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Shelby

Milling Heritage and Ancient Grains for Baking Bread and Beyond

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Posted (edited)

I'm taking the plunge into milling my own flour to use in breads, sweets, maybe pasta etc. 

 

I have no experience....I've never even seen a home mill in person until last week when I became the very, very proud owner of a Komo Fidibus XL 600 watt grain mill.  The glass tube on the right is a sifter that attaches to the mill when you remove the bowl.  There are inserts for the sifter down in front that are different sizes.

 

  I think it's so pretty.   Which is a good thing since it will be living on my kitchen counter a lot :)

 

 

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I'm well stocked with many different kinds of heritage and ancient grains:

 

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The manual that came with my mill says that you can also grind spices, legumes and coffee beans.  I've read online that you can also do rice which must be true because the manual also says that if you need to clean it for some reason (meaning you milled something oily that isn't recommended) you are to run long grain rice through.  

 

So, the last few days I've been googling and reading and watching videos online and also reading through the following books:

 

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The manual that came with my mill doesn't say to do this, but I read online that it was recommended to run a couple cups of grain through  and then discard the flour--just to make sure it's all clean and working right.  I'm glad I did because it gave me a little chance to play with adjusting the mill from fine to coarse and in-between.

 

I used this kind:

 

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Rule #1:  Turn the machine on and THEN dump your grain in the bowl/hopper. 

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Oh it smelled SO good.  Clean and sweet and a bit nutty.

 

You adjust from fine to coarse by turning the bowl/hopper--to the left is Fein (fine) and to the right is Grob (coarse)--it's made in Germany and comes with a 12 year warranty.

 

I was a bit confused at first.  You see that black dot on the bottom of the bowl/hopper?

 

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I assumed that meant that if you want it the finest grind you can get that you move it all the way over until it can't move any more (the bowl/hopper has "clicks" that you can feel to make your adjustments).  That isn't the case.  When I put it clear to the left and turned the machine on, the stones were touching/grinding together.  You don't want that.  I had to click to the right about 6 clicks to get it to stop doing that.  I couldn't figure out why it wasn't calibrated like I thought it should be until I started thinking about the grinding stones and how they heat up during use.  The more you use it, the warmer they get causing you to maybe need to adjust lower to get to the finest setting you can.  Trust me, you know immediately if you need to adjust up so that the stones don't hit each other.

 

Side note:  After opening the bag of grain I decided to see if the Vacmaster would seal it up for me again.  

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It worked!  That will come in handy!

 

Anyway, I've stocked up on yeast.  But, then after reading a bit online I decided it would be wise to make a starter.  I've never done that either.  Frankly, it seems daunting.  All the feeding and then throwing some of it away and then feeding again.  I don't have children....but I have something similar, it seems,  in a jar on my counter now😛

 

I'm starting with a very basic recipe from a book listed above called The Best Bread Ever.  It's called Simple Wheat Starter.  It uses some AP flour, some whole wheat flour (I used the hard red shown right above here), water and a pinch of yeast.  Here is is just after I made it:

 

Question:  Could I have used the whey that is in my fridge that I saved after making cottage cheese in place of the water?

 

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Here it is right before I went to bed last night

 

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Right now the bubbly part has doubled, but see that bit of liquid in the bottom of the jar?  Well, it's about an inch tall now.  I was concerned but after reading online maybe that's normal for such a starter like this?   It smells very sweet and good.   I'm going to feed it again here in a bit.  Sigh.  I'm nervous.

 

The starter is supposed to be ready to use by Wednesday morning.

 

I could use major pointers on starters.  And , pretend you're explaining it to a 4 year old so that I can understand 😁

 

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Now, I'm going to jot down a few thoughts, questions, things I found online etc.  Later, after I have my own experience, I can either debunk or support.

 

Yesterday, for me, a half cup of the hard red winter wheat berries netted roughly a cup of flour.  BUT it was "fluffy".

 

The hard wheat might be better for breads and the soft wheat might be better for pastry and sweet things.  Spelt might be better for pastry items too.

 

In a recipe that uses store bought AP flour, if you sub fresh milled flour you usually have to increase the water.  Or,  you generally use 3 T. less of milled flour per cup of flour in a recipe.  If using spelt flour you might use 2-4 T. MORE per cup in a recipe.

 

I have a great video where the person making the bread uses no measuring at all.  Just goes by feel.  I want to get to that place and be like him!

 

Using the autolyse method seems like a good way to go.  Is that the same as kneading for a bit, and then resting for 10 mins and then kneading again?  Also, while kneading, have a bowl of water to dip fingers in to reduce sticking to hands.

 

Vital wheat;  I ordered some.  Should be here the end of the week.  Do I need it?  I dunno.  I've read that it helps with rising when milling your own grains.  Then, I've also read that there is enough gluten so why would you need to add more.  Is there more gluten in hard wheat than soft wheat?  Need to do more research on this.

 

So, that's what I've been up to.  Anyone have a mill?  Anyone that can answer my billions of questions?   I'll post here with successes and failures.  I hope others join in.

 


Edited by Shelby (log)
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many bread bakers here will chime in

 

even if they don't mill their own grain

 

if you use an Rx. then you might consider an Rx that uses weight rather than volume

 

including water.

 

I have seen vids that use a certain amount of water , the add flour . a bit at a time

 

to get to the right place for the ( covered ) leavening 

 

https://breadtopia.com/erics-easy-bake-whole-grain-sourdough/

 

and several others fro this same place.

 

 

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I’m jealous!  What a beautiful machine.  Did you get yours on Amazon?  I borrowed a neighbour’s machine to try it out.  Definitely a learning curve.  Our problem is we wouldn’t eat all that bread but Marc Vetri in Mastering Pasta loves fresh pasta made with freshly ground flour.  Here are some points he makes:

 

wheat grown in in the spring contains more protein than wheat grown in the winter.

hard wheat is developed to have a high protein content...soft wheat less.

wheat for pasta needs to be ground finely so it rolls out easily.

freshly ground berries oxidize quickly so best to mill just before using as one would with coffee beans.

for the best taste freeze your berries before you mill them....more volatile flavours and aromas are retained.  Store any milled flour in the cold.

fresh flour behaves differently from aged flour.  Overtime the aged flour reacts with oxygen and moisture causing its protein to combine with one another creating longer chains.  This produces more stable and elastic dough producing higher rising breads....but not as much flavour..

 

durum flour for pasta produces a slightly chewer texture and better durability for shaping.

he has a chart of wheat flour characteristics..

farro or emmer is 16-17% protein; moderate flu ten strength and low elasticity

durum is 14-15% protein; strong gluten strength; low elasticity

 

have fun playing and keep us posted.

 

 

 

 

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Anson Mills have wonderful products and they grind their own flours...cold ground.  Their recipes are developed by a chef who worked in Cooks Illustrated trust kitchens so the recipes are good.  Here is a link to their breads. https://ansonmills.com/recipes/674?recipes_by=grain

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@Okanagancook

 

thank you for the tip on

 

Mastering Pasta

 

I have it in my library system and will take a look.

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I envy you @Shelby.  I've been wanting a KoMo mill for several years but the cost has been prohibitive.  Maybe you will be the catalyst!  I want to hear about your results with the flour sifter.

 

Other than the KoMo XL I'd consider a Mockmill Professional (which are on sale at the moment).  Interesting that Wolfgang Mock has started three different grain mill companies.

 

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it makes sense that this flour is very perishable

 

aside from the bran , which you can filter out

 

the rest is truly ' whole grain ' and the ground  wheat germ has the fats that will oxidize quickly

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Posted (edited)

protein in these flours

 

any grain , but esp heritage and ancient

 

it different than just gluten proteins

 

at least that's what Ive read so far.

 

these grains are said to have a different and more complex flavor than

 

commercially available  flour , white or wheat

 

from commercial crops.


Edited by rotuts (log)
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For the pasta...try some of your Red wheat...grind as fine as you can and use the one egg per cup wheat...as a start because as @rotuts points out, hydration with column measures will be nonstandard.  I use a water spray bottle to moisten if the dough needs it.

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29 minutes ago, Okanagancook said:

Definitely a learning curve

Glad to know I'm not the only one.

18 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

  I've been wanting a KoMo mill for several years but the cost has been prohibitive.  Maybe you will be the catalyst!  I want to hear about your results with the flour sifter.

Oh Jo, I hope you can get one.  I'll do my best to show the ins and outs.  It's definitely easy to remove the hopper/bowl but I've yet to try to put on the sifter.  I'll post pics and descriptions as soon as I do.

5 minutes ago, Okanagancook said:

I use a water spray bottle to moisten if the dough needs it.

Good to know.  I just ordered a new spray bottle from Amazon.  Mine are all icky.  Time for a new one.

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beautiful mill, now I have mill envy 😂

 

If you're going to make a sourdough starter, I would leave out that pinch of yeast you added - the starter will take longer to get going but will have a more complex flavour profile. If you've made bread in the past with commercial flour, you may find that freshly milled flour behaves very differently, you can have a higher enzymatic activity in the dough which means that you can have gluten breakdown a lot faster than you're used to - which results in a gummy brick when baked.

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I have a Vitamix grain jar and just ground some durum wheat berries for pasta.

I will post tomorrow when the dough has rested. It is very stiff and not very elastic..probably because the flour is too coarse.

It took awhile for me to get enough flour and even then it's not very fine...certainly not as fine as a grain mill....hummmm...better hide my credit card.

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Posted (edited)

Im guessing that if you go to the trouble to get a grain mill , and heritage and ancient grains

 

its worthwhile understanding Autolysis, as a method to add flavor.

 

I friend of mine has this same mill , and makes bread w spelt , which he gets in 35 lbs containers :

 

possibly here :

 

https://breadtopia.com/store/organic-spelt-berries1/

 

note the 5 gallon container.   he says its fantastic for keeping grains

 

back to autolysis :  from KAF :

 

https://blog.kingarthurflour.com/2017/09/29/using-the-autolyse-method/


Edited by rotuts (log)
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I have that very same grinder.  I haven't got into using it yet.

 

Thanks for posting on this maybe it will put a fire in the behind--   My plan : I have a pasta extruder that I plan to use it on.   Not much of a baker at least for now

 

Thanks  PB

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@Paul Bacino

 

what sort of wheat do you plan to use ?

 

heritage and ancient ?

 

Ive been interested in these grains for a long time.

 

 

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No information whatsoever.  Just thrilled for you, Shelby. 

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Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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3 hours ago, rotuts said:

back to autolysis :  from KAF :

Yes, excellent link.  Thank you.  Taught me a lot.

 

57 minutes ago, Panaderia Canadiense said:

Any plans to see how this kind of mill performs with the ancient pseudo-grains, like buckwheat, millet, or amaranth?

Heck, I'll experiment with all kinds.  I'm just so new at all of this.  A lot for this Kansas girl to learn :)

 

 

I've got some unsweetened pineapple juice  on the way.  Hoping that does wonders for a starter.  I'm not having a lot of faith in the one that I've got going.  Ronnie has named it "The Beast".  However, it's not being very beast-like at the moment lol.

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I am sad to report that my Vitamix ground Durum wheat pasta experiment is an epic fail...it’s in the bin.  Absolutely no elasticity...it crumbled through the pasta roller🤕

Maybe cutting it with some all purpose or 00 flour.

i will be interest in proper milled flour works.

@Paul Bacino what kind of pasta extruded do you have?

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Posted (edited)
37 minutes ago, Okanagancook said:

I am sad to report that my Vitamix ground Durum wheat pasta experiment is an epic fail...it’s in the bin.  Absolutely no elasticity...it crumbled through the pasta roller🤕

Maybe cutting it with some all purpose or 00 flour.

i will be interest in proper milled flour works.

@Paul Bacino what kind of pasta extruded do you have?

Arcobaleno AEX 10  @Okanagancook

 

One awesome machine-- expensive, but very versitile/ thou  some times I wish I had gotten the one with the automatic cutter.  But for me this is fine


Edited by Paul Bacino (log)
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Posted (edited)

@rotuts

 

currently I'm just doing durum wheats, semolina, and 00 flours

 

So I haven't explored into other types yet, but Farro was what came to mind first

 


Edited by Paul Bacino (log)
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