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  • #1 by Timpanogos Slim on 28 Feb 2023
  • I'm apparently struggling with extra-thirsty flours of my own production here, as i try to incorporate some fresh ground sifted flours.

    Some weeks ago i acquired an old All-Grain A-22 electric stone mill. Set to the finest setting i dare and then sifting the results through a 50-mesh and weighing the sifted-out dross, I seem to be getting an extraction of about 74% extraction for both hard white wheat and spelt, which seems reasonable to me.

    It feels plenty soft between my fingers but of course has visible shreds of bran and does take on a coarse feeling when wet. Which i am sure is normal for flour produced this way.

    My usual recipe recently is as follows:

    500g of flour, of which 25g is Bob's Red Mill dark rye, 25g is Caputo Semola. Sometimes 0.25% is Anthony's DMP. The base flour is usually CM organic pizza flour, sometimes Big J / Honeyville "Golden Loaf" bread flour, a week ago it was Target "Organic AP".

    305g of water for hydration of 61%

    2% salt

    0.3 to 0.4% SAF IDY.

    Lately, I take 20% of the water and an equal portion of the flour and about 1/4th of the yeast and assemble a poolish the day before. This always includes the rye and the semolina.

    These last two batches i have added some spelt that i ground in my mill and sifted through the 50-mesh.

    I don't have a good handle on what happened last time.

    Tonight's batch, the poolish was 25g rye, 25g semolina, 25g fresh ground spelt, 85g water, 0.5g IDY. So i increased the hydration by 10ml, for 63% hydration overall.

    I dumped the poolish, the salt, and the remaining IDY into the bowl of my bosch universal, measured out 230g of warm water and added that, let it spin until the poolish was more or less mixed in (a little lumpy) and then added the remaining 425g of flour, CM pizza flour this time.

    And it was a tough little ball of dough, so i added water ad-hoc and watched it just swish around, occasionally stopped and tried to break down this glutinous mass with a silicone spatula, etc, until i had a too-wet dough, and then added flour a little bit at a time until it cleaned the bowl. I oiled up a stainless steel bowl and put the dough in there with one of those disposable shower cap type bowl covers and put it next to a single-pane window to be cold all night.

    If it's too sticky tomorrow I'll knead in more flour until it isn't.

    I know, in retrospect, I perhaps shoulda held back the last 100g or so of flour and waited to see if it became too stiff.

    Or even experimented with the flour mixture at a low volume to determine hydration.

    I guess what I'm asking is, is there a vague rule of thumb for these experiments?

    Some google searches suggest 90% hydration for whole wheat bread, but I'm only 5% fresh ground here, and most of the bran is sifted out. If i figured the 25g of spelt should be at 90% that would be 22.5g of water for its portion, but i added 10g of water for arguably 140% hydration for that little couple tablespoons of fresh ground spelt flour.

    It's just frustrating. Trying to do things by planning rather than by feel, and then it goes sideways. Tempted to just increase salt to 2.2%, target 70% hydration, and then add flour until it's in my preferred handling range.
  • #2 by Pizza_Not_War on 28 Feb 2023
  • https://www.theperfectloaf.com/category/recipes/fresh-milled-flour/

    I bought his book for my son, he absolutely loves it and bakes some nice bread using his advice.
  • #3 by HansB on 28 Feb 2023
  • 61% is a bit low but ith only 5% you only need a few % more water.

    For 100% KABF or ABC+ I use 68% hydration. The loaves below are 50% fresh milled 100% extraction whole wheat, for that I used 75% hydration.

    I have never heard or read about any rules of thumb for hydration. Just increase each bake until it's the way you like it.

  • #4 by Timpanogos Slim on 28 Feb 2023
  • 61% is a bit low but ith only 5% you only need a few % more water.

    For 100% KABF or ABC+ I use 68% hydration. The loaves below are 50% fresh milled 100% extraction whole wheat, for that I used 75% hydration.

    I have never heard or read about any rules of thumb for hydration. Just increase each bake until it's the way you like it.

    That was my thinking, but increasing 2% wasn't nearly enough.
  • #5 by Timpanogos Slim on 28 Feb 2023
  • Just balled my dough after the overnight bulk ferment.

    One way or another there was 1006g of dough. I must have overshot the flour. By a lot. Nice and soft and just on the edge of sticky though.

    Edit: working theory was that I was looking at the wrong cell in my spreadsheet when I was doing mise en place and measured out the flour for direct rather than with preferment.
  • #6 by barryvabeach on 01 Mar 2023
  • Eric ,  I am not the baker Hans is, but I have been making bread and pizza with 100% home ground wheat flour ( no sifting ) for years.  While I think the actual berries you use have an impact on hydration, I went around 80% for loaves for a long time ,  but have been gradually pushing it up, and I am now in the very high 80's and have decided to drop down a few percent the next few bakes to see if I can get a more consistent oven spring.  While you aren't using a very high percentage of whole wheat,  I would try increasing it till you see a drop off, then cut back a little.  In the days when you adjusted the idle mixture of a carburetor by hand,  you would turn the screw till the rpms increased, then keep turning till they started to go down ( because the mixture was too rich ) then turn it back a little.  I tihnk that is the best approach for working with home milled flour.
  • #7 by HansB on 01 Mar 2023
  • Eric ,  I am not the baker Hans is, but I have been making bread and pizza with 100% home ground wheat flour ( no sifting ) for years.  While I think the actual berries you use have an impact on hydration, I went around 80% for loaves for a long time ,  but have been gradually pushing it up, and I am now in the very high 80's and have decided to drop down a few percent the next few bakes to see if I can get a more consistent oven spring.  While you aren't using a very high percentage of whole wheat,  I would try increasing it till you see a drop off, then cut back a little.  In the days when you adjusted the idle mixture of a carburetor by hand,  you would turn the screw till the rpms increased, then keep turning till they started to go down ( because the mixture was too rich ) then turn it back a little.  I tihnk that is the best approach for working with home milled flour.

    Well said. I've always thought that you were way ahead of me as a baker!
  • #8 by barryvabeach on 05 Mar 2023
  • Hans,  not even close to you.  I only bake once a week, and stay in my little corner  of the sandbox - 100% home milled white hard wheat, sourdough starter.   It is amazing to me the amount of variation in the loaf that I get when the only things that change are hydration, fermentation amount, final proofing amount, and cooking mode.  I don't hold a candle to people like you that also vary the ingredients in the loaf. 
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