This weekend, I baked a couple of breads I have enjoyed, but both were made with variations.
I have made the 100% whole wheat bread from Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Baking a couple of times before with fresh-milled flour (100% Whole Wheat Bread from WGB, made with fresh-milled flour). I think it makes a delicious bread. This weekend, I wanted to make it with finer-milled flour and with a whole wheat starter, rather than a yeasted "biga."
The flour was milled from hard red winter wheat using the KitchenAid grain mill attachment. I milled the berries once on a medium setting and then twice on the finest setting. The result was a fairly fine flour, but still not as fine as KAF Organic Whole Wheat flour, for example. The levain had a somewhat gritty consistency. It ripened quite a bit faster than the yeasted biga does for this bread. The dough was quite soft and very manageable, but while quite extensible, had little elasticity. It was difficult to judge the proofing because the dough never was really springy. The modest oven spring I got suggests I may have over-proofed somewhat. The crumb was quite a bit more open than I got with previous bakes of this bread. I attribute this partly to the finer-milled flour and partly to the levain.
100% Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread from WGB, made with fresh-milled flour
My wife liked the flavor of this bread. It has a rather pronounced sourdough tang over a sweet, wheaty flavor. It confirmed my aversion to this combination of flavors, sadly. I will make this bread again, but I will stick to the yeasted version.
Franko's gorgeous 80% rye with rye flour soaker ( See 80% Sourdough Rye Bread- adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman's 'Bread') reminded me how much I loved this bread from Hamelman's Bread (See Sweet, Sour and Earthy: My new favorite rye bread). I had expected to make it again sooner, but got distracted by other baking projects. Franko's bake in a Pullman pan was so lovely, I thought I'd use mine, but, at the last minute, decided to bake it as one large, almost 2 kg boule.
For this bake, I omitted the instant yeast. The dough was raised by the rye sour only. Also, for this bake, I used fresh-milled rye, milled as described above.
80% Rye with Rye Flour Soaker from Hamelman's Bread, made with fresh-milled rye flour
After cooling, I wrapped the loaf in baker's linen to rest for 24 hours before slicing.
80% Rye crumb (Note: The uneven color is an artifact of the lighting.)
After unwrapping the loaf, the crust felt very hard, but it was delightfully crunchy. The crumb was soft and moist. The flavor had a nice caramelized tone from the crust. The crumb flavor was mildly sour, sweet and very earthy - just a good whole rye flavor. Delicious. I had some with dinner, without any topping. I have some cream cheese and smoked salmon to eat with this for breakfast.
This remains my favorite high-percentage rye bread. I just love the flavor and the texture of the crumb.