Since our first milling in July 2017, I’ve been surprised and thrilled by the flavor of the flours we produce—every grain is different in the subtlest ways and I’m always eager to take them home and bake (all night) and see what comes of it. My Italian Nonna loved to bake and make pasta and always invited me to help in the kitchen. These are some of my favorite memories, as she instilled in me the joy and appreciation of working superior ingredients with character and story. While I’m only an avid home baker, I have the privilege of learning from the many passionate commercial bakers that we hang with and serve. These are a few discoveries that we’ve made in the last 2 years:
- Kevin Morse
· Cairnspring Mills flours are truly fresh, and thus have a shorter shelf life than commercial flour because the way we mill keeps the natural oils, fats, and vitamins in the flour when it’s processed. It has a nine-month shelf life when its bagged at the mill, as long as it is kept in a cool, dry place. The best storage solution is your refrigerator or freezer. But we recommend you treat it like any other fresh product and use it up, then come back for more.
Our flours may absorb liquid differently when compared to other flours. Our medium and higher protein flours—such as the Yecora Rojo and Edison—have more bran than most off-the-shelf flours, so they may need more liquid. (For example, many modern recipes for bread recommend hydrations in the 60-to-70 percent range; our bread flours can handle hydration rates up to the mid-80s.) Conversely, when using our lower protein Cara Club wheat flour, it will absorb less liquid, so you’ll need to increase the flour or reduce the liquid. A good rule of thumb is 5-percent more weight in flour, to make a dough that will hold together. Without this adjustment, the dough will be too soft to form and will fall apart when shaping. With less liquid, the dough may feel softer than usual when you roll it and shape it, so you can adjust over time.
Because we don’t add any vital wheat gluten or dough stabilizers, the time required for the flour to develop strength may be less. If you are used to mixing your yeast doughs in a mechanical mixer, consider mixing for no more than 10 to 14 minutes, stopping to check your dough and proceed in increments. Any longer and you run the risk of overmixing it.
Use a scale to measure ingredients. It’s more accurate because flour volume can vary; figure that each cup of flour weighs 4.5 ounces.