Ageing Bread Flour

I’ve been struggling to get my flours to perform recently, and today a miller friend told me that flours need to age for about six weeks after milling to be at their best.  This would make sense, as the flours I’ve been using are all newly milled (within the last month or so) and I’m hoping to see an improvement in rise over the next few weeks.  A Google search turned up this article, which said :

Another handy thing to know is that flour benefits from ageing, when used in bread making. This is where a lot of home bakers go wrong.

It is known that over the first 12 months of storage hard flour improves dramatically and produces a loaf with a lighter texture and a finer crumb. It also increases the yield of bread per kilo of flour.

The process is explained by Tom Coultate (1989): autoxidation of the polyunsaturated fatty acids of flour lipids results in the formation of hydro peroxides which are powerful oxidising agents. One consequence is the bleaching of the carotenoids in the flour, giving the bread a more attractive, whiter crumb.

Food for thought !

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