Baking with Fresh Ground Wheat

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I started baking with fresh ground wheat when Mac was a baby. There was time when I was legalistic about never buying white flour buttt turns out we really do love white sourdough bread.  It all happened because one day I was reading the newspaper (remember when we did that!?) and I saw an article on a women who had a stone ground mill, using the flour in her bakery and selling bags of the flour. I was intrigued, bought a small bag of flour, went home and made scones. They were amazing…I couldn’t believe the difference JUST because of the flour! I was convinced I needed to have my own mill, as the cost of flour was yikes and scraped some pennies together and bought a hand turned wondermill. The problem is…it takes a LOT of hand milling to grind enough for bread, and I ended up not using it much. I sold it and used wedding gift money to buy an electric nutrimill which I just adored because I could now produce quantities of flour in minutes. I dove into the world of grinding alllll the grains…if you could make a flour out of it?? I tried it! There was some wins and some misses, thats for sure. I had an opportunity when Hamish was a baby to get a free wonder mill for a blog promotion, and I gifted my Mom my nutrimill when I got that. I dont think I favour one over the other, they are both great mills. Grinding grains outside while Hamish napped These days my milling is honed into a handful of grains I know we love, as well as being available to us easily. I grind hard red wheat for anything that needs gluten structure (bread etc), and I grind soft white wheat for any baking you would use baking powder/baking soda with- muffins, biscuits etc.  I grind popcorn into cornmeal, I grind some gluten free grains as well such as sweet rice and buckwheat.  Hard Red Wheat Sourcing is…complicated at times. I have three different places I buy grains from and I just kind of know where I’m more likely to find one or the other. A lot of people use hard white wheat, but its not cost effective to me at this point, so I use hard red. I still use my fair share of unbleached all purpose flour, as we love white sourdough, but I love that I can keep wheat berries on hand to make more flour when needed. I dont have to buy cornmeal and popcorn, I just buy popcorn and have both. Flour has a shelf life, wheat berries basically dont when stored properly. Some people get really finicky about fresh ground flour…they only grind it fresh, right before baking, and they store it in the fridge or freezer if they have extra/are doing ahead of time. I’m sure we could fight it til we are blue in the face if you feel strongly about this…however, done is better than perfect. If I have to pull out my grain mill every time I want fresh flour…i’m going to use fresh flour a lot less. My moderation is I grind enough to last a week or two and use it til its gone.  The biggest differences I want to point out to you are the following -storebought whole wheat flour is NOT the same. Its actually just white flour with bran in it. You can probably find a good stoneground whole grain flour but if you’re really into whole grains, you probably want to look at investing in a mill. -the bran in fresh ground flour LITERALLY cuts the air bubbles. This is what makes it more dense. It takes different handling.  -When you mix up ANY dough or batter with fresh ground wheat, you need to let it sit 20-30 min to ‘autolyze’ aka let the bran soak up moisture and become hydrated. Your dough will often look sticky/batter too runny until its sat. So whether I’m making pancakes or loaves of bread, it always sits 20-30 minutes before baking.  100% fresh ground sourdough, before its autolyze Sourdough with fresh ground wheat is somewhat elusive at times. My sister Molly bakes exclusively with fresh ground grains so she gave me some pointers for nailing down my recipes as I usually do just a portion fresh ground and she does 100%.  One thing I can tell you though is that it moves a lot faster. Your starter with rise and be ready to use faster, as well as fall faster. It will get strong smelling faster. It will get hooch faster.  However, a starter fed with fresh ground is so healthy and vibrant! If your starter is with white flour and its lacking oomph, give it some fresh ground and watch it jump.  I am not a sourdough purist, some have a whole wheat and a white starter…i have one starter and I bounce between the two flours all the time. The beautiful bread on my counter attests to this not being an issue. Next week I will be sharing my 100% fresh ground sourdough recipe…I cant wait to see how you like it!… This content is for members only.Login <a href=""...

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