Starch packet damage in milling a myth? – A discussion with a miller.
I go to great lengths sourcing flours and am pleased to be able to get stone ground flours from the UK and Italy and I mill my own wholemeal using a small domestic horizontal electric stone mill. Generally my baking life is as smooth as a mill pond happy reading about baking and contented with my loaf…
I have always accepted the view that milling wheat too finely damages the starch packets and results in the dough not rising properly.
I have also been happy to accept that high speed steel roller mills work at high temperatures and that all of the germ and husk need to be removed in prior processes to prevent gumming etc.
Imagine my surprise! I was sourcing French Type 55 or 65 flour online. I have never been happy with the offerings of number of small mills in the UK who make a blend of flours to emulate the French flour and still sell it as Type 55 or 65.
I came across a new, to me, artisan mill. The Wessex Mill in Oxfordshire. So I telephoned the miller to find out more. The miller, Paul, turned out to be a delightful and very well informed chap. He was very open about hi milling. He told me that he was using a small steel roller mill from the mid 1940’s. All my steel roller mill prejudices started to stir. Imagine my surprise when he said that the steel roller mill revolution was not just about speed, but that the steel rollers break open the starch packets in the flour allowing the yeast better access to the starch and a better volume to the loaf.
I have baked with his flour now and it was good.
I would love to hear folks comments on this.
(His other bombshell is that Type 55 and Type 65 are now so similar it does not really matter which one uses.)