The Fresh Loaf

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Who has successfully turned stone ground whole wheat into a proper loaf?

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jembola's picture
jembola

Who has successfully turned stone ground whole wheat into a proper loaf?

In the interest of buying and eating local food, I just bought 50 kilograms of local stone ground organic whole wheat (red fife) and "fine sifted" wheat flour, which is pretty much like whole wheat but a little lighter with less bran. I was assured it was very good quality and high in protein for bread baking. I'm keeping it refrigerated so I know it's fresh.  I thought I'd just keep experimenting till I got it working well. 


But alas, I'm having the same problems others have expressed around here with stone ground whole wheat: it just refuses to develop into a strong dough.  Today's experiment (jmonkey's buttermilk and honey whole wheat) started with a biga so some of the wheat had time to soften first.  I did everything right (I have made the same bread with different flour with great results), kneading about 40 minutes and adding some unbleached white along the way since it was extremely sticky. The dough eventually felt quite nice but would tear at the slightest stretch. (Actually, half the dough I folded to see if a different treatment would make a difference; it stayed so sticky and unmanageable, I ultimately opted not to shape it into a sandwich loaf and baked it in the scorching cast iron pot a la NYT; the texture was about the same as the loaf I baked in a pan).


I'd love to hear from anyone who has successfully turned stone-ground organic whole wheat into a great loaf.  Is it possible??  While there have been lots of suggestions about what should work, I'd specifically like to hear from someone who has solved the problems to their satisfaction.


The most important thing I've learned so far is that slices of even the most disappointing loaf taste pretty great spread with Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread).  I'm thinking of getting the large size next grocery trip.

nguy78's picture
nguy78

The textural problems that I've always experienced with coarse ground whole wheat are the same as yours and the only way that I've found to alleviate them is to make sure that the bran is hydrated before I try to start the kneading and what not.  Try using the no kneed or stretch and fold method, the longer ferment times should allow the bran to hydrate and not damage the gluten as much.


Nate

Janiemae's picture
Janiemae

I made this recipe yesterday and it turned out great.  I am new to this site.  My husband and I just started grinding out own flour just this week.  Now we have purchased a County Living Grain Mill that should be here any day. 


 



Super-Soft 100% Whole Wheat Bread (4 loaves)


4 cups warm water


1 and 1/3 cups sugar


3 tablespoons yeast


*Combine these ingredients in the bowl of a Bosch Universal Kitchen Machine. - I have a Kitcheaid.  Pulse to mix, then let sit for a few minutes until foamy. Then add:


1/2 cup canola oil


2 tablespoons lemon juice (can substitute dough enhancer or lecithin)


12 cups fresh-ground flour


1/4 cup gluten flour


3 teaspoons salt


*Let the Bosch knead all ingredients together for about ten minutes, then place resulting dough into a large bowl, coated with canola cooking spray. Cover with a light dish towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm location. Let it rise until double (30 min-hour depending on room temp), then punch down and shape into four loaves. Let those loaves rise again, then bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.


 


 


Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Not only is it possible, the results are fantastic.  I grind wheat at home and regularly make bread with that flour.  I described my process here:  http://tfl.thefreshloaf.com/node/9869/100-whole-wheat-sourdougha-saga-and-question


Let me know if you have more questions.


Jeff

xaipete's picture
xaipete

The addition of a little vital gluten really helped me with my home ground whole wheat loaf. The other thing that helped was a warm, humid proof.


--Pamela

joenice's picture
joenice

I've heard that adding some rosehip flour will support the maturing and elasticity of the dough. Other sources of vitamin C could also be helpful, such as ascorbic acid.


/Joe

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Bill Wraith once wrote:


"I have found that my sourdough starter seems to ferment 10-20% faster in whole grain flours than in white flour, but other than that, I wouldn't think of changing the amount of yeast much for WW as opposed to white flour."


 


Fact:  It is very easy to overproof any WW bread made with a sourdough starter.


Some good tips I ran into:  Mix the salt into the flour before mixing the dough.   Let the dough rest after combining.  Gluten seems to need a longer time to develop so knead or mix longer.  Try retarding the dough in the refrigerator shortly into the bulk rise.  There seems to be a lot of enzyme activity in WW so it is beneficial not to let the rises go on too long.  The dough has to be "watched like a hawk."


After retarding, it may be benificial to create a hybrid loaf  (I'm not the first to mention this.. just to propose adding it in this way...)  by flattening out the cold retarded dough  and sprinkling with two teaspoons of instant yeast  (per 500g flour) thus adding more yeast before the developed gluten deteriorates.  (I'm thinking out loud here,  maybe enzymes are working not only to break down gluten but also somehow preventing the yeasts from thriving and therefore slowing down  CO2 production.  With the addition of fresh yeast, the CO2 production would increase, raising the dough before the gluten gives out.)


What do you think?  (Nothing like a flat loaf to get the brain cells working again...)


Mini

davec's picture
davec

In a video to which someone here posted a link, Peter Reinhart mentioned problems with stoneground whole wheat flour that is more than 36 hours old, but not properly aged.  That filled in a huge blank for me.  I keep reading posts from people who grind their own flour, about how superior it is, yet Hamelman says flour that has not been properly aged won't behave properly in baking.  According to Reinhart, the problem is enzyme activity which affects the flour between about 36 hours and two weeks after grinding.  Could that be your problem?


Dave

jembola's picture
jembola

Thanks for all the useful feedback.  I'm following up on it all. 


Can anyone lead me to Rinehart's discussion of proper aging of flour?


Yesterday I made a new batch of Buttermilk Honey WW wheat, this time substituting half AP flour and focussing on just getting a dough that feels right.  I added quite a lot of AP flour along the way but still found the dough would tear easily despite a long knead. The bread turned out okay. My downfall was that I had to go out at a critical time and I brought the loaves downstairs to proof in a cool basement room.  I think the trip back upstairs was hard on the poor little sensitive loaves because they deflated a little.  Next time I'll just confine myself to the house for the duration (till I get it right and can start playing a little loose with the timing).


More feedback about your stoneground WW successes welcome!

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I heard him say it in response to a question he was asked at Omnivore books about a month ago. This remark is near the end; start looking at about 55 minutes.


http://www.chezus.com/video/omnivore-books/peter-reinhart/video.html


--Pamela

xaipete's picture
xaipete
clazar123's picture
clazar123

I've made bread from WW flour I've ground just before making the loaf to flour ground days before and even weeks before. I don't think that is an issue.


I would be more inclined to think it may be that particular harvest. There are differences in whet depending on all the variables the plant encountered during its growing season. The question is how to make this flour useful, with all it's idiosyncracies.


If it is an enzyme issue, then adding vit c in some form should help.It can be as simple as crushing a vit c tablet up and adding some to the dough with the other ingredients.


It may be the dough needs to rest before being stretched or shaped and handled gently when it is shaped.This may be a dough that should not be overkneaded.


It may be the dough should not rest for too long! And yet, being WW it needs time to absorb the water in the dough.


It sure sounds like it has a lot of the characteristics of rye flour-the stickiness you mention. I have never had much persistent stickiness with WW but definitely with even small amounts of rye. Perhaps handling this like a rye flour may be helpful.

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog

I make 100% whole wheat bread all the time with fresh ground flour.  I do mix the water and flour up until it is a shaggy mass and let it sit for an hour before I finish mixing it.  Could it be you need to let your flour hydrate fully before you develop the gluten?  Every flour is different but it might be something that you can try.  When I stretch my dough it can be stretched further than any dough that I have ever worked with, I'm really amazed at the gluten development of this flour.

jembola's picture
jembola

Thanks again for all the new comments.  As I've said, I'm following up on all of it. LeadDog do you mix only the flour and water, without yeast or salt mixed in, to start?


I'll also try adding some ascorbic acid, which I keep on hand for canning peaches in the summer.


Today I made some nice 100% whole wheat bread from other flour that came from the same mill.  I wanted to see whether my problems stem from the flour (or at least my handling of this particular flour).  Clearly the flour makes a big difference. But I've got 50 kilos of the other stuff so I'll keep experimenting.


I'll let you know what I find out...

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog

Yes I just mix in flour and water to start.  The bread I make is sourdough so there is no yeast added.  The salt and starter are mixed in after the hour wait.

bread_inspired's picture
bread_inspired

I've been baking 100% whole grain breads with a variety of brands and types of wheat and some stone ground for probably 20 years now.  I started with Laurel's Kitchen which called for gluten, then switched to Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book which said no gluten needed when the bread is kneaded a long time and then changed over to using no recipes--just feeling the dough out.  I always mixed and kneaded by hand.  I took Laurel's instructions to knead until you form the window pane seriously, and you probably don't want to do this, but I sometimes kneaded for 30 to 45 minutes if my dough wasn't getting there sooner.  Anyway, the window pane formed every time; I just had to put in the effort. And my breads rose beautifully. I used slow rises and good flavor developed.  I recall liking the table in Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book that explains which ingredients and recipes contribute to different qualities like long shelf life, high rising (I think.  I can't swear to it anymore), etc.  That might be useful.   thefreshloaf.com is very interesting: Now, I'm throwing that all out the window so to speak as I'm  learning that there are other ways to achieve good bread without the lengthy kneading, but it has worked, so maybe that's helpful. Oh, I should add that I never tried to make sourdough, so I don't know if the results would have been the same.  Sorry wrote so much, didn't know I'd run on like my earlier kneading efforts.

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

I grow and grind my own wheat and use a stonemill for grinding. It makes great bread with a light texture. The trick is not to use too much flour. I always leave my dough a bit on the sticky side. I also use honey as a sweetener.

jembola's picture
jembola

Wow, flourgirl51, that is so far from the description of my bread with this particular flour!  Today I tried once more, on the heels of some lovely bread I made with other whole wheat flour the other day.  Same recipe today (Buttermilk and honey whole wheat), but this time using the stone ground red fife I mentioned at the beginning of this thread.  You should see the bricks I just took out of the oven.  But I wasn't surprised, given the refusal of the dough to develop any strength. I think you must know a lot about flour, since I believe you sell it, no? So what do you think this is about?  I wish I could send you photos and even today's video, but I can't seem to post them.  I know I'm not adding too much flour because I've kept the dough quite moist.  I started with a biga.  I folded every 20 minutes to a half hour for a few hours hoping this would help hydrate.  I refrigerated for the first rise, again to allow lots of time to develop and hydrate. I added about a half teaspoon ascorbic acid (Vit C) to the flour as suggested by a couple of people. But the dough didn't change; it behaves more like granular cookie dough that has too much baking soda in it. Stretching is impossible; it just breaks.  I'm ready to have a conversation with the mill who sold it to me; anything you can tell me that would shed some light would be helpful.


I've truly given up on this flour and may order some of yours sometime to compare.

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

I soak a third of the flour with water and the yeast for 15 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients. I don't refrigerate it at all. I don't use milk in the bread either. I will say again that the protein content of the wheat is important and also different wheat varieties make a difference. We grow organic wheat with very good protein. I leave the dough on the sticky side also when it is rising and I use SAF yeast. Our flour is about as fresh as it gets as I grind it to order. There is a lot of old flour on the market as there is still a glut of flours in the mills due to the high prices of grains last year. This caused everyone who grew grains to sell them so the mills are still full of grains and flours from over a year ago. You may want to try five pounds or so of our organic flour. It is .60 per pound plus the actual shipping.

clazar123's picture
clazar123

It sure sounds like a rye flour or maybe a mix.It does not sound like red Fife (at least by the Wikipedia description). I would really consider having that conversation with the mill.


 

SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

I followed breadtopia's instruction for a Poilane-style miche (though, I think that's a bit of a misnomer, considering the addition of rye flour). Where whole wheat was called for in the first build I used stone-ground whole wheat. Since that ferments on the counter overnight, and then again for 24 hours when the rest of the dough is made, it had more than enough time to soak and came out beautifully.

jembola's picture
jembola

Yes, I've finally talked to the mill's owner and he is puzzled. He will replace all my flour with other flour they have (I've tried it and it worked fine); the red fife was supposed to be so much better.  They were having trouble with overheating during the milling process a couple of weeks ago and he wonders if that's the problem.  I asked him for a small quantity of the red fife ground fresh so I can try it one more time, just in case the overheating was the source of the problem.  Anyway, I'll be glad to see the backside of the flour I've got right now.  Some chickens are enjoying my last attempt "Brique de Maison".  Hopefully it won't ruin the eggs!

clazar123's picture
clazar123

And did it work better?

jembola's picture
jembola

It was Red Fife that gave me all the problems. But only, as it turns out, because the milling process overheated it all.  I've asked for some more freshly milled Red Fife, but I can't get it till next week.  I'm really looking forward to trying it again, and i'm hoping all the problems stemmed from the milling and not the wheat.  I'll report back in due time!

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

I am puzzled as to why your flour was overheated. If it was stone ground it shouldn't have gotten overheated.


When I grind our flours in our stone mill the flour is cool when it comes out of the mill. That is one of the points of having stone ground flour as that milling process is cooler so it doesn't destroy the nutrients.

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

I believe commercial mills are much more powerful than home version.  My home stone mill is only 1/4 horse power so it generates little heat during the process.  Yet, the flour comes out the stone is still warm. 


LeadDog's picture
LeadDog

Maybe we should take a poll to see which stone mills warm the flour up and the ones that don't.  I have felt my flour when it comes out and it is cool to the touch.  The stones on my mill do warm up.  The longest milling run that I have done is over an hour.  Most of the time now it is 20 to 30 minutes.

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

We have a small commercial mill. Even with constant grinding the flour stays cool. You have to make sure that the stones are adjusted properly as if they get too close together they can heat and even crack. I also have a Nutrimill which is the first mill I had. The flour came out way warmer when I was using that one, but it is not a stone mill.

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog

Flour Girl I think you are right about the adjustment. When I first started milling I was trying to get the finest flour possible. The mill would seem to warm up and the stones would bind with one another. I have backed off of the adjustment a bit and haven't had a problem since. I have not checked the temperature of the stones or the flour since doing that but would think that it would go down in both cases.

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

You can touch test the flour. It should be cool when it comes out of the grinder. At least that is how mine is.

qahtan's picture
qahtan

Have you tried making Desem, tricky at first but well worth it if you ALL whole wheat,,,,,,, No yeast in it......If you google desem bread there are recipes and methods......


 Picturerye002.jpg image by qahtan This was my first Desem loaf,,,,,,,,,,,,


 qahtan

taylork's picture
taylork

i have been milling my own wheat for about 2 years now. It took me a while to read a lot and mess up a lot, but now it is a breeze. The one technique that i use everytime i use whole wheat flour is to ALWAYS let the flour soak for some time in whatever liquid the recipe calls for. I always let this soak overnight. This makes all the difference in the world. I stone grind my flour by hand. It is about as fine as most of the store bought whole wheat flours.

loydb's picture
loydb

I just made my first loaf with a soaker from Reinhart's WW book. It came out soooo much lighter than the loaf I made conventionally.


loyd