The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

whole grain

LucysMutti's picture

Converting favorite family recipes for whole grain

March 10, 2013 - 6:25am -- LucysMutti

We are now grinding our own grain at home (Restel ... Worth the wait). 

Been using Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads, with excellent results. 

Now, I want to try converting favorite family recipes (hot crossed buns, for example) to this method, using whole grains. 

I've searched the forums here, so please forgive me if I missed it, but does anyone have thoughts or advice on this process?

I've been working toward switching to baker's percentages, and maybe that's the key, but I'm not sure. 

Any help is most appreciated. 

Thanks, Jessica

Netvet007's picture

Dense whole grain bread

February 25, 2013 - 7:49pm -- Netvet007

So I decided to try the whole grain sourdough recipe from How to Make Bread by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou. I have never worked with whole grains before for bread.  My 100% hydration starter was at peak and has been a workhorse so I know I had leavening power.  I followed the recipe exactly except I substituted bukgur for cracked wheat as no grocery store around had cracked wheat.  I followed instructions and amounts carefully.

amylynnna's picture

Dough Smells Rancid

February 24, 2013 - 10:57am -- amylynnna

I make freshly ground wheat bread for my family, and it almost always comes out smelling and tasting fabulous.  The last couple of times, however, the dough has developed a rancid smell as it rises, before baking, and a hint of fermented (not bread-yeasty, but more like alcohol) taste remains after baking.  I have cleaned our grain mill - that's not the problem.  Is it possible to let it rise too long?

I676's picture

Mark Bittman's Whole Grain "Sourdough" Article

February 10, 2013 - 7:39am -- I676

So Mark Bittman had a piece in the NY Times today or yesterday on the deliciousness of whole grain bread, and how sourdough is the best method for making it. I tend to agree (warning: rank amateur's lay opinion), but I don't think that any of his recipes are actual sourdough. Instead, his sourdough rye just uses a sponge made with instant yeast and fermented overnight...strains of the Leahy no-knead bread phenomenon Bittman popularized? Nothing wrong with Bittman's rye recipe, but calling it sourdough seems like a real stretch.

catfuzz's picture

Wheat 'dust' in the bottom of the 25lb bag

January 31, 2013 - 3:57pm -- catfuzz

I just poured a new bag of hard wheat into one of my buckets and noticed a fair bit of dusty wheat bran type stuff in the bottom of the bag.  Is this normal?   I haven't noticed this in the past, and maybe this is an older bag of wheat (although it just came in at the store).

I just want to make sure this is from settling and NOT bugs! 




JMonkey's picture

Made a loaf of Laurel's Buttermilk Bread today and, as is typical, I simply did two bulk rises before shaping, and then did the final rise in a cooler with a cup of boiling water inside. I also reduced the liquid to about 170g water and 170g buttermilk. The difference, however, is that I completely forgot about it  after shaping and didn't remember that the bread was rising at all until it had proofed for more than 2 hours! Much longer than I ususually let it go.  If my nine-year-old had not reminded me, I'd have let it go until after I got back from the new Corvallis brew pub with my buddy, at which point it would have been an over-risen, imploded mess. 

That said, it actually turned out pretty well! Maybe I should proof it for 2+ hours every time!


loydb's picture

Saturday was pickup day for Pioneer Valley's grain CSA. I am really impressed with the variety and quality of the grains and beans we got. I'll do a more extensive post on what we got later, but here's the first cooking effort. I used the same recipe from my blue corn cornbread entry, using Red Llamas Wheat and Mandan Bride Corn.

The Bride Corn kernels were so big that my mill had a hard time 'grabbing' them and pulling them into the stone. I ended up having to mill it twice -- the first time with the outer wheel very loose to get a coarse, rough grind, and then a second pass at a finer setting. It was a pain in the butt, but it worked.

The flavor of the final product was superb, I paired the bread with a berebere-rubbed pot roast with yams and carrots.'s picture

Sourdough success but could be improved

November 10, 2012 - 7:25am -- livingthehomest...

I have successfully made a basic sourdough loaf of bread and a sourdough sandwich loaf with 2 Tablespoons of oil and honey. I am however noticing that my loaves are quite heavy. The flavor is perfect in my opinion, the texture is great. i think it could maybe rise a little more, but it is rising above the top of the pan. Any ideas about what I could be doing wrong?

loydb's picture

Round one of this fight can be found at this blog post.

The problem I had the first time was insufficient hydration. I certainly solved that problem...

I changed a bunch of things around this time, resulting in a far superior flavor (IMO), but going completely overboard on hydration to the point that it was more like ciabatta than bread. Here's what I did:

  • First, instead of the spelt poolish, I mixed 1 ounce of my KA New England sourdough starter at 1:3:3 with whole milled spelt. After that sat overnight, I fed it again roughly 1:1:1 to get the volume for my poolish.
  • Second, I made a soaker with water, all of the durum flour, and 100g of the spelt flour that was called for in the final dough. I didn't sift any of it -- though I did sift to 85% the final addition of spelt the next day. The soaker sat on the counter overnight. I did add the yeast called for into the final dough, so it wasn't a 100% sourdough fermentation.
  • Third, I added a bunch of extra water to get the hydration up. Too far up, as it turned out. As you'll see below, the dough just spread out after having stuck to the banneton...

The taste came out fantastic. I still have half a loaf of the first round I baked of this, so we could do side-by-side tasting. It's not as sour as something done without any commercial yeast, but the tang is still there. So, for round three, I'll repeat everything except the flood of water and see how it comes out.

loydb's picture

Last week I finally found the elusive box that had my DLX bowl & paddles in it. Although my KA makes an appearance here for its whipping prowess, it has now been relegated back to the pantry until I next need it for grinding meat or extruding pasta. I've really been enjoying Hanne Risgaard's Home Baked: Nordic Recipes and Techniques for Organic Bread and Pastry. It has some great looking recipes, many of which use grains other than the standard wheat. The first one I've tried is her Spelt-Durum bread.

I had durum flour on hand, and got some of Bob's Mill's spelt. This is the first time I've milled it. The recipe calls for both sifted and whole spelt flour. For the sifted, I used a #30 mining seive. I don't know if the spelt grinds differently, or if I just had the stones set further apart than normal, but instead of the 15% extraction I get with wheat, I got right at 20% extraction with the spelt.

The bread uses a poolish, and calls for it to be "whipped." When I think whip, I think Kitchenaid (well, I actually think Catwoman, but that's a whole 'nuther thing). I used the KA wire whisk to beat the hell out of the 100% hydration starter. When it was done, it was like pancake batter. I poured it into a small bucket to sit overnight.

Fortunately, about 6 hours later, before going to bed, I happened to glance at it to see how things were going... Good thing I did, the top was swollen up and it was about to explode. After enduring the Great Homebrew Cherry Stout Kitchen Explosion of 1997 (a debacle that sent fermenting stout spraying across the ceiling, blinds, and cabinets -- stout that we still found traces of 5 years later when we moved out), which nearly led to murder and/or divorce, I was happy to catch this one before it decorated our new kitchen. I dumped it into the DLX bowl, covered it with a damp cloth, and went to bed.

The next morning, it was nice and bubbly. I added the rest of the water and the dry ingredients and began to mix the final dough. As you can see, it was very dry at the end, and I added just enough water with a spray bottle to get it to come together. First takeaway from this batch is that I need to add more water, as you'll see later.

As per instructions, I proofed for an hour, did a stretch and fold, and proofed for another hour. The dough felt pliant, but a little dry, and was prone to the type of small surface tears I get when I do a whole grain challah.

Finally it was time to shape. I had a really hard time getting the bottom of the bread to seal -- it just didn't want to form a homogenous mass. With the long loaf, I put the seams on the bottom and hoped for the best (and it ended up working. For the round loaf, the seams went up, which didn't work too well.

When I lifted the cloth in the proofer, I was greeted with this:

I decided to try and use its own weight to work it together (which worked with the long loaf), and inverted it on the board to finish rising.

The long loaf did well. I scored it and stuck it in the oven.

I let the other loaf continue to rise for the 25 minutes of cooking, but still had this to deal with:

Here are the final results. One good, one not so good. Fortunately, the taste is fantastic -- I'm just not entering the second loaf in the county fair :). The bread almost tastes like it has cornmeal in it to me, and doesn't need any butter at all. I'm going to try this again in a couple of weeks, but this time make a spelt sourdough starter to use instead of the poolish, and then spike it with yeast in the final dough. I'll also add more water...


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