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
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.
>>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,
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
>>TIA, Sue in So. CA<<
You're welcome, sorry for the novel-length post!
--diane brown in st. louis