We have a fresh flour secret to share with you and we are excited for you to experience the benefits! For our customers it’s not a new secret, but we thought we’d share the WHY because we’ve been getting some lovely messages since we made the switch on our recipe cards a ways back. One customer messaged us on Instagram and said:
"I am truly amazed at the difference! When I pulled the dough out for the first time it felt softer to the touch....The bread is softer than ever!"
Are you ready to take your freshly milled flour baking to the next level too? You're in the right place.
First....if you're new here, at Unsifted, our aim is make fresh flour baking as easy as possible so you can sustain this healthful and delicious lifestyle WITH EASE. For this reason, we blend our grains to match top name commercial flour's performance. Our Basic Blend is a must-have for soft and lofty bread, plus is insanely convenient. #modernmilling
That being said, we've also studied what commercial industry does so that we can implement their best techniques in the home milling world too and continually improve our recipe cards and Pro Tips to help all of you too!
This post is NOT intended to be an all inclusive troubleshooting of a soft + fluffy loaf; RATHER, we're sharing (more publicly) one additional "secret". If you've purchased a new version of our Simple Sandwich recipe cards you've seen this already (on versions from Sept 2022 and later).
Let's get to it! The "secret" is adding an ACID. Yes, its that simple. We recommend you start doing it ASAP if you aren’t already :) Unsifted's acid of choice is LEMON JUICE, because it's easy to keep on hand and it has a pH of 2.
If it's been awhile since you've had chemistry, let's refresh what makes something an acid. Acids are things that have a LOW pH. Whereas, something is alkaline if it has a HIGH pH.
Have you ever wondered why some things taste sour and other things taste bitter? It's all about how acidic or alkaline the item is:
Low pH / Acid = sour
Higher pH / Alkaline = bitter
In our Simple Sandwich recipe and others (i.e. pitas, etc), the addition of lemon juice contributes to the following:
- Stronger gluten
- Faster rising time
- Increased tenderness
- Bigger loaf volume
- Finer crumb
There are many different conditioners and improvers (i.e. sunflower lecithin, etc.), but this post focuses on one specific improver...LEMON JUICE. The acid improves the dough by tightening the gluten and therefore increasing dough strength.
In the commercial bread world they closely monitor the gluten formation and the pH of the bread because both are key factors in taste and baking performance. Gluten in commercial bread can give #carbconsequences BUT remember... gluten isn't the bad guy, processing is the problem. In reality, gluten is just a protein formation (and fresh flour has the enzyme to help digest it!). Think of gluten as the structure of the bread. If you like technical details....when flour is mixed with water the dough hydrates via the protein and water forming several types of bonds. This is very simplistic but these bonds are gluten. Its a nuance, but worth noting that gluten itself IS NOT in grain. It's only formed in a dough after hydrating. Gluten proteins form and then this structure allows for the CO2 gasses to be trapped. A strong gluten formation allows for a nice lofty loaf.
Fresh milled flour has the bran + germ + endosperm included in it to maximize nutrition. This is wonderful for nutrition but it's worth noting that the bran is sharp and slices through the gluten strands. It's great for your gut, but it's harsh on the gluten structure. For this reason, adding lemon juice to tighten the gluten structure improves the ability of the dough to retain the gas which is what creates a bread with a finer crumb structure and can help in creating a soft and lofty loaf.
We recommend adding 1 Tbsp lemon juice per 3 cups of grain. You can over do it and then it will start affecting the yeast and it will act as a detriment. I find it so interesting how the dough has a noticeably different feel to me. For our flaky biscuits recipe it adds delightful tenderness. For our tortillas, I think it adds more layers while baking but I notice that it makes my tortillas bake slightly differently too so I need to roll out thin and then be sure to reduce my heat and MAN OH MAN are they worth it. My family thought they were the best I'd made when I switched to using lemon juice.
So the moral of the story is, we recommend adding lemon juice to your freshly milled Unsifted flour. If you have older Unsifted recipe cards you can pencil it in or you can buy an updated version if you’d rather.
Its obviously not required to use lemon juice. If you're a traditionalist, you can skim right on past it in our recipes when it says "optional”. BUT… I HIGHLY encourage you to give it a try. Checkout our Modern MIlling Recipe Box and/or enhanced recipe cards to see our specific recommendations.
Happy Unsifted Baking!
Note: We don't recommend using lemon juice in long-fermented breads, because it could actually end up weakening the gluten structure over the longer period of time. If you try it in sourdough, we recommend adding to your starter in a shorter ferment bread and then expanding from there. We'd love to hear from you if you give it a try!
Adding lemon juice is best for standard yeast doughs and biscuits as you'll find in our Unsifted Modern Milling Recipe Box and as is added as an enhancement in related Unsifted Recipe Cards.