt wrong. He has done a lot of research on Russian and Baltic breads and I'm surprised he did not mention that it is a fermented product, not just a toasted malt. The fermented product is not readily available in the US, but he could have mentioned that the toasted rye malt is only a (poor) substitute for the real thing when the real thing is unavailable.

Not to pile on Ginsberg, but another ingredient that is wrong in the book is cumin. My research into this points to a mis-translation of other languages' word for caraway as cumin in English. Most (all?) of the internet translators give an incorrect translation. I don't believe that cumin is a common spice in northern Europe; caraway, on the other hand, is very common. Other books (Reinhart's Whole Grain Bread, for one) also seem to use cumin in northern European breads. I think this is an error, but I am more than willing to be corrected.

There are other quantity errors in the recipe ingredient tables that have caused some difficulty for me. I wish there was an errata for the book.

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

Alcophile: The cumin they are referring to is Black Cumin, also known as Nigella Sativa. All the "Russian Rye" breads sold near me include it. I have some and it adds a very distinctive taste. It's not the cumin you use for Chili.

alcophile's picture
alcophile

I agree that the seeds of Nigella sativa are often used in breads.

However, there is still the issue of incorrect translation to cumin instead of caraway. Part of the problem lies in the fact that caraway and cumin are related and have similar roots in some languages, e.g., Polish kmin (cumin) and kminek (caraway).

Here are some examples from The Rye Baker, but I have seen the problem in other books, often in Swedish recipes.

Cumin Rye (Chleb Sandomierski); it is based on the recipe on the Adam Piekarz website:

https://adampiekarz.blogspot.com/2014/02/chleb-sandomierski.html

The built-in translator in Edge mishandles the word kminek:


The same problem occurs in the Zakopane Buttermilk Rye (Chleb Zakopiański z Czarnuszką) which uses both caraway and czarnuszką:

https://adampiekarz.blogspot.com/2013/12/chleb-zakopianski-z-czarnuszka.html

Here is a passage from Wikipedia (Sweden) that neatly summarizes the confusion (except the translator is confused):

Kummin skall inte förväxlas med spiskummin (Cuminum cyminum), vars smak är helt annorlunda, även om båda kan användas i exempelvis kryddost. Det förekommer att spiskummin felaktigt kallas kummin, till exempel i recept. En orsak till att sådan förväxling ibland sker är att det engelska namnet för spiskummin är cumin. Vanlig kummin heter caraway på engelska. Även franskans cumin, spanskans comino och nederländska komijn skall översättas som spiskummin, medan tyskans Kümmel (Wiesenkümmel) i tyska recept är lika med vanlig kummin.

Den ej närmare besläktade ranunkelväxten Nigella sativa kallas svartkummin (kalonji) på svenska, särskilt som krydda.

Cumin should not be confused with cumin (Cuminum cyminum), whose taste is completely different, although both can be used in, for example, spice cheese. It occurs that cumin is mistakenly called cumin, for example, in recipes. One reason why such confusion sometimes occurs is that the English name for cumin is cumin. Common cumin is called caraway in English. French cumin, Spanish comino and Dutch komijn are also to be translated as cumin, while German Kümmel (Wiesenkümmel) in German recipes is equal to ordinary cumin.

The unrelated ranuncle plant Nigella sativa is called black cumin (kalonji) in Swedish, especially as a spice.

 Maybe the use of proper botanical nomenclature in recipes could eliminate the confusion.

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

czarnuszka is most likely Nigella Sativa (Black Cumin) found in Zakopane Buttermilk Rye? Oops, I just noticed that the translator got that one correct.

Yes, using botanical names would be easier in most cases, but a little confusing in others where several different botanical names are commonly used interchangeably as the same spice, think cinnamon.

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

I just baked 3 loaves of Whole Wheat Levain yesterday, with flour milled minutes before making the dough.  The dough was wonderful, and the loaves turned out beautifully.  Just another "anecdotal account" of bread that "turns out fine" after milling and baking the same day. :)  There are quite a few of these as the comments you have already gotten indicate, but likely they are not easy to find with search.  Try following danni3113 if you want to see a great many more such bakes.  She always mills her grain right before she makes her dough, and her loaves are always beautiful!

I also feed my mother starter with home-milled whole wheat and BRM Dark Rye, so I keep milled flour on hand for that.  My experience has taught me that this must be a couple of weeks old if I want to use it in any significant quantity for bread.  Small quantities up to about 15% or so in 2kg of dough works out fine, but as things go up above that ~15% level the dough starts to get cantankerous, until this flour has "aged", (oxidized?) properly.  I think [the dough gets bucky] was how Daniel Wing put it in "The Bread Builders", the first "bread book" I ever read. 

As a result of my experience I have formed the habit of milling fresh and using immediately for breads based on whole grains, and using up the extra I always mill anyway for starter maintenance and in breads with small quantities of whole grain added for flavor nuances.

Hopefully this information helps you in some way.
OldWoodenSpoon

 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

OWS, is this a correct interpretation of your comment:  "Home-milled flour needs to be used the same day its milled or else aged for at least 2 weeks"  ?

(That was my take-away from a previous thread on the subject. )

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

I would hesitate to call it a "rule", and I suppose there is room to equivocate about how "the same day" is interpreted, but yes.  That is how I view it based on my experience, with my mill and the grain I use. 

That's about all the equivocation I can force into two sentences. :)
OldWoodenSpoon

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

To "old woodsman"

"I also feed my mother starter with home-milled whole wheat and BRM Dark Rye, so I keep milled flour on hand for that.  My experience has taught me that this must be a couple of weeks old if I want to use it in any significant quantity for bread. "

Please explain what you are talking about here. It appears you used aged flour for something. I just can't make out what you are using it for.

Your starter?

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

I don't intentionally age my flour.  The aging results from my habit of milling more than I need for a given bake, so I have leftovers to feed my starter.  I don't care if the flour I feed my starter is "properly aged" or not.

If ...
     I decide to bake a whole grain bread like the mentioned Whole Wheat Levain,
AND if I have enough already milled flour to fulfill the need for the bake,
AND if that flour is at least 14 days old, I'll use it for my dough. 

The for this is reason stock rotation though, not any specific targeting of aged flour.  If that flour is of insufficient quantity, or has not been aged for long enough to behave itself in a dough, I'll mill more fresh flour specifically for the intended bake.

Again, I hope it helps in some way
OldWoodenSpoon

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

"or has not been aged for long enough to behave itself in a dough."

What do you mean by "aged for long enough to behave itself in a dough"?

 

Are you saying that freshly ground flour is fine for making bread, but it's not okay at some indeterminate number of hours later until it has been properly aged?

Why would a few hours after grinding make a difference? If anything, I would think that if fresh flour works and a day later it doesn't, that oxidation would be the cause, not the cure of the problem. There must be some additional chemical reaction happening after the initial oxidation that "cures" the flour after a few weeks.

 

Assuming, of course, that this whole fresh/cured thing is real.

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

"Why would a few hours after grinding make a difference? If anything, I would think that if fresh flour works and a day later it doesn't, that oxidation would be the cause, not the cure of the problem. "

Evaporation of volatile oils is one of the things that starts happening right after milling.

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

if my fresh ground flour is older than a day or two, but not yet at least 12-14 days old, I don't expect it to behave itself in a dough, so I don't use it for a largely whole grain dough.  Honestly it's not often an issue for me because I bake more than just whole grain breads, so the intervals tend to self-manage most of the time.  My experience has taught me to evaluate the age of my whole grain flour when I plan a bake that I might not want to mill for.

Why should a few hours make a difference?  I am not a scientist, so I cannot help you with that.  As I said to idaveindy yesterday, "I would hesitate to call it a "rule", and I suppose there is room to equivocate about how "the same day" is interpreted, but yes.  That is how I view it based on my experience, with my mill and the grain I use." 

I was and am equivocating intentionally in this.  I am offering you information, not rules or hard science, based on my experience, gained in my kitchen, with my Komo mill, with the grain that I buy.  Your mileage will certainly vary.  In the same vein, you may draw your own conclusions as to whether "this whole fresh/cured thing is real", or not.  It's your bread, kitchen, mill, grain; your decision.

OldWoodenSpoon

charbono's picture
charbono

This study shows that the baking characteristics of WW flour do not change over the first 21 days after milling.

https://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2097/1669/KarolynStoerzinger2009.pdf?sequence=1

 

Stonebake's picture
Stonebake

Hi Charbono, but the flour changes a lot in the first few days.

The wheat germ 'oxidises', or otherwise looses much of it's nutrition and the enzyme levels decreases hugely in the first 48 hours after milling. (So I have read).

I have been milling wheat and rye for many years and I  haven't seen a huge difference in green flour, or aged flour (6-8 weeks as per J Hamelman's work).

I do not use ascorbic acid either, because it is a flavour killer. 

Because of the germ 'oxidisation' alone I mill and use the flour immediately. I get very good loaves indeed. 

I haven't read the article you linked, but will do tomorrow. It appears to be mainly about lipids.

My delving so far tells me that the key issue is thiols which prevent S-S gluten bonds forming and they are the strong gluten bonds we want to get a good gluten structure. The Thiols oxidise over the first six to eight weeks as far I can see. 

I'll keep digging around on this one.

Anyway, that looks like a great article thanks for the link. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

charbono's picture
charbono

I would like to see the evidence that the germ loses most of its nutrition and enzymes within 48 hours of milling.

 

Stonebake's picture
Stonebake

Fair enough.

It's in so many books, but would Modernist Bread do?

I think it's in Jef. Hamelman's book as well. 

He makes the point that freshly milled flour should be used immediately, otherwise left for 6-8 weeks, or subjected to an oxidising agent. Sadly he didn't expand on this line of thought.

I'm trying to get to the bottom of this idea of flour being good immediately after milling. 

Did you get any further?

Cheers

 

 

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

"However, because the wheat supplied for the studies was later discovered to be > 1 year old, this lack of trends is not definitive proof that post-milling changes do not occur."

Besides the flour being over a year old, they were using commercially ground and treated flours.

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

"However, because the wheat supplied for the studies was later discovered to be > 1 year old, this lack of trends is not definitive proof that post milling changes do not occur."

This could be where a lot of the subjective conversations started from:

"White flour, especially soft wheat flour destined for use in cakes, increases in quality with time after harvest and milling, as indicated by a desirable drop in batter specific gravity and increase in batter viscosity, distilled water binding capacity (DWBC), minimum batter viscosity during heating, and cake volume. Quality increases with post-milling aging of flour up to a certain duration of storage, after which these parameters reach a plateau"

I found this interesting as well since some of the ingredients (ascorbic acid) have been said elsewhere to alleviate some of the issues with using "Raw Flour"

"Baking Ingredients
Shortening used was Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening, (J.M. Smucker Company, Orrville, OH). It contains soybean oil, fully hydrogenated cottonseed oil, partially hydrogenated cottonseed and soybean oils, mono and diglycerides, TBHQ and citric acid (antioxidants). L(+)-Ascorbic acid, ACS reagent grade, was obtained from Acros Organics (Morris Plains, NJ). Instant Active Dry Yeast was from Saf-Instant®, manufactured for Lesaffre Yeast Corporation (Milwaukee, WI). Malted Barley Flour was obtained from ADM Milling Co. (Decatur, IL)."

This study was specifically for Industrial bread production and as such had ingredients added that most of us don't use.

 

alcophile's picture
alcophile

I don't mill my own flour, so I don't have any experience baking with freshly-milled flour, but I'm very interested in the chemistry of bread making.

I believe both freshly milling and aging flours are correct for specific flours. For whole wheat flour, freshly milled affords higher volume bread; and, for refined flour, baking quality increases upon storage:

https://www.cerealsgrains.org/publications/plexus/cfw/pastissues/2017/abstracts/CFW-62-1-0004.html

https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/10652965.pdf

https://www.cerealsgrains.org/publications/plexus/cfw/pastissues/2018/mar-apr/Pages/CFW-63-2-0056.aspx

 

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

I was not able to read your first link

alcophile's picture
alcophile

Unfortunately, it is. The abstract does summarize the results pretty well and the second link to the bachelor's thesis I believe contains all the results of the CFW publication.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

I have found a source if either of you are interested... PM me for the link.

Peternumnums's picture
Peternumnums

Thanks for the post. I am going to try the lemon juice method for my fresh ground flour. One thing though. I didnt understand what you meant by 1/4 tsp lemon juice to 100 weight of flour? I'm assuming its a typo unless its a form of measurement I am not familiar with. 

 

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

I've found so many errors in the books I read that I'm starting to wonder if anyone bothers to proofread for anything other than grammatical errors.

That is, however, a quote from the passage in Hamelmans's book "Bread", that made me go down this rabbit hole.

Peternumnums's picture
Peternumnums

Hey Rondayvous 

I've been experimenting with Ascorbic acid now for a while and to honest its been tough to find a proper balance between blocking the thiols and ascorbic acid. 

However, I came across a study on ascorbic acid and its effect on a medium strength fresh flour with experimentation that was published and seems credible. 

I am going to up my quantity and see how it works. 

Basically they recommend between 50-70 ppm 

here is the study if interested 

Cheers 

https://www.journal-of-agroalimentary.ro/admin/articole/70859L20_Vol_XIV_2008_Codina_Georgiana.pdf

 

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

That is about 14K of flour per gram of AA. Unless you diluted it in water, as described by another poster, I don't know how you would ever get it evenly distributed in a home setting. I also don't know how long Ascorbic Acid remains stable once it is in solution. I have followed your posts with interest and look forward to reading your results.

alcophile's picture
alcophile

For these small quantities of ascorbic acid, I would disperse it in the water used for the dough to ensure that it is sufficiently distributed.

I don't have any data regarding stability of aqueous AA solutions. I'm sure it is stable long enough to do its job in the dough. It would be most convenient if AA solutions were stable and an aliquot of the solution could be measured and added to the dough.Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Peternumnums's picture
Peternumnums

Hey there

Yup, I simply weigh it as I would any other ingredient and then add it to the water I will use in my dough right away. 

I bought myself a scale that weighs in mg to the thousandth decimal point online for only $50 

Its the scale that really makes it easy. 

Peternumnums's picture
Peternumnums

I took this from 

https://www.mygermantable.com/why-is-vitamin-c-ascorbic-acid-added-to-bread-dough/#:~:text=Assuming%20you%20are%20working%20with,C%20per%20kilogram%20....

And it explains it well. 

  • Assuming you are working with untreated flour that has no ascorbic acid already added to it, 0.02 to 0.2 grams ascorbic acid per kilogram of flour can be added to improve dough strength. The ideal dosage is about 0.05 to 0.07 grams (50-70 parts per million) of Vitamin C per kilogram of flour. If you’d like to add acerola cherry powder instead, then 0.3 to 0.7 grams (300 to 700 parts per million) of acerola cherry powder per kilogram of flour is recommended. To measure these tiny quantities, you need an accurate laboratory scale.
  • If you don’t own a laboratory scale, then you can dilute a larger amount of Vitamin C in water for accurate dosage. For example, if you’d like to add 0.1 grams of ascorbic acid to a dough made from 1 kilogram of flour, then you can dissolve 10 grams of Vitamin C powder in 100 grams of water (10 % solution). You then need to add 1 gram of this solution to your bread dough made from 1 kilogram of flour to achieve a Vitamin C concentration of 0.1 %.
  • Ascorbic acid requires oxygen or another oxidizing agent like bromate to improve the dough strength because it needs to be oxidized to dehydroascorbic acid. Therefore, Vitamin C is most effective in doughs that are thoroughly kneaded. In no-knead bread, the positive effects of ascorbic acid are less pronounced because less atmospheric oxygen is incorporated into the dough.
Ju-Ju-Beads's picture
Ju-Ju-Beads

You got me interested, so I’ve been looking at the stability of ascorbic acid in commercial products and found this article 

Chemical Stability of Ascorbic Acid Integrated into Commercial Products: A Review on Bioactivity and Delivery Technology

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8773188/   
My usual practice has been to powder a Vit C tablet and put a pinch into the dough—nothing like as precise as y’all are discussing. I am, however going to try weighing the amount and see if I notice a difference..

Peternumnums's picture
Peternumnums

From the studies I've read so far they say for best results 50-70 ppm gives optimal results (this was for a medium gluten type bread). 

However Dr lin from Bakerpedia say anything over 20ppm will have the opposite effects. Maybe 20% is for fresh flour with a high gluten content? 

The only way to know definitively is for all of us to try it which is what I am going to do. 

Makes sense to me though, that weaker gluten green flours need more AA while stronger gluten green flours need less...

However knowing whats going on chemically at the cellular level would be the most definitive. Anyone have the tools to look at what is going on at the cellular level?  😅 Then we'd be able to answer how much AA to add per gluten percentage.  🙂

All the best everyone... Keep searching... We'll figure this out 

 

alcophile's picture
alcophile

The passage from Hamelman's Bread refers to ascorbic acid, not lemon juice. Ascorbic acid (AA) is present in lemon juice, but he is referring to the pure compound. A hundredweight is equivalent to 100 lbs; I don't know why he didn't use lbs instead, but I suspect that is a more industrial/commercial unit used in the commodities sector.

Hamelman suggests ppm quantities in flour: 40 ppm is equivalent to 40 mg of AA in 1000 g of flour. This small quantity is nearly impossible to replicate in the home setting; in the chemistry lab I could readily weigh out that amount on a milligram balance.

One way to do it would be serial dilution of an ascorbic acid solution. If you can accurately weigh out 1000 mg (1 g) of AA, dissolve that quantity in 100 g of water; this is a 10 mg per g (mg/g) solution. Remove 10 g of this solution and dilute in 100 g of water; this is a 1 mg/g solution. So, for the 1000 g of flour, 40 g of this dilute solution will contain 40 mg of AA. Use this as part of the water of the recipe. You cannot store any of the solutions of AA because they are not stable and will slowly decompose over time.

If this is too involved, I would just use a few crystals of AA per recipe and see if it makes a difference.

Disregard my initial calculation (below). I should have stuck with milligrams—I just confused myself with ppm, which was almost never used in the lab (probably for this reason). Thanks to a kind Fresh Loaf member for catching my error.

Remove 1 g of this solution and dilute again in 100 g of water; this is a 100 1000 ppm solution. Remove 1 g and dilute in 10 g of water; this is a 10 ppm solution. Use 4 g of this solution per 1000 g of flour as part of your water used in the recipe to obtain 40 ppm. You cannot store any of the solutions of AA because they are not stable and will slowly decompose over time.

 

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

I think they use the least amount possible for the desired result, doubt (I've used plenty more than that in some of my bakes) it would hurt to use more. I suspect a pinch ( while way more than commercial use ) would be fine. I'm also not sure it he was talking about whole grain or patent flour.

Peternumnums's picture
Peternumnums

Hello everyone. 

I think I can add to the conversation in a meaningful way. 

I recently milled some fresh WWF and couldn't bake with it right away. So I covered it and let it sit for about 4-5 days on my counter. 

When I used it and took it from my mixer, the dough was slack, stretchy and really sticky. I thought it just needed to rest but in under an hour it was completely useless. The gluten was destroyed and it would not hold its own weight.

I had no idea why this happened so I posted my experience on TFL. 

I think this blog really confirms my theory that it was the flour and not the starter, though I had wondered because I like to use  bit of pineapple juice from time to time to make sure the right yeasts are growing in my starter.  

I have a pick of it on my original post. https://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/71034/over-proofing-under-hour

So I think fresh ground is ok as long as its used right away, but if left to sit out and not aged properly you get runaway proofing. I'm assuming it has something to do with a compound that when given time forms when the grain is ground but loses potency over time. 

It would be cool if anyone knew what is formed when grinding the grain and why this happens. 

Now I am wondering what would have happened if I had used a little lemon juice in the flour that was 4-5 days old? 

Intriguing stuff. 

Cheers everybody. 

Peter

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

Another theory could be starch damage caused during the milling process and oxidation of starch and oils. That might explain why using the flour immediately after milling might yield better results.

This is a totally untested or even well-thought-out idea.

There are just so many variables. Even wheat from the same farm can have huge variability. Add to that how long the grains were stored, at what temperature, humidity, how and how finely the grain was milled, how it was pre-fermented, fermented, how long it was fermented and at what temperature.

Makes my head spin and encourages me to listen to my wife and just buy my bread at the local farmers market.

Fortunately, that feeling doesn't last long ;0)

Peternumnums's picture
Peternumnums

Ha ha

I get it! Makes my head spin too. 

I've stopped milling my flour super fine now and its had some good results.

I'm also adding ascorbic acid.

Seems to be working well. though now I'm struggling with adding the right amount and finding a simple recipe to follow to make suspend the AA in distilled water so I can add it easily... So many drops per kilo of flour. 

Havent yet found one... its difficult measuring in PPM... well for me...

alcophile's picture
alcophile

While a solution of ascorbic acid (AA) would be most convenient, you cannot store any solutions of AA because they are not stable and will slowly decompose over time. I don't know if you will find the following method "easy" for adding ppm quantities of an AA solution when making bread dough:

  • One way to do it would be serial dilution of an ascorbic acid (AA) solution. Accurately weigh out 1000 mg (1 g) of AA, dissolve that quantity in 100 g of water; this is a 10 mg per g (mg/g) solution. Remove 10 g of this solution and dilute in 100 g of water; this is a 1 mg/g solution.
  • So, for 1000 g of flour, 40 g of this dilute solution will contain 40 mg of AA. Use this as part of the water of the recipe.

You also mentioned that you have a scale with 0.000 g readability. You could weigh 30–40 mg (0.030–0.040 g) of AA for each kilo of flour.

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

how such a tiny amount of AA can affect flour.

Stonebake's picture
Stonebake

Hi Peter

The description you give, "the dough was slack, stretchy and really sticky" is a dead ringer for high starch packet damaged flour. (see Hamelman).

Roller mills in cause something in the order of 6% - 10% starch packet damage. I have read that water and windmills cause about 15% starch packet damage. This is not chemical but a physical breaking of starch packets when shattering the grain. Tempering the grain reduces this by making the grain more supple. The lower 6% starch packet damage is for flours roller milled in Europe where the rollers are set for gentler incremental milling. 

Some S.P. damage is necessary in order for the yeast to have easy access to the starch. The amylase group of enzymes also gets easier access. Though it is the core of the discussion her as to whether or not freshly milled flour is different I hold that there are more enzymes present in freshly milled wheat. So higher amylase too?

I wonder if your issue was to do with the milling. 

Since learning about this I no longer seek an extra fine flour by putting the grain through on the finest setting twice, but rather put it through on a coarser setting and then only once on a finer setting. I use an Austrian home mill, not too dissimilar to the Nutrimill. 

These are just thoughts and not some great assertion of truths.

 

Peternumnums's picture
Peternumnums

Hey, Stonebake, I appreciate your thoughts on the matter. 🙂

I tried your suggestion, milling the wheat on a less fine setting except I only ran it through once. The results were good. 

I also bought ascorbic acid and have been using it. I have this mg scale that weighs to .000 of a gram and is been helping. Though now I am looking for a way to make a simple ascorbic acid solution in distilled water solution or formula I can follow so I can add to my recipe so many drops per kilo but its been tough to find 😅

So far I've been following a .03% rule and it seems to be working well. 

Also made the mistake of adding too much AA this time around. 

I normally look for flour without amylase and have diastatic malt if I need it. Though I'm not fully sure how much to use in fresh milled wheat (will need to do some reading up on it) as I haven't experimented with it yet. 

Thanks for mentioning amylase. I never considered using DM in my bread along with the AA so I'm now excited to give it a try. 

Thanks for the inspiration. 

 

 

Stonebake's picture
Stonebake

Hi Peternumnums

I shall try a coarser milled single pass flour idea.

I'm struggling to get the best out of a Heritage Landrace at the moment. It has weal gluten.

Thanks for the heads up.

Cheers

Peternumnums's picture
Peternumnums

I believe ascorbic acid cna help from what I have just very recently learned. 

Good luck 🙂

Peternumnums's picture
Peternumnums

Hello everyone

Jeffrey Hamelman answers it in in his book Bread, in the oxidising and over oxidising section near the beginning.

Gluten is strengthened after milling by the presence of disulfide bonds but are blocked by thiols. Both are found naturally in fresh milled flour. Oxygen stops thiols from working. Hence aging the flour or additives to block the thiols. 

Anyone know if lemon juice blocks thiols? 

Cheers

Peter 

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

I suppose I am to blame for the confusion as I did not mention the name of the Author of the book I quoted.

This thread started with Quotes from the passage you reference. That exact sidebar prompted my question about the need to age "unripe" flour.

 

The author admitted that he did not grasp the chemistry of the reaction or what caused the phenomenon.

Peternumnums's picture
Peternumnums

Not a big deal. I was pleasantly surprised we got our info from the same place. 

I baked last night trying the whole thing again with fresh ground flour and it went off without a hitch at 80% hydration. 

JH info seems to support my guesses that green flour needs to  be used right away or else needs sufficient time to oxidize. 

I want to learn more about thiols though and their formation or how they are activated. 

I think that will be really useful info to have  

mariana's picture
mariana

Peter, lemon juice, even freshly squeezed, has too little vitamin C (ascorbic acid) to affect freshly milled flour in any meaningful way.

If you bake with freshly milled wheat flours, use ascorbic acid directly, in a powdered form. A pinch of it will make a huge difference. Millers add it to flour, but you can dissolve it in cold or room temperature liquid as well, before mixing your starter, preferment, or bread dough.

Vitamin C blocks thiols, that is why it is also added to dry yeast. Dry yeast always has certain amounts of dead yeast cells (the source of thiols) that negatively affect gluten. So dry yeast manufacturers now add vit.C to dry yeast to make it harmless to bread dough. You can see vit. C (ascorbic acid) listed on dry yeast packages. It is not added there for our health but to avoid damage to bread dough.

Freshly milled whole wheat flour becomes "visibly" rancid (detectable by odor and taste) as early as within 2-14 days after milling, so at home, ascorbic acid is the best remedy, it oxidizes flour immediately, making it ready for baking right away.

A pinch of vitamin C and a pinch of diastatic malt together make a universal flour improver, especially useful for strong hard wheats.

Rock's picture
Rock

Thank you, mariana.

That is very good information for home millers to have.

Dave

Peternumnums's picture
Peternumnums

Hi Mariana

Thanks for the info. Much appreciated. 

Would you know how much to use per kilo or pound of green flour to obtain the thiol blocking effects? 

BTW something you wrote jumped out at me, "that dead yeast cells are the source of thiols". 

 

Does that mean green flour, given time, more and more wild yeasts die creating more thiols as time goes on? 

I would guess thats whats happening. 

My first attempt using aged flour gave me runaway proofing and no gluten formation. 

Last night, using the flour right away, maybe not enough wild yeasts died to create enough thiols to wreak havoc on my dough and gluten formation?

Anywho

I'll keep searching. 

I'm enjoying learning about this. 

I'm sure most professional millers and food scientists know the answers to these questions. 

All the best 

Peter

mariana's picture
mariana

Peter,

Ascorbic acid is used at the level of 1-1.5g per 10kg of flour.

1 tsp of vitamin C (powder) is 4 g. That would be enough for 26 kg of flour.

1/16 tsp - for 1.5 kg of flour (3.5 lbs of flour)

Fortunately, such precision is not really necessary in home baking. Even if you add 1/16tsp per pound of flour, nothing bad will happen to your bread. I recall how one woman added a whole tsp of ascorbic acid to her 2 lb loaf and only then she detected some weird off taste.

Debra Winks suggested another good solution for freshly milled flour problem - to add eggs (10%) to it. There are several examples of her recipe for a freshly milled flour loaf here. Look for them for the dosage guidelines. Alternatively, you can add vital gluten flour.  In commercial flour improvers, they usually come together as a blend - ascorbic acid and dry gluten.

There are too few yeast cells in flour, or on the surface of the kernels, for them to die and significantly damage gluten. Flour quality mostly has to do with the age of the milled kernels themselves, how long they were stored after being harvested. When wheat is too fresh, green, there are more problems with the freshly milled flour.

Best wishes,

m.

 

mwilson's picture
mwilson

"Vitamin C blocks thiols, that is why it is also added to dry yeast."

Not directly of course, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) requires molecular oxygen incorporated through mixing to be effective and the action involves native enzymes.

"it oxidizes flour immediately, making it ready for baking right away."

Not immediately but can be fairly rapid with good oxygenation / aeration. Also, ascorbic acid as an oxidiser is limited to the oxidation of thiol groups.

Not many know this but ascorbic can be used as reducing agent in baking too depending on the dosage and environmental conditions. Of course, ascorbic acid is more generally used for its antioxidant (reducing) properties in the food and beverage industry.

"Dry yeast always has certain amounts of dead yeast cells (the source of thiols) that negatively affect gluten"

A source of thiols.

Thiol or sulfhydryl (to use its modern name) describe compounds with a -SH functional group, a common amino acid cysteine is composed of a thiol group and cysteine is a common constituent of many proteins. Glutathione released from dead yeast cells contains cysteine, but cysteine it is also found significantly as a repeating part of the primary structure of certain gluten proteins.

Stonebake's picture
Stonebake

Hi Mariana

Wholemeal flour doesn't go rancid in my house.

Neither do the water milled wholemeal flours which at times have been a year old before using. 

I keep my flour under the stairs, prety much room temperature.

Maybe it's a little cooler here in the U.K.?

 

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

Stonebake: you didn’t mention what you stored your flour in. I vacuum pack my grain and commercial whole grain flower to keep O2 at bay.

Stonebake's picture
Stonebake

Hi rondayvous

That sounds like a good way to go for flour.

 I think that grain may well be fairly resistant to O2 as it is still viable to plant after three years from harvest.

I keep the grain in the sacks, or the bag they arrived in, under the stairs. 

If I see flour moths in the summer I set pheromone traps for them. They can spoil so much flour and grain.

I keep the 'white' flours I buy from small artisan mills in their bags (which are 4kg -16kg), and keep some handy in air tight plastic containers in the kitchen. Most of my bought white flour is used within 6months (given it's from small mills I suspect that it is fairly green when it arrives - maybe up to a week post milling). However I have kept high extraction flours for just over a year and they have still been good.

Commodity grain grown wheat in the U.K is fairly weak and for supermarket bread flours big millers blend them with strong imported grains. For this reason there's little point in me buying local commodity grain for milling.

All of my rye and heritage wheats are bought pretty much direct from the farm. They are from landraces. I mill these in a small Austrian Carborundum stone mill Schnitzer. Much like the Komo, but a little bigger.

I keep some home milled flour for my sourdough starter on the kitchen worktop. The rest is milled as required and used immediately.

I have found that flour milled on the same day gives a vibrancy of flavours to my loaves which aged flour lacks. Supermarket wholemeal flours are distinctly dull regarding flavour in comparison. 

When I used to mill commodity grain I had a sack of wholemeal flour from the same local water mill. It was not rancid and was still good to use after a year. It had merely been kept in it's sack under the stairs. At the same time I was milling the same grain from the same mill and the only difference I noticed was in the increased vibrancy of flavour with the freshly milled flour. I used the same hydration for both. I use bassinage to finesse the amount of water required in a dough unless it is a formulae I use often such as my standard maslin loaf (much the same as a French Pan de Campagne).

 

 

I expect bagging and chilling or freezing the four would be better. It's all about space and time for me as well.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

I'm not sure what the original question was, but I see some uncertainty about ageing flour, so perhaps I can help explain things.

Indeed, flour is often aged at the mill to oxidise it somewhat. This practice is applied to refined (white) flour and it can be done either naturally or by adding some ascorbic acid. Of course, the latter is more convenient and ultimately more cost effective. Oxidation improves the performance of refined flour and allows for the formation of a stronger gluten network. While the use of freshly milled ‘Green’ flour can result in overly slack doughs, that don't hold their shape very well.

Fresh wholemeal flour milled at home is best used straight-away as the germ, rich in fats will oxidise and become stale and eventually rancid causing off-flavours. Technical performance is not really the aim here.

It's worth noting however that some level of oxidation will occur naturally through the processing / the making of the bread. E.g., mixing, native enzymes, acidity...

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

@Mwilson I’ve read conflicting accounts of the shelf life of whole wheat flour. While environmental factors can certainly accelerate the oxidation of wheat oil in WW flour, I suspect that KAF might be a good source of accurate shelf life info? As far as I know they don’t add anything to their stone ground WW flour to preserve it. Can you think of any reason why home ground WW would have a shorter shelf life than KAF? 

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

“The Sourdough School” Kimbell

Page 39: Paraphrased: Green flour needs to age. She has successfully made loaves with “very” freshly ground flour, but insists that aging is necessary (for a week or more) for “maximum gluten development”.

I find it interesting that she requested info from her readers “If anyone has a technical explanation” for why it was possible to get decent loaves from “very” freshly ground wheat flour. 

Isand66's picture
Isand66

All I know is that it works without a doubt if you use it right away.  If not then it does need to age.

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

The more I wonder if these authors are just parroting a line or speaking with the authority supported by experimental evidence.

I suspect that industrial "knowledge" may be contaminating the information pool.

My hypothesis is: Commercial "whole wheat" is actually reconstituted whole wheat "like" flour. As such, the white flour constituent requires aging to reach it's full potential. I suspect a previous posters suggestion that freshly ground whole wheat flour will go rancid if left out for two weeks rendering whatever benefit from aging moot, also has merit.

alcophile's picture
alcophile

Not all commercial WW flour is "reconstituted" white flour plus bran/germ. KA's white WW, Arrowhead Mills WW, and Bob's Red Mill WW are stone-ground. I'm assuming when commercial roller mills are used the reconstituting happens immediately; I don't know if the difference is discernible from SG to most bakers. I can't tell difference in milling process between KA's WW and SG white WW.

If WW flour turned rancid after two weeks, nobody could sell bags of WW flour in stores. Does fresh home-milled have more nutrients and better flavor? Sure. But that doesn't diminish the higher nutritional benefit of store-bought WW flour over white flour.

I doubt that J. Hamelman is just parroting a line. I suspect achieving Master Baker status would have exposed him to a variety of flour qualities and aged/unaged flour. However, his description of the mechanism of thiol to disulfide oxidation is chemically inaccurate.

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

"To maximize the nutritional value of your freshly milled flour, it is best to use it right away. However, if you have leftover flour or would like to mill in advance, you can keep your freshly milled flour at room temperature for no more than 3 days "

Then I went to the KAF site and they said there was 3/4 tsp of oil per cup that can last 30 to 90 days at room temp before going rancid.

KAF recommended keeping whole wheat in the freezer. up to a year.

I've see things that seem to contradict make sense later with deeper understanding, but I don't see this question as a good candidate for that kind of ending.

If I hadn't read three separate authors say Fresh is okay, aged is better and in between is no good. All of them claiming no real knowledge of why this was true.... I would not have started this thread.

I am hoping to provide clarity and save people from wasting time materials and effort whilst grinding their own flour.

Peternumnums's picture
Peternumnums

Can anyone recommend a book on milling wheat? I found a school in france that teaches milling but couldnt find any material that the school sells for self learning.

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

https://www.theperfectloaf.com/category/recipes/fresh-milled-flour/

They had an interesting take on the whole oxidation issue. Their recommendation was to simply spend a little more time kneading the dough to increase oxidation. They did not address the issue of using freshly ground grains a few days after grinding.

From what I've gathered from this thread, I think there is consensus that we should only grind flour on an as-needed basis, knead a little longer and perhaps add a pinch of ascorbic (not citric) acid.

Peternumnums's picture
Peternumnums

Thanks

I'll check it out

 

Stonebake's picture
Stonebake

Hi Rondayvous.

The first difference is that in the U.S. wholegrain flour is not formally defined. I have read that different millers add back different quantities of the bran and germ and often not all of it to make up ''whole grain flour"

Here in the U.K. it is a requirement that all for the streams must be combined in order to call the flour 'wholemeal' our term for whole grain.

These flours sit in warehouses, and then supermarket shelves and then a month or more in the home. I have never known one to be rancid. Yet so many books refer to the rancid whole grain flour issue. I have kept wholemeal flour for over a year (I overpurchased) and had no issues. 

Though in my mind I think it should have become rancid. Maybe the ageing leads to those oils degenerating before microbial action makes them go off?

 

Peternumnums's picture
Peternumnums

Hey Island 66

That was my experience when I milled fresh flour. I used some right away with no problem but then used the same fresh milled flour 3 days later and it was a mess. Gluten would not hold. 😅

However using ascorbic acid worked really well. I baked yesterday with 3 day flour and the results are excellent. 

WHen I bake with fresh green flour I still get good results but better with AA .

I'm about to try it with Diastatic Malt as well... hoping it works out. 

Cheers 

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

Ascorbic acid itself is a reducing agent with strong antioxidant properties in food systems. However, in the presence of oxygen gas and ascorbic acid oxidase, an enzyme naturally found in wheat flour, ascorbic acid is converted to its dehydro form as shown above.

It is the oxidized form of AA that has the potential to take part in oxidation reactions during flour-water mixing, such as SH/SS interchange between cysteine residues of gluten-forming proteins. The oxidation of thiol groups promotes the formation of disulphide bonds between proteins, causing gluten cross-linking and polymerization (gluten strengthening effect).

=================

A better explanation of what is going on by adding ascorbic acid to fresh dough.

alcophile's picture
alcophile

It only matters to chemists, biologists, and organisms, but BAKERpedia flipped the stereochemistry of the dehydroacsorbic acid; not sure why they drew it wrong. The correct structure is shown below with ascorbic acid for reference (from Wikipedia; I don't have a personal copy of a chemical drawing tool):

By Stanislaw Gackowski - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8808961

 

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

I figured it might be worth translating this into English.

One of the issues using freshly ground wheat flour is gluten development. The presence of a small amount of ascorbic acid helps gluten development.

It struck me as odd that an Anti-oxidant would be used to oxidize flour. Turns out enzimes in flour react with Ascorbic acid to turn it into an oxidizer.

alcophile's picture
alcophile

When I started baking again a couple of years ago, I also was initially puzzled by the use of ascorbic acid (AA) as an oxidant. I knew of some chemical compounds (e.g., hydrogen peroxide) that can act as reducing or oxidizing agents depending on the conditions, but I couldn't figure out what the by-product of AA would be, as it was already in it reduced form.

As it so often happens, Nature provides, in this case an enzyme that facilitates the reaction of oxygen with AA to make DHA. Interesting stuff!

Ju-Ju-Beads's picture
Ju-Ju-Beads

Based on 45+ years of grinding experience, I highly recommend either:

1. Grind immediately before using the flour

2. Add the liquid to the flour and refrigerate or freeze

I’ve read many things about the reasons, but through the years this seems consistent. My mother started grinding in the early 70’s and me that ground flour has to age several weeks to stabilize again if the flour isn’t used or protected by liquids immediately. Again, no science, just many decades of our combined experience.

Ju-Ju-Beads's picture
Ju-Ju-Beads

Based on 45+ years of grinding experience, I highly recommend either:

1. Grind immediately before using the flour

2. Add the liquid to the flour and refrigerate or freeze

I’ve read many things about the reasons, but through the years this seems consistent. My mother started grinding in the early 70’s and me that ground flour has to age several weeks to stabilize again if the flour isn’t used or protected by liquids immediately. Again, no science, just many decades of our combined experience.