The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Odds and ends

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PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Odds and ends

In the month since our trip to Scotland and Ireland, baking around here has been rather hit or miss.  No, scratch that, baking around here has been hit and miss.  Consequently, this post is sort of a catch-all for the this's and that's going on in my kitchen.

One bake was the honey oatmeal loaf from the KAF Whole Grains Cookbook.  I love that stuff; it's hearty and moist and hefty and just a little bit sweet.  Makes a great sandwich, too.

For the 4th of July weekend, I baked a batch of Mark Sinclair's Portugese Sweet Bread as hamburger rolls.  While soft, they are sturdy enough to stand up to a big burger with all the toppings, instead of dissolving as the store-bought buns do.  My wife also made Dilly Bread, also shaped as hamburger rolls, so we had our choice of sweet and mild, or dilly and oniony to go with the burgers.  Both worked wonderfully.  And some happy guests went home with the extras of each.

I'm in the process of tuning up a recipe to use for a Swedish Cardamom Bread class that I will be teaching at the Culinary Center of Kansas City in September.  It's such a lovely dough to work with, luxurious with milk and butter and redolent of cardamom.  There's just the tiniest hit of sweetness, which makes it a perfect foil for coffee (says my coffee-drinking spouse) or tea (says me).  I've found that blooming the cardamom in the warm milk really helps distribute the flavor through every bite.  It should be a fun class, with lots and lots of shaping options.

Not all has been sweetness and light, however.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I present you with an epic fail:

That is a sprouted wheat bread.  As in: no flour whatsoever, just ground up sprouted wheat.  (I did cheat and add approximately half a cup of bread flour because I could see that it was going to be far too wet without.)  As you can see from the knife, it is very sticky; this nearly a week after it was baked.  You should have seen how wet and gummy the core was the first day!  And the crust!  I might have been able to interest the Pentagon in a new body armor material if any of their buyers had been around that day.  I suspect that the sprouts were a few hours past their prime for this style bread.  There is supposed to be no more than a little white nub at one end of the kernel; mine were also starting to push out rootlets.  So, probably way too much enzyme activity and starch degradation.  But I persevered.  The next problem was that I allowed it to over proof, not being exactly sure what I should be looking for.  Then the sucker just would not bake out.  It was in the oven for at least half an hour longer than the recommended bake time and the core temperature was only grudgingly getting toward 190F.  I even took it out of the pan for the last 15 minutes or so, hoping that might hasten the finish.  

And the reward for all of this effort?  Meh.  The bread wasn't bad.  It just wasn't especially good.  I can make a good whole-wheat loaf for a lot less fuss and more reliably.  The recipe was reputed to have come from the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book.  I don't know whether to take that as a slander, or as a caution.  Maybe heavy bricks were really groovy bread back in the day.  It would certainly stick to your ribs.  And your bread knife.  And your teeth.  And...

This weekend I will bake Eric's Fave Rye, Rustic Pumpernickle from ITJB, and a Vort Limpa.  All of those are the subjects of an all-day rye breads class that I will teach at CCKC next Friday.  There are still 5 openings, if any KC-area Loafers (or your friends) are interested.  The loaves will serve as a preview for the students' own finished breads and as the foundation for our lunch.  Also in preparation for next week's class:

Yep, that's 100 pounds of flour sitting in my kitchen; 50 each of Great River's stoneground whole rye and unbleached wheat flour.  I'm particularly interested in seeing how the latter performs.  It's described as having 80% of the bran removed, while retaining all of the germ.  Plus it has 14% protein.  That's not a first clear flour by any means but I hope that it may work in a similar way with the rye.  

So, things are happening around here, even if my postings are sporadic.

Paul

Comments

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Paul,

Baking with 100% sprouted grains can be tricky.  According to Laurel the 'secret' of this loaf is to make sure the grain has only just begun to sprout- usually takes only 48 hours but in summer heat it can happen faster.  If it goes longer it sprouts too much and turns into a 'very gooey bread'.  

When I bake with sprouts I generally add flour too because I can never get my grains to sprout all at the same time.  The added flour balances it out but I have not spent a lot of time trying to perfect sprouted grain loaves....maybe in the future....

Would have loved to see your oatmeal loaf.  I love adding it to breads.  Makes the dough feel wonderful and lately I have  been toying with hydration levels (inspired by Phil) which adds even more softness.  Tomorrow I am setting up an oatmeal date loaf.  Will push the hydration level and see how the end result is with the dates included.....

Thanks for the post!

Take Care,

Janet

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

I'll be the first to admit that I really didn't know what I was doing with this bread. Even so, the sprouting process adds a layer or three of complexity which, even if the outcome had been positive, wasn't worth the effort in terms of flavor. Those who are passionate about the benefits of sprouting will no doubt take issue with that assessment. However, if that is a major concern for someone, my suggestion would be to buy sprouted grain flours. That would eliminate a wild card variable, in terms of timing and in terms of the quality of the finished product, leaving the baker to focus on the quality of the bread itself. 

The oatmeal bread is a pretty one. And you are right about the nice things that oatmeal brings to a bread. Oddly, none of the oatmeal breads on the KAF site match the one in their whole grains book.   I look forward to seeing how your experiment turns out. 

Paul

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Paul,

I just posted pictures of the oatmeal loaf on Khalid's  latest blog HERE.  It is one I will do again and go even higher on the HL.

I agree with you on the sprout issue being more work than it is worth in the long run though I do have a favorite sprouted loaf that I bake that is 'easy' in that the sprouted grains are added whole to a regular dough base so they are simply an add-in along with fruit and flax seeds.  A formula I ran across on Wild Yeast and it has been a hit so that is about as far as I venture with sprouted grains….

Take Care,

Janet

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Was about to say that I wouldn't mess with the formula anymore if I were you, seeing how well it turned out, but realized that I probably would; if only to try out another variation.  ;)  So I understand your interest in pushing the HL envelope.

The sprouting experiment was interesting but not so interesting that I want to carry it any further.  A few here and there as a mix-in would be one thing.  Making a bread from sprouts entirely doesn't tempt me anymore.

Paul

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Thank you for the very nice complement.  I always keep a record of each loaf I bake and all are filed in good old school binders so I have a base to fall back on.  I do want to try to push the HL 'just to see'….As you stated - that call seems to beckon a lot of us.  Now that I have baked for a couple of years I have loaves that I don't tweak anymore so I know there is an end…Just can't predict where it will be *^ }

Take Care and thanks again for your encouraging words.

Janet

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

You really need to post the recipe for you Oatmeal Date and Sesame bread in the recipe section of TFL.  It is perfectly beautiful and has to be tasty.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Thank you for the complement Mr. D.  The formula is one of Breadsong's HERE.  I added the sesame seeds after reading one of Khalid's blogs where he combined them with dates in one of his wonderful whole grain bakes.

Take Care,

Janet

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

for breads in AZ, it only takes 24 hours for most grains to chit but WW seems to take a little longer for some reason about 36 hours.  I don't dry them out and make flour out of them for bread though - just malts after 4-5 days of sprouting or I toss them into the bread whole with a S&F if at the 36 hour mark.

I'm guessing you made some kind a weak version of white malt if they sprouted much past 36 hours, they had small rootlets and if you dried the grains at less than 150 F before grinding them.   Using it for bread dough would account for the goo - but mixed with some bread flour it would be perfect!.

Good luck with your classes and i hope they fill up.

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

the 24 hour mark, dab.  Being a noob with the sprouting process, I made the mistake of watching the clock, not the sprouts.  This loaf doesn't require any drying of the sprouts, just grind them to a paste with a food processor or meat grinder, mix in the salt, honey, and yeast, and then plunk it in a loaf pan to rise.

Since I had more sprouted than the recipe called for, the extras are resting in my freezer until cooler temps make dehydrating them for malt (I'll have to use my oven) more appealing.  I already have some non-diastatic malt syrup on hand, so the sprouts are destined for diastatic malt.

Thanks for your good wishes.

Paul

Mebake's picture
Mebake

I haven't baked with sprouted grains yet, although Laurel's version is tempting, and intimidating.

Good luck with your bread classes, Paul! Take some photos pls. :)

-Khalid

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

You might come up with a winner if you try.

I'll see if I can squeeze in some pictures.  The last time I taught the class I barely had time to grab a bite of lunch.

Paul

varda's picture
varda

Hey Paul,   I just started ordering rye berries from Great River.   I just do a fine mill once through my Komo and then I have very excellent rye flour - much better than any rye flours I've been able to buy.   Free shipping through Amazon.   A great deal.   How is the wheat?   I was hoping to get a better deal on wheat berries than  Great River provides, but don't know if I'll get it if the quality of their wheat is as good as their rye.    I have tried sprouted wheat breads a few times, but using my regular wheat starter, so some flour through that.   Turns out pretty dense but love the flavor.    I just took a food safety class (need it to get my cottage license) and sprouted grains are the only bread-related ingredient that requires a special safety plan.   Forget it.   Not worth it.  Cheers.  -Varda

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

in running a home-based business without adding sprouting to the mix.  Given the potential for poisoning one's customers, I think you made the right call, Varda.

I opened the bag of rye flour last evening.  Although a whole rye, it is very finely milled.  It's nothing like the Hodgson's Mill flour, which is closer to being a rye meal.  It seems to ferment faster than the Hodgson's Mill flour, too, quite possibly because the finer texture exposes more surface for the microorganisms to work on.  My first impression is that the Great River rye will be a good choice for deli ryes, while the coarser Hodgson's Mill rye will work better in pumpernickels.

The wheat flour hasn't been opened yet, so I don't know how that looks.

Every now and then our local Wal-Mart will have Wheat Montana wheat berries.  I haven't looked at the price recently but it seems that they were in the vicinity of $1 per pound.  They carry the Wheat Montana flours, too, which I know to be a quality product.  Maybe you could wheedle a store in your area to do the same?  The Wheat Montana on-line store has wheat berries for 50-60 cents per pound, but shipping appears to be in excess of $1 per pound, which makes them non-competitive with the Great River wheat available through Amazon.

I haven't taken the plunge yet on milling my own flour.  Maybe one of these days...

Paul