Home Bread-Bakers v104.n012.12

RE: Whole wheat fresh milled flour

"Brown, Diane" <Brown_D@kids.wustl.edu>
Wed, 25 Feb 2004 21:13:32 -0600
Susan Hermosillo asked about baking with fresh milled whole grain flours.

What would you like to hear about?   Bread, cookies, pastries?

Ihave done it for a long time, but can't really claim to be an expert.  In 
fact, I've just been trying to remember where I read that flour should 
either be used directly after milling, or you should wait a week or two for 
it to age, but not use it in between. I can't remember the rationale why 
the very fresh or the older were ok, but the in between flour wasn't.  Does 
anyone else here have the answer?

In general, however, I simply translate recipes designed with white flour 
to whole wheat, because many 100% whole grain recipes are more righteous 
than tasty.

My rules of thumb:

translate cup measurements of flour to grams of whole-grain berries 
(weighed before milling) as 1 C = 150 grams.

use soft white wheat berries for cookies, cakes, pastries:  consider using 
10-20% short grain brown rice (gram for gram substitution for part of the 
wheat/flour measure) to make crunchier, crumblier baked goods like crisp 
cookies, shortbreads, or even scones; consider using 10-25% oat groats (= 
whole oat berries) for delicate things like chiffon cakes;

use hard wheat berries or mixed soft & hard wheats for breads:  for recipes 
asking for high protein bread flour, use all hard wheat; for recipes asking 
for "all purpose" or european-style/artisan style lower gluten flours, 
consider a mix of hard & soft wheat.  I am still trying to get this right, 
and the proportions probably should vary with each different batch of 
wheat, but I get nice results with 20-30% soft wheat.

I use the food processor technique from The Best Bread Ever : Great 
Homemade Bread Using your Food Processor by Charles Van Over for most of my 
doughs, which involves adding the liquid chilled to the dry ingredients 
including instant yeast, processing briefly with the metal blade until the 
dough comes together, and letting it rest (for the autolyse) 5-15 minutes 
before finishing it with about 45 seconds of further kneading.  I check the 
hydration before and after the autolyse, because my whole grain flour 
usually requires 10-15% extra liquid compared to the same weight of white 

Add your spices whole to the wheat berries before milling, if your mill can 
handle it; my mill pulverizes almost everything I've asked it to along with 
the wheat, for the freshest, most intense spice flavor.  I've run 
everything from whole cardamom pods to cinnamon sticks to peppercorns to 
dried peppers to with my grains, and as long as the spice is dry, crushed 
to about the size of a grain of wheat, and doesn't add up to more than a 
tablespoon or so per 150g grain, it generally works great.  Do beware of 
using dried bits of ginger or galangal, however--they were way too fibrous 
and tough for my mill to handle.  Your mileage may vary, however.

I can't vouch for this myself, yet, but my sister has been using plain 
(unsweetened) soy milk volume for volume to sub for regular milk in cooking 
and baking and she swears it's a perfect substitute.

Susan wrote:
 >>I recently bought a WhisperMill but haven't been pleased with the flavor 
of the finished products using hard red wheat berries.<<

Me neither.  I prefer to use white wheat (hard or soft or mixed depending 
on my purpose) or durum wheat because they don't have that little 
bitterness that comes from the red wheat.  When I run out of the hard white 
I occasionally buy some hard red wheat to get by until I can get more, but 
it languishes for a long time if I don't use it up before the white wheat 

 >> I don't use animal products (vegan) or refined sugar or flour.<<

Flour, water, yeast, salt is all you need to make great bread, at least in 
theory.  Most of my favorite breads would qualify as vegan, although I love 
my breads with cheese, buttermilk, and butter.  And I've found a couple of 
interesting recipes for cookies made with olive oil from greece that are 

 >>Clearly, I need more of an education on this topic.  Do you have any 
recomendations for cookbooks (beyond what you mentioned in your post)<<

Cookbooks....depends on what you're looking for.  I try to keep my 
collection to one bookshelf (total shelf space about 9 linear feet of 
cookbooks), so often check out books from the library or even buy them, 
read them, then give them away to keep the total manageable.

The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book was reassuring to get started with whole 
grain baking, and it has a permanent place on my bookshelf (my favorite 
recipes from this are the buttermilk bread, scones, and best bran muffins, 
all of which have dairy, but the basic whole wheat bread with molasses is 
also very good, and I think vegan).

Daniel Leader's Bread Alone emphasizes whole grains in artisan breads 
(little dairy there) but didn't stay on my shelf.

Those are the only ones using 100% whole wheat that I've liked; I generally 
prefer to adapt recipes from other books to whole grain.  Some favorites 
that have a permanent place on my shelves:  all of Peter Reinhart's books, 
especially the Breadbaker's Apprentice (Pain L'Ancienne works fabulously 
with 100% whole wheat); Bernard Clayton's Breads of France; Flatbreads and 
Flavors from Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid has a huge variety of breads 
from around the world, most vegan, that work with whole wheat (try serving 
the uighur naan with the chickpea and onion stew, ambrosia!), and their new 
book, Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition Around the World, 
promises to be equally good (the paximadia cookies are vegan and lovely); 
and Rose's Bread Bible has earned its keep with the pretzels (which came 
out great with 100% hard white wheat flour).  A quirkier book you might 
like, if you can find it, is by Cottrell, Edith Young:  The Oats, Peas, 
Beans, and Barley Cookbook : A Complete Vegetarian Cookbook Using Nature's 
Most Economical Foods--she's a vegan home economist who gives formulas for 
substituting for dairy products in many kinds of recipes.

To make more recommendations, I'd have to know what you like to bake.

 >>or sources for wheat, so far I've only ordered from Bob's Red Mill or 
bought from the bulk bins at Whole Foods.<<

When I lived in SF, I had a lovely small cooperative grocery that would 
special order my wheat berries for me, but I haven't had very good luck 
with that since I moved to St. Louis.  It saves shipping costs--often 
several times the cost of the grain.

I think my last hard white wheat came from: 

and I have gotten soft white wheat berries, corn, & durum berries via mail 
order from Natural Way Mills, 218-222-3677 or Rt. 2, Box 37, Middle River, 
MN 56737.

These places sell minimums of 25 or 50# bags, and I have a couple of stacks 
of 10G buckets in my kitchen to store the wheat berries.  I often pay more 
for shipping than for the berries, but the overall price is usually less 
than $1/lb.

 >>TIA, Sue in So. CA<<

You're welcome, sorry for the novel-length post!

--diane brown in st. louis