Thursday, April 9, 2015

Grinding Your Own Whole Wheat Flour

I finally bought a grain mill after thinking about it for several years. This move isn't quite as extreme as it may seem. Whole wheat berries last for thousands of years. But once you grind them, the oils start to decay immediately. After a couple of days, the oils that give the flour both its nutrition and taste are in pretty sad shape. Since I bake all my own bread and it's all whole wheat (minus the occasional baguette), I decided that grinding my own whole wheat flour made sense.

Here are some wheat berries in the grinder. (Note that I didn't buy a hand-crank mill. I may be eccentric but I'm not crazy.) The mill grinds 12 ounces of grain in 2 or 3 minutes. It makes a high-pitched whine a little like a dentist's drill. The flour that comes out is extremely fine. The first time I ran the grinder, I didn't seal everything correctly and my kitchen started to look like a woodshop with all the flour dust flying around. Even when you use the mill properly, a little flour tends to escape. The ground flour smells like cereal.

Here is the first loaf...

And here is a slice. The fine flour gives the bread a very fine texture that one usually doesn't associate with whole wheat. I think it also tastes a little richer than bread made from older flour. It's a subtle difference but I think it's there.

This procedure isn't for the faint of heart nor for neat freaks. But I've baked two loaves now and the second one tasted even better than the first. I think I will be able to keep this up; grinding the flour takes a few more minutes, not bad for the one or two loaves per week that I bake. I look forward to giving my copy of King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking a workout.

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