The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Peter Reinhart Whole Wheat Hearth Bread

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kvenick's picture
kvenick

Peter Reinhart Whole Wheat Hearth Bread

I made a loaf the other day and it was...ok.  Resulting loaf was about a pound, and seems very dense to me.

The finished dough may have risen about 1.5  times, did not spread much when proofing. I certainly did not get the over spring that PR got in those lovely pictures and . It's hard to tell from the directions how soft the dough should be after BIGA and SOAKER combined. The dough is not very hydrated, and I usually bake with 75% hydration, which results in softer dough. So I am kind of lost tryng to figure out the best way to work with this reecipe.

Using KA Whole Wheat flour. Baked at 500 for 20 minutes, then 450 for the remainder. Any suggestions?

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Does the Reinhart recipe call for 75% hydration or something different?  Which recipe is this (from which book)?

Jeff

kvenick's picture
kvenick

The recipe is from Whole Grain Breads  (Whole Wheat Hearth Bread) and except for the water used in the BIGA and the SOAKER, there is no more water at all.  Rather,  it's a mysterious add water if needed.

I usually don't make Whole Wheat bread. My go to reciple these days is from Tartine book, which does use 75% hydration.

Just not sure how to make PR's recipe work better. The result now is OK, but I'm sure the bread can be better, less dense. 

swifty's picture
swifty

I think the missing information is Peter Reinhart using instant yeast .Instant yeast is not available from my grocery. Instant Yeast differs from the usual yeast because it can be added to dry ingredients instead having to be added to warm liguids. The only place I have found for instant yeast is from Breadtopia.com It is probably from other baker supply sources. I made his recipe and was disappointed in the rise. I have ordered instant yeast and I will report to see if it makes any difference.

isand66's picture
isand66

Not sure where you live but Costco and Sam's Club usually sell instant yeast very inexpensively.  I usually by to bags for $5-$6 and keep them in the freezer. 

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Whole wheat flour dough requires more water than white flour does.  When you mix the dough, extra water is needed to make the dough very sticky bordering on wet.  The dough should be more wet than you might expect.  Add water at the "if needed" point in the recipe to achieve this wet sticky condition in the dough.  Use water, not flour,  to keep the dough from sticking to the kneading surface and your hands. 

Happy Baking,

Jeff

VonildaBakesBread's picture
VonildaBakesBread

Wait, Jeff! Are you saying a whole wheat dough SHOULD be sticking to my fingers? Makes sense, but the pictures in Reinhart's don't look that sticky. Maybe I'm just being prissy...Grandma's dough (white) always was smooth and not sticky at all, but made great bread.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Hi Voni,

Grandma's smooth white bread dough and Reinhart's whole wheat dough are world's apart.  Yes the whole wheat dough, after the final mix,  should be very tacky or even sticky when it comes to your fingers.  The dough will lose some of it's stickiness during fermentation.  And speaking of Grandma, her final dough should have been a bit tacky rather than actually dry.

Happy Baking,

Jeff

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

when handling sticky dough.  Using a thin amount of water instead of flour.  That gives me not only clean hands but a clean surface on the dough.  The trick is not to use too much water and just enough to keep the dough from sticking.  It takes a little while in the "skills lab" but it is a great tool!  I use it all the time on my rye doughs which when compared to WW stick to surfaces like tile cement.  So if the dough seems dry, use wet hands and keep working with it adding more water a tiny bit at a time with your wet hands.  Maybe that's were the "as needed" comes to play.

Mini

isand66's picture
isand66

You can also spray some cooking/baking spray on your hands as another option.  I do both depending on how sticky the dough is.  Both work great.

Ian

VonildaBakesBread's picture
VonildaBakesBread

Thanks, Jeff, Mini, and Ian! The epiphany about the difference between white bread dough and whole wheat dough really is a boost of confidence, and thanks for the ideas how to deal with the mess I'm gonna make in my kitchen! *rubs hands with delicious glee in anticipation*.  Blessings! Voni

swifty's picture
swifty

I did the recipe  on Peter Reinharts Whole grain breads. on pages 96 and 97. The dough felt right when kneading and the window pane test seem about right after an extra minuet or two of kneading but the oven spring was disappointing.

I used the wild sourdough starter on page 80 and Fleischmann's rapidrise yeast. I could not find instant yeast. My results were similar to yours.

isand66's picture
isand66

It's possible the rapid yeast could have caused your dough to run out of steam by the time you baked it.  You should use instant yeast or regular dry yeast instead and see if that helps.  It's also possible your starter was not live enough.  How old is your starter?

isand66's picture
isand66

You should also only bake the bread for a couple of minutes at 500 degrees and lower it to 450 right away.

Alvaremj's picture
Alvaremj

I would try the hydration at 80-90%. The soaker will absorb more water than with a regular preferment added to a final mix recipie. I recently made a 90% Whole grain loaf with his method (not so much his recipie) with very good results. The volume was great for WW and not dense at all. My recipie is as follows;

20% of total used in starter at 75% hydration

 10% Bread Flour

10% Rye

80% Whole wheat

90% water 

15% honey

2% Salt 

It was a bit wet so I added an ounce or so of flour in the mix. 

Build starter 12hrs in advance, mix soaker when you feed starter. 

Mix starter and soaker, make any adjustments to hydration. Bulk prook 3-4 hrs, rise 1-3 hrs, bake 450 degrees for 30 min with steam for first 10 min. 

All and all you have to like the tast of whole wheat but reinheart's method works well and tuns out an excelent loaf. .... for whole wheat

good luck,

J

 

 

kvenick's picture
kvenick

I'm bad with baker's percentages :-(

But wanted to clarify your recipe. 20% of total used in starter at 75% hydration.

So your starter is 20% of total flour used? 

Alvaremj's picture
Alvaremj

 

I am kind of a nerd and have made an Excell spreadsheet for my recipies. Jeffery Hammelman explains bakers percentages in "Bread" very well. I highly recomend it.  Here is the recipie for the 90% Whole grain loaf from above scaled to one pound with 13% oven loss I also use the levain (mature culture) as part of the loss. Its a little confusing for the active starter section but essentially add all ingredients and multiply by .33 to get the weight of the mature culture. I usually just build the starter and take out the number at the bottom 3.9 All weights are in ounces.  

Happy Baking

Active starterpercentWeight Dough Weight
Hydration0.75  Bread Flour0.0
Bread flour 0.9 Rye 0.0
Rye flour  0.9 Whole Wheat7.5
Water 1.4 Flour  0.0
    Water  5.7
total (plus 33% levain weight)3.9 Salt 0.2
    honey 1.4
kvenick's picture
kvenick

Thanks for the info and detail. I'll give it a shot.

Alvaremj's picture
Alvaremj

Sorry, 20% preferment is based on total flour weight. i.e. if you are using 10 oz of flour 2 oz would be prefermented. then whatever water you add would be subtracted out of the total water in the recipie.

J

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I bake some of Reinhart's whole grain breads every week (with modifications). You should go by what your dough feels like, the liquid amount in the recipe is always only a guideline.
Yerffej is right, it is better if the dough feels a little bit sticky than if it is too dry. I use wet or oiled hands and countertop to handle sticky doughs, too.
I bake this bread with falling temperatures, preheat oven to 500 F, bake the bread 10 minutes at 475 F, then reduce the heat to 425 F. The crust will thin and crisp.
Rapid rise yeast, bread machine yeast and instant yeast are the same.
Happy Baking
Karin