85% Extraction – I Think …

Learn Yourself Milling is progressing slowly.

This loaf is a first attempt at sifted and blended flour – I think 85% extraction.

Added a couple of hi-tech devices to my kit; two sieves, 80 & 60 microns.

The mill is beautifully simple. The top section, which acts as a hopper for the grain, unscrews to reveal the top stone which remains stationary during milling. The bottom section contains the motor, and above, the lower stone which revolves during milling, plus the funnel through which the flour exits. The fineness of the flour is determined by the screw-thread connecting top and bottom sections. At the start of a session the top is wound down slowly until the stones can be heard to be just touching, then wound back slightly and secured in place by the screw in the side of the top section.

It’s a bit late in life to be trying to change my headset but, when you’ve worked, in terms of wheat, with just bags strong bread flour and bags of wholemeal, the idea of extraction rates is a little weird. For a start off, the extraction rate refers to the amount of the original grain that’s left when it sounds like it should mean the amount that’s been extracted. So an extraction rate of 100% means nothing’s been taken out, i.e. wholemeal.

Then you come to the issue of sieving (bolting). If you want a lighter flour than wholemeal you have to sieve out the bran. None of the books I’ve found on the subject go into much detail about milling, they want to teach you how to make bread. I already know about baking, I want to know more about milling.

So, one book, Southern Ground, by Jennifer Lapidus, a cold stone miller in Carolina, talks in terms of Wholemeal (100%), High Extraction (80-90%) which she calls 85 extraction, and Extraction (75%), the nearest you can get to white flour.

Finding sieves ain’t straightforward – few sellers on the net bother to give the size of the mesh, but eventually I became the proud owner of an 80 micron and a 60 micron sieve. Then I read another book, Adam Leonti’s Flour Lab, where the author just uses a 70 micron sieve. Hey-ho, we’ll work with what we’ve got.

So now, with my mill and two sieves I can produce four grades of extraction: straight milling = Wholemeal; what stays in the the first sieve = Bran; what’s left in the second sieve = Middlings; what goes through both = Extraction.

I’ve weighed the results carefully twice and the proportions were:
Bran: 23.3%/34.6%
Middlings: 5.3%/2.7%
Extraction: 71.4%/62.8%

So, clearly the mill must have been on a finer setting the first time. Obviously this is yet another factor to be considered further down the line: the coarseness of the initial mill setting.

Jennifer Lapidus says that her 85 Extraction is roughly equivalent to French T110. My Classic Sourdough is made in imitation of T110 so I thought I’d start with that. Classic is 50% Bread Flour and 50% Wholemeal which added together equals 490g. Took 85% (416g) of Extraction Flour (the finest sieved) and added 15% (73g) Bran and increased the water by about 30g.

Made fabulous bread but is that a true 85% extraction?

Does it matter?

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