White flour

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by roon, Feb 26, 2002.

  1. roon

    roon

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    Ok, here's one. Anyone have ideas on how to make your own white flour?

    I'm a big fan of do-it-yourselfness (even if it is just for fun and not a permanent kind of thing) and I like to experiment.

    People have had white flour for ages, it seems- long before the advent of bleaching flour and huge grain processing factories...

    But I haven't had any luck finding information on actually doing this kind of thing in the home......

    Suggestions? Comments? Links? :) Thanks!
     
  2. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    You'll need a grain mill, one that is either independently mounted to the table top or one that attaches to your Kitchen Aid/Kenwood mixer. Search for one at ebay, they're always for sale at ebay. Once acquired then visit your local well stocked healthfood store for grain.
     
  3. lotuscakestudio

    lotuscakestudio

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    One of my friends grinds flour before every baking project, either for yeasted or flat breads, or desserts. And she does it EVERY DAY for her husband and 4 kids! (Kind of amazing to me). I think she only does whole wheat though, not white. But it sounds like once you get into the hang of it, it's just another step in the baking process like adding the liquid or beating the sugar and butter.
     
  4. thebighat

    thebighat

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    I used to mill two hundred pounds of grain a day into whole wheat flour using a 14" stone burr mill. Doubtful that you'll have either the need for that much flour, or the room for the machine anyway. When the stuff came out of the chute into the barrel, it sort of stratified like a river delta and always wound up with the creamy white flour on top, with the coarser bran trickling down the sides of the cone. If you stirred it with your hand, it all became uniform whole wheat. And if you sifted it, you got a lot of bran trapped in the sieve, but what went through was still whole wheat. I believe the process of sifting it is called bolting, and you could probably do it at home, but then you'd be wasting a lot of the grain. I think in mills the bran is blown free after the grain goes through the rollers. It's a fairly complicated process, it seems to me, with conditioning and breaking and crushing and bolting and high extraction and shorts and middlings and on and on. Millers can get flour from specific parts of the endosperm and I don't know if a hand-cranked mill can do that for you. You never smelled anything as good as freshly milled wheat though. It was such a treat to make bread with it.
     
  5. jock

    jock

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    I seem to remember reading somewhere that wheat flour needs to be aged before it is used to allow flavor to develop. About 3 to 4 weeks as I recall. Any thoughts on that?

    Jock
     
  6. kimmie

    kimmie

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    Ditto on that and I can't recall the source either. If it comes back to me I will post the information...
     
  7. kimmie

    kimmie

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    There are 2 ways to age flour:

    1. Store for a period of time, expensive and dangerous.

    2. Chemically age the flour (bleached flour), quicker, less expensive but treatment destroys many of the nutrients.
    Enriched flour – adds some of the nutrients back into the flour following chemical aging.

    Aging of flour is necessary because it affects the bonding characteristic of the gluten proteins, allowing the formation of more-elastic doughs. Flour is chemically aged and bleached with chlorine dioxide, or simply aged with potassium bromate or iodide. In the past, flour was aged by storing it for two to three months, during which time a natural bleaching process took place via oxidation of the flour. This removed the residual yellow cast caused by xanthophyllus, a carotenoid pigment.

    King Arthur flours are Enriched, Never Bleached and Never Bromated with the exception of their cake flour which is Bleached, Unbromated, Unenriched to set the proper pH to absorption, tolerance and adaptability possible.
     
  8. isa

    isa

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    Finally another do it yourself-er. I'm dreaming of getting the mill attachment for the KitchenAid mixer. Meanwhile I buy my flour but make my own mustard, pickles, fruits confits, soaps, etc. :)
     
  9. thebighat

    thebighat

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    That's the conventional wisdom, that flour should be aged, but we would mill it one day, and use it the next. I don't know if it would have made a big difference in the bread, but storage was a problem. The flour came out of the mill at about 100 degrees and was still warm inside the barrel the next day. I would worry about the stuff fermenting over the two weeks. Whole wheat flour in 50 lb sacks looked, felt, and smelled dead compared to freshly milled.
     
  10. kylew

    kylew

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    If there are storage concerns about freshly milled flour, what is the shelf life of whole wheat berries? I've had the Kenwood grain mill attachment in the back of my mind for a while :)
     
  11. thebighat

    thebighat

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    Our storage concern was space. We had 750 sq ft of space, that's it. We couldn't possibly have kept flour on hand for two weeks. We sell wheat berries at the earthy crunchy grocery store, and I could ask the guy who runs that dept, but he's a dope.
     
  12. kimmie

    kimmie

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    Using your loaf with lemon juice

    Adding a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice to a batch of bread made with no-additive flour dramatically improves its quality. A reader wants to know more about how lemon juice affects the processes that take place in rising bread.

    I suggest adding one tablespoon of lemon juice to every four to five cups of all-purpose no-additive flour used in making yeast bread.

    This is useful information for those who grind their own flour and for people who prefer to use flour to which additives have not been added. Lemon juice is a mild oxidizing agent which brings about the changes one expects to find in flour if it were left to age naturally for three months. Flour that is oxidized has better baking qualities, making yeast breads that are bigger and better.

    While the flavor is not noticeable in the finished bread, the juice adds acidity to the dough, which has two major effects. First, it aids fermentation because acids enhance the action of amylases, enzymes naturally present in flour, which produce maltose from starch. Maltose, a sugar, is then available to yeast as the food it needs in order to ferment. The process of converting starch to sugar is particularly important to recipes which have little added sugar, because yeast cells must have nourishment to produce the carbon dioxide that makes bread rise.

    Second, increased acidity has an effect on gluten, the elastic complex formed from the protein in flour when it is moistened and mixed. It becomes less soluble, less sticky and more elastic.

    Lemon juice may also play a minor role in developing flavor. As yeast produces carbon dioxide, it also introduces acids, mainly lactic and acetic. With fast-rising yeasts and new methods intended to hasten rising times, there's not much time to produce the acids that contribute to flavor. Though adding lemon juice will by no means duplicate the flavors created through long fermentation, it does foster the development of flavor. Lemon juice also plays a role as a mould inhibiter in flours that don't contain additives.

    Though some flour mills offer no-additive flour, most flour contains additives such as ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) to increase the acidity of the dough and amylase to support fermentation of the yeast. If you use flour that contains these additives, there's little value in using extra lemon juice.

    Lemon juice isn't necessary when using rye flour, because rye actually creates a more favorably acidic environment for yeast than wheat.