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To sift or not to sift? fresh ground whole grain flour journey

 
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Hello, I’ve been grinding my own grains for 5 years. I never baked before that so I didn’t have experience working with sifted all purpose flour.

My husband loves the flavor of everything I bake, but I get tired of everything being so rustic in flavor and texture.

Another frustration is that you can’t really go by recipes online that call for store bought flour because it acts so differently when making a dough.

Any other whole grain fresh ground flour bakers here? Advice? I’d love to follow a recipe and it was made specifically for us using home mills and not sifting. I long for something more refined, but feel strange about sifting out the germ and bran.
 
steward
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I hear you joy!

Our country living grain mill spits out some pretty course flour. I really do not know how to get flour which is similar to what they sell in the stores. We might need to get some new blades for the thing. We primary grind red hard fife. So maybe it is the mill.

I do tend to soak the flour for anything that i bake. This doesn't make it less rustic however. The other thing I do is I normally make a very wet dough when making bread/pizza dough. about 75%-80% water to 100% flour by weight.

I really would also like to know a way around this. Everything i make looks like it came from the 13th Century England. I know i can grind the flour twice but who has time for that? Also the flour does not grind easy once it has been ground once with my mill....
 
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What I sometimes do is I sift the flour, set aside the germ, then incorporate it back into the dough or roll the loaf in it before baking. This seems to help make a smoother, lighter dough but still retains the nutritional value of the germ. Of course, it's never going to be store quality, since that stuff has been sifted and bleached beyond anything you'd be able to do in your kitchen....
 
pollinator
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Howdy,

I do what Ann does also. Sift the flour and then add all the sifted out contents when I'm mixing/kneading dough.
 
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I have a Komo mill, and find that I can produce very good bread from its flour; however, I use organic hard wheat. I make a sourdough - yeasted whole wheat needs added sugar, fat, and likely some white flour to make a good bread.
For sourdough, I use an autolyze. I have a good sourdough starter and I build it into an active levain with refreshment. My active levain is about 20% of the flour in the loaf. My hydration is ~80%. I do stretch and folds.
I use long fermentation at ~75F
I do coil folds.
I use retard.
I use a very good baking stone.
 
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I just started grinding my own. I use a Country Living Mill and sift through a 30 mesh strainer stacked above a 50 mesh strainer. I feed the largest to the chickens and regrind what’s left on the 50 mesh before sifting that one more time.

It’s a lot of work, but I’m very happy with the crumb I’m getting in my loaves.  They still have a whole wheat depth of flavor to them with a light structure.
 
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Here are a couple recipe books that I have found really helpful because they use freshly ground flour in their recipes:

Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads: https://pleasanthillgrain.com/peter-reinharts-whole-grain-breads-book

Sue Becker's Home Ground Flour: https://pleasanthillgrain.com/peter-reinharts-whole-grain-breads-book
This book has good bread recipes but also cakes, cookies, scones, etc.

Another item to note is that if you're making cakes, pies, or cookies, it's better to use soft wheat. If you're making breads, then hard wheat is the way to go.

For breads, another option is to add a dough enhancer or gluten to the recipe to give it a lighter texture.
 
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