So when I got a chance to get a Mockmill to work with, I said "yes" in a heartbeat.
And, if you want one, I've got a deal for you. $80 off! Scroll to the bottom of the post for details!
The mill is named after its inventor, Wolfgang Mock, and it had pretty good reviews on bread sites that I trust, so I figured it was a good deal. Mockmill for me, bread for my readers.
Well, okay, the bread is for me, too. But the recipe is for my readers. Right?
The only thing left to do was buy some grains to mill. I picked up a couple of hard wheat varieties to start with - a hard white spring wheat and a hard white winter wheat. I'm going to try some soft wheat, too, and then I'll mess around with other grains.
The mill can grind grain very finely to make flour, or it can grind coarsely, for cracked grains or for things like cornmeal, where you want a coarse texture. Or any coarseness in between. You set the coarseness with a dial, so there's a complete range.
The photo shows the whole wheat flour on the right, topped with some store-bought bread flour.
The mill attaches to the hub of a KitchenAid mixer, so you do need a mixer to use the mill. But since it doesn't have its own motor, it's pretty small and lightweight and easier to store than a stand-alone mill.
Speaking of motors, I checked the heat on my KitchenAid's motor while I was grinding, and it didn't seem to be straining at all. I've made breads that stressed it more. So that's a really good thing.
The first time I used the mill, I had a bit of an "oops" moment. The mill jiggled quite a bit while it was grinding, and that grinding loosened the screw that keeps attachments attached to the mixer and then the mill did a nice spin around. Everything was fine except for some spilled grain, but I suggest that you don't go too far away from it while it's running.
I brought the Mockmill to a friend's house and it barely wobbled, so obviously it's a mixer issue and not a Mockmill issue, but the first time or two you use the mill, it's probably best to stay nearby and tighten the screw if it seems to be coming loose. Just to be safe.
Here it is, attached to my friend's mixer:
At my friend's house, we made pasta using half all-all purpose flour, and half freshly-ground whole wheat. It was really good with an eggplant bolognese. Here's the pasta:
Meanwhile, back to the mill ...
As far as cleaning the mill, you really don't need to do much - just brush out the parts you can get to, or if you're going to be putting it away for a while after grinding things like whole wheat that can go rancid, just run some white rice through it to clean it. You can also take the mill apart for a more thorough cleaning of the grinding stones, but that shouldn't be necessary very often - if you use it often. The mill comes with complete instructions on how to take it apart and put it back together, if you need to.
Way back when I first started researching about different flours, I found out that most flours that you buy are either aged or bleached. The natural aging process changes some chemical properties in the flour and strengthens the gluten bonds. Bleaching does the same thing, but in less time, which means the mills don't have to store the flour before they sell it.
Bakerpedia explained it well: "When flour is aged for several months, oxidation restructures the proteins within the flour while starch remains rather consistent. Here, the influence of gluten becomes more pronounced, forming stronger bonds which lead to a more elastic dough. Oxidation also naturally bleaches the flour, creating a lighter colored flour. Aging flour can be costly, which is why chemical methods of ‘aging’ are typical of large scale flour producers."
Aging time for flour also depends a bit on when the wheat was harvested. Grain that's newly harvested would need to be aged longer after grinding than grain that's older.
I also read (somewhere ... can't recall where) that you're best off baking with either aged flour or with freshly-milled flour. Flour that's somewhere in the middle of the process is least desirable. So, I figure it made sense to grind and then make bread right away because I'm not going to be storing flour for long periods of time before using it.
Here's a curious thing. After baking bazillions of loaves of bread, I know how much water I should need for how much flour. It varies a bit by season and brand of flour, but I know what results I should get. And I know that in general whole wheat flour needs more water than refined flour.
But the freshly-milled whole wheat flour didn't need any more flour than if I made this same recipe with white flour. Perhaps it's because the whole grains I bought had more moisture in them than milled flour would have had. I haven't experimented with enough types of whole wheat berries yet to know. But if you're using freshly milled grain, be prepared to make adjustments, if you need to.
Speaking of milling more grains, expect to see more recipes here using freshly milled grains. I've been really happy with the ones I've made so far, and I think it'll be a whole lot of fun working with other grains.
How much do I like this thing? Well, I just ordered some hard red wheat and some soft white wheat to try. I've used almost all of the first bag of the hard white wheat flour that I bought, so obviously I'm having some fun with it. If it was winter, I'd probably have used even more, but mid-summer it's kind of warm to be baking bread. Even so, I'm working on it!
If you happen to make this recipe with store-bought whole wheat flour, plan on using more water. I'm sure you'll need it.
Whole Wheat Sesame-Topped Loaf
9 ounces hard spring wheat berries, milled to a fine flour
4 1/2 ounce (1 cup) bread flour
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (one packet) Red Star* Active Dry Yeast
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Egg wash (optional - for a shiny crust and so the sesame seeds adhere)
Toasted sesame seeds, as needed (optional)
After milling the flour (the Mockmill sends it directly into the stand mixer bowl, which is useful) add all of the other ingredients to the bowl.
Mix on slow speed using the dough hook until all the ingredients are mixed. It's fine if the butter is still in large lumps - the stand mixer will obliterate it during kneading.
Increase the speed to medium (I used 4 on my Artisan mixer) and knead for 10 minutes.
Cover the bowl and set aside until the dough has at least doubled - about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, spray a 9x5 loaf pan with baking spray for added insurance that the bread will leave the pan. This isn't required, but it's good insurance. I've had some breads stick to the bottom of some pans, and it never makes me happy.
When you see that the bread has risen, heat the oven to 350 degrees. This will give the oven enough time to heat fully before you put the bread in the oven.
Remove the dough from the bowl and form it into a log-like shape that will fit in the bread pan, with the seam side down in the pan.
Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap (you don't want to impede the rise) and set aside until the dough rises about an inch over the top of the pan - about 30 minutes, or about half of the first rising time. Remove the Brush the top of the loaf with the egg wash, if you're using it, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Slash the top of the loaf and bake at 350 degrees until the top is nicely browned and the loaf is fully baked, about 50 minutes. You can test the doneness with a thermometer poked into the bread, It should reach at least 205 degrees.
Remove the loaf from the pan and let it cool completely on a rack before slicing or storing.
*If you use another brand of yeast, you might need to soften it in the water before mixing. Red Star is a brand that I know for sure can be mixed directly into the dough.
I mentioned that Wolfgang Mock invented the Mockmill, but didn't say why. First, he tried whole grain bread that a friend made, and liked the flavor better than white flour. Second, he felt it was a much healthier choice. So, he started milling his own grains, but got tired of hand-cranking. He tried some electric mills, but didn't like them. So he decided to design his own, with an eye at making it easy to use and attractive.
Friends asked him to build mills for him, and it became a hobby that turned into a business in the 70's. Yup, he's been making these things for a long, long time. Mostly in Germany, but now he's working on selling them to consumers in the US.
His goal is to make home-milling as popular as, well, stand mixers, I guess.
This is a sponsored post for Mockmill; I received a mill at no cost and I get a revenue share for mills purchased using my code.