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Xabia Jim 04-10-2008 08:25 AM

using fresh ground flour?
Is anyone grinding their own flour?

I had good intentions and bought an electric mill
...but have just been too lazy to use it.

I know of local bread store in Michigan that grinds their own flour and they do have some awesome breads.....

Dutchoven 04-10-2008 11:57 AM

Re: using fresh ground flour?
Fresh flour definitely makes great bread...sadly we don't grind our I think they would REALLY look at me like I was from Mars if I asked about the real whole grain at a store...

CanuckJim 04-10-2008 01:46 PM

Re: using fresh ground flour?
XJ, Dutch,

I've looked into the idea in detail but never have actually done it. A good burr grinder (that does not overheat the flour) will run in the area of $400, and they say you can grind the 20 lbs. of flour in an hour. However, you can't just use it as you grind it, I'm told, but have to let it oxidize naturally for about three weeks. This could lead to storage and temperature issues, not sure.


gjbingham 04-10-2008 02:13 PM

Re: using fresh ground flour?
My grain mill for grinding malted barley for brewing makes pretty fine flour, even unintentionally. Sounds like it would be fun to try. CJ, what does the oxidation accomplish?

CanuckJim 04-10-2008 06:52 PM

Re: using fresh ground flour?

I've worked with freshly ground, so-called "green" flour." Let's put it this way: it does not knead, doesn't form, isn't workable, doesn't rise properly. I'm not enough of a chemist to give you a better explanation. Let's just say it does not work without a period of being exposed to air.


gjbingham 04-10-2008 10:10 PM

Re: using fresh ground flour?
Thanks CJ.
Interesting, not enough air time - no good. Too much air time - no good! Funny that in all the books I've got about baking, pasta, cooking, etc., none really explain the wonder of flour adequately. I guess I'll have to research it myself..... Hmmmm, maybe next year! I think the bathroom needs cleaning first. :)

gjbingham 04-10-2008 10:33 PM

Re: using fresh ground flour?
OK, the bathroom's clean. Research......Flour oxidation and formation of disulfide bonds. Magic! Grind it, store it, good to go for two weeks? Tons of information, mostly by commercial enterprise trying to sell something. Apparently, its a well defined process that has been so refined over the years that no one really discusses the processes anymore.

I've got no problem accepting the flour industries treatment and prep of our building blocks. The bleaching of flour sounds absolutely terrible when you read about it.

Xabia Jim 04-10-2008 11:21 PM

Re: using fresh ground flour?
I'll have to ask at the bread store next time (Next month) how long they wait from grind to bread....never knew that one CJ....thanks!

CanuckJim 04-11-2008 04:24 AM

Re: using fresh ground flour?

Using bleached flour is a no-no, at least all the bread books I value give good reasons for not using it. (Short answer: why would you?) Why they started bleaching flour in the first place escapes me. Using bromates is partiularly nasty, and it's been banned in the EU. The so called enrichment of flour with vitamins, iron, folic acid, etc. is mandated by law in North America, but it's really a left-over from the Great Depression when it was begun to help out with malnourishment ailments like rickets. Organic millers are pretty quiet about it, but many do not enrich their flours in this way.

It's worth pointing out that most North American mass produced bread is made using bromated (I call it "stepped on") flour, tons of Instant Rise yeast, whipping techniques you don't want to know about, and additives you can't pronounce. A loaf of this bambi bread can be squished into a ball smaller than an orange for good reason: it's mostly air. Side my side, a loaf of this bread might weigh, say, 8 ounces, despite its size, while a similar sized loaf of my bread will weigh a pound and a half. Go figure.

XJ, most, but not all of the flours I use have a mill date stamped on the bag so I know where I am with timing. I have no idea why supermarket flours don't have this, as well as a best before date.

Generally speaking, flours with higher bran and germ content (real whole wheat, whole rye) do not last as long as more finely milled and sieved flours, principally because of the oils present. It's the oils that go rancid without proper storage or freezing, and that's what gives the tell-tale "off" smell when the flour's gone bad.

George, look into Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice or Hamelmann's Bread; both have in depth discussions of flour types and the chemistry involved from a baking perspective.


gjbingham 04-11-2008 08:18 AM

Re: using fresh ground flour?
Thanks CJ. I've read the Reinhart section of flours recently. I didn't find what I was looking for, though I don't even remember now why I was searching.

I read last night that they started bleaching flour to do away with the storage time required for oxidation - it cuts down on costs.

I love your term "Bambi Bread". The kids love that bread, but of course cut off the crusts. Seems like a waste of time to try to get them to appreciate great bread at ages 6 and 7. They don't even like the dark spots on the pizza crust. Waaaaaaa

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