The Fresh Loaf

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whole wheat

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JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Yesterday, I had two unpleasant surprises.

First, when I opened up what I thought was a second full canister of hard red spring wheat, I saw just a few scattered grains on white plastic. Argh! Out of wheat.

Second, by the time I realized that my extended family had devoured the loaf I'd planned to use for sandwiches in the morning, I had no time to do a soaker, a pre-ferment or build up enough sourdough for even a relatively quick (i.e. 7-8 hours start to finish) loaf.

So, I headed down to the store, ordered another 50 lb bag and picked up a couple of pounds of hard red winter wheat to tide me over. It's lower in protein than I'm used to, so I figured I'd just live with less lofty loaves.

As for the bread, I thought, what the heck, picked up The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book and turned to her Oatmeal Bread recipe. These days, I've taken to doing an overnight retarding when I make oatmeal bread, but I had no time for that. So I just followed her recipe.



Wow. Not only did the bread rise like a champ, it tasted fantastic. In fact, I daresay it's the best tasting oatmeal bread I've ever made -- warm, sweet, nutty, mmmm. So, as much as I like the effect of pre-ferments and overnight retarding, I think I may have gone too far in rejecting straight doughs. Anyway, here's how I made it:

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat flour: 375 grams or 2.5 cups
  • Dry milk: 2 Tbs
  • Salt: 9 grams or 1.5 tsp
  • Instant yeast: 1 tsp or 3 grams
  • Cooked oatmeal porridge, from steel cut oats, at room temp (no sweetener, no salt): 1 cup
  • Water: 1/4 cup
  • Vegetable oil: 2 Tbs
  • Honey: 1.5 Tbs
Mix the flour, dry milk, salt and yeast in one bowl. In another, mix the oatmeal, water, oil and honey. Dump the dry into the wet, and stir until everything is hydrated.

It'll take a while for the water from oatmeal to migrate to the flour, but if you knead it well for about 10 minutes, the dough will eventually come together. If you think it needs extra water, don't add any until about halfway through the kneading, otherwise you risk making the dough too wet.

Form the dough into a ball, and let it rise in a warm place (if you've got one) for 1.5 to 2.5 hours. When it's ready, a good poke won't readily spring back. Give it a good stretch and fold and shape once again into a ball. Let it rise a second time for about an hour. Finally, shape the dough into a loaf, roll it in rolled oats soaked in milk, put it a greased bread pan and let it rise until the loaf has crested about an inch above the pan in the center.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-55 minutes. Let it cool for one hour before serving.
JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

I've been baking a lot, I've just had no time with work and home life to post. Here's a quick update of what I've been making over the past few weeks.

The sticky buns have been a big hit, but I only make them when we've got company staying over -- otherwise, I eat far too many. Photos and the recipe are here.

Oatmeal bread has made a come-back. I've tried a bunch of recipes, but pre-ferments never work for me because, since I prefer to use cooked steel-cut oats, the water in the oatmeal and the pre-ferment together make the dough too wet. I've finally settled on the recipe from The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book which relies on the oatmeal alone for liquid, but I took a cue from Hammelman and added an overnight retarding in the fridge. I love the warm, sweet flavor of the oats -- this might be my favorite sandwich bread.


I've also been making sourdough whole-wheat pizzas (60%). Here's the recipe I use for the dough, though lately I've been scaling back the water to 75% so that I can be sure I won't have any trouble with the dough sticking to the peel.



Here's that Ponsford Ciabatta that was giving me such fits a few weeks ago. It turned out OK, but, surprisingly, the flavor was not as yummy as the Poolish Ciabatta from Hammelman's Bread. It also started to go stale just a few hours after I made it. All I can figure is that I overproofed the thing.



Here's a funny one. Just a simple loaf of whole wheat sandwich bread, made with yogurt, from Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads. I have no idea why the oven spring was so lopsided. Odd.



Last, I've been playing around a lot with rye, since I revived my rye starter from a massive attack of stinky black mold. I've tried breads with 40% rye and 60% whole wheat, but unless they're panned, I've never gotten the kind of volume I like. So I've been going with a 40-30-30 mix of whole rye - whole wheat - strong white flour that I've been very pleased with. I also add caraway. Yum.

JMonkey's picture

Whole wheat sticky buns for the morning

February 9, 2008 - 10:42am -- JMonkey
Forums: 

Even though these are 100% whole wheat, I'm not even going to try convincing anyone (though I've tried to convince myself) that these are remotely healthy. But since whole wheat flour is what I've usually got on hand and since using whole wheat flour does make them somewhat less unhealthy (maybe), when I make sticky buns, I make them this way. The dough is an amalgamation of many recipes, but the filling and topping are from King Arthur Flour Whole Grains Baking.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I made the Whole Wheat Levain from Hamelman's "Bread" this weekend. It turned out just okay. The taste and texture are fine, but, although there was pretty good oven spring, there was disappointing bloom.

 I score the loaves as I would a mostly white flour batard but didn't get the result I expected. I'm wondering if one needs to score a whole wheat loaf deeper. I haven't found any advice in this regard in any of my bread books. However, looking at the photos in Reinhart's "Whole Grain Breads," it does appear he is scoring those loaves deeper than he does a white flour loaf.

 Hamelman's Whole Wheat Levain

Hamelman's Whole Wheat Levain

Whole Wheat Levain - Crumb

Whole Wheat Levain - Crumb

Any advice regarding scoring whole wheat levain batards would certainly be appreciated.

David.

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Though I'm sure I'll be lured away once again by the delights of a good poolish, I'm back to baking whole grains. In fact, last week, I think I may have pulled the prettiest loaf of whole grain sourdough hearth bread I've ever made out of the oven.



Here's the loaf just before it went into the oven.



And the innards.


This bread has quickly become my "daily bread," the loaf I make most often, whether for dinner or sandwiches.

I also took a shot at my own variant of the Dragon's Breath Bread that Eric Hanner posted several weeks back. I tried to make a 50% whole wheat ciabatta with sauteed garlic cloves and cheddar cheese chunks. It was an interesting experiment and made a killer sandwich, but next time, I think I'll chop the cloves up a bit and not bother with trying for ciabatta. As you can see, it didn't turn out exactly as I'd hoped, especially since part of the loaf stuck to the peel:



And the crumb ...


Thanks, Eric, for posting that recipe. Was fun!

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Below is a photo of my third attempt at home milling and sifting, which resulted in a flour very similar to my favorite "high extraction flour", Heartland Mills Golden Buffalo flour. The processes used on my second and third tries are explained further below. Additional photos of the process have been posted.

Home Milled Miche - Third Try

First Try

The first bread from my home milling and sifting project, blogged earlier, looked like a 100% whole wheat bread. Unfortunately, I still hadn't figured out a way to do home ash content testing, but from the results, a guess at the ash content of the flour that went into my first try might have been something like 1.4%. So, it had some of the darker material sifted from it and therefore had a lighter crumb than a 100% whole wheat flour might have produced, but the color and flavor was closer to 100% whole wheat.

Second Try

Home Milled Miche - Second Try

My second try was a little lighter but still closer to whole wheat in character. I allowed the sifting process to go on longer and used a couple of passes. After one pass through the Retsel mill at a fairly fine grind and then sifting through a stack of sieves (#25,35,45,60,70,80) on my sieve shaker, the breakout was as follows. A video of the equipment in operation is posted for fun.

Sieve SizeAmountpercentdescription
#2525g4%bran
#3542g6%middlings and bran
#4570g10%middlings
#60107g15%middlings and flour
#7063g9%cream flour
#8099g14%cream flour
thru #80311g43%white flour
total717g100% 

I then took the 219g caught by sieves 35,45, and 60, and re-milled them at about the same settings as the initial milling. The output of this second milling was then fed through the #60 sieve. The output was 53g of coarse material caught in the #60 sieve and 156g of somewhat creamy, grayish flour that went through the #60 sieve.

I then created a flour that is about 82% extraction by combining the all the flour that fell through the #60 sieve on the first pass with enough of the flour that fell through the #60 sieve on the second pass to constitute 82% of the total output. The resulting flour was lighter than on my first try, but the bread that resulted still had a color more like a whole wheat bread, although slightly lighter in color. The flavor was noticeably different, though. The second try had a flavor with far less of the grassy flavor of a whole wheat bread. Again, this flour was made before I had a way to test for the ash content, but I imagine from the color of it, that it was probably about 1.25% ash content. It was slightly darker than Heartland Mill Golden Buffalo flour. My second bread also had 5% whole rye and 10% whole spelt in it, as did the first one, so part of the whole wheat character of these loaves is caused by the addition of 15% whole grain flour.

Home Milled Miche - Second Try - Crust and Crumb

Third Try

I received my Meadows 8 Inch Stone Mill and decided to have another go at milling and sifting. Of course, the new mill works differently than the Retsel. The stones are much larger and turn much faster. I can't seem to get the grind anywhere near as fine as the Retsel will produce with just one pass. However, the Meadows mill is far faster, especially when re-milling flour. The Retsel takes forever to re-mill flour, and seems to heat up too much on a second milling. The Meadows Mill takes less than a minute to grind a few cups of grain, and re-milling the output takes only slightly longer.

I was happy to discover that for the amounts I would normally do - not more than a 5 pounds at a time, the flour was very cool coming out of the mill. In fact, it was noticeably cooler in temperature than the flour coming out of the first pass with the Retsel mill. I imagine that equation would reverse for much larger amounts, as the Meadows would heat up over time to a higher temperature, given the large stones turning at much higher revolutions per minute.

This time I went for about a 70% yield. I realize in retrospect that my first pass was probably too coarse, which resulted in only about 600 grams going through the #60 sieve and 323 grams caught in the #25 sieve, out of a total output of 1815g. I then re-milled the middlings from that sifting, and the output was 350g through the #60 sieve. One more pass resulted in an output of another 244g through the #60 sieve. The flour coming through the #60 sieve from this pass was lighter than previous attempts.

I did another sample of about 300g which was milled at the finest settings a couple of times. The result was a finely milled whole wheat, more like what would be done on a very fine first pass with the Retsel. The result was sifted through a #25 and 50 sieves to get 240g of flour, with only 15g of "bran" caught in the #25 sieve and middlings of only 40g. This was probably too fine. I'm slowly beginning to understand what setting of coarseness of the mill will result in a good distribution of particle sizes for more efficient sifting to get the flour desired.

The resulting flour was actually 68% of the total flour made during this session trying a couple of different strategies. This time, I was able to measure the ash content, at least approximately, using the home ash content measurement mentioned in a previous blog entry. The ash content is around 1.05%, maybe a little lower than Heartland Mills Golden Buffalo flour, which their site says is around 1.13% ash content and I calculated to be around 1.2 with my test, such as it is.

Resulting Bread

Home Milled Miche - Third Try - Crust and Crumb

A similar bread to previous attempts was made with this flour. However, I omitted the 10% spelt and raised the hydration to about 81% to compensate. I may have gone a little too far with the hydration, as I had some trouble getting the loaf to hold its shape well. Due to some unanticipated distractions, the loaf was about 20 minutes late getting into the oven, so it was also slightly overproofed. The result was therfore flatter than I would have liked. However, the crumb, crust, and flavor were all very good. I believe this loaf is very similar in most ways to country miches made with Heartland Mill Golden Buffalo flour in the past. The color is a little darker, but I believe that has more to do with the fact the flour is not aged, as the ash content clearly indicated that my flour was lower in conductivity than the Golden Buffalo flour and should therefore be a little closer to white flour than the Golden Buffalo flour. The texture of the dough and the general behavior of the flour while handling it seemed very similar to what I have experienced with the Golden Buffalo flour. By the way, the wheat berries used for this flour was Heartland Mills M2, which may be similar to the wheat berry product they are using to create the Golden Buffalo flour. Overall, I'm extremely happy with this result. The flavor and freshness of the home milled flour is a delight, and the prospect of being able to freshly mill a desired grade of flour on demand is pleasing.

Future Attempts

Now that I have a better feel for the right mill settings, my plan is to do a multiple pass approach, this time hopefully more systematically and with better mill settings. The outputs of the various passes will be saved and ash content measurements performed on each one. Hopefully, I can then make the process much more efficient and flexible. With ash content measurements available, blends can be created based on ash content of the final flour desired, and hopefully better yields will result for the same ash content, with better coarseness settings on the mill on the first and subsequent passes.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Cream of Wheat Middlings

My home sifting project resulted in "middlings", a term I may be using incorrectly. What I mean by middlings is the stuff I sifted out that is finer than bran but was coarser and darker than I wanted for the flour being produced.

This output of my milling and sifting process had a coarseness similar to semolina or maybe a little more coarse. It was a fairly dark brown. I refrigerated it, thinking it might be useful for dusting a couche or some other purpose eventually. To some extent, I was hoping to discover some good food use for this part of my output, which should contain a fairly large nutritional content, since it has much of the darker, vitamin-rich outer layers of the wheat berry in it. My more whole grain oriented friends might be less disapproving of my use of less than 100% whole wheat flour in some of my breads, if I could show that the other parts of the whole grain are still being used. Also, my wife is more interested in whole grain nutrition, so she asked me to save it, probably also imagining some good use she might discover for very freshly ground outer layers of the wheat berry.

The nice thing is that I can see this output will be consumed nearly as quickly if not more quickly than the bread that was made from this sifting session. My whole wheat loving friends would be happy, since we would be eating 100% fresh ground whole wheat by eating the bread and having the cream of wheat middlings and bran for breakfast.

This morning it occurred to me that the "middlings" were a lot like cream of wheat in consistency, just browner. I decided to try making "cream of wheat middlings". I forgot to measure, but roughly speaking the recipe was 1.5 cups water, 1.5 cups skim milk, 0.5 tsp salt, 1.5 cups of "wheat middlings", and about 0.5 cups of "wheat bran", the coarsest output of my sifting process. I then brought it to a strong boil, dropped the heat to low, and let it simmer, stirring periodically, for about 15 minutes.

The resulting gruel was served with some milk poured on it, and some brown sugar sprinkled over it. My 13 year old son wolfed this concoction down with great delight, saying it was very good. I thought it was a great breakfast, more flavorful than cream of wheat and probably nutritionally much superior, and it would have significantly more bran fiber, for those who might like that aspect of it. I tried adding raisins to some of it, which I thought made it even better but my son thought detracted from it.

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