tips on using too-coarsely ground flour [Cooking]

2007 Nov 1
I bought a huge (25kg?) sack of WW flour mainly for making bread, and it's REALLY coursely ground. Like corn meal. And sure enough, when I make bread the bread ends up all crumbly as a result.

I'm thinking of taking my sponge and boiling it first in the microwave for a few minutes, then letting it cool and adding the yeast. But I'm concerned the yeast won't dissolve properly because typically you add the yeast to the sugar water first, then add that to the sponge after the yeast proofs.

Any thoughts? Aside from milling it finer (I do have a hand mill but that would be a huge PITA)

2007 Nov 1
If you use quick rise yeast, there is less of a requirement to let it 'pre-rise' in sugar water first. You might try that. (quick-rise also known as bread machine yeast)

2007 Nov 1
I have never encountered that before zym, that's very unusual! As P-i-O said, try instant yeast, at least, I second his recommendation.

We should really start up a thread on bread baking around here. I should post some of my results & recipes.

2007 Nov 2
because the flour has so much more of the germ it tends to suck up moisture like crazy. I find when I use these coarsely ground flours that I need to up my liquid by almost 10-15%. Also try not using it straight mix it 50/50 with something else so you are still highlighting it's flavour but it's easier to work with.

2007 Nov 2
I second b-t-c's recommendation:
More water, 50/50 ratio

My sister-in-law used to hand mill her own flour for cakes so it might be worth it to mill it finer if you don't want to go 50/50.

2007 Nov 2
Hand mill flour?! Holy crap! Most of Ottawa's top notch bakeries don't even do that... now that's attn to detail! Does it yield different results? Or is it more about "doin' it the old world way"?

2007 Nov 2
For me it's because I'm a tinfoil-hat-wearing survivalist :-)

Whole wheat berries will store for years. Flour obviously does not.

2007 Nov 2
I figured it out! I'm going to mix about 3/4 WW flour with about 1/4 of malted wheat. Boil the sponge first with just the flour, then add the malted wheat to cool it to mash temp where you leave it sit for 20 to 30 minutes.

Then to make the bread itself add about as much more of just the flour but that has not been boiled or anything. So about :

- 3 cups WW flour
boiled in
- 2 cups water
for 3-5 minutes

- 1 cup malted (diastatic) wheat run through brewing (roller) mill

let sit at mash temp for up to 30 minutes

then add 2 more cups flour or flour and rolled oats that's been boiled in 1 cup milk for 4 to 5 minutes.

finally add 1/4 cup flour at a time for up to 4 or 5 more times until the dough is right. i might even be brave enough to try this tonight if i had milk ... hmmmm, perhaps cream will do if diluted with beer ;-)

2007 Nov 3
Hand-milled flour - I think the motivation was to do it the "old world way". I don't recall it tasting any different than regular chocolate cake.

It is not too hard to mill the flour. You just have to have a lot of spare time. It is like a huge coffee grinder - has a hand crank and a big funnel thing on the top.

zymurgist - can you post a picture of the bread? It sounds interesting.

2007 Nov 3
OK, for the record - boiling the sponge (in a MW at least) == bad idea

Just making bread now ...

2007 Nov 9
I'm wondering if using some gluten flour would help here. I've only just heard of this stuff recently and don't have any yet / have never used it. It's apparently extremely high in gluten.

2007 Nov 9
I used to add gluten to my flour mix when I used to use a breadmaker. It improved the texture a bit. You can buy it at a health food store. I added about 2 tbsp to the regular flour.

The gluten improved the elasticity of the dough. It made my bread more dense.

Gluten is created when flour is kneaded. The more you knead the bread the more gluten is created. (I think...)

Now that I do my bread with the Kitchen Aid, I don't add any gluten.

2007 Nov 9
I think the gluten is not created by kneading, but is just a component of the flour. Did you previously live in the USA witchypoo? You need a certain amount of gluten, which provides the elasticity as you mentioned, to make a properly kneadable dough. We are lucky here in Canada, as wheat grown in our 'northern climates' is naturally high in gluten. In the USA, you can often find references to 'bread machine flour'.. which is flour that has had extra gluten added. This addition while necessary for most American grown wheat, is not normally neccessary for Canadian grown wheat. Great article on wikipedia here: This governement website also talks about the gluten differences between hard and soft wheat:

2007 Nov 9
Gluten is a protein found in flour which, when exposed to water, and then kneaded, turns into elastic "strands"... the more kneading, the longer the strands. There's a cool website that explains the science of bread. If I can find the link, I'll post it. Yes, I'm a food geek.

2007 Nov 10
PIO - Thanks for the correction on the gluten and where it comes from. The links are very helpfuul.

I never made bread in the USA. I added extra gluten to my Canadian produced flour. It came in a small, pint-sized package.

After adding the gluten to the flour, the bread, from the bread machine, came out less airy and firmer. Without the extra gluten, the bread had the texture of grocery store packaged bread.

2007 Nov 11

Exciting stuff!!!

2007 Nov 12
That website is AWESOME!