Sunday, February 26, 2012

Grinding Rye and the Grateful Dead Show of the Week's

This is the grinder that I use when grinding my whole rye and whole wheat flours. I have also used it to grind kamut in the past.
This device attaches right on to my kitchen aid.  As you can see the grind can be adjusted from very fine to very course. I am able ot make grain chops, crakced grain and fine flours using just one pass through the mill. 

My last post of February 22 was on a Dark Rye from the Auvergne region of France. I told you about some of the problems that I had with this bread. The recipe called for light rye flour and I went ahead and used whole rye flour. I knew it would not be perfect, but I thought it would be better than what I got.  So I started thinking that it would be in my best interest do some research and take advantage of some of my bread baking resources.  That is just what I did and I came up with some great information that I would like to share with all of you. 

The first thing that I did was to e-mail my bread instructor from Johnson & Wales, Chef Richard Miscovitch. He is a bread genius and a really big fan of the Grateful Dead (this is the connection). We have exchanged many e-mails about what kind of breads that I have been baking, and the specifics of the formulas.

I have also been in contact with King Arthur Flour because I use their bread flour a lot. I was using their whole wheat flour exclusively, until I started grinding my own wheat and rye berries with my grain mill. I have also been in contact with Daniel Leader, the author of the book and the owner of Bread Alone, a well known bakery in Upstate New York. All three sources, more or less, came to the same conclusion and I will share their recommendations below.

If you are on Facebook, I highly recommend that that you join King Arthur's Fan Page. They have excellent resources and it is a great way to see what others are doing. Their Chefs are very supportive;  are great resources, they will get back to you very quickly. Their help was invaluable during my rye crisis.   

I was afraid that I would not be able to produce medium rye flour on my mill and that I would have to simply purchase it already prepared. This would be okay, I guess, but I have grown really attached to the process of grinding my own whole grain flours. I would really miss this part of the process. Also, when I grind my own flour, I really feel one step closer to the earth. As a matter of fact, one day I would like to grow my own wheat and rye. Grinding and milling my own flour has made the bread baking process more natural, more holistic and a more intimate experience for me. 
Daniel Leader said that I could "mimic" light rye flour by combing whole rye flour and bread flour in a ratio of 2:1. I would discourage this and would only use this as a last resort.  Chef Richard Miscovitch and the King Arthurs chefs both informed me that medium rye flour is simply whole rye flour with the bran removed. The bran grinds off the rye berry in fairly large pieces, so it is easy to simply sift it out with a fine sifter. (I have since placed an order for a 10" diameter sifter, and I will certainly let you all know how it works for me). I did sift a large amount of rye flour the other day using a 2" diameter sifter (typically used for dusting powdered sugar) and it worked really well.  It was a great test run, but it took me over 25 minutes due to the small diameter of the device. I can't wait to get my 10" sifter. I am really looking forward to having access to medium rye flour as well as whole rye from my grain mill. 
Whole rye flour (Close up)

In the front you can see rye bran, back left you can see whole rye flour and in the back right you can see medium rye flour. Notice the textural differences, and how the bran falls of the berry in large flakes.

During my conversation with Miscovich he asked me "What ever happened to the Grateful Dead Show of the week". I responded "Misky I will start up again immediately!!" For all of those bread bakers out there who enjoy the work of Jerry, Bobby, and Phil, I have quite a large collection of my favorite Grateful Dead shows and I hope you will give them a good listen. To me, there is nothing like the boys playing a good set. I remember listening to my Dad's CD's, especially the Grateful Dead.  That band definitely had a great impact on me. I Listened to them on my Portable CD player as I walked to and from school every day. Music has had a profound effect on me as a person and as a baker so I would like to devote a little more energy to music on this blog. I will start with the show of the week and I will see where it goes from there. If any of you have suggestions please let me know.


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