All grains contain peptides that mimic morphine or endogenous opioid substances. This is where I deal with my latest loaf craving. Get your bread-based exorphin fix here.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Home-milled 100% Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

100% Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

This Pan Integrale is only different because it is the first bread I've made with my new Komo Fidibus Classic grain mill.  It is a test case.

My new Komo Fidibus Classic grain mill.
Anybody else think the spout looks like a flaccid penis?
No?  Must be just me, then.

A few things I can tell you about this mill:

  • It is quick enough, and quiet enough.  
  • It looks nice and fits nicely on our counter.
  • The spout is arranged nicely, so you can get a bowl under it to collect the flour, even a bowl sitting on a flat scale.
  • It is well made.

Refreshing the sourdough
I discovered that 200g of wheat kernels is 1 cup.  This makes refreshing the sourdough simple indeed.  Scoop the grain out, mill it, and you are pretty much done. 

I ordered the biggest mill that would fit nicely under our countertop

1 cup of grain is 200g: perfect for Tartine Sourdough Starter refreshing

I've also found that when you only add 200g of water to this flour, the consistency of the starter feels a bit thick.  So it doesn't hurt to add some sourdough starter to this amount of water, and even top it up to the full cup, if you like.  The sourdough will still thrive in this 'near'-100% hydration.

The Tartine Loaves

Ingredients for my loaves:

  • 1000g wheat kernels (mills to 1000g of real, whole, wheat flour)
  • 200g sourdough starter (also real, whole, wheat flour @100% hydration)
  • 20g sea salt
  • 780g water
I don't have to add any wheat germ, as I started doing here.  I know nothing has been removed.

1kg of hard red wheat before milling
and 1kg of flour, immediately after milling

aerating the starter in water

first mix: no salt yet, and only 720g water so far

before proofing

after a night in the cold garage

finished loaves, cooling

Bread is brayed wheat, water and salt.  The rest is wild yeast, wild bacteria, and time.

Making the typical 2 Tartine-style (500g each) sourdough loaves requires 5 cups of wheat.  The mill's top loading bowl can handle that much (made for 1kg).  But it takes a bit of time to grind it quite fine (made for 100g/min, this takes about 10 min).  The resultant flour is quite warm.  Running the grain through on a "Grosser" setting before going to the "Feiner" setting might actually speed things up.  I think I'll try that soon.  It may actually be beneficial to slow it down, because the hotter the flour is, the more vitamins may be destroyed, and the more proteins denatured -- which may negate some of the benefits of milling your own flour.  Let's examine that.

Why mill your own flour?
Note that generally, before, when I made a Pan Integrale (100% whole wheat bread), I 've added wheat germ to whole wheat flour -- because I discovered in my stumbling around, baking bread and being curious a exorphin junkie -- that germ is removed from purchased whole wheat flour in the amount of 5%.  This is to prevent spoilage and rancidity, for transportation and product shelf-life.  This has always been a selling point of home mills like this one.  "Whole wheat flour", it turns out, is not entirely "whole", except as a legally agreed-upon term.  To me, this rather seems like misrepresentation, and I suppose most people don't know about this.

When you mill your own grain, you get more of the fresher oil, and oil-based vitamins that would be lost to oxidation.  You also get more of the water-based vitamins, that otherwise would be lost to evaporation.  And you get all of the aleurone layer of the kernel, which would be where many micronutrients and tiny strange-named molecules are, many of which have been shown beneficial in many ways -- from improving bowel function, improving digestion, preventing cancers, improving satiation, and thus stopping obesity in its tracks.  (You also get more phytates, but if you are making bread with sourdough, most of the problems related to that are going to be resolved by fermentation).

But the biggest selling point is, many home-mill aficionados will tell you that the bread simply tastes better.  And if you've never tasted it, you've never tasted what bread can be.  Or so they say.

The user manual for the Komo mill gives several reasons for owning a grain mill, some of which follow:

  • Because commercial flour contains neither the healthy fiber of freshly milled grain, nor the germ of the whole grain which is rich in vitamins.
  • Because the essential nutrients of whole-wheat flour begin to decay immediately after milling, and any delay from mill to oven represents a loss in food value.
  • Because whole grain has a virtually unlimited shelf life and supplies are easily managed.  With your own flour mill you can produce the quantity needed at the grind setting required.
  • Because freshly ground flour tastes better due it aromatic components.  These aromatic components are lost over time (as is seen in coffee) with commercial flours.
  • Because your own flour mill makes you independent from the market pressures that dictate commercial millers' pricing and availability.
  • Because grinding your own flour is cheaper in the long run: Even if you only bake your own bread once a week, a grain mill can typically pay for itself in just one year.

I also have a hand-grinder mill named country harvest, but i don't often use it because it is not set up properly on a bench, or to a bicycle.  That makes it inconvenient to use -- and besides, it takes a good lot of energy to grind 5 cups of grain by hand to a very fine mixture (it is a good way to burn off some of the calories you'd consume by eating the bread).  Some day I hope to have it installed in an enclosed location outside near my outdoor wood fire brick oven -- but that doesn't exist yet.  And I haven't thrown the hand-crank mill away because if the grid ever goes down, I will have it handy.  However, if you are going to be making bread regularly (and I've proved that I am going to be making bread regularly) you will want a dependable electric mill, at least while we still have electricity. 

Incidentally, I feel the same way about ovens.  My indoor convection oven is such a convenience, and I don't have to slug wood.  Someday, perhaps, I'll have that outdoor wood fire brick oven.  But I'm in no hurry.  Unless the grid goes down.

A good bread, indeed.  This loaf exudes freshness.

It stales, like any bread, but it doesn't stale quickly. So far, I'm happy with my purchase.  Now all I need is a continuous source of organic grain.

I better dig up my back yard and get planting.  Too bad the ground is frozen.

Notes to Myself
  • You can go still higher on the hydration. Try 80% hydration next time.
  • Try adding a few kernels that haven't been milled to a complete powder. Try fermenting the merely cracked grain.
  • Try grinding the grain halfway, then running it through again on a feiner setting, to slow down the milling, and prevent the friction heat of a too-fast milling.
  • German spec. sheet for the Fidibus Classic
  • The user manual for Komo Grain Mills and Flakers that came with my mill has a diagram of two bags of flour.  On the left is a whole grain flour, and the bag is completely full, with vitamins B2, B2 and the mineral Iron listed in mg, per 3.5 oz flour as 0.16, 0.32, an 3.4 respectively.  The right hand side has a bag that is 2/3 empty.  The same nutrients are labelled as 0.03, 0.06 and 1.1mg.  That diagram brings the point home, but it only speaks for whole grain flour, not for home-milled flour specifically.
  • There is one bread recipe in the Komo Grain Mill user manual, but curiously, it does not contain wheat.  It is labelled "Whole wheat bread 'easy as pie', but the grains it contains are spelt and rye.  Furthermore, it includes yeast, honey, vinegar, spices, and many seeds.  The point of the recipe seems to be speed of preparation (20 minutes plus 75minutes of baking), "suitable for children or grown-ups who have little time to spare."  I was going to try this recipe as part of the Komo Mill review, but it simply doesn't appeal to me.
  • I bought my mill through Breadtopia's online shopping.  I don't mind giving them a plug, Eric and Denyce Rusch of Breadtopia are providing a good and faithful service.  I'm not a Facebook fan, but breadtopia can be found there too.  Thanks, breadtopia, for drop-shipping my mill.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Great post! Have you continued to make this recipe and achieved more bubbles/a more open crumb? I have been struggling with my loaves being too dense and somewhat gummy. I am also using a KoMo mill, sourdough starter and 100% whole grain.