The Fresh Loaf

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mixing PR's basic whole wheat loaf

LLM777's picture

mixing PR's basic whole wheat loaf

I have tried PR's basic whole wheat loaf from his whole grains bread book three times and love it. I am following the instructions exactly but I have questions that I feel he doesn't explain or I can't find clearly written on the website.

1. The soaker oxidizes and turns grey. I wrapped it completely in cling wrap so no air could get to it and it still turned. Would a vacuum sealer/container stop this from happening or is there something else I can do?


2. When I mix the soaker, biga, and other ingredients together, is there a method for properly mixing the yeast, honey, and oil where they do not combine first before being kneaded together or does it matter?


3. When finally kneading the dough, I have to keep adding water to my hands (like every third or fourth knead) so they won't get gummy from the sticky dough and then I have to add more flour to adjust for the water. All PR mentions is putting water on hands but for me it seems like a lot of water and flour adjustments from the original recipe. Is my dough not adjusted properly to begin with or is this normal?


Thank you for your help.

ehanner's picture


If you are referring to the Master WW recipe, are you adding the salt that he calls for in the soaker? I have never had the soaker turn any color. In fact there is a photo of my soaker cut up into chunks here. The only other thing I may be doing differently is I always use buttermilk or milk with yogurt whisked in for the acid.

I have had good luck cutting up the preferment and soaker and then dusting the flour with the yeast combined, over the dough . Then I melt the butter in a small cup and pour the honey into the butter on the scale. I stir it up but it won't combine. Then as you can see in the photo, I pour the mixture over the top and turn on the mixer. I think this would be hard by hand. It's such a mess with the butter and honey. If you weigh everything carefully, there shouldn't be a need to adjust for hydration.

I knead by hand after the mixer so I understand what you are asking. A small amount of water on the hands and now and then scrape the counter clean. A few turn of the slap and fold to be sure you have well developed gluten and into an oiled bowl for fermenting. Hope this helps.


LLM777's picture

Yes, that is the recipe and I add the salt and buttermilk to the soaker. (Are you supposed to scald the buttermilk or yogurt also? I thought it would ruin it) I do use freshly ground whole wheat but I wouldn't think that would be an issue. I wrapped my soaker like your picture so I'm not sure why mine is turning grey.

I am adding all the ingredients by hand. I have a Kitchen Aid Professional 6 mixer but was trying to do it all by hand. It seems when I mix bread dough it always just stays on the dough hook and doesn't really get mixed thoroughly. I guess I'll try the mixer next time if that is what you found works.  

Thank you for your help. I really appreciate it. :)


rainwater's picture

When I'm adding ingredients to a recipe that calls for adding such things after the dough has been prepared, I simply stretch the dough into a big thin piece....sprinkle all the ingredients evenly......fold up letter style.....then I start to  knead.  I work entirely by hand on the starts as a mess, but eventually everything  gets kneaded in smoothly.  As far as kneading sticky doughs and using water....hmmmm.....I never knead conventionally.  I slam the dough, stretch, and fold over and over......I never add water or flour...adding anything using this technique makes the process go longer......


LLM777's picture

Thanks, rainwater.  I will try your "letter method" first before hitting the mixer.  I don't have the stretch and fold method down yet because the bread always breaks apart after baking when I have tried it. I am having success with my kneading though so when I get brave enough I'll attempt it again.

Thanks again.