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100% WW flat, flat, FLAT - what would you do?

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staticGenerator's picture
staticGenerator

100% WW flat, flat, FLAT - what would you do?

I've been trying to make a simple loaf of bread for some time from hard white winter wheat.  I grind my own flour in a nutimill.

It seems that no matter what variation I try, I end up with a flat loaf on top.  Actually to be more precise, I rarely achieve a decent dome (loaf shape) either at rise time or after baking - much less oven spring.

Here's my basic recipe:

500 g flour

380 ml water

2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast

2 tsp salt

I've tried several different variations, here's a couple of options I've tried.

* need in kitchen aid for 7 min.  Rise in 105 F degree #1 35 min then stretch and fold, rise #2 35 min deflate, proof about 50 min or until ready to bake.

* mix ingredients, need in kitchen aid.  Place in loaf pan.  Put in fridge covered for 8 hours.  Place in 105 F degree oven until ready to bake (Tastes much better than first option, but still flat)

It seems to rise only so high.  It stops short of a full loaf.  And when baking it achieves no oven spring, so it looks exactly the same as the loaf after proofing.  The texture is something like banana nut bread, lacking loft and airyness.

Add to this the fact that I live in the Denver area around 6000 ft in elevation which makes consistent baking an already difficult task.

Any suggestions?

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

You could try adding a tsp. of ordinary vinegar to your dough.  It works as a yeast enhancer and might give your bread a bit more lift.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

I live in the Denver area and my doughs rise without the problem you are describing.  I also mill my own flour.

First off I would suggest taking a look at Peter Reinhart's book 'Whole Grain Breads'.  I have had great success with his method of using pre-ferments with my whole grains.  Prior to using his method I would get dense loaves.  ( Our libraries have copies of the book.)

Other thing i would suggest is taking a peek at txfarmers 100% whole wheat recipes that you can find here by using the search box at the top of the page.  She has great results using whole grains and explains the necessity of kneading the dough until you achieve a good strong windowpane.  Prior to reading her blogs I was not kneading long enough and it did effect the final outcomes of my breads.

I bake using WY now so am not to experienced with using IY but I see you are rising your loaves at 105°F which seems really high to me.  Could be you are killing off part of the yeast so the ones that survive aren't producing enough CO2 to rise the dough.  I generally do not go over 80°F when proofing.

I know that with my WY I proof to 75%.  If I go above that I don't get oven spring either.  A delicate balance...One that I don't always judge correctly.....

One last thing....Seems like a stupid question but is your yeast fresh?  If not, that could be your problem.

Good Luck,

Janet

staticGenerator's picture
staticGenerator

Hi Janet,

Having had successful baking in Denver, I'm sure you can help me much!

First, IY I assume is "Instant Yeast", but WY is..."Wild Yeast"?  I use Active dry, not the "Instant Dry" per se as they use in bread machines. 

Second, I searched for txfarmers in the search back, but only came back with other posters saying they were trying or gonig to try txfarmers recipe?  Maybe I'm missing it. 

I guess I'll break down and get the book from the library!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

105 F is way too high cut it back to 80 F adn put it oina hot oven at 80-85%.  You will like the difference it makes.

Happy  Baking.

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

adding to Janet's comments (especially intensive kneading) I suggest folding the dough quite often, until it keeps its shape in the long term. Even in a tin pan this method forces the dough to rise more vertically.

I wouldn't add vinegar. It's useful when there's much rye in the dough, but with plain wholemeal vinegar might do more harm than good.

Ford's picture
Ford

You grind your own flour, so I am guessing that it may be a little coarse.  However, coarse or not, a 100% whole wheat loaf can certainly benefit from a soaking period before the addition of the yeast.  I do not know the size of your pans, but I would try to have a little more dough in the pan to reach over the top of the pan during the rise, say another 50 - 75 g.

Ford

staticGenerator's picture
staticGenerator

Thanks for everyone's comments, these are great.

A couple of clarifications:


- The yeast is fresh, it is being used by other non WW recipes without problems.
- I used a rise at 105 because without it, I wasn't getting enough loft at all.
- The increase in temp was another attempt to get enough rise on the proof to behave like a loaf of bread.

Since others have been making WW ground from their own flour, I suspect the issue may be more related to gluten formation. I will try a couple the techniques and recipes you have suggested here. If the issue continues, I will buy some WW flour from the store and see if I achieve success with another flour. I know that White Winter Wheat has lower gluten levels than Red so that may be a factor also.

pmiker's picture
pmiker

I too grind my own wheat (a Country Living Mill).  I suggest you test the recipe with different flour and the flour with different recipes.  My whole wheat breads that I make for home dome quite nicely.  They are made quickly and use no preferments.  Most use a mix of white and red wheats.  My main recipe use butter and sugar and I use instant yeast and are risen at room temperature.  I have varied the recipe from 40% whole wheat to 100% whole wheat and it always rises well and has a light, soft texture.

I'm a simple home baker who likes whole wheat and I bake once or twice a week.

Mike

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Janet and others have correctly identified the fermentation temperatures and times as being unusual.  At your elevation, the dough should balloon up much more rapidly than it does for me in the Kansas City area.  Were I to use those temperatures and times, my bread would have inflated and collapsed from severe over-proofing.

Some thoughts:

1. Perhaps the wheat that was sold as a hard wheat doesn't contain as much protein as would be expected? 

2. Perhaps the dough is drying during fermentation?

3. Perhaps the grain and resulting flour are drier than expected (because of the elevation) and require more water to adequately hydrate the bran and the protein components?

4. Perhaps an autolyse (flour and water only) for an hour or so before mixing in the salt and yeast would help.

5. Perhaps the quantity of dough in this formula is not enough to adequately fill your bread pan?

Those are just some ideas that could be investigated to see whether they help.

Paul

staticGenerator's picture
staticGenerator

Great Ideas, thanks for taking the time to help me think this through:

1. Perhaps the wheat that was sold as a hard wheat doesn't contain as much protein as would be expected?

  • Based on the variations in recipes I've tried and the feedback I've received, I now suspect this is the major contributor to my no-domed bread.  If trying an autolyse doesn't work, then trying another flour is next.

2. Perhaps the dough is drying during fermentation?

  • I would consider this, however I've tried rising with a plastic cover, and also spraying the top of the dough with a water spritzer on occasion.

3. Perhaps the grain and resulting flour are drier than expected (because of the elevation) and require more water to adequately hydrate the bran and the protein components?

  • I've had up to 80% hydration, when the dough is very sticky after kneeding.

4. Perhaps an autolyse (flour and water only) for an hour or so before mixing in the salt and yeast would help.

  • This is my next attempt.  While I have had a very hydrated loaf (80%+) sit in the fridge for 8 hours with the yeast already combined, I will try this next. 

5. Perhaps the quantity of dough in this formula is not enough to adequately fill your bread pan?

  • I can try a smaller loaf pan.  I've used a 9.25 x 5.25 pan for other types of bread using this amount of flour.  I'll move to a 8.5 x 4.5, although other types of flours have filled two of these pans with 500g of flour before.  This individual seems to have made a decent size couple of loafs with 12oz total flour (340g).  http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/32948/whole-wheat