Background: The events leading up to receiving my Mockmill 100 Professional home grain-mill brought together my passion for learning as much as I can about every ingredient that I cook and bake with and my drive to meet and get to know as many sourdough baking community members as possible. In the beginning of August, shortly after sending Hannah Dela Cruz of Make It Dough questions for her Meet the Baker Behind the Loaves interview, I remembered reading an article on her blog where she mentioned a conversation that she had with someone from Wolfgang Mock Companies (aka Mockmill) and asked for his contact information. Since first emailing Paul Lebeau, managing director at Wolfgang Mock Companies (GmbH), has been both a baking role model and great friend. After posting his Meet the Baker Behind the Loaves interview, my interest in acquiring a Mockmill of my own intensified and a conversation about Mockmill and Breadtopia (Mockmill’s US partner) becoming sponsors of The Brewed Palate began. To make the rest of this story short, after some delays Paul decided to look for and send me a Mockmill to review and take my home-baking to the next level. Suprisingly, on September 29th, one day after being shipped from Germany, I received my Mockmill 100 Professional.
Initial Setup: As shown in the video above, set up was quite easy. After unboxing it and clearing off a space on my kitchen counter, I proceeded to unscrew the upper portion (hopper) of the mill in order to get a look at the mill stones and check whether stabilizers were present to protect them during transit (there weren’t any). After seeing that the internals looked good, I put the hopper back on and set the mill to grind setting number 6 in order to mill my first handfuls of grain. Doing so served two purposes, first to clear the stones of any debris and residue from the manufacturing process and then to make sure that the flour was of even consistency. I chose to mill two handfuls of emmer (Farro) and was delighted to see that my new Mockmill was working well and producing consistent whole grain flour.
Learning curve: Due to the ease of adjusting grind size with this model (compared to the base Mockmill 100), the only curve that I’ve had to get over was with milling legumes such as chickpeas which are larger and therefore don’t descend from the hopper to the millstones as quickly or smoothly as whole grain berries do. However, further discussions with Paul and Breadtopia‘s Melissa Johnson helped me figure out which grind size (mill gap setting) to use for the various grains, corn, and legumes that I’ve been working with.
Overall thoughts: I purposely waited until now i.e. a little over a month into using my Mockmill 100 Professional to write this article. Doing so in order to experience as many of the benefits of being able to mill fresh flour at home as possible and collect my initial thoughts. In terms of texture and flavor, I’ve definitely noticed improvements in my loaves when using as little as 20% and up to almost 100% freshly milled flour (see video above). Process-wise, I’ve recently started preparing my flour blends the night before I plan to use them for my next loaves and when using fresh flour I store them in my refrigerator in order to best maintain their freshness. However, I’ve also milled flours and cornmeal day of for either my main dough/s or porridges.
One sourdough baking related factor that I’m still investigating for myself is how much using freshly milled flour increases the rate of a dough’s bulk fermentation and proofing time. With so many other factors in play once the levain has been added to the dough; I think it’ll take quite a few more milling and baking experiences to notice the subtle differences made by the incorporation of freshly milled flour.
When it comes down to it, I think that weighing pros and cons with a home grain-mill is not necessary. While one may not be fully satisifed with his or her mill of choice and need to save up for a replacement. The benefits of being able to mill whole grain flours at home in my opinion greatly outweighs learning curves, extra prep time, and at times not knowing the exact protein content of one’s fresh flours. In fact, the more I use my Mockmill, the more I wholeheartedly identify with Paul Lebeau’s mission to get a Mockmill into every home. Cooking and baking with and then consuming whole foods nourishes the body and mind at a level that can only be believed with experience. Therefore, I’d highly recommend that my fellow sourdough bakers and home-chefs purchase a Mockmill to take their baking and cooking to a higher and healthier level.