Wonder Mill, and baking wheat bread. Good/bad…


So last weekend Landlady brought up this grain mill, which will allow us to do something about…


…the two sealed buckets of wheat berries that have been in the Gulch longer than I have. Since I bake all the time, this was a subject of some interest to me.


Simple enough…


You start the mill. It sounds more or less exactly like a vacuum cleaner. Once it’s up to speed you pour in a couple of cups of grain…


…and you end up with just about 2 cups of not-very-finely ground wheat flour.

I wanted to grind about nine cups of flour, because my usual recipe for two loaves of bread takes about six cups – and I had a feeling I was going to be baking twice today. I intended from the start to do the first bake with flour straight from the mill, and from the start I did not expect it to go well. I’ve tried making wheat bread before, and really always knew my usual recipe wasn’t going to work. Long-time readers know it took me a long time to find a recipe that worked for me at this altitude and humidity, and I have been very loathe to mess with it once I finally got it dialed in. But I had to try, and figured at the very worst the chickens would eat well.

So straight home to bake bread…


Very gritty. Not nearly as fine as storebought flour. From the very beginning this is not promising a big success.


First rise went reasonably well, though. I divided it, put it in two pans, let it rise a second time. Not a great second rise, but I always expect things to really shape up in the early stage of the bake…


Nope. Not only nope: HELL nope. Didn’t even try. You can still see the finger marks, for heaven’s sake.

(sigh) Ah, well. Now I’m going to try mixing the wheat flour 50/50 with storebought. Film at eleven.

ETA:


Funnily enough, the texture really isn’t bad. I expected it to be a brick. Tastes good with butter, too, and TB certainly wants his share.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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11 Responses to Wonder Mill, and baking wheat bread. Good/bad…

  1. Ben says:

    Does wheat grain have a “Best By” date, or is it assumed to store forever?

  2. matismf says:

    So how did Laddie do with a machine that “sounds more or less exactly like a vacuum cleaner“???

  3. Joel says:

    Properly stored, wheat grain is supposed to last indefinitely. 20 years is nothing, so I’m told.

    The mill isn’t at the Lair, so I didn’t get to test TB’s reaction to an unseen vacuum cleaner. He’s afraid of brooms, I know that.

  4. Mike says:

    Dumb questions, but I just have to ask. Is there a setting to adjust the coarseness you want the grain to be? And if you left the grain in longer, would it be ground finer?

  5. Phssthpok says:

    You are dealing with LITERAL ‘whole wheat flour’.

    Some years back I learned that TRUE wwf has microscopic sharp edges from the bran hull that tends to destroy the gluten chains resulting in poor rising. The solution to this is to make what is referred to as a Biga.

    In essence you MIX your dough as normal, but do not knead, and then let it sit refrigerated* for a few hours so the hull fragments have a chance to absorb the moisture and soften. THEN you can proceed to the knead/rise/punch/rise bake you are used to without destroying the gluten chains when kneading.

    *I know, I know… off grid…lack of refrigeration, yadda yadda yadda. But you’re coming on winter.. mix before bed, set outside, proceed with baking in morning.

  6. Joel says:

    It’s something I’ll certainly try…

  7. Judy says:

    I’ve found that a 50/50 blend of white flour and whole wheat makes a better loaf. A preferment with all the moisture, yeast and whole wheat flour is very useful. I think they call it a poolish or something like that. I sift and grind again anything left in the sifter/strainer for a finer grind.

  8. Norman says:

    Got curious and surfed; I have a Wonder Mill Junior hand crank mill which I haven’t used yet, figured you opened the door to useful info and I should take advantage of it.

    The Wondermill website doesn’t say anything about regulating flour size, and there are no accessories listed to do so. The website does reference the WonderMill Electric Flour Mill AND the WonderMill Grain Mill but it appears they’re the same thing, just a schizophrenic naming scheme. Searched both with a couple different engines and results for each took me to the same places.

    Did find a reference here – http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/58202/fineness-grind – indicating there’s a control on the Wondermill for fineness of flour: “My setting for flour fineness is in the middle and the flour is fine. I grind both wheat and rye berries. There is room on the setting to make it finer still but haven’t had the need to.”

    I’ve never seen a Wondermill in the flesh, so I don’t know what that writer is referencing.

    Not cheap – Amazon wants $240 for the electric one you used (the hand crank Junior ain’t peanuts, either – I paid $180 after finding it on sale (MSRP = $219) and with a mfg coupon).

    I wonder if Phssthpok has the answer, and if white wheat would grind finer. I’ve got a couple buckets of that from the LDS store, probably should unbox the Junior and try it.

    Thanks for breaking the trail, Joel.

  9. Judy says:

    https://pleasanthillgrain.com/family-grain-mill-flour-grinder-wheat-grinder-combos
    This is the one I have. Hand crank – at some point I would like to get the motorized base or get the adapter for the KitchenAid mixer or the Bosch mixer. (Can’t decide which one I want.) One other thing, if you have flax seeds I’ve found that I have to run them through the grain mill with the wheat or rye berries, so as to not gum up the burrs and/or them slipping between the burrs without grinding at all.

  10. I can’t recall ever having occasion to run a grain mill – but in reading about their use I recall that it’s often suggested to run the material through a second time in order to get a finer texture. That’s not gonna’ change the characteristics of whole wheat flour – but it would be finer.

  11. Robert says:

    A long time ago we made bread from wheat berries and the bread was “normal” and absolutely delicious. Unless you use brewer’s yeast instead of baker’s yeast, in which case you will have delicious bricks. Oopsie. Our mill (which rivaled an overloaded 747 at full afterburner in sound) did not “grind”, it “threw” the berries, thus shattering them. That might explain our lack of problem with the dough rising.

To the stake with the heretic!