The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How do I make a stiff whole wheat dough

louiscohen's picture
louiscohen

How do I make a stiff whole wheat dough

When I try to make bialys, I get too much oven spring - they poof up like round dinner rolls.  In the latest batch, 66% whole wheat no less, the center depression with the onions and poppy seeds sprang up higher than the outer rim.


I suspect that my dough was too soft, ie too much hydration.  


Does anyone have a formula for a very stiff whole wheat dough (doesn't have to be 100% WW, but that would be fine), and/or instructions for shaping/proofing/baking that minimize the oven spring?


Thanks

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Just add less water to the recipe.  For all of those having trouble with whole wheat, myself included, could you detail your method?  (Then we could trade techniques.)


Mini

louiscohen's picture
louiscohen

I was hoping someone might have a useful rule of thumb for converting the hydration in a white flour formula to whole wheat while maintaining a similar texture.  I started mixing for the autolyse with the original 58% hydration, then added water slowly and mixed until there was no more dry flour visible.  That turned out to be too much water.


The original formula was the bagel/bialy dough from the CIA Baking and Pastry textbook (which I don't recommend to anyone, the information is not well organized and the index is next to useless).  


high gluten flour  100%  (I used 33% high gluten and 67% whole wheat)


instant dry yeast 0.4% (I used about half this because I did an overnight retarded fermentation in the 'fridge)


water 57.5%   (I used more, because of the whole wheat)


salt 2.1%


diastatic malt syrup 0.94%  (I didn't use any)


I did an 30 minute autolyse with just the flour and water.  Then I mixed in the yeast and salt.  The dough felt soft so I worked in some more high gluten flour while kneading.  I put the dough in the 'fridge overnight with one fold when I couldn't sleep.


In the morning, I scaled a dozen 4 oz rolls; after they proofed an hour I flattened them out, made an indentation in the center, spooned in the onions and poppy seeds, and baked at 450* with convection.


The centers poofed up even more than the edges.


 


 

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

louiscohen on April 9, 2009 wrote:
I was hoping someone might have a useful rule of thumb for converting the hydration in a white flour formula to whole wheat while maintaining a similar texture.

Bwaith (a very experienced baker and long time TFL member) gave a hydration conversion rule of thumb in this TFL post. In part, his answer was...


bwraith on December 20, 2007 wrote:
As a rough rule of thumb, when you substitute WW for white in a recipe, you need about 10% of the weight of the WW substituted in additional water. For example, if you have a dough that uses 1000 grams of white flour and 700 grams of water, and you change it to 800 grams of white flour and 200 grams of WW, then you will need an additional 20 grams of water (10% of 200 grams of WW substituted) for a total amount of water of 720 grams. Of course every white and wheat flour is different, so you may discover you need a little more or a little less water than the rule above.

The original thread is http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/5203/preferment-hydration-question - scroll down to see Bwraith's entire post.

louiscohen's picture
louiscohen

Good suggestion, I'll try that as a starting point.

summerbaker's picture
summerbaker

Have you tried this without using the convection setting?  I know that I wouldn't use it with bagels, though i've never made bialys.


I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who does a stretch and fold on dough when i can't sleep!


Summer

louiscohen's picture
louiscohen

My experience with our home oven (GE Monogram electric) is that with baking stones on 2 racks, the heat is very uneven on the conventional bake setting.  Using the multi-rack convection setting, and 25* F lower than the oven temp for conventional baking gives me nice even temp throughout the oven and baking times very similar to those in formulas.  


I'm prety sure the poofy bialys is an issue of the dough hydration and the handling, and not convection.  

PiperBaker's picture
PiperBaker

so you need to be very patient before adding more water.  I bake exclusively with whole wheat flour, and don't bother with changing anything at least the first time I make a recipe written for white flour.  What I do is mix the liquid into nearly all the flour (reserve about 2-4oz, approx 1/2-1 cup) and let it sit for at least 10 minutes.  It'll probably be very slack and wet, but then you can knead in the reserved flour.  Very rarely do I need to add more flour than the recipe calls for.  I think the error in this case was adding additional water after the initial 58%. 


Given your discription, perhaps you overworked the rim, either toughening the gluten, over-deflating the yeast, or both and underworked the depression in the middle (freer gluten, less deflating the yeast) that caused the center spring that you describe. 


Stiff whole wheat doughs do, certainly spring in the over, it seems to me that what you want is equal spring between the rim and the center.


Just for what it's worth.

louiscohen's picture
louiscohen

You wrote that you don't change anything, but it sounds as if you reduce the flour and keep the water the same, which would give a higher hydration for the WW dough.  


 


Maybe I should lay off the bialys and use the big oven spring for a regular WW or WW + rye bread.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I tried to make 100% whole spelt bagels and my dough also seemed too wet, not in the beginning for the dough had a nice texture but I think I over-proofed them before they hit the hot water.  I should have watched them carefully.   The rising times with added WW will be shorter than just plain wheat dough.


I wouldn't avoid bialys just because of a little gas.  Try again picking them up working the middle flat stretching a little.  Show 'em who's boss.


Mini

PiperBaker's picture
PiperBaker

but not quite.  Perhaps the end result is often a higher hydration, but the point I was making is more that you have to give the flour time to absorb the water.  Another thread details how whole wheat bread is more about feel than white bread is, and I suppose I fall into that category. 


For what it's worth, you've actually overcome a problem that many whole wheat bakers struggle with:  not enough rise.  So, good job in any case.  Once I get a little more time (and more flour...) I may have to try this recipe.