The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Adventures of a "real food" virgin

  • Pin It
mbecktel's picture
mbecktel

Adventures of a "real food" virgin

My history with bread seems to hold steady. The focaccia did not turn out as planned. I milled the flour, mixed it and let it rise. It was a beautiful rise. \The instructions then said to punch down and pat out onto an oiled baking sheet. Did this, and dimpled the top, sprinked on parmesean cheese and a bit of sea salt. Nice looking out of the oven, but TOUGH!

Bob gamely ate some with olive oil and herbs with me. The cement in the gut feeling came back. Not for him. He loves bread in any way shape and form.

Okay, I apparently have trouble with massive amounts of insoluable fiber. As said earlier, I have found whole grain bread to be dry and bitter, so oatmeal was the fiber of choice. No probls with that, but this whole grain stuff...whew

the reason I chose the Nutrigrain mill was that it had a fine setting. Well, fine is still pretty gritty. And tho I did drink lots of water that day, that is not the answer to the problem. I guess I need to work up to it, so for now, I will bake with unbleached white flour, and add some e fresh ground wheat, eventually working up to substantial amounts.

To be honest, I really want to master the yeast thing first. I can give a rip about the jjello thing (gosh my 'puter won't even let me type the word!) but I am so frustrated about the bread baking thing. At least I am in the right place, eh?

Oh, and the dogs love the focaccia.

Comments

mkelly27's picture
mkelly27

Isn't it said somewhere , something about aging freshly ground grain in order for something special to happen as it dries?

And yes, I think you should start by mixing small amts. into AP flour 

_____________________________________________________

Two wrongs don't make a right. Three lefts make a right

mbecktel's picture
mbecktel

Hey Patience

Thanks for the observation.  I had not heard that.  In fact, one of my sources say as soon as you mill the grain, it begins to lose its nutrition.  I will explore that further.

 Love your .sig by the way!

 

Marianne 

mkelly27's picture
mkelly27

Name' s Mike, and yes, from everything I have heard on my end there was always an aging process involved in the milling process. Please let's not delve into the area of how much of whatever nutients are lost because of oxidation, because we could always discuss the merits of the enhancements of certain nutrients due to oxidated flour at the same time

______________________________________________________

Two wrongs don't make a right. Three lefts make a right

mbecktel's picture
mbecktel

Hi Mike

Thumbing through the Nutrimill book, and the BreadBeckers recipe boo, they are mute on the subject.  Do you have any idea what kind of time period we are talking about? 

The reason I brought up the nutrients was because the reason I am trying this is to eat more healthily.  So far that's been kind of a bust (grin).  So, right now the fresh grind will be an accent to the regular stuff.

 Thanks for the info

 Marianne

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

There are threads around on TheFreshLoaf about aging fresh-ground flour.  But it's controversial.  Personally, I don't think it's necessary.  Maybe I'm oblivious to something obvious, but I use my flour right away.  And I love the results.

Rosalie

mbecktel's picture
mbecktel

Rosalie

Thanks for this input.  I will search for and check out these threads.  

Do you use 100% fresh milled grain in your bread, or do you mix it with a lighter flour?

 Thanks

Marianne 

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I would like to go 100% (Freudian slip - I accidentally typed "1000%") whole grain.  I do have AP and bread flour that need to be used up, but completely avoiding refined flours seems to be so much better in the long run for my health and wellbeing.

Trouble is that I have so many great books that use refined flours.  Converting to wholegrain can be tricky.

Rosalie

mbecktel's picture
mbecktel

Rosalie

That has been my intent from the start.  However, my fiber has largely been vegetable and oat. Whenever I try a slice of fresh grain bread (100%), I get a ball of cement in my middle for at least two days!

 I am going to have to work my way into this more gradually.  The goal is 100%.  I agree it tastes really nice (unlike commercial whole wheat) but until I can enjoy it, I'll just ease my way in.  And yes, that conversion is a challenge, isn't it?"

Marianne 

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Marianne, you might want to get a copy of a whole grain baking book. I imagine Peter Reinhardt's new book is very good, if not the best of them all. I've only tried 1 recipe, which turned out great. His other books are great, with plenty of explanation and well thought out steps to follow. I expect his whole grain book to be the same. Mine is due in tomorrow, so I hope to have a more firsthand report soon.

Whole grain flours just act different than refined flours. I don't think you can do a simple conversion of a white flour recipe and always get good results with WW flour.

Anyway, best of luck with your bread odyssey. Partially whole-grain bread is still better than bread made from all refined flour.

mbecktel's picture
mbecktel

Thanks for the input. I have the King Arthur whole grains book coming, and I found yours on Amazon.  Looks GORGEOUS!  Perhaps in another payday or two...

Please post with your book report!!  I can't wait.

As I said earlier, I have not had much luck with yeast bread.  I do believe it is more art than science.  You need to develop the "touch".  My grandmother had it, although she never did whole grains.  She could knock out some amazing bread, though.  My mom picked it up, but she could not figure out my problem, and it was always quicker for her to do it herself.

Thanks for the encouragment.  Keep watching for more experiences from me~ I'll master this yet! 

Rg's picture
Rg

I picked up the KAF Whole Grain Baking in November and enjoy it very much.  It is very easy to understand and offers a variety of recipes in each category.....not just bread.

 Good luck with your adventures!

 Rachel

Ramona's picture
Ramona

Hi, I am really new to this, but I do use only whole grains.  I have found that to give me the texture, flavor, and nutrition, I need to do a sponge and maybe an autolyze overnight.  It really makes a difference and I have read that it is the only way to actually to get proper nutrition from grains because using them without soaking first puts alot of phytic acid in your body and it is not healthy for you.  Anyways, I think you would enjoy your baking alot more if you do these overnight.  I have been reading on this site extensively and also books and have found this to be the way to go for me.  I knew going into this that I was taking the hard road with the whole grains.  My family is particular about their bread.  So, this makes it more difficult for me.  I have been about 50-50 with my success rate so far.  But I have realize that the sponge is definitely the one thing that I need to do.  Hope this helps.

mbecktel's picture
mbecktel

Ramona

Thanks for the input.  That does make a lot of sense to me.  Do you make the sponge overnight, let the rest of the ingredients soak together overnight (autolyze?) then mix the next day?

thanks!  This reall does help me navigate the maze!

 

Marianne 

Ramona's picture
Ramona

I am very new to this.  But after studying alot and reading alot of the comments on here, I have found that a sponge and maybe an autolyze overnight, works wonders for whole grains.  I use both, but if not, at least the sponge, overnight, and it greatly increases the nutrition, flavor, and texture.  I have read that unsoaked grains put phytic acid in the body, which is unhealthy, so I really wanted to soak my grains and have been experimenting with this.  JMonkey told me to get hard, red, spring wheat-higher in protein and I do think it works better than the hard, red, winter wheat.  I grind my own on a Kitchen Aid grain mill and it all seems to be working well.  I just need to keep at it and working out all the kinks.   I have found that using dairy products does really help.  I usually use more honey and butter than the recipe calls for.  I haven't had to deal with any bricks yet or toughness.

Ramona's picture
Ramona

Yes, I take most of the flour and divide between the two bowls.  I then put milk ( I sometimes put in 1 tbs. of raw cider vinegar) in place of most of the wet ingredients(it depends on the recipe as to how I do this, I am still very new and am experimenting and I am following the procedure as JMonkey had me do for another recipe) and about half the salt in one bowl.  I add some water(again, depending on the recipe as to how much liquid I have left to add, this is a really rough example, you will need to work this out) and a pinch or 1/8 tsp. of instant yeast in the other bowl.  I cover them with saran wrap and leave on the counter overnight.  The next day, I mix them and add the rest of the ingredients.  I have found that the dough really rises fast for me compared to what the time frames are suppose to be, so I keep an eye on them and I do the wet finger poke to make sure.  I also had some problems with overproofing because I didn't expect them to proof so fast.  I do the folding technique between the rises.  But I don't have the understanding down for the French Fold.  I also can't seem to get it down how to work with water in the beginning, after everything is put together, instead of using flour for kneading.  I am still needing to have that "feel" of the dough to know I did something right, which I have tried, but couldn't acquire it working with water.  I start to get panicky, because I don't want to overwork the dough.  I know some people say that milk has to be scalded first before adding, in fact this has recently been a discussion, but I don't heat mine up, I just use raw milk cold.  I also add extra butter and I use raw honey too (which some say not to use).  I have also used mashed potatoes.  My main objective is a healthy loaf, my next is texture.  Like I said, sometimes, I have good results, sometimes, I don't, but I am able to figure out what I did wrong, so that is a plus.  I have always found that it was something other than ingredients that caused a problem, like overproofing or slashing when I shouldn't have, etc.   Sorry about the ditto posts, but I didn't think what I wrote went through.

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Have you seen Bill Wraith's videos?  He uses wet hands to fold, though not knead. I could be wrong, but I'm under the impression that Bill doesn't do much kneading, just the folding.  I like this idea - I'm all for doing things as easily as possible!

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6265759416999738742

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3052252168119120428 

bluezebra's picture
bluezebra

me with these videos. The wet hands and also wet counter and wet pastry knife have made things very easy here.