The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Poorly rising wholemeal loaves

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Bowpicfram's picture
Bowpicfram

Poorly rising wholemeal loaves

I have been making bread in a bread machine for many years now but earlier this year my wholemeal loaves lost their rise.  I am in the north west of England and use a flour produced in Cumbria and dried yeast sachets.  I have no trouble with the white flour but with the wholemeal I've even wandered into the scary world of live yeast but no difference.  I'm wondering if it is poor grain quality after last years harvest can't think it's just that.  has anyone any suggestions please?

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Could be the flour. The absorbance of wheat flour does differ from a harvest to another, so the question is: is the dough being drier than you're used to? a stiff wholemeal dough does not rise high as does a soft dough.

-Khalid

Bowpicfram's picture
Bowpicfram

Thank you for answering Mebake.  Being in the machine I don't know how stiff the dough is.  Would I add more water or more fat to test your theory and make the dough softer?

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Yes, add more water, around 80 grams and observe the resultant crumb. Fat will add some moisture, but will also raise the calorie count. Add little fat (butter / milk/ eggs), as it goes a long way in improving your loaf's volume.

-Khalid

Bowpicfram's picture
Bowpicfram

I'll give it a go and see what happens. Thank you

Bowpicfram's picture
Bowpicfram

I should have explained I make 600 gram loaves for our B&B,( slice them in half down the centre, lie the half on the cut side and slice that way.... in case you were wondering how we serve it??)  The recipe calls for 380mls water. So how much should I increase that by?

Mebake's picture
Mebake

380ml , or 380 grams of water is way too much for a 600 gram total dough recipe (makes the hydration 172% !!). How much total dough mass are you baking? based on your answer, i'll try to  assess the softness of your dough.

-Khalid

Syd-a's picture
Syd-a

Adding a crushed (500mg) vitamin c tablet will help the gluten development in wholemeal bread and improve rising. It will not be detectable in the final bread either as a texture or taste.

A teaspoon or two of lemon juice will also help to improve the rise again through promoting gluten development.

Andy

Bowpicfram's picture
Bowpicfram

Hi Andy, Yes I've tried adding a teaspoon of Vit C powder but it hasn't helped.

Bowpicfram's picture
Bowpicfram

This is the standard recipe in the instruction manual of the Panasonic machine I have used for years and up until recently worked perfectly.  The 600 grams is the flour only weight, 25 grams fat, I sachet of yeast and salt, 380mls water.  No problem with the white loaves though slightly less water.

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Ok, that make more sense. However, in a quick calculation, the hydration is 63% . While fat brings some softness, the hydration is still low for a wholemeal bread. I'd aim for a softer dough that has a hydration of 70-75%. 40-50 grams of water will bring the hydration to 70%.

-khalid

Bowpicfram's picture
Bowpicfram

Oh Kalid I think you are right after all. Because I have used the recipe for years I do not read the book though I do meticulously weigh out. However I've just rechecked the book and it says 500 not 600.  It's official!!  I am loosing my mind.  I must have forgotten on one occasion and after that twas ever thus. 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Bowpicfram,

Are you using flour from Little Salkeld Watermill?

Andy

Bowpicfram's picture
Bowpicfram

No but it looks good, I must go there.  No, I usually buy Carrs flour which is part of the Carrs Billington Mil, Cumbrial. However after visiting Welwyn garden City recently I was taken to the Welwyn Hatfield Museum Mill where I bought a large amount that was milled for me while I waited. I'm just on with a white at the moment then will set a wholemeal one to finish tomorrow with the CORRECT weight of flour and see how that works.

Sally

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Sally,

I know the people at Carrs; they offer first class service and also sell great flour too.   I used their flours excusively when I was lecturing at Newcastle College, and have industrial experience with it too from working with Bells of Lazonby around 10 years ago now.

More recently I have been working in Scotland for a bakery which uses Hutchisons flours from Fife....part of the Carrs group.   Despite a great specification, I couldn't get to grips with their wholemeal flour either.....and I believe I tried everything.   Five months' contract work and I walked out none the wiser.   A meeting with the technical guy was cancelled at short notice to my dismay.

So, I wish I could help you, but don't think I can.   Probably worth talking to the technical people at Silloth; give them a ring, they are very obliging.

For Watermill, expect something very different.   I've baked with this flour for nigh on 30 years now.   It is stone milled from Organic English wheat, and very often grown to Biodynamic demeter.   So the  provenance is outstanding.   But North Pennine wheat should not be compared with that supplied by industrial mills such as Carrs.   If you want more info, please feel free to pm me.

Best wishes

Andy

grind's picture
grind

Hey Sally -

 

Have you tried using a little diastatic malt?  It can make certain flours less stubborn.

Bowpicfram's picture
Bowpicfram

Wow, that's so interesting. You've pretty well covered it.  Last night's loaf is an improvement on recent attempts and has risen rather than plunged in the centre but not to the high crown I get with a white.  The research continues......

Bowpicfram's picture
Bowpicfram

I haven't, probably because I've never heard of it. Where would I source it?

Bowpicfram's picture
Bowpicfram

Much, much better; didn't rise into a high dome but no the less it is a risen loaf.

Thank you to all who helped me.

psg2000's picture
psg2000