The Fresh Loaf

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flaxseed

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Xenophon's picture
Xenophon

A couple of days ago I decided to try my hand at Jeffrey Hamelman’s Vollkornbrot with flaxseeds.  I did this with some trepidation because

a)     I’m a western expat living in New Delhi, India and THE key ingredient (rye flour) is not available here, meaning that I have to bring it in from Europe on each trip.  This one recipe  would blow about 1/7 th of my precious supply.

b)    The recipe as per Hamelman requires the  use of a sourdough starter, used to create a long fermenting sourdough and two soakers (flaxseeds and rye chops) .  To these are added the last fraction of the rye meal and the salt + some water and yeast so it’s not exactly a straight dough setup with minimal rise time.

The original recipe can be found in ‘Bread’ by Jeffrey Hamelman, I’m not going to reproduce it here for the obvious copyright reasons.

Modifications vs the recipe:

a)     I didn’t have rye chops and there’s no way for me to acquire those here.  So I used pinhead oats (also called steel cut oats) instead.  This worked without a hitch.

b)    One of the big challenges of baking breads here is dough temperature control.  We’re past the peak of summer but still, the temperature in my kitchen is about 35 centgrade.  This is an obvious problem when using ‘long’ rise times/preferments etc.  What it boils down to is that I shortened the sourdough rise time from the recommended 14-16 hours at around 21 centigrade to 9 hours at 33-35.

 

The dough (detailed instructions see the recipe in the book):

For the sourdough I used a sourdough starter that had been initiated 3 months ago, it started out as a rye sourdough starter but has been refreshed countless times with normal bread flour so it’s totally white now.  This is added to 100% rye flour and water.  Hydratation is 100% at this point.

While this is covered and put away to start its long rise, a flaxseed and –in my case- a pinhead oats soaker were prepared.  I added all the recipe’s salt to the oats soaker in order to inhibit enzyme activity (long rise at high ambient temperature).

After 5 hours I could definitely see activity in the sourdough, based on the look/consistency and the taste I decided it was ripe after 9 hours of fermentation.  Tasting/feeling/looking are imho the only sure ways to determine ripeness.  Let it ferment too long and the taste becomes harsh/vinegary.

Everything was brought together with some extra rye flour and mixed at slow speed for 10 minutes.  Bulk fermentation took 15 minutes.

After bulk fermentation I had a very slack, sticky dough that proved almost unmanageable and had a very dense texture.  This was dumped in a large cake tin (no pullman form available) that had been oiled and covered in rye flour.  I used a spoon to flatten the top somewhat.

Baking:

First 15 minutes in a hot oven (245 centigrade)  with steam, followed by 1 hour 15 minutes at 195, dry.   Hamelman remarks that a full bake is imperative and I concur, given the high hydratation and the density.

Unpanning and cooling:

15 minutes before the end of the bake time, the loaf is taken out of the baking tin (very easily, no stick at all) and baked off the remaining 15 minutes to remove some extra moisture and firm things up.

After baking I was stuck with what literally seemed to be a very dense brick.  This then has to cool/rest between 24 and 48 hours so the internal moisture has time to redistribute.  It took an almost superhuman effort but I managed to wait 30 hours.  Don’t give in to temptation, I think the bread really requires this long rest before slicing.

Some pictures: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rye sourdough with flaxseeds and pinhead oats after unpanning and cooling for 30 hours at room temperature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, the crumb is very, very dense and looks underbaked.  However, it looked and tasted exactly like the German whole grain Vollkornbread that’s for sale in (North) Germany.  It can be sliced very thin (4 mm is not a problem at all) with a serrated bread knife and the taste is slightly sweet, nutty with a delicate sourdough tang.  If you really want an extremely pronounced sourdough taste I guess you’d have to let the sourdough ferment a couple of hours more.  The bread goes very well with cured meats, jam, (dark) chocolate spread and cheeses that have a pronounced taste.

 





Big warning: Only try this and the other Vollkornbrot mentioned by Hamelman if you really like very dense German breads like Pumpernickel (the German version, has nothing in common with what's sold as such in the US).  Do not try to make rolls or smaller loaves as the crust is very hard indeed and -in the case of rolls- these would be inedible because this bread can only be enjoyed if you slice it really thin.

Yeasty Boy's picture
Yeasty Boy

Hello. I'm a noob to this forum and I'd like first to thank everyone here for such informative content as I've found it rather easy to navigate and research the information necessary to score a perfect success with my very first baking effort ever, and to produce the finest pizza I have ever had the priveledge to bake and eat.

subfuscpersona's picture

Soak OR grind flax seed for bread?

November 14, 2011 - 6:31am -- subfuscpersona
Forums: 

When adding flax seed to bread, is it better to grind it into a meal (using an electric coffee mill) OR soak it in water?

Which method makes the flax seed nutrients more bioavailable? Which method better reduces the tendency of flax to interfere with gluten development?

I've spent countless hours searching the web with no definitive answer. Here's the gist of what I've found...

hanseata's picture
hanseata

A while ago, Andy (ananda) - always good for some pretty amazing loaves - posted about the entries of two of his baking students for the "Young Baker of the Year Contest" in Newcastle, England. Much as I love the goodness of a simple crusty white bread, my heart belongs to the complexity of mixed grains and nutty add-ins, therefore I copied those two right away into my recipe program.

Finalist Faye's entry, the Nettle Bread, I already baked - it is as unusual as tasty, and made it straight into my team of "Most Valuable Breads":

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/21966/faye039s-award-winning-nettle-bread

Katie's, the other student's, bread, with it's content of stout beer and flaxseeds, appeared equally tempting, and was in the top ten of my to-do bread list. As a good German, I love beer (the real stuff, not the dish wash water labelled Bud Light), and flaxseed add a nice extra bit of crunch. And, who wouldn't agree - it's healthy, to0.

I always found truth in the old adage: "Guinness is good for you", and apply that piece of sage advice to it's American brethren, like our local Cadillac Mountain Stout, or one of the other great New England stout beers.

First I made the Stout and Linseed Bread, almost exactly following Katie's formula, and Andy's description of the procedure:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20318/young-baker-competition-half-term-home-baking

I only made some minor changes: fresh yeast is not easily available here, so I used instant yeast instead, and regular flaxseed instead of prettier looking (but the same tasting) golden flaxseed. And, of course, I couldn't lay hands on Allendale Stout, but I had Cadillac Mountain Stout as a worthy stand-in. I also scaled the recipe amounts down to a sixth: for one loaf.

At this first trial, my dough appeared to be very wet, therefore I decided to bake the bread in a Dutch oven, like RonRay's Apple Yeast Bread, not as a free standing loaf (at 450 F, reducing the temperature after 20 minutes to 425 F). Though it had a good oven spring, it didn't rise as high, but spread quite a bit. The crust was very nice, though, and the taste as good as expected.

Stout Flaxseed Bread - 1. Bake

I was wondering whether the somewhat complicated procedure couldn't be a bit streamlined, instead of 15 minutes long, slow kneading, using Peter Reinhart's shorter knead and S & F technique. I also wanted to adapt the process to my preferred overnight cold bulk fermentation, in order to bake the bread earlier in the morning.

So I mixed soaker and stout barm in the morning, placing the barm in the refrigerator to ferment - I don't really see the necessity of keeping the flaxseed soaker, too, in a cool place - I always leave my soakers at room temperature on the countertop for one day: without any ill effect. In the evening I prepared the final dough: 2 minutes slow mixing, until all came together - 5 minutes rest - 6 minutes kneading at medium-low speed, then 4 times S & F, with 10 minute intervals, on the counter.

This time, without changing the hydration, the dough felt more manageable, very nice and supple. It rose well overnight in the refrigerator, shaping was no problem, and I baked it as free standing hearth bread.

Stout Flaxseed 2. Bake

This time no sideways escape, the bread behaved, and rose upward. The taste was the same - simply great! Another winner for my "Bread Hall of Fame".

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/24936/katie039s-stout-amp-flaxseed-bread

 

jennyloh's picture
jennyloh

Baked 2 different breads, taking up the Hamelman's challenge, one quite successful and the other,  just had too many mistakes.  You will understand what I mean when you look at the pictures.


 


Cheese Bread with quite a bit of modification to the recipe.  Great oven spring, still learning to score to get the ears.  Not enough cheese,  quite an open crumb,  thin crust,  and 100% sourdough only.   check out the details here.



 



 


Flaxseed Bread - too many mistakes here,  and this didn't turn out well at all.  Taste was ok, but it was dense and it didn't have much oven spring.  



 



1.    This was my 3rd loaf (not counting my other bakes like muffins and flatbread) on a weekend,  and its one of the more difficult ones.  
2.    Warm water for the flaxseed.  My water was still warm when I added into the flax seed.  I think that creates the gluey form more.
3.    Use of olive oil to handle the dough, the smell and taste doesn't seem to go together
4.    Brushing with butter - it made the rolls soft,  and not at all what I was hoping for.
5.    Shaping my rolls created a hole in the roll,  should have done better than that.
6.    Not allowing time for the dough to rise properly.
7.    I don't think I baked long enough or I didn't let it cool properly before I kept it,  as it turned moldy after 5 days.  


Well,  I still have  a lot to learn. 


 

marilee's picture

Oat, apple, & flaxseed sourdough sandwich loaf

May 1, 2010 - 4:10pm -- marilee
Forums: 

I found this site a few months ago and have really enjoyed all the great information here. I finally decided today to join and post something. I consider myself a novice and am still learning and have begun experimenting a bit with recipes I have gathered online or through various sourdough cookbooks. Some breads I have baked have turned out excellent and some not, but I am having fun.

Rose Run Lady's picture

Stumped over flaxseed

March 25, 2010 - 12:18pm -- Rose Run Lady

My bread rises all gnarly-looking, and I'm stumped. Here are the ingredients, which I am careful to add in the correct order, at room temperature:


1/2 cup water; 3/4 cup evaporated milk; 2 tbsp. unsalted butter; 2 tbsp. honey; 1-1/2 tsps. salt; 1/3 cup oatmeal; 2 cups bread flour; 1 cup whole-wheat flour; 2-1/4 tsps. dry yeast; 1/2 cup flaxseed.


I have tried to solve the problem in all of the following ways:


Tried a different bread machine, plugged into a different electrical outlet;

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