January 17, 2017 - 5:52am
Book about grinding whole grains
I just bought a grain mill and will be making my own flour. Can anyone recommend a good book on the subject--choosing grains, grinding techniques, storage, in addition to formulas?
use the Search tool here (upper right-hand corner of the page) to find the posts in the blogs from Bwraith and proth5 where they discuss their home milling experiences. And its free!
If you really want a book, I suggest The Homemade Flour Cookbook. I own a copy and I believe it meets all of your requirements.
I primarily grind wheat, so I don't have any books that get into the grain options and grinding them. However one book that I found really useful for formulas is Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day. There are charts in the back with all of the baker's percentage formulas for the recipes in the book - which does include a few 100% whole grain recipes + sourdough starter instructions. Even though this isn't a book exclusively about whole grain baking, there are many options for adapting and experimenting and those formulas are super helpful. I did try my hand at making a sourdough starter and got a few successes out of it, but then it stopped working. It was a fun project though! It led to baking several things I wouldn't have otherwise made.
If you're looking for some basic recipes to get you started with your mill, I recently wrote an ebook (print version coming soon) specifically to help people get over learning curve that I experienced when I bought my own mill. It's a short book, with 15 recipes for things like breads, pizzas, and sweet treats. Plus tips for ingredients to use to help the texture. Not trying to push it ;) but I was inspired to write it because I get so enthusiastic about helping more people use real whole grain flour! It's so cool to be able to have more control over exactly what goes into what we bake.
Grain Mill Baking Get-Started Guide
Many thanks! I may take you up on your book!
Unfortunately there are no books that I can find on "milling" grains. Some with bread recipes/formulas using milled grains but little mention of extraction or sifting. Recipes yes, how to mill wheat berries into different flours, no. One that I bought even has a grain mill on the cover but no useful information about milling inside! It looks like I'll be starting from scratch when my mill arrives.
HansB, I may be able to help, at least with what my experience has been... You mentioned wheat berries (as opposed to other grains) which is what I primarily grind. Ultimately I'm almost always going for the finest grind, because the finer particles knead nicely. But before I do the finest grind, I like to run the wheat berries through on a coarse setting, just to crack them into smaller pieces. My theory is that it's a little easier on the machine than going straight to extra fine, but that's not backed by science ;)
As far as sifting: I rarely sift because I prefer eating the whole grain, and I've found techniques for getting good texture that doesn't require sifting. But when I make pasta, I've found better results sifting the flour. It seems harder for the noodles to stay together if I skip the sifting here. I still do a fine grind as described above, and then pour the flour into a fine mesh sieve (I have a set similar to this that I got at an Indian grocery store for rinsing beans). You just tap against the side, over a bowl or sheet of waxed paper, and the coarse bran will separate out. You can discard it, or mix into smoothies or sprinkle on top of the bread if you'd like to consume it.
Other tips I can think of:
- you don't need to rinse the grain before grinding
- hard white wheat is great for bread, and I prefer it for cakes/bars as well
- soft white wheat makes things crumblier (which could be a positive, depending on what you're making) as opposed to stretchy or bread-like
- try to mill only what you need for your recipe
- if you have extra flour, put it in the freezer until you're ready to use it
- using weight measurements is very helpful because the freshly-ground flour is a different density in a cup than store-bought flour
Are these the sorts of things you were looking for? If you have any specific challenges just post them and I'll try to help :)
about whether running my coarsely ground semolina through the mill on the 'fine' setting to get plain old durum flour would gum up the machine but, if you're doing it, I think I'll try it too.
Amy, that is helpful, thanks. I did purchase your book and found some good information in it. I have wheat berries such as Turkey Red, emmer, einkorn hard, soft wheat as well as rye to play with. I'll have to convert your formulas to natural leaven bread but that should not be a problem. Thanks for your offer of help. I may need it after my mill arrives.
Thank you for purchasing my book! I'm glad you're finding some helpful info in it :)
I've read about einkorn, but haven't experimented with it yet. From what I understand, it's closer to an ancient grain than the typical wheat we know today, which is very interesting to me. I'd love to hear more about what you experience with your different wheats!
Natural leaven bread - would that be like sourdough? I made a sourdough starter from scratch at one point and got a few things out of it, but then it died. Have you been baking with natural leaveners for awhile?
Yes. I have been using natural starter exclusively for bread for about a year. You may want to give an SD starter another try. Aside from the flavor benefits I believe natural starter and long fermentation is a healthier way to eat bread.
I'd agree with you there! I love the idea, and you've inspired me to put this on my list of things to work on :) I really liked the fact that I was able to make my starter from scratch, using the instructions in Artisan Breads Every Day. It was so exciting to see it growing. I'd probably go that route again, unless you've found another starter you've been happy with?
I think Lechem posted this recently. Very similar to how I started mine. this one should work perfect.
Awesome! Thanks for that video link. Hopefully I'll get a chance to watch it this weekend :)
Tom Leonard's book called The Bread Book has a chapter on home milling.
The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book by Laurel Robertson has a few pages on home milling.
There's not that much to it. Know the capabilities of your machine. Decide if you want to do any sifting.
Hans, good luck with your adventures with your mill, and keep us posted on successes and failures. I have been using only home milled wheat for years now, and don't do any sifting. I went to home milled for the health advantages of using the whole berry, so for me, sifting would be going in a different direction.
For pasta, I use either soft white wheat, or a 50 50 mix of soft and hard, and it comes out fine. Like Amy, I always use the finest grind on my mill, currently I mostly use a Lee Household mill, and you can't mill it twice, but you don't need to either.
To Jeff, get gamma seals and a food grade bucket and you will have no problems. The home depot near me has them http://www.homedepot.com/p/Leaktite-5-gal-Screw-Top-Lid-5GAMMA6/203205720 Once it is ground, I store the flour in the freezer, and don't notice a difference between the flour I use right away, or the flour in the freezer.
In terms of formulas, I just start with a regular whole wheat formula if I can find one, and use that as a base for percentages, and adjust the water . If I only have a AP flour recipe, and I am feeling very diligent, I will make the APP recipe, then make a whole wheat version, adjusting the water to get a feel similar to the feel of the AP flour recipe, My guess is the difference between home milled and store bought whole wheat is probably not much greater than the difference between the different store bought whole wheat by the different producers
While I have been using just whole wheat for a while, and nearly only Flour, Water, Salt and wild yeast, I still get plenty of variation just using different methods, and different hydrations, so I have not played with different berries other than soft and hard, and red and white, and a few tries with sprouted grains.
Barry, thanks for the encouragement. the only reason I ask about sifting is that I'd like to use home milled flour for everything. For some things that I bake I don't want 100% whole grain like pizza, buns, bagels, etc. I think I'll have to experiment with different levels of extraction for different tastes and textures.
Hans, I go with 100 % for pizza, in terms of different tastes, you can get quite a variety by just adjusting the portion of red v. white berries. For texture, you are probably right you will need to do some sifting.
I also like to go 100% whole grain wheat for everything, and I've been pleasantly surprised at how non-wheaty a hard white wheat pizza can taste. Of course I've settled on hard white wheat, and haven't used the hard red with its stronger flavor in a few years. I'm able to get a texture I love by using high hydration + a little bit of olive oil and sugar to help with texture. That's a tip I picked up from Peter Reinhart (can't remember the source, as I went through a period of binge watching and reading everything by him that I could!) and I don't need to sift to get a nice, tender texture. But I will say that I haven't gotten that artisan pizza crispness with this type of formula because of they way they tenderize. They tend to be more on the soft and chewy side, like a typical hand-tossed pizza. My baking stone definitely helps though - there's a difference in texture between baking in a pan and baking on the stone.
I did make pizza recently using Turkey Red wheat that had some bran sifted. I had to use a bit of barley malt power to help with browning. My girlfriend has been eating gluten free for about seven years until she ate my naturally leavened heritage grain (Turkey Red) pizza. She had no problem at all digesting it.