The Fresh Loaf

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Whole Wheat-Spelt Sourdough

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Mebake's picture
Mebake

Whole Wheat-Spelt Sourdough

There are times when I stare at my pantry and decide to be creative and use leftover flours in bread, this is one of those times.

I had some Whole spelt flour, and Whole wheat flour, and therefore decided to use both in a 50% wholegrain sourdough hearth bread. I made up a formula that benefits from my ripe White liquid starter, here it is:

Preferment:

Bread Flour: 188 g

Water: 188 g

White Starter: 1.5 Tbl

 

Dough:

Whole Wheat Flour: 280 g

Whole Spelt Flour: 120 g

All Purpose Flour: 251 g

Bread Flour: 103 g

Water: 470 g

Salt: 1.25 Tbl

Total dough weight: 1600 g

Total Dough hydration: 75%

Wholegrain %: 42%

% of Prefermented flours: 20%

The dough was not kneaded, instead, folded in the bowl 4 times every 30 minutes. The bread fermented as expected, with 3 hours initial fermentation, and 2.5 hours final. I baked the bread on stone, with a another stone on a rack above. The dough was quite soft, but behaved nicely after the third fold.

 

The flavor of this bread is clean, yet isn’t sweet-sour as i prefer, and is somewhat bland. The crust was chewy, and crumb moist and tender. In retrospect, I believe that with 42% wholegrain flours, I should have used a levain that contains some wholegrains. The bread was also baked on the same day, and not retarded.  DA, and Ian.. and many others here have come up with lovely tasting formulas because they utilize the wholegrain flours in their levain, thereby enhancing the finished product’s flavor. They also retard their doughs, while I’m unable to do so due to timing constrains. The flavor would have been better enhanced if I had used my white levain with a high proportion white flour, but I can’t resist adding more wholesome flours. This explains a lot, as Hamelman’s wholewheat levain (50% wholewheat) recipe calls for a wholewheat levain NOT white.

Therefore, from now onwards, I’ll add wholegrain flours to my levain for high Wholegrain doughs.  

Comments

isand66's picture
isand66

Well Khalid it may not taste as wholesome as you would like, but it looks like you achieved a nice open crumb and well developed crust.  Just put something good in between 2 slices and you will still enjoy it :).

I know sometimes schedule does not permit retarding the dough, but perhaps next time as you mention you can add some whole grains to the pe-ferment and still end up with a tastier outcome.

Nice baking as always anyway!

Ian

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks Ian! i guess some cured meats with a spread of good mustard or mayo will better suite the muted flavor of this bread. 

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Khalid,

Well even if the flavour didn't come out the way you hoped it certainly is a fine looking loaf with a lovely crumb and crust. I think I'd be pretty happy to have a loaf like that right about now. Nice baking!

Best Wishes,

Franko

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Yet, it does fair well when toasted, Franko.

Thanks for your encouragement.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I agree with Franko and Ian: you may still need to tune the formula to get the best flavour, but it is still a lovely looking loaf.

-Floyd

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks alot!

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

....even if taste isn't up to expectation.  Such short bulk (enabled by such high% preferment) - that's likely contributing to flavor deficit.  In recent weeks, I've been using 8% preferment (of 80% hyd Rubaud flour mix levain) and day-long bulk (9-5, while I'm at work) at ~25˚C for a bread with 75% of the WW as yours (30% versus your 42%).   Plenty of flavor and no cold retard.  (Will get around to posting at some point).  Mine tastes nice, but I never get a crumb like yours!  Nice one!  I've been thinking about bumping up my WW to 40 or 50% and your post is just what needed to convince me a light loaf can still result.  Thanks!

And of course you can always toss in some toasted wheat germ and/or bran to add flavor notes... :-)

Tom

Mebake's picture
Mebake

That explains alot, Tom.. True, why did i forget about that..? I thought that 20% prefermented flour is good enough for flavor, but it certainly didn't help much. Moreover, i used warm water for the dough and kept it cozy throughout the bulk fermentation. What type of levain have you used? does it contain whole flours?

Thanks Tom.

 

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

Hi Khalid,

Sorry for my delay in responding.  I've been maintaining my levain on Gérard Rubaud's levain flour formula (courtesy of MC Farine) for some time.  It's 70% AP (or AP/Bread flour mix), 18% whole wheat, 9% spelt and 3% rye.  I've varied the hydration to suit various formulas, from 60% for pain au levains to 100% for liquid levain requiring breads.  Since coming under Ken Forkish's spell :-), I've been maintaining it on a split-the-difference 80% and liking the results very much.

I found your WWSpeltSD formula and product sufficiently appealing (despite your flavor disappointment) that I transformed your numbers into my standard (BBGA format) spreadsheet.  You can find a working version here.  I wasn't able to reproduce your exact formula using the functions built into my spreadsheet, but could make the flours conform if hydration is reduced to 68%, as you'll see.  Perhaps your hydration calculation is off, or I've made an error somewhere.  The numbers from your post are pasted in just below the table. 

I look forward to trying this one.  I'll do it with my current practice of all (work-)day (9-5) bulk fermentation (again, under Forkish's spell), but I'm a little concerned about runaway fermentation with so much spelt.  I'll reduce the levain inoculum down from your 20% down to 8-9%, which I've found to be essential for these longer Forkish-ish bulks.

Thanks for posting this fine bread.  Don't give up on it!

Tom

Mebake's picture
Mebake

You named it too, Tom ?!

True, the actual hydration is 70% in the formula, but i added water to reach 75% as the dough was stiffer than i'd prefer.

As to Rubaud's starter flour feed, spelt is much too expensive here as it it available in scarce quantities and as organic variety only, and rye flour is not far behind. Rye, i can use for feeding my levain in certain %, but spelt would be an overkill even in minute quantities. I think i'll try adding some of my freshly milled whole wheat to my levain, and move from there.

Reducing your prefermented flour is a wise decision, and i'm anticipating your take on this formula.

Thanks, Tom.

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

It certainly looks lovely, Khalid.  You obviously handled it very well all through the process.

In addition to a slower, cooler ferment, you might want to experiment with using whole-grain flour in the levain build, instead of white flour.  That may also bump up the flavor profile.

Paul

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks, Paul!

True, that is what i was thinking.

I appreciate your feedback.

varda's picture
varda

analysis Khalid.   I'm somewhat surprised that just the presence of whole wheat and spelt didn't provide enough flavor, but if you were looking for a particular sourness, then I guess that explains it.   As others said, it certainly looks good.   -Varda

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thank you Varda! 

It may be due to my personal preference, but i love the nutty-sour flavors that are brought by a whole grain levains.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Looks fantastic inside and out!  You really couldn't ask for better looking bread Khalid.  Like you, I love the multi-grain, whole grain breads, especially those with good tasting and healthy things like sprouts, soakers, seeds, nuts,  fruits malts and Toadies on the inside.  I did finally gave up on white and liquid starters because I couldn't get any decent amount of sour out of them.   It is a personal peference  but I just like the taste that a whole grain rye, ww and spelt starter produces - I'm not sure my wife does though :-)

You are quite right, retarding really makes a difference taste wise too and is a great tool to fit any baking schedule.  8-12- 18-20-24-30-36 and 40 hours of retarrd work and we have tried them all with success - depending on the bread.  I don't even worry about when to bake any more.  If the schedule is off, I just wait to bake by retarding longer utill it fits and will work out  right - the bread doesn't seem to mind at all either :-)  

I've become a master retarder and retard everything, every step along the way.  I wouldn't expect others to do it  but when you are retired and only baking 1 or 2 loaves of bread a week you can be more anal :-)

I get the starter to 100% hydration at full strength and then feed it some more whole rye to get it to 65% hydration and 80 g and let it sit on the counter or heating  pad for an hour before it hits the fridge.  2 or even 3 days later we deem it ready to make a levain with it.  Then we do a 3 stage levain build over 12 hours, using 10 -20 g of starter seed and get it to 180 g at 100 % hydration at full strength.  Then we retard that for 2 or 3 days.

Once the levain comes out of the fridge we feed it some more rye again but knock the hydration back to whatever the hydration will be for the final dough.  For a 73% hydration bread we would feed it 60 g of whole rye and 25 g of water and let the 265 g of 73% hydration levain double at 85 F on a heating pad.   Now it is ready for some bread dough and able to deliver as much sour as it can to any bread.  It is a lot of waiting for one bread almost 6 days if you retard the bread for 24 hours too, but you know it will be a sour and tasty  loaf :-)  I just start a new levain right after baking a loaf of bread if I'm baking 2 loaves a week.

Patience is one of the great character attributes required for success.  With some luck,  patience comes naturally to those who wait a long, long time!

I could be wrong but I'm guessing your bread tastes way better than the average slice of just about anything else!

Nice baking Khalid

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks DA!

Interesting refreshment regimen, DA, and very convenient too. before reading your comment above, i had been contemplating a mid-week bake that follows a refrigerated starter/dough, and you came in and gave me a boost of confidence. I like the sound of it, and i shall try a mid-week bake by adapting my starter to your refreshment method, or something close to it.

Many thanks, DA, for your elaborate description of your levain build.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

architects and general contractors liked to build things because the worth was in the doing and in the process and learning during the construction of the product which eventually gets consumed, subject to deterioration, the 2nd law of thermodynamics and virtually worthless in the scheme of things.

She was of course totally insane, even though her words sounded really good and profound.  We all know that the worth and value is in the land and the buildings that sit on it - if they are well developed, designed and built well.  The process supports the product not the other way around.    Better processes make for better bread but folks pay good money for good bread and could care less about the processes and go about their lives totally ignorant about them.

Just think if you told a bread customer, who showed up at your bakery, that they could buy all the how to processes concerning bread; milling, retarding, shaping, steaming, hydration, folding, mixing,  building levains,  etc . for $5 but no loaf of bread would come with it.   You wouldn't be in the bread bakery business very long - but they will gladly pay $5 for the bread - if you promise not to tell them processes :-)   Still, without the process I can't help but think the bread would suffer!

We will have to see how this process works for bagels.  Retarded the multi-grain whole grain. mainly rye starter, the  whole grain levain and the now the shaped bagels going on what will be over 32 hours.  Never had a bagel like that before - but only 27% whole grain - bagels are chewy,  tough and dense enough as it is  :-)

I've been researching the science of sourdough for some time and it points to very good and easy ways to make sour (or not) with Labs and yeast.  It's not all retarding but it sure is good start within reason - not that my process has any reason in it :-)  Ph, enzymes, salt, flour, hydration, alcohol, and so many other things play their part too - just not as much as temperature.

You will like the taste of your bread better when you retard it.  Well worth the effort and it can fit any personal baking schedule.

Happy baking Khalid

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Process is everything, you are right DA, especially when it comes to Sourdough breads (too many variables).

Just don't push your process too much, or you'll end up with bagels that are tough, and unpleasently sour.

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

sneaks some YW in there to make sure the toughness and sour stay in check while imparting that chewy moist crumb.  She's not as stupid as she looks :-)

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Oooo Khalid this looks great!  And a loaf that is right on top of my favourite types.  One that can utilize that percentage of spelt flour and turn out a loaf that visually appealing, knows what they are doing!  Good one :)

John

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks, John, that is too kind of you!

Spelt flour, as with Rye flour, acts like steroids on the activity of the dough. High hydration helped too.

 

Alpana's picture
Alpana

Another great bake. Should go perfectly with aioli, aparagus & artichokes or sliced thin, toasted & topped with salted fish roe.

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks, Alpana!

I have only recognized two of the proposed toppings (the Artichokes, and the asparagus) :) What are they, please?

Alpana's picture
Alpana

Hi Khalid,

Aioli is garlic mayonnaise. It is quite easy to make at home. Just blitz chopped garlic, your favourite oil, lemon juice, sea salt in food processor (optional egg yolk, black pepper, mustard or anything you like with garlic, though I prefer just 4 basic things). Stays in fridge for few days and makes a super dip or spread for most breads. If I have extra left, I add it to the dough of french loaf to make a ready to eat garlic bread.

The most expensive example of fish roe(eggs) is caviar :). I make do with some good & much cheaper alternatives like flying fish roe, herring roe or salmon roe. You can check in Scandinavian or Japanese supermarkets.

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks, Alpana! We call it Garlic cream here. yogurt, corn starch is also often added.

Thanks for the explanation.

 

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Khalid,
Not just beautiful on the outside, with that gorgeous bloom - also beautiful through and through, with that crumb!
:^) breadsong

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Oh thanks, Breadsong! a great testimony from the likes of you.

As to the bloom, i learned that a consistent bloom is possible in my oven with a double stone arrangement. The radiant heat from the stone above allows for an ear to form.

bakingbadly's picture
bakingbadly

That's a handsome loaf---very nice crust and crumb. Though, the flavour isn't as full as you wanted, you at least learned a few valuable lessons (and so did I from reading your post). With better understanding of your breads, perhaps your next bake will be more sastisfying.

Have a happy baking, Khalid. :)

Zita

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks alot, Zita.

breadforfun's picture
breadforfun

Hi Khalid - that is a beautiful bread that you made.  I'm a bit late to the conversation but wonder if it may have developed any more sour tang after a day or so (assuming there was some left that long ;-).

-Brad

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thank you Brad, not much of perceptible sour increase..

 

rayel's picture
rayel

Hi Khalid, really beautiful and profesional looking bread. Would more salt take care of the bland? I haven't looked at the percentage of salt, but just wondering?   Ray

Mebake's picture
Mebake

No, there is enough salt at 2% i guess. delayed fermentation would have served this bread flavor better.

ananda's picture
ananda

Lovely looking loaf Khalid!

Best wishes

Andy

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks, Andy!