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Reinhart's Multigrain Struan from "Whole Grain Breads"

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dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Reinhart's Multigrain Struan from "Whole Grain Breads"

Peter Reinhart's Multigrain Struan Bread

Reinhart's Crust and Crumb was one of the first baking books I bought. It introduced me to the basic concepts of bread baking. It was the first cookbook I had encountered that dealt with the science underlying the techniques described. Never mind that some of what Reinhart wrote in that book was not exactly correct, and some of his terminology was idiosyncratic. I didn't know better at that time, and the book inspired me to learn more and make breads I wouldn't have attempted otherwise.

All of Reinhart's books are personal in part, and I learned something about his history, including the role played in his life by some of the breads in Crust and Crumb. Among these was “Struan Bread,” which he developed when he had Brother Juniper's Bakery in Northern California. It was a best seller, was somewhat unique, and it helped establish him as a significant player in the “bread revolution.” Those who have made Struan Bread seem to enjoy it a lot. Many have written it is the best bread for toast they have ever had.

Somehow, I never got around to making Struan. I'm pretty sure this is because, in the version I first encountered in Crust and Crumb, Reinhart made much of the role played by leftover brown rice in the wonderful texture and flavor of this bread. I am not a brown rice fan. If Struan Bread required brown rice, it wasn't going to happen in my kitchen. On the other hand, his 100% Whole Wheat Bread became a favorite of mine and my wife's, and I made it quite often.

By time Reinhart wrote Whole Grain Breads (WGB), he had developed a 100% whole wheat version of Struan that was almost the same as his contemporaneous version of 100% Whole Wheat Bread. The newer version was also much more “permissive” about what cooked grains could be used. This weekend, I found myself with a bowl of leftover bulgur, and it occurred to me I could use it rather than brown rice in Struan Bread. 

Now, Struan Bread is a multi-grain bread, but, in Reinhart's original formula, the main grain was bread flour. I have never made this version. I made the version in WGB which used all whole wheat flour. The other grains I used, besides bulgur, were polenta and rolled oats.

Struan, proofed and ready to score and bake 

 

Struan baked and cooling

 

Struan cut profile & crumb

 

Struan crumb close-up

I followed Reinhart's instructions but found that the dough was very sloppy. I ended up adding about a quarter cup of flour during the mixing, and still ended up with a very loose, sticky dough – not what Reinhart described as slightly tacky. Rather than add yet more flour, I added a couple stretch and fold in the bowl episodes during bulk fermentation. By time the dough was ready to shape, it was still sticky, but easily managed with a light dusting of flour.

I searched TFL for members' blog entries on this bread after my loaf was out of the oven. I learned that the majority had baked earlier versions using bread flour, but several had baked the WGB version with whole wheat. Everyone who had, remarked on having to add significant amounts of flour to get a workable dough. I then went back and compared the versions of the Struan Bread formula in Crust and Crumb, The Bread Baker's Apprentice and Whole Grain Breads. I found that, in the earlier two books, Reinhart treated the cooked grain as a separate ingredient in the final dough, whereas in WGB it is included in the soaker. Reinhart's soaker consists of equal weights of water and grains, including the cooked grain. Thus, the cooked grain is, as it were, hydrated twice – once when it is cooked and again in the soaker. I think it is this change that accounts for the dough being so much wetter than the book says it should be. Why wasn't this caught in testing the recipes for the book? I don't know. If anyone else has a better and more complete explanation of this seemingly common issue with this formula, I would certainly like to hear it.

Reinhart's formula has a surprisingly high percentage of instant yeast, and I found that the dough expanded during bulk fermentation and proofing significantly faster than expected. In fact, by time I baked the loaf, it was so puffy, I was afraid I had over-proofed it, and it would collapse. So, I scored it very shallowly. Although it did not deflate, it had very little oven spring.

I sliced the loaf after it had cooled for about 2 hours. The crust was firm. The crumb was rather dense but reasonably well-aerated and moist. The flavor was complex and intense, with a strong whole wheat flavor and a strong honey background. My first impression was that this was a bread that one could make a meal out of, at least from a nutritional perspective. As expected, the flavors mellow and meld by the day after baking. It does make very good toast, but I believe I prefer Reinhart's “100% Whole Wheat Bread” to this whole wheat Struan. I plan on trying the “transitional” version of the Struan in WGB and, perhaps one of the earlier versions that got such wonderful reviews.

If I make this version again, I will 1) treat the cooked grains as Reinhart did in earlier versions of Struan, and 2) reduce the amount of instant yeast by a third to a half.

I think my wife would be perfectly happy if I just kept making this version. She loved it. This bread is so full of flavor and is so substantial, the versions with lesser proportions of whole grain flour may taste dull. We will see.

David

Comments

hanseata's picture
hanseata

David, I bake the Multigrain Struan from WGB often, both versions, the 100% whole grain and the transitional one, they are in my repertoire of breads for sale. For both I do not include cooked grains, but this mixture for the soaker:

57 g whole wheat flour (or bread flour for the transitional struan)
3 g wheat bran
10 g millet
10 g sesame seeds
10 g flaxseeds
20 g corn meal
117 g 5-grain mixture (cracked rye, cracked corn, steel cut oats, barley, flax)

With this uncooked mixture I never had any issues with too much hydration. I reduced the instant yeast, though, I find 5 g in the final dough plenty, especially since I bulk retard the dough overnight in the fridge. I also cut back on the sweetener.

But I also occasionally make the BBA version, and there I use cooked brown rice. I tweaked that formula considerably, before it came out right.

I like all three of the multigrain struans, but the cooked grains are certainly the culprit.

Karin

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Thank you for sharing your multi-grain soaker mix. I assume you add water to equal the total weight of these grains.

It does sound like your experience matches mine exactly, including the yeast and honey both being excessive.

I suspect that, if you cook a grain and add it to the final dough, and add equal weights of water and a grain mix like yours, the hydration would be okay. The culprit is the additional water added to the already cooked grain, I think.

David

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

A question for Karin - I don't mean to hi-jack...

I am curious to what % you drop the honey.  PR has it at 11% which I also think is way to high for this type of bread - a 100% ww sandwich loaf maybe but high even for that in 'my' book....

Thanks,

Janet

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi David,

Your loaf looks great!

Yes, I have made this loaf with 100% ww but I generally use dry ingredients rather than cooked grains so the HL level balances out.  I bake a lot of his formulas so I have a feel for how the dough 'should' feel and it does indeed vary with specific ingredients.

 I, too, cut the IY way down especially since I use freshly ground grains. I bulk ferment all of my loaves overnight in the refrigerator and this not only allows me to decrease the IY but it makes the dough much more easy to shape the following day.  WW absorbs a lot of moisture and it takes time to do that...

Like all formulas, tweaking happens :)  My kids love this loaf and it is a great base from which to branch into adding all sorts of goodies.  It makes a great 100% oatmeal loaf too if you ever have any left over oatmeal laying around :)

I also make this loaf with WY which negates having to use any IY.  See....all sorts of permutations. I better stop here!

Thanks for the post and your photos and observations.

Take Care,

Janet

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Thanks for sharing your tweaks. I like the idea of bulk retardation. I would be concerned about glutin degradation, but it seems to work well for both you and Karin, so I am reassured. 

We hear so much about kids not liking whole grain breads. If yours love this one, as you say, it says something about the bread, your kids or their mom/baker! :-)

David

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Beautiful one, David! really impressive hight, and texture.

I don't own crust and crumb, or BBA, so i can't tell the difference between different struan version. The WGB version was quite wet, as you found, but i don't tamper with it, i like to use it as the formula suggests. I only use heavy dusting while preshaping, and shaping.

I didn't notice that honey was excessive in the formula. The yeast is definitely too much in the final dough, and if you reduce it to 50% , the bread will still finish FAST! i watch mine like a hawk.

-Khalid

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The WGB version is very good. My wife would say that's an understatement. I am still curious about the earlier versions, especially as toast, and I will try the transitional one in WGB, at least.

David

evonlim's picture
evonlim

coffee n toast !! looks like my little heaven every breaktime i have my toast n coffee at home. have not bake a struan before.. will look into trying one of this soon.

thanks for sharing. 

evon

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Toast with home-made almond butter and jam with cappuccino is my breakfast 3 or 4 days every week. Many years ago, I did some nutritional research and found that almond butter on whole wheat bread was just about a perfectly balanced meal. If you add some fresh fruit or orange juice for the vitamin C, you are even closer to perfect. 

David

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

Wonderful bake- love, love, love the thoughtful write-up and lovely photos!  How did you manage such lovely coffee art?  I'm a fan of the piston coffee maker, Aeropress, but I see it has limitations in presentation.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I've heard good things about the Aeropress, but it's one of the few coffee-making methods I do not have. I have a La Valentina espresso machine by Ala di Vittoria. The "latte art" is a work in progress, but more challenging in a 5 oz cappuccino cup than in a 12 oz caffelatte bowl.

Thanks for your kind comments.

David

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Sure looks like a good piece of toast and an even better looking cappacino???  What you just went through is why I often steer clear of buying new recipe books.  Albeit I this take a great deal of effort to not purchase as I love looking through them and the new ideas or techniques they have to offer. With the exception of a few authors I find I run into so many "minor" errors that it becomes frustrating.  Just as well scan over the WWW and tweak one of millions of recipes with feedback and the such.  Of my favorite authors is RLB's Bible Collection as she is so precise and descriptive with her formulas.  I'm sure there are some errors in her books as well but I've baked much pastry and bread to great success with her books.  

Regardless though it looks like you succesfully baked a fine loaf of bread to share with the wife.  And isn't it more important that they like it than ourselves?  

Happy Baking David

Josh.  

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I have found Reinhart's formulas and instructions to be much better than most, but any formula is going to need adjustments, even from day to day.

I have heard very positive things about RLB's books but I don't have any of them.

The breads that I am most likely to bake are those that both my wife and I prefer. Somehow, the ones she dislikes, e.g., banana bread, just don't get made, even when I love them, e.g., banana bread. I guess you are correct. ;-)

David

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

I like what you achieved with this bread, David.  The only Struan I have made was from BBA.  My reaction was that it was far too sweet and I haven't made it since.  For my tastes, Clayton's Anadama or Sennebec Hill breads are preferable.

Paul

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

There is a lot to like about this bread, but I and, apparently, many others agree that it would be better with less sweetener.

David

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

of that crumb doesn't look like the WW bread I bake,  Is it the honey that does that or the brown sugar or both?  Yours is much more orangish brown like it has some molasses which i think I would orefer over the brown sugar.  It is a very impressive and striking color that I like a lot.  I'm not a big fan of brown rice either  - taste wise, but I sure like the black rice as a sub - even sprouted.  If scalded and soaked the liquid is that dark brown color that can be used as the liquid.

It looks like you saved this one at 100% proof.   This has to make some fine toast.  I like black coffee, toast and fresh fruit and mellon for breakfast, maybe some yogurt and jam - but it's just not breakfast without toast!.

It seems that in the summer things can run away from me very easy.  Even a short 30 minute bulk ferment on the counter and then 12 hours in tne fridge and it can be fully proofed when it comes out of the fridge in the morning - even without any commercial yeast!

Nice baking David.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Well, I just had a look at the heel of the bread, which is all that's left. The photo shows the color darker than it really is. The photo has a lot more red than the original, too. It must have been the lighting.

I invariably have fruit with every meal, unless I'm away from home. I didn't show the peaches and sour cream I ate while the bread was toasting. We're spoiled here (and proud of it). And this is shaping up to be an outstanding year for stone fruit, based on what we've had so far. Our local melons won't be in for a few more weeks, but melons from South of here are in the stores. Meanwhile, the peak of the peach and nectarine season is upon us, and I'm making the most of it. 

David

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

had the most expensive peach ever at $3.99 a pound from CA and Whole Foods.  It was the best peach either of us had ever had and worth every penny. Today I bought a load of peaches and nectarines from CA at Sprouts for 49 cents a pound and they were hard as a rock, cold and no smell.  They sure look good though and if they ever soften up we hope they will be decent.  The CA stone fruit we got at Kroger last week was horrible.  So far it is hit and miss with mostly misses on the stone fruit.  It is great to be spoiled when it comes to fresh fruits and veggies.

I get that same exact lighting issue when I shoot pictures at night with no direct or indirect sun. 

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hmmm ... The peaches from WFM are probably the very same ones I get at my local WFM. You are paying about what we pay for organic. At the farmers' market I go to twice a week, organic peaches of similar quality are about $2.75/lb.

Your hard, unripe peaches might or might not be good once ripened on the counter. Few things miff me more than paying a lot for fruit that turns out to be inedible. You know about looking at the color of the fruit around where the stem was, right? 

When we lived in Boston, I got such a craving for fresh fruit. Besides apples, we got none. I finally splurged when I found a honeydew melon that had a sticker on it from a grower about 10 miles from where I grew up. It was $6. That was in 1974. So it was like ... what? ... $20, now? Anyway, it was woody with no flavor. No juice. No sweetness. 

We moved back to the San Joaquin Valley in 1976. I will confess that you just cannot find a good lobster roll around here, and bay scallops don't ship to California in any better shape than honeydew melons ship to Boston.

David

Simple Sweets's picture
Simple Sweets

I'm glad to read these posts on the different versions of Struan. 

I have, over the last few weeks, made and tested Peter Reinhart's Struan version from his "5 Minutes a Day" book and have actually found the opposite of some of your posts: the dough consistently turns out to be too hard...even difficult to knead!  Like a brick!

The 2nd time I did it I of course added more water, but the result was still a very 'rustic' bread (i.e. dense, hard and didn't rise much).  I have fiddled with the method a few times (i.e. following the recipe, then the 2nd time not refrigerating the dough, etc.) but the end result pretty much turns out the same.  I had to wonder whether that was just how the bread was supposed to be?!  Eventually I gave up on the recipe and today, tried the Struan recipe from this page and I have two beautiful loaves from it!  So I'm not sure what to think...

Thanks for the Struan recipe here, it's delicious!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I don't have the "5 minutes a Day" book, so I can't comment on that version. I'm glad this one worked for you. I do think the discussion helped me a lot .... although I haven't made this bread again.

David