Weatherbury Farm’s flour is stone milled, not roller milled (as most mass produced flours are). Bread made with stone milled flour is more dense but also more flavorful and nutritious than bread made with roller milled flour.
Many popular recipes for sourdough bread are tailored to higher protein roller milled flour. Roller milling produces a uniform, consistent finely textured flour. In roller milling, the grain passes between two large steel rollers which crush it, removing and separating the outer bran section as it passes through. The result is a white flour. Then some of the bran may be processed and crushed further and added back into the white flour to produce a whole wheat flour.
Stone ground flour naturally retains the germ and some (sifted flour) or most of the bran (whole flour). It has a courser texture and is somewhat less consistent than roller-milled flour as the germ and bran have not been crushed.
Since more of the germ and bran remains, stone ground flour produces a loaf of sourdough that is both more flavorful than one made with roller milled flour and more nutritious. Additionally, in stone grinding, the delicate healthy fats in the wheat are not damaged since the heat is absorbed by the stone rather than into the wheat berries.
However, since bran is high in fiber (as well as other nutrients), using stone ground flour produces a denser loaf. This is because bran particles pop the gluten bubbles that form as the bread dough develops. The dough may also be more difficult to handle. But in the end, as the germ and bran hold much of the flavor, sourdough bread made with stone milled flour can been described as “life-affirming,” (as bread made with Weatherbury Flour has been described by Eater.com).
In addition to better flavor and nutrition, since bread made with stone milled flour has a courser texture, it tends to have a lower Glycemic Index (which is healthier for blood sugar).
To make sourdough bread with Weatherbury Farm Flours, start with the sourdough recipe in our cookbook that comes with your order. Our recipe is based on the recipe of Stefan Senders of Wide Awake bakery and is tailored to use stone ground local wheat flour.
Weatherbury’s recipe has minimal handling (20 min autolyze, 3 tub folds before a preshaping and final shaping). There is no stretching the dough out and doing lamination and rolling it up. The preshaping and shaping is just pulling a “tab” from four corners to the center and then doing this again 45 degrees from the initial “tabs” then flipping it over and rolling it gently to tighten up the skin
The bread made with Weatherbury Farm flour may be denser and not as lofty with a crumb that is not as open as sourdough bread made with roller milled flour but it is certainly has both a more complex flavor and is more nutritious.
“Which Flour to Use for Sourdough Bread: A Complete Guide” (n.d.) https://truesourdough.com
Halloran, Amy (Jan 18 2016) “What’s the Difference between Regular and Stone-Ground Flour?” https://www.thekitchn.com
Holroy, Jane (May 19 2017) “Healthier Bread” http://.www.goodfood.com.au
Campbell, Judy, Metchtild Hauser and Stuart Hill (McGill University) “Nutritional Characteristics of Organic, Freshly Stone-Ground, Sourdough & Conventional Breads” https://soilandhealth.org