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question about high extraction flour

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bread lover's picture
bread lover

question about high extraction flour

I have been reading about high extraction flour on this forum and I want to make Thom Leonard's country french, but I have a question.  In the book "artisan baking" it tells of a way to make a kind of pseudo high extraction flour by sifting whole wheat, but in "the bread bible" RLB talks about reduced bran flour.  It sounds similar and she states one way of getting reduced bran flour is to sift whole wheat, but another way is to add wheat germ and bran to bread flour.  My question is, is reduced bran, and high extraction in fact the same.  I added bran and germ to white flour and I really liked the texture of the big flakes of wheat bran.  I just want to make sure they are about the same so I don't get bad results. 


 


thank you in advance.

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Hello,


If you haven't already, you might want to check out these sites:


http://www.heartlandmill.com/golden_buffalo.htm


http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2007/10/01/high-extraction-miche/


I'm not a flour tech, but I'd say that both authors are trying to give you a way of approximating the same thing.  The real thing has as much germ as possible remaining in the flour, with only 10% of the bran remaining as very fine particles.


Neither of the suggested alternates will be exactly the same, but you'll still have something that is fairly close.  If getting exactly the same results is a priority, perhaps you can get the real flour from Heartland Mills.


--Dan DiMuzio

ericb's picture
ericb

Every few weeks, someone posts a question about high extraction flour. So, every few weeks, I find myself staring at the Golden Buffalo checkout screen wondering if I am the type of person for whom spending $1.95/lb (including shipping) is not out of the question.


Thus far, I have not been that person. But today, the elusive High Extraction flour sings its siren song ever more sweetly. Temptation is great. I grow weak. The memory of thrift and prudence vanishes like the shores of a distant Ithaca. Today, I might not be able to resist. Pray for me, that I may remember Penelope.


 

pattycakes's picture
pattycakes

Hi, Eric,


I got an order of Golden Buffalo flour that I've been using to make the Pointe a Calliere Miche from Hamelman. It is an extraordinary loaf. Sometimes I make it into two smaller miches, and sometimes I make the levain with rye or pumpernickel. I do add a little extra water because of David Snyder's comments about the flour, and I find that no matter how slack it is, it winds up being delicious. He calls for a series of folds, and they do help the dough come together.


When you think of how much food you get for the cost of flour, it works out to be fairly economical. The flavor is just so great, and the the keeping capacity is excellent, too.


Patricia

mhjoseph's picture
mhjoseph

While I have never used store bought high extraction flour living in a high shipping charges part of the country, I have made excellent Poillaine style miche using straight white whole wheat flour both from King Arthur and Hodgson Mills.


Maybe someone that has actually used both types of flour can comment on how similar or dissimilar the results are.


 

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Well, as I suggested earlier, high-extraction flour is not really whole-wheat flour.  It retains about 10% of the bran, which is usually very finely ground (instead of being in very visible pieces).  It does have most if not all of the germ remaining.  Sort of tan colored.  Still gives you pretty good volume if the wheat has good quality gluten.


If you can find an affordable source, it can be fun to play with, but I'd agree that 2 bucks a pound is maybe crazy.


You can make a very good miche out of whole wheat flour (see J. Hamelman's formula in his book), but that isn't precisely what either Lionel or Max Poliane's bakeries generally made.  I made both High-ex and Whole wheat PAL on the same day once.  The High Ex loaves had a bit more height, because of there being less bran, and there were more large holes in it as well.


BTW, I have read that Lionel P. used a bit of spelt in his flour mixture.  Never had that confirmed, though.  You know, I think you can still get them to send you a selection of their breads overnight.  Ridiculously expensive, of course, but it is an opportunity to compare your own sourdough to theirs.  Maybe you can order online.


Honestly, when I tried Poilane's, I liked it a lot, but I didn't think there was anything mysterious about it.  You can make pain au levain here in the U.S. that is just as good.  It's more about process than about hard-to-find ingredients.


--Dan DiMuzio

ericb's picture
ericb


It's more about process than about hard-to-find ingredients.



Very true. Sometimes, in lieu of practice, I think we (and by "we," I mean "me") tend to look towards exotic ingredients to solve our problems. This goes beyond baking, though, into photography, music, art, childcare, government... Dan, I think you may have made a more profound statement than you perhaps realize!


 


Eric

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


Honestly, when I tried Poilane's, I liked it a lot, but I didn't think there was anything mysterious about it.  You can make pain au levain here in the U.S. that is just as good.



Heehee ... Truth is, I agree.


Pain Poilâne is lovely bread, but it is down the list of my favorite miches below both the Miche, Pointe-à-Callière in Hamelman's "Bread" and the Polish Cottage Rye in Leader's "Local Breads." But that's my taste.


FWIW, I have made the Poilâne-style miches from BBA, "Bread" and "Local Breads." To my taste, Reinhart's comes the closest to the original. And, although it is not technically a high extraction flour, KAF First Clear flour makes a miche that is closer in flavor to my memory of pain poilâne than Heartland Mills' Golden Buffalo or any mix of bread and WW flours I've tried.


As always, YMMV.


David

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Yeap! Leader Polish cottage rye is practically in a class by itself.


--Pamela

pattycakes's picture
pattycakes

The Poilane-style miches are good, but David's experience and taste mirror mine. We can be grateful for the example and the inspiration, however. I have a friend who spends a good part of each year in her Paris apartment, and I let slip that I thought Americans were making some excellent breads, venturing to say that some of them were better than the bread I ate in Paris, and, well, you can imagine.


Patricia

ericb's picture
ericb

This is a bit off topic, but a similar thing happened in the world of glass blowing about 30-40 years ago. The Italians are known for their mastery of glass blowing, and for centuries produced the most exquisite, delicately-crafted vessels in the world. They operated on a sophisticated apprenticeship system whereby young men would study for decades under old, venerable masters ("study" is the wrong word to describe the back-breaking labor of working with molten glass and furnaces blazing at 2000F). Their focus was on technique, not artistic improvisation.


Then, back in the 70's, a few Americans who were a little bored of throwing around clay pots decided to break into glass. They had no formal training, so they essentially taught themselves, built their own equipment, and started their own schools. It was a totally different kind of glass, typically large, heavy, colorful. Their style was purely artistic, with very little technique. As you can imagine, some of the Italian glass blowers turned their noses up at the Americans.


In the mid-80s, though, an amazing thing happened: the old masters of Italian glass and the young American artists started exchanging notes. People like Lino Tagliapietra made visits to Americans, like Steve Powell, and vice versa. Today, as with bread, Americans are producing some of the best glass in the world (although it is still no match for a finely crafted Venetian vessel). This isn't to say that any one nationality has taken over the tradition of another, but it is pretty amazing what can happen when two cultures collaborate on artistic endeavors.


Eric

pattycakes's picture
pattycakes

Golden Buffalo has a more assertive, wheaty flavor. The color is more intense. White whole wheat is milder. I prefer Golden Buffalo, but it's a matter of personal taste.


Patricia

jkandell's picture
jkandell

I'm not positive but I think "high extraction" flour only has 10% of bran, whereas "reduced bran" flour has 20% of the bran remaining.


Both have 98% of the original germ.