The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

100% Whole Wheat by PR's new method

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leemid's picture
leemid

100% Whole Wheat by PR's new method

I have been slowly absorbing Peter's Whole Grain Breads and reached the point where I had to try a recipe. I have been wanting a whole wheat bread my family would help me eat so I started with the first recipe in the book. I tried to diligently follow each detail carefully. It was easy to do, as Peter says it would be, once you get a hang of the process. The one significant change I made is instead of making a whole wheat starter from scratch, I used my regular Otis white starter which has a relatively mild taste and good vigor. The development of the dough progressed as expected, it was fun to make. Here is the crumb:

WW loafWW loaf

It looks really good to me, it is soft and has great mouth feel. But alas, I don't care for the combination of sweet wheat tastes and sourdough taste; the two are just not compatible on my tongue. I will eat it all, but it really needs a serious slathering of PB&J... oh, well, I guess there have been worse problems in my life.

Next time I will try it with the biga choice to see if is less sour, and after that try the 50/50 ww/white recipe which is closer to what i grew up on. I will confess that this 100% ww has the look and feel of lesser percentage ww. The courseness usually associated with 100% is gone, which testifies to how good the new method is. I will confess also that I am really taken by the book and will buy it soon, having to take this copy back to the library by Thursday.

That's my story,

Lee

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

Really beautiful loaf.  I love that shape it's just perfect!

I know what you mean about the sourdough.  I used SD as the preferment for one of the test recipes (the multigrain I think).  Lots of complex flavor but not what I always want or need to go with PBJ, ha ha.  I think I like my sandwich bread as more of a base note to the rest of the meal.  Nice that you have the option to do it different ways--I bet the sourdough version would make great dinner rolls too...mmmm. 

 

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

Your whole wheat loaf is beautiful and looks delicious. I know what you mean by the sourdough taste. I guess I don't want the sourdough taste in certain breads especially when it gets a real tang. Just my opinion.
You did a great job with this recipe though and I have to try it. I made jmonkeys version and loved it with both ww and spelt.
                                                   weavershouse

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

... if you're not fond of sweet and sourdough. The buttermilk soaker along with a biga makes a truly delicious loaf, and one that's very different from the sourdough version.

leemid's picture
leemid

I really like the initial taste of this bread: the aroma, the sweet wheat... But then on the second chew I am hit with an excellent SD tang that just doesn't fit. But I can tell that w/o the SD it would be wonderful. So next weekend...

Keep your eyes peeled for a report.

Lee

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Lee,

I've found that a fully ripened (meaning allowed to go well beyond doubling in volume) whole wheat levain seeded by my white flour starter has not resulted in my favorite flavors for whole wheat breads. However, I've made whole grain breads that use a firm spelt or white wheat levain that is allowed to only just double and then is refrigerated until time to use it and is only 20% of the total flour in the final dough. I felt the flavor was good using that approach - much milder flavor and maybe a good combination with the whole wheat. Also, I seem to remember you had two starters and one tends to create more sour breads. So, for what it's worth, maybe seeding a spelt levain with the mildest starter and only allowing it to double and no more would be more to your liking. I think it blends well with the wheat flavor that way. However, I can imagine that a yeasted biga with fermented dairy would be very good, too.

Bill

leemid's picture
leemid

I did use the milder of the two starters and in very, at least for me, small amounts. I am not certain, but perhaps I let it more than double before refrigerating it... I shall watch that if I use a starter again. Of course, having used a starter already, I need to do the biga/commie yeast method to try that for comparison.

I really shouldn't complain, and I rather try to report instead of complaining, but I don't take what I qualify as failures well when it comes to bread making. I am perhaps too intense, but I only get a limited time on the already too busy weekends to bake, and only get the timing right when I am not overrun with demanding activities, which is never, so a failure represents a week of life. Now is that too harsh? Perhaps, but there your are. Would I be a baker if it didn't mean anything to me? Naw!

That's my story,

Lee

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Lee,

Yeah, sounds like you already did the mildest version. The only other thing I'll toss in for thought besides the mild starter and the ripeness is that most of the PR recipes I've seen tend to favor a large levain, i.e. a high percentage of fermented flour, but I've preferred the flavor of whole wheat sourdoughs that use a smaller levain - maybe 10-20% fermented flour and allowed to rise only double before adding to the dough. The dough itself therefore would have only the fermentation needed to raise itself and not more doing it that way (probably leaned toward less proofing too). However, with his new method where the dough is raised quickly, it should have less time to develop a lot of sourdough flavor from anything but what is coming from the levain, so I would have thought it would be mild as long as the levain is mild.

Maybe that means I should try the biga with fermented dairy myself. Last year sometime, I did a yeast WW bread from a poolish and wasn't thrilled with flavor, but it used no dairy products and maybe not a long enough soak, and it was all white WW. Bottom line, the WW's I've liked the best so far (not tried PR's new method w/biga) were with a spelt starter, less than 20% fermented flour from levain, not too ripe, with an overnight soaked mix of white and red WW.

Thanks for mentioning this one. It has me thinking, as I have also made some WW breads where I thought the sourdough flavors didn't work out. If I try it at some point, I'll come back and compare notes.

Bill

leemid's picture
leemid

I have begun to have those paranoid baker thoughts about whether I have been careless and allowed cross-contamination of my starters. That might explain the extra-sour taste.

Lee

Susan's picture
Susan

Glad to know I'm not the only one!

Susan from San Diego

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

That loaf is beautiful!  It appears to have exactly the soft, regular crumb that my husband wants in wheat sandwich bread.  I'll have to give this one another try.

Of course there are worse problems in life, but it's still disappointing when our creations don't turn out as we hope. 

leemid's picture
leemid

This weekend I baked four batches of bread. The first was Peter's transitional ww sandwich loaf. Sorry about the lack of pictures, but just give the above loaf a few steroids, a higher loft and more spread over the edges of the pan and you have this one. The crumb was the same, soft and tender. But the taste is excellent. My youngest has declared it fabulous and she is sucking it down. It has none of the awful unfitting sour taste. I used the biga method and fast yeast, although I failed to follow directions exactly, which call for refrigeration after mixing the biga. I left it out all night and it expanded beautifully, but perhaps added flavors not expected... Perhaps I will learn to read by the next time I make it.

This bread has excellent flavors, as I said, excellent mouth feel and good strength for sandwiches. My only reservation is that I am not sure it has appreciably better flavor than my mother's old recipe which is a lot faster and easier, although I think Peter's method is simple and easy as can be. Mom's bread only took 4 hours start to finish. And if the flavor is just as good, which seems unlikely and I haven't made Mom's bread for more than 20 years so what do I know, I would rather make it in one fell swoop. Or swell foop. This means I have to find Mom's recipe, apply what I have learned in the intervening years, and compare. And that's okay, because I have NOTHING else in life to do... Oh, well. Not much else is as fun.

And now for something completely different.

I made three batches of my regular sourdough and gave a lot of bread away. My secret hope is that within a few years I will have created an addicted client base who will fund my habit and make me retire from real work and open a bakery. But along the way I had a senior moment and lost all sense. I measured 600 grams of flour, 600 grams of water, mixed them together and thought it seemed awfully wet... I thought 450 grams of water but forces irresistible to me overcame me and forced my to weigh up 600. I have enough experience now to jump into the problem and apply measures to recify obvious problems so I added 100 grams of flour. This batch was destined to proceed at 85.7% hydration instead of the usual 75%. I figured out the error early enough to fully solve it but decided to experiment. Naturally it was more difficult to handle than the next batch at 75%, but manageable. I baked it in boules instead of fat baguettes but the comparison was interesting nontheless. The first taste of it instantly reminded my of crumb bum's miche. I was quite surprised at the flavor difference by raising the hydration 11%. I figured it would changed the crumb but not the flavor. Silly me. Acutally, the crumb is much the same, which really surprises me. It just goes to show that you can do a lot of straying from the beaten path and still get good, even great, bread. The really frustrating thing is for those of you who haven't yet gotten anything to work. My simpathies. I have been there myself; just keep slugging it out.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Lee