The Fresh Loaf

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Arva flour problems - pale crust

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cinnamonshops's picture
cinnamonshops

Arva flour problems - pale crust

Hey all,

Not sure how many Canadians frequent this site (though I know there are some!), but this might be a more general question anyway. I recently bought a bag of Arva Unbleached White Hard Wheat Flour to use for bread, and it seems as though it's resulting in loaves that barely brown at all. Is there anything else that could be causing this? I used it in two or three different recipes, one sourdough and the others not, and all resulted in pale, pale breads. They weren't terrible aside from that, but it's definitely not right.

To put things in some perspective, I just previously made a sourdough loaf (Nancy Silverton's standard white sourdough) in which, as I recall, I used half of the Arva flour and half of what seems like a really nice red fife flour, and the crust was the most beautiful (deep red-brown) I've yet achieved.

Aside from the fact that I've been using different recipes, the other variables are the same (same crappy oven, etc). I've also been experimenting in all cases with a new homemade flowerpot cloche.

Thoughts?

 

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

My guess: No malted barley flour is added to the Arva flour. In the US, most all flours that will see use in bread making have malted barley flour as an additive. It only takes a very small amount.  It aids in browning, especially when no other sugars are included in the recipe.

Don't know for sure how it is in Canada, but my guess is your other flour(s) have the malted barley included.

cinnamonshops's picture
cinnamonshops

Yes, I was thinking, based on what I've read (mostly on this site), that this might be the case. I'm not sure if it's a Canadian thing or not, but this does seem like this (Arva) is a fairly small-batch flour, or I mean it's not one of the big commercial brands.

So is malted barley flour is something I can add in (assuming I can find it, which might be a big assumption)?

 

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Yes, you can add your own, if that is what you decide to do. It is available, but may not be so easy to find locally.

cinnamonshops's picture
cinnamonshops

Right, that's what I'm afraid of. There are a lot of things that are difficult to find in this town (like high-gluten flour -- apparently impossible).

I do have some malt syrup, but am I right in thinking that this doesn't work the same way / isn't the same thing?

Also: there is a home-brew store near me, which I know sells some kind of malt powder(s) -- is it possible that this is what I am looking for, or is that kind of malt once again something entirely different?

Malt malt malt malt....

 

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

The malt syrup, or any other sugar should work also. You may have to experiment on how much to add. I really have no idea of what amounts should be used. Maybe start with a teaspoon, or two.

The malted barley(or diastatic malt) may work by a different mechanism, but ultimately results in sugars being made available to aid in browning.

cinnamonshops's picture
cinnamonshops

Thanks! I'll do some more poking around and see what kind of additional information I can find (on amounts, etc).

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Red (non diastaic) and white (non diastatic) malts quite easily at home.  I use rye mostly but barley will work well too.

Here is how

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/30857/making-white-and-red-malts-sprouted-rye-whole-wheat-and-spelt

White malt provides extra enzymes that break protein bonds making more sugars available for yeast and Labs to eat.  More sugar means more browning.,  Red malt is used for flavoring adding a deep caramelize taste and color of the crumb and crust.

Happy baking

cinnamonshops's picture
cinnamonshops

I had no idea you could do this! Thanks for the tip!Also, am guessing there's a typo above: is red diastatic, and white non-diastatic? Or vice versa? Or are they really both non, as written?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

as there is in 100% of my posts.  White is diastatic malt.  White has the enzymes and red they have been killed off by temperatures over 150 F.

Anything you see prepared somewhere else food wise, can be made at home pretty easily in most cases.  The home varieties are usually two times more tasty at half the cost.   We make yogurt, cheese, sausages, condiments, liquors , beer, bread and bread stuff, other cured meats, jams, pickles and who knows what else.  We also try to grow as much of out own salad stuff  and tomatoes too.  Not much else will make it in the AZ sun.

Happy baking

cinnamonshops's picture
cinnamonshops

How do you grind your sprouted rye/etc seeds once they're out of the oven? I don't have a grain mill, myself, though I do have a coffee grinder, a big mortar and pestle, and a food processor. Would any of those work?

On a related note, I was wondering about rye meal. I can't seem to locate it in any stores around here, though I can easily find rye berries and rye flakes. This is for the BBA recipe that calls for coarse dark rye flour or rye meal as a soaker; I can get dark rye flour, but it looks like it is probably neither as dark nor as coarse as what's being called for. Can I grind my own, since it's not a particularly large quantity?

 

cinnamonshops's picture
cinnamonshops

Oh, I agree! I try to make as much as I can myself, but I guess I know so little about malt and what it actually is that it never occurred to me that it could be made at home!

Incidentally, I just pulled out my first attempted Poilane miche, which was not made with the problematic Arva flour, and it's gorgeous (at least for me, as a relative novice), so I'm pretty sure the flour has indeed been the culprit. But good to know I can at least finish off the bag I have with the addition of some, perhaps homemade, malt powder!