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KK as Steam Oven for Bread

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1 hour ago, MacKenzie said:

I have the KoMo Fidibus Classic and like it a lot, does a great job, it's quiet, no complaints about it at all. It is a piece of art just like the KK. :)

http://pleasanthillgrain.com/komo-classic-grain-mill-flour-grinder-wood-stone

That's exactly the one I was looking at. Do you always do 100% extraction, or do you sift? For example, Tartine #3 calls for 85% extraction, which can be arrived at by either sifting or a blend of whole wheat with white.

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On 12/4/2016 at 9:34 AM, MacKenzie said:

I have the KoMo Fidibus Classic and like it a lot, does a great job, it's quiet, no complaints about it at all. It is a piece of art just like the KK. :)

http://pleasanthillgrain.com/komo-classic-grain-mill-flour-grinder-wood-stone

Exactly. I have one of these on each coast. My wife Laurie uses the western one nearly daily, for any flour-based dessert, pasta, bread. I use the eastern one for pasta and bread. I'm sure this is most of the reason my bread tastes so good. As always, sourcing makes the cook.

The poster child for the issue here is headphones. One spends $25 then $50 then $100 then $200 only to realize one has already spent nearly the $400 for the headphones one wants. All less expensive grain mills are loud, prone to static, messy, ugly, and don't grind fine enough. One can do better, but this mill is good enough. The burrs are replaceable, once a decade depending on usage.

For efficiency I prefer to sieve using a 12" diameter sieve. The two essential sieves are a coarse sieve for mixing, and a fine sieve for partial extraction. Inexpensive fine sieves are too fine; I went with a lab grade test sieve to choose the exact fineness, going with #35 which gives me 75% or more extraction (yield by weight). Great for whole grain pasta with the technical properties of white flour. I'd be curious to go coarser for bread, though I am happy now.

Vollrath makes a 12" bowl that fits beautifully under these sieves. I have sets of 3, 4, 5, 8 quarts in this heavy duty 690xx series on each coast, and they get used for everything. (3,4,4,8,8 west; 3,4,5,8,8 east; the west bowls store nestled in wooden drawer pull knobs screwed into the front of pantry shelves, for easy access.) A friend admired these but cheaped out buying for his house (to save money for wine I can't afford), and his wife is continually aware of the quality differences. We are pleased every time we touch ours.

VOLLRATH MIXING BOWL, STAINLESS STEEL 8QT - 69080

Stainless Steel Flour Sieve, 12 in. (roughly #17)
Gilson 12in Round Test Sieve, All Stainless Steel - #35/500um

Laurie prefers a 10" sieve. These fit nicely into a five quart Vollrath bowl. One can find these hit-or-miss everywhere with unspecified screens, for example in Chinatown kitchen supply stores, or online cookware sites. I noticed one source that specifies #40 or #50 fine sieves; the #40 would yield very refined whole grain products.

Vollrath (69050) Heavy Duty Mixing Bowl (5-Quart, Stainless Steel)

Flour sifters

Finally, Chad Robertson inexplicably makes no mention of the perils of "green" flour, in his books. (Flour needs to be aged to behave as we expect, and one doesn't want to age freshly ground flour, because the germ will go rancid.) He may be opposed to any additives, or he simply might not know. This is not widely understood, and it took me forever (dozens of loaves flattened like flying saucers) to learn what to do. Michel Suas, in a bread book meant strictly for professionals, discusses the use of 20 to 40 parts per million of ascorbic acid, to compensate for this and other issues. (For comparison, in The Banh Mi Handbook, Andrea Nguyen calls for roughly 1000 parts per million; she has no idea. After feeling what 30 ppm ascorbic acid does to bread dough, there's no way I'm taking a gram of Vitamin C for my health, ever again.)

How does one measure such small quantities of ascorbic acid, commercially or at home? Thoroughly mix ascorbic acid 1:20 with white flour, and save in a labeled jar. Thoroughly mix some of that 1:20 with white flour, for a 1:440 mixture one can actually measure with a gram scale.

I'm trying to figure out how to ask Chad Robertson about this. Cookbooks are often an unlabeled mix of what the author knows and what the author surmises. For example, Paul Bertolli's Cooking by Hand got us started grinding our own flour for pasta (thank you!) but we quickly concluded that he had restaurant experience with very fresh flour from local mills, but no actual experience with home-ground flour. Here, Chad Robertson has tight relationships with artisanal suppliers, is that the same as grinding at home? Are his suppliers sneaking in flour conditioners, knowing what he'd say if they asked, but not wanting to lose his business? Or has he, and he alone, mastered the delicate puzzle of working with green flour without experiencing the usual perils. Dunno.

As usual, beware any comment that translates to "I don't do that, but the best I do is the best I know!" Adding 30 ppm ascorbic acid to green flour makes a difference.

Edited by Syzygies
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Way over my head! I'm perfectly happy to buy my bread at the Food Coop down the street - $2.99 for a sourdough boule, baked fresh everyday with organic, non-GMO flours, using a 30+ year old starter. Not even gonna try and compete with that. 

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I would think that the sieve and bowl would be a better use of money than buying the KoMo sieve attachment. Thanks to Syzygies I have found a location to purchase the sieve and a matching bowl. :) 

Edited by MacKenzie

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55 minutes ago, MacKenzie said:

I would think that the sieve and bowl would be a better use of money than buying the KoMo sieve attachment. Thanks to Syzygies I have found a location to purchase the sieve and a matching bowl. :) 

Yes, that's exactly what I was looking for. And good tip on the ascorbic acid. Hadn't seen that one before. 

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29 minutes ago, MacKenzie said:

Syzygies, would you have a recipe for making pasta from freshly ground flour that you wouldn't mind sharing? Thanks.

Maybe ten years ago one could call it a recipe. It's gotten simpler with time.

Grind 120g to 150g of red winter wheat, sieve through #35 screen, and top up with semolina flour to 180g. Add and mix well 1/2 tsp salt. Add and mix well 1 TB (or less) olive oil. Now, crack 2 to 6 eggs (to taste) into a cereal bowl. Use a tablespoon measure to lift out the yolks and transfer to the flour mixture. Mix well. Now add water as necessary till the dough is not too dry, mix well and rest twenty minutes. (Fresh flour hydrates like crazy.)

One can hand knead first, or not. Cut into two pieces (180g flour is the limit for this). Knead each piece well by a dozen passes, folding in half and passing through the widest setting of a crank pasta machine.

Here, one sees what is impossible to explain, what is the right moisture content? I never measure, I sense and adjust, and sometimes miss. Too dry dough will create a rough, ragged edge on both sides as it passes through the pasta machine rollers. One wants the dough just moist enough to handle well, with clean abstract edges as one rolls, but no wetter. Adjustments are possible both ways: Keep dredging in white flour as one folds and rolls, if the dough is too wet. Wrap flat pieces of dough in damp paper towel as one works on the other piece, if the dough is too dry. Rolling out the dough, roll fairly thin and tender (the dough is sturdy otherwise). We go to 5 for thick, or 6 for thin, on an Atlas. Let the sheets dry somewhat before cutting.

One wants the dough to handle beautifully, and not clump when you cook it. All's fair, other than that. This dough is robust and unlikely to clump while cooking, no matter what. Stuck pasta? One is thinking of dried pasta, and bad restaurants, or that twenty-something group house where everyone went into the other room to smoke a joint, and forgot about the pasta. If one stirs immediately after adding the pasta to boiling water, it always separates.

One hears that fresh pasta cooks at the mere sight of boiling water, but this pasta needs a minute or two, even if it will cook further in the sauce as Mario Batali preaches. Taste it, learn what you like. Undercooked is no fun, and this pasta doesn't overcook as easily as pasta made from white flour.

In Giuliano Bugialli's classes, I always went first making pasta, as others feared the inevitable critique. He would have a heart attack watching me work whole grain pasta, even though that is closer to Italy's ancient spirit. It's sturdy, and one works it like it is sturdy.

We skin, partially dry, and freeze a year's worth of tomatoes each summer. A sauce with a tomato packet, always olive oil, garlic and black pepper, perhaps capers or olives, perhaps pancetta, sometimes garden herbs or our parsley, with grated pecorino cheese, is our signature dish on this pasta. We make it if we have no other ideas, and it's the single best thing we make.

 

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Thank you very much, Syzygies. :) :coffee2: I have the sieve on back order. I hope it gets shipped soon, I am keen to try it and make the pasta.  I have your pasta instruction copies, saved and printed, can't wait to try it out. Thanks again.:) 

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coarse sifter.jpg

Stainless Steel Flour Sieve, 12 in. (roughly #17)

Gilson 12in Round Test Sieve, All Stainless Steel - #35/500um

Komo Classic Grain Mill

So I measured Laurie's smaller sieve, to put together some extraction percentages using the Komo grain mill. These numbers may vary by grain and by grinding stone wear, but they give a rough idea: With my #35 test sieve, I easily get 80% extraction in one kitchen, and struggle to get 80% extraction in the other (80% flour, 20% discarded bran). With Laurie's smaller #30 sieve, she gets 90% extraction. Using the coarse #17 "mixing" sieve, if I sieve three times I can remove 8% bran leaving 92% extraction. And sieving three times with the #17 coarse sieve is less frustrating for large quantities than sieving once with the #35 fine sieve.

My take away? The marked jump between #30 and #35 tells us something about the finest grind that the Komo is capable of doing. If one were flush, and owned an entire range of test sieves and a shaking table, one could describe exactly how many mills on the market (mixer attachments, etc.) performed.

I continue to love my #35 sieve for pasta, full of whole wheat flavor but smooth as semolina pasta. I can imagine ordering a #25 test sieve for bread, but I'm going to instead experiment with getting by using the coarse sieve. Ballpark 90% extraction either way, not clearly worth the money or storage to get a third sieve.

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I am watching this Syzygies with a great deal of interest. After tasting the bread using your recipe I can't get over the flavour. It is the only bread that I eat 2 or 3 slices as soon as it cool, can't get enough of that flavour. :)

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The Bouchon Bakery book suggests a combination of river rocks and metal chain in a hotel pan pre-heated in your home oven, then introducing the water using a super soaker. Whatever gets you the thermal mass will work. 

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Syzygies inspired spaghetti. I decided to grind some organic Durum wheat berries and make some spaghetti.

I ground the berries and then used the Wolfgang Mock fine sieve to remove some of the bran  and used about 60:20 mix of the durum and bought semolina flours.

Here is the pasta dough ready to roll out.

Pasta Dough.jpg

One piece rolled out and ready to cut.

Pasta Rolled Out.jpg

I will be doing this again.:) 

Cut to make spaghetti.

Pasta is Cut.jpg

Plated.

Spaghetti.jpg

 

 

 

Edited by MacKenzie
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Very nice! I made fresh pasta today as well, although not with freshly ground flour. Don't have a grain mill...yet.

What do you use to cut the spaghetti? I use the spaghetti attachment on my Atlas Marcato, which does a decent job of rolling, but not such a great job of cutting.

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