The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bob's Red Mill

varda's picture

The other day, I accidentally picked up the wrong flour.    I thought I was grabbing the Bob's Red Mill White flour but instead ended up with BRM whole wheat pastry flour.   I'm not much for making pastry and the whole concept of whole wheat pastry eludes me, so I decided to try this flour in yet another variation on the pain au levain I've been experimenting with for the last few months.    On my first try I used the pastry flour as 12% of the total flour with 87% White flour and 1% rye from the starter.    The bread came out with a very nice crumb texture and not bad in other respects but the taste was so mild as to be uninteresting.    Then my son swooped in for a surprise visit for Mother's Day and ate the whole thing so it was good for son feeding at least.  

Try number 1 - tried to get fancy with scoring - didn't really work.

To enhance the flavor, I decided to mix in some regular whole wheat.    So this time I did exactly the same thing but went half and half on the pastry whole wheat flour and Arrowhead whole wheat.   

The latest production of the vardomatic 3000:

As you can see, it blew a gasket.   Not quite the nice controlled expansion that I'd hoped for.    And Mt. Hood from the side:

but even better crumb than the last one and the flavor is much enhanced.

There were both 68% hydration and retarded overnight.   Also I've increased percentage of prefermented flour to 23%.  After going all the way to 33% with Andy's light rye formula, I'm not afraid of these higher percentages anymore.     Has anyone worked with this type of flour before?   The BRM bag says soft white wheat, and there is no discernible bran.    I don't feel like I have a handle on the fermentation yet and would love some suggestions.  

Sour Doh's picture

Problems with Dark Rye - Bob's Red Mill

July 24, 2010 - 6:44pm -- Sour Doh

Has anyone here had any experience (good or bad) with Bob's Red Mill Dark Rye?  Through a wholesale cooperative here in Austin, I bought a 25 pound bag and have had very bad luck with it.  First, I could not initiate a rye starter.  My first two attempts smelled horrible and never sweetened.  Thanks to some TFL advice, I attempted the pineapple juice method, and although  the trash-like smell did not take over the starter, it developed no leavening power.

mneidich's picture

This is my first post, so before I get into the details, here's a little bit about me. I live in the Pacific Northwest, and I took up breadbaking a few years ago when I moved here from the Southeast. The first breads I made were Challahs, and I got pretty good at making them. I'd make pizza, too, but that doesn't really count. After a while, I decided to start my own sourdough starter earlier this year, and after baking every week (except during Passover when I wasn't supposed to), I was starting to get a little annoyed that my breads wouldn't turn out how I wanted them.

Yesterday afternoon, i decided to do some calculations and create a bread that is about 65% hydration. I also knew that I needed to adjust my flour. I like using Bob's Red Mill because it's local, but it only has about an 11.7% gluten content. I adjusted my flour by adding vital wheat gluten to the the flour I used.

So, here are the results: The holes are just right, the crumb is nice and open, and the crust is nice and crusty (duh - it's a crust, right?!). Here are some pictures, and below the pictures are the instructions.

Evening before bake:


  • 300g Bread flour (13% gluten content)

  • 225 grams lukewarm water

  • 50g highly active firm starter

  1. In a medium-sized ceramic bowl, mix the starter into the water, then add the flour.

  2. Mix until even consistency is achieved (a couple minutes)

  3. Leave mixture in bowl and cover with plastice wrap.

  4. Let sit in kitchen for ~10 hours (overnight)


The Day of the Bake:


  • 450g Bread flour (13% gluten content)

  • 262g water

  • Starter mixture from previous evening.

  • 20g kosher salt

  • 30g olive oil

  1. Mix flour and water in a large bowl.

  2. Separate 50g of starter mixture and store in a jar for a future bake. Add all of the rest of it to the flour and water mixture.

  3. Mix just a little bit, then add oil and salt. Mix again until fairly incorperated.

  4. Turn out onto a clean surface (no flour or oil)

  5. Knead for 10 minutes, until gluten is well-formed.

  6. Form the dough into a ball and roll it in a little flour (to prevent it from sticking to the bowl while fermenting).

  7. Put the dough in a large ceramic bowl and cover with a damp cloth.]

  8. After ~2 hours of fermentation, take the dough out and form it into loaves, The dough probably has not changed much in size at this point.

  9. Put semolina flour into two bannetons to prevent loaves from sticking.

  10. Place formed loaves in bannetons and let proof for 5 hours (until dough doesn't spring back when poked)

  11. While dough is proofing, put baking stone on the second-to-top shelf in oven and heat oven to 550 degrees. Put a metal cookie sheet on the bottom shelf in the oven for steam-creation.

  12. Just before baking, lower temperature to 425 degrees.

  13. Turn loaves out onto a peel, slash them, and put on bread stone.

  14. Pour ~1 cup boiling water into the cake pan to create steam.

  15. Bake for 45 minutes, turning loaves at the half-way mark.

  16. Cool loaves uncovered on wire racks.

Okay, so that's it. If you try the recipe out, let me know how it goes :-)


bakermomof4's picture

Winco Foods - the flours in the bulk section

June 2, 2009 - 4:41pm -- bakermomof4

I have been shopping at Winco in the bulk section and noticed that they carry -

Whole Wheat Flour and Whole Wheat Bread Flour among many other flours. This got me wondering what exactly the difference was because had not heard of a Whole Wheat Bread Flour. Last time I was there the guy working in that department told me that if I wanted to buy a full bag next time call 2 days before shopping and they will set aside for me. So today I called and talk to them and asked them about some of their flours and this is what he told me:

Steve H's picture

Bob's Red Mill (Bulk Purchase)

May 19, 2009 - 4:36pm -- Steve H

I'm thinking about bulk purchasing some flour from Bob's Red Mill.  Specifically, 25# of White Flour, Spelt Flour, and some odds and ends like Teff, Buckwheat, etc, in smaller quantities.

This means I'd probably be freezing a bunch of it and was wondering what experience anyone had with freezing flour for 6 months or so.  Any problems with doing this?

gaaarp's picture

Five-Grain Seeded Sourdough Bread Recipe

January 21, 2009 - 7:41pm -- gaaarp

I have been tinkering with PR's Basic Sourdough Bread recipe for a while and have come up with the following recipe, which I really enjoy baking and eating:

Five-Grain Seeded Sourdough

 Five-Grain Seeded Sourdough Bread

 (based on Peter Reinhart's Basic Sourdough Bread, The Bread Baker's Apprentice)


Firm Starter

gaaarp's picture

Bob's Red Mill Cereal

January 4, 2009 - 7:44pm -- gaaarp

I picked up a bag of Bob's Red Mill 5-Grain Cereal (oats, wheat, barely, flaxseed, etc.) at the store today, thinking I would add it to some dough for a bit of texture and taste.  Now that I have it home, I'm wondering, should I just add a bit of it as is, in place of the flour, or should I make a soaker with it?  I've made one recipe with a soaker and have just begun substituting rye or whole wheat for the bread flour in recipes, so this is kind of new to me.  Any thoughts?

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