The Fresh Loaf

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Help requested on a Peter Reinhart bread

thihal123's picture
thihal123

Help requested on a Peter Reinhart bread

I've been reading Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads book. I love it! I want to make his 100% whole wheat sandwich bread (p. 95) but have a question about making what he calls the "Final Dough". For the "Final Dough", his formula is to mix the soaker, biga, with some additional whole wheat flour, salt, instant yeast (2 1/4 tablespoon), honey (or sugar), and butter. It's the instant yeast that I have a question about.

I use active dry yeast which needs to be mixed in water before it can be used. Reinhart's "Final Dough" has no additional liquid involved besides the 2 1/4 tablespoon of honey (or if using sugar, then 3 tablespoons). Wouldn't it be a problem if I add my active yeast/liquid mixture into the final dough which doesn't call for additional liquid? Can anyone offer help?

Thanks!

Crider's picture
Crider

Just be sure it is spread around when you add it and make sure there's plenty of kneading. I didn't put it in water -- just added it to the dough and it turned out OK.

thihal123's picture
thihal123

Ah,I'm worried though if the yeast doesn't properly dissolve. Perhaps a little bit of liquid/yeast won't harm...I hope.

Crider's picture
Crider

It worked for me without dissolving the yeast in water first.

yy's picture
yy

I agree with you that doing it the way it says will probably leave you with little yeast chunks in your dough. I would suggest holding some water back from one of the previous doughs. Since the soaker is wettest, it's probably easiest to hold back a small quantity of water from the soaker (you may also hold it back from the biga, but since the biga is already pretty dry, you might not want to make it even stiffer). Then, use the same amount of water you held back to dissolve your yeast in the final dough step. When you mix back in this yeast slurry, it might slosh around in your mixer for a while, but eventually it will integrate. 

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

Mix the yeast in with the flour that will prevent clumps. 

bnom's picture
bnom

You can add active yeast dry to ingredients -it will just take a little longer to activate.

thihal123's picture
thihal123

Ah okay. So just more time to rise etc. Thanks for the advice! I'll be finishing my breads tonight. One is the Reinhart 100% whole wheat, and the other is a no-knead recipe which I actually do knead and do use a bit more flour...just because I like kneading :) teehee!

Breadhead's picture
Breadhead

I think I read in one of Reinharts books that when substituting active dry for instant that you should add 25% more of the yeast by weight since instant yeast carries about 25% more living cells in it than active dry does. To accomodate this, increase the amount of active dry yeast by 25%

thihal123's picture
thihal123

It's interesting you say that because in his whole grain book in the definition section, he does say that active dry yeast in the process of being made has about 25% of the yeast dead. However, in reading sequentially all the pages of the book up to the recipe I made (about 95 pages) there is no mention (as I recall) of adding more yeast, except if you use fresh yeast then yes add more. So, I'm not so sure.

I made my 100% whole wheat sandwich bread last night and the taste is great! But, I did have a few problems. Maybe you folks could help me out?

Problem 1. When I went to score the bread, the loaf deflated a bit. I think it's because I don't have the right tool, and technique. I've never scored bread before. I used a serrated knife and cut in a sawing motion. I know I'm supposed to use long cuts, but the dough was pulling, likely because the knife wasn't sharp enough.

Problem 2. There wasn't much of an oven rise. :( The only time I've ever had oven rise was making all white bread. I haven't yet had good oven rise with 100% or close to 100% whole wheat bread.

Problem 3. The bread crumbs are dense when compared to the crumb texture of Reinhart's bread which is pictured in the recipe (and of course, he has oven rise). The bread though isn't heavy or hard to chew. It's got nice flavour and mouth feel, but I'd like to have a bit more rise, I guess.

Next time I make this loaf, maybe in about 1.5 weeks, what should I watch out for? In consulting Laurel's Bread Book, it seems that maybe I had good dough (good kneading) but might had been a bit rough in shaping/form the loaf? Her book suggests that rough shaping can create dense crumbs. Now, I don't even know what rough would be like for bread. Hard to tell without ever seeing an expert make bread.

All at Sea's picture
All at Sea

... your dough was over-proofed.  Those symptoms - deflation upon slashing, little oven rise, and dense crumb are typical of the yeast having run out of chuff by the time it hit the oven.  What sort of time-line did you follow?

All at Sea

 

thihal123's picture
thihal123

Time schedule...I was following almost to the "t" what Reinhart suggest's in his book: 45 to 60 minutes for first rise, 45 to 60 minutes for second rise. But my kitchen was getting warm as I was baking something else. During the first rise (I think it was the first rise), I saw some large bubbles on the surface of the bread. Is that overproofing?

By the way, how do I know if a bread is at the right proof? Isn't it when I poke the dough and the dent doesn't fill back up, then it's proofed right?

All at Sea's picture
All at Sea

... that suggests the bread is proved and ready to bake, should not leave a permanent hollow - but rather one that is slow to fill back in to about half its depth. If you poke and leave an indent that remains static, you've probably overshot the mark. Far better to pop that loaf in a little early, than too late.  I speak as one who has learned the hard way!

Yes, if your kitchen was heating up during your breadmaking session, then the proof times would shorten. The author can only give you guidelines on time, because he/she can't predict what temperatures his individual readers will have in their kitchens. So you need to be guided by the dough, not follow the instructions to the T on time.

Those bubbles you mention - do you mean bubbles underneath the surface of the skin of the dough, or ones that were breaking out on top? Bubbles underneath the gluten sheath at the pre-shape or shaping stage are fairly normal, they just need gently deflating to avoid a flying crust later on  ... but not a sign of overproofing. Any other type of bubble ... well, it would be helpful to know exactly when they appeared and what sort?

All at Sea

thihal123's picture
thihal123

Ah...if the poke test results in the dough not popping back out and that means overproofed, then that certainly was my bread! At one point I poked and it didn't slowly fill back out.

Regarding the bubbles, these are the bubbled underneath the surface of the skin, not the tiny ones that sometimes occur in very wet dough. Good to know it's normal. Maybe next week I'll make this Reinhart loaf again and hope to see oven rise! The only time I've ever had oven rise bread was a 100% white flour bread, and we don't really eat that kind of bread in the family! It was only an experiment! :)

thihal123's picture
thihal123

Well, I made the Reinhart bread for the 2nd time and this time, it turned out quite well!

One thing I did differently this time was I made sure when shaping my loaf to make a TIGHT roll. That tighness helps, I think, to give the loaf some spring.

There were several things I did which the Reinhart book didn't suggest and here they are:

1. In making the soaker and letting it sit for 24 hours outside of the fridge, I notice that over time the top layer of the soaker turns a very dark brown. Midway through the 24 hour sitting, I "kneaded" the soaker to redistribute this dark layer, whatever it is.

2. I also kneaded the biga half way through its 24 hour sitting. I thought this would help to distribute some of the flavours and rehydrate the drier outer layer. Just a guess, not sure if it does anything.

3. I like the texture (chewiness and crustiness) of hearth breads, but tyically prefer a loaf form only because the uniformity enables better sandwich bread. So I baked it in a semi-hearth kind of way. I did use a loaf pan, but I preheate the oven to 500F (the book calls for 450F) and flipped a baking tray upside down inside the oven to create a "baking stone" since I don't actualy have a stone. Then, when it came time to put the loaf in the oven, I used an identical loaf pan, flipped it upside down, and used it as a cover for the loaf pan. This way, I can preserve some steam generated in the loaf pan. When I put the loaf into the oven, I turned the heat down to 350F after about 1 or 2 minutes. About 25 minutes into the baking, I took off the loaf lid and let it bake for antoher 30 minutes.

Result: lovely crust, nice chewiness inside, and I also get my loaf form! :) Yay!

Next time, I will use a smaller loaf pan though since I want a higher rise to my bread. I didn't score the bread this time since I really don't have an appropriate instrument. I don't have any sharp razor blades.

This is turning out to be one of my favourite 100% whole wheat recipes!

sourdough chick's picture
sourdough chick

Hello all. I have been struggling with the recipe in this thread for a few bakes now. I am feeling completely defeated, the first time in my 40 years plus of baking my own bread. I'm at my wit's end, honestly and unless someone can point out where I am going wrong, I'll have to go back to my 100% wholewheat sourdough. I'll miss the great flavour though.

I follow the instructions exactly but when making the sourdough starter already it seems quite wet. After it is fermented and refrigerated then allowed to come to room temperature for 2 hours the day of baking, it would be impossible to cut this as it is simply too wet. Although the soaker is a little firmer, by the time I add this to the starter with the oil and other ingredients, it is really very wet. Even the soaker is a little too wet to cut into pieces as it seems to have almost fermented on its own. In trying various ways of making this I have added as much as two extra cups of flour! The dough still remains way too sticky to knead properly. Adding the water from my damp hands as I try to knead it means that it becomes even wetter as a dough. Today I tried a variation which I use for my whole meal sourdough they can normally, which involves the pull and stretch no knead method. This is still so wet and the lack of kneading has not helped in any way. The gluten is fully developed, as it passes the windowpane test. In spite of this, the texture is almost cake like rather than bread like. I am using flour I mill myself as I have done for the past few years made from Red Fife wheat. It is quite finely milled in my KoMo.

I have to bake this in a tin as when I baked on my baking stone it simply was so flat it was like flatbread. Once it's in the tin then at least it is held in some kind of shape. I haven't baked bread in a tin in probably five years or more.

If I add more flour to the sourdough starter and the soaker at the outset (or use less water/almond milk) then everything will be thrown out of proportion. As I use almond milk instead of cow's milk, which I presume has no milk solids in it, I have already reduced the water to make a lower hydration for the soaker. That didn't make much of a difference.

Has anyone any thoughts on where I might be going wrong?

 

Many thanks in advance

 

Ellie

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Ellie,  I mill my own whole wheat flour, and find it does not need as much water as called for in recipes based on commercial flours.  I have that book, and have made a number of loaves from the book, but can't find any notes of adapting that recipe.  I would not worry about the proportions, just drop the liquid a little and see if it works.  I know I find that it is hard to cut the soaker into pieces, since they all stick together, but I through the whole thing in my mixer, and it ends up kneading quite well.  

sourdough chick's picture
sourdough chick

Thanks Barry! I am going to calm myself down by making a few loaves of Peter Reinhardt's regular sourdough to get some bread into the freezer and then get my courage to to try just that! The bread I made tasted excellent but texture was just not good and the loaves had no height. 

Thanks for the encouragement.