Lately I have been switching around through various bread cookbooks, especially Reinhart’s Whole Grain Bread Book and Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, in addition to experimenting with my sourdough formula and trying recipes from TFL. I thought I would post photos from my bakes of three of the Reinhart whole grain recipes. All three are 100% whole grain.
I don’t want the above to sound as if I think I am some sort of expert. I’m far from that. I have baked quite a bit, but it’s almost always loaf-pan sandwich breads, because that’s what’s needed in this household. Up until recently I have always followed standard procedure learned 50+ years ago -- scald the milk or heat the water, activate the yeast, etc., etc., etc. In other words, until encountering Reinhart and Artisan in 5, I baked bread the “old fashioned American way.” Nothing wrong with that, either!
I had never considered whole wheat baking to be particularly difficult, probably because I was too innocent to know better. I just went ahead and substituted whole grains in a recipe, or followed a recipe that included them. I didn’t expect that a 100% whole grain recipe would rise as much as a white bread loaf, but I always get a good enough rise to suit me. Then I began reading about how difficult some folks consider whole grain baking. Being innocent apparently helps!
So -- here are photos of my efforts with three of Peter Reinhart’s recipes from his Whole Grain Bread Book. All three recipes are found in his book so I won’t post them here. All three are a little “squatty” because they were the first time for each recipe and I hadn’t scaled them up to fit larger pans. I like to bake a recipe first “by the book”, then play later on.
The first is his Master Recipe. I used water as the liquid in both soaker and biga, and mostly KA White Whole Wheat Flour. I did substitute 1 cup of Hodgson Mills Graham Flour for 1 cup of the KA, which explains the somewhat freckled appearance. It’s a very tender bread, and I think it rose well, though the pan used could have held more dough. I will note that both soaker and biga were impossible to cut into chunks, as Reinhart directs; they were way too wet. I just had to blend them with my hands, before using the machine. Didn’t seem to hurt anything.
The Master Recipe from Whole Grain Bread Book
Second is the Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin. Again KA White Whole Wheat, but no graham flour. Note that the raisins made the loaf darker, because I added them while kneading in the mixer. I threw the walnuts in at the last minute.
Cinnamon Raisin Bread
Lastly, my most recent experiment, Straun. This didn’t rise as high, and I suspect that this was due to the cooked grains. It’s delicious -- very moist without being soggy, delicate, and sweet without being “sugary.” It really was an experiment this time. Instead of assembling a whole bunch of different grains, I used Grande Pilaf from Bob’s Red Mill for all the grains. This is a pilaf we like to eat as a “starch”, and contains several different grains, seeds, etc, (red wheat, brown rice, oats, rye, triticale, barley, buckwheat, and sesame seeds) so I thought it would be appropriate for Straun. I just cooked up a pot of it, measured out the 6 ounces called for in the Reinhart recipe, then we had the rest for dinner. It worked fine. This time I used KA Traditional WW flour, not White WW.
My version of Straun
I really like the KA White WW, especially in combination with a cup or so of the Graham Flour. This is probably my new go-to combination for most breads. I have a tendency to be able to taste a bit of bitterness in regular WW flour that I don’t taste in the White WW. I think this is one of those tasting differences that we all have. I’d like to encourage folks who have had trouble with this flour or whole wheat in general to give it another try -- if I can do it, so can you, because I don’t do anything special at all.