The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

And get those Tribbles off the Bridge!

proth5's picture

And get those Tribbles off the Bridge!

I don't know if it is my enduring love of the classic Star Trek Episode (remember - the tribbles ate all the quadrotriticale) or longing for the wee great mountains and lochs of Scotland (one of my past "homes away from home") but lately I've been obsessed with triticale - the wheat/rye hybrid developed in Scotland.

 Now 90% of the time, I am all about the research - reading, questioning, and studying before I make a move.  Of course, there's that 10% of the time where I just jump in - and the triticale was definitely in the 10%.  And as our story unfolds, we can all see why I usually do research.

 I tempered the triticale and achieved a 13% moisture reading.  I then milled it as I would wheat to about 85% extraction.  It milled mostly like wheat - although to get good bran separation, I needed to mill finer than usual.  But I would have been able to easily mill a "near white" flour as I can with wheat.

 I then proceeded to mix up my usual high extraction formula (levain based, 12% of the flour pre-fermented, lean dough, 72% hydration) with the aim to "go by the numbers" and see how triticale would be different.

 First bump in the road - when I brought the dough together, I realized that I had a dough with the characteristics of high percentage rye dough.

 As I passed the time between my 20 "folds in the bowl" - I did what I should have done and looked up triticale.  It was first bred in the laboratory in 1875 by a Scottish biologist and now is mostly available as a second generation hybrid (2 types of triticale are crossed.)  It is an interesting grain in that it has the high yield of wheat with the range tolerance of rye.  This in itself is interesting as it has the potential to produce a useable grain outside the range of wheat.  It is supposed to combine the taste of wheat with the taste of rye, which might make it interesting for those bakers who like a little rye in most of their baked products.  There are some claims that it is incredibly "good for you" although I take those lightly.

 Of course, the downside is that the gluten content is low and it is considered less desirable for bread baking than wheat - but more so than rye.

 So with the dough in the bowl, I decided to treat it somewhat like a rye dough.  Fortunately the base was already a levain.  I continued to mix it 6 times with the "fold in the bowl" method (as I would for a whole wheat - but it never did get any significant gluten development) then shaped it and put it in a banneton moderately dusted with a rice flour/wheat flour blend.  I allowed it to proof for 1 hour 15 minutes and it did rise fairly nicely.  It did not seem particularly over proofed, but seemed fragile enough that I wanted to get it into the oven.  For the first time ever, I "cheated" (by my definition) by using parchment on the peel as I just felt that it would not survive the slightest roughness while loading.  After a feather soft landing on the peel - the dough flattened considerably.  No need to score, but I did lightly dock it.  I baked it in a receding oven starting at 500F with copious steam.

 The result?

 Well, I wouldn't call it good (I gotta be me...), but I wouldn't call it bad.  It had a wonderful wheaty aroma while baking and did have a small amount of oven spring, but I was expecting a rock.

 See below - It was really, really flat.  I put an egg cup in the shot to give an idea of how flat it was.

Triticale Loaf


The crumb, however, although very fine was fairly light.  It was not really heavy. (See below.)

Triticale Crumb


The taste was actually quite nice - like red whole wheat with just a hint of rye.  Just enough to add complexity, but not to overwhelm the wheat. I probably should have let it settle for a day - but given that this was not destined to be a truly fine bread - I felt it didn't matter.

 Now this isn't a question of "what went wrong with my bread?"  I know what went wrong.  I went off the deep end and used a grain that wasn't going to give me the best results.  But it didn't give me horrible results and the taste was quite nice.

 The question is really - how do we take this somewhat marginal grain and make a much better bread?

 My thoughts are as follows:

  • Add wheat flour - this is the obvious one and one that I'd like to avoid for now.
  • Bake it as enriched pan bread - I should not have so much trouble with collapse and spreading.
  • Use commercial yeast to supplement the levain.  The oven spring with a levain is always somewhat less than with commercial yeast.  Oven spring may have made up a bit for the collapse.
  • Any suggestions?

 So I call upon the collective wisdom of the TFLer's to come up with suggestions...  I'll certainly be willing to try them if they seem reasonable. This seems like a grain that just hasn't had the right marketing campaign...

 Happy Baking!


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Pat.

I've never used triticale. I don't even know how to pronounce it! I suppose, since you didn't have a target for tricale bread, you are aiming for something else.

From your description, I guess the closest would be a rye/whole wheat levain.

How about putting part of the flour into a soaker, as well as some as levain? 

How about trying to proof the loaf a little less before baking?

Just some thoughts.


proth5's picture

for the bread to have a little more volume and not be so flabby when turned from the banneton.

It was very much like a high % rye in texture - but more like a whole wheat in taste.

I figured that someone who adds rye to just about everything might be interested in this grain.

Next run I will be more attentive with my proofing.

I'm a little sceptical about the soaker because there is little gluten to develop. 

Maybe this is my back door way to getting back to rye.  Perhaps I need to work on studying my rye technique...

Thanks for the input!


kranieri's picture

looks pretty delicious to me... even if it was more of a rock it would be good. who doesnt love rye!?

as much as no one wants to hear it, and i dont want to say it... you could always add some vital wheat gluten... it always feels like cheating to me but here if a better rise and stronger structure is what you're looking for than it might work, but it would negate what makes triticale easier to digest unless you let it rise longer at a lower temperature

proth5's picture

I'm not a huge fan of rye - but this was a really nice mix of wheat and rye.

I thought of the vital wheat gluten after I posted, but it seems like a cheat to me, too.  I guess I'd rather focus on handling technique so the grain can develop as it "should."  I really don't have a baseline to judge against, but I'm thinking that I should be able to coax a little more volume from it...

xaipete's picture

Interesting bread, Pat. I saw triticale when I was at WFs yesterday. I have no idea how it tastes or what it is like to work with, but it sounds like mixing it with rye was a real challenge, almost like working with a 100% rye loaf. It looks like you did an excellent job of pulling off a very difficult formula.

Thanks for telling us about this interesting grain.


proth5's picture

I saw triticale flakes during my last trip to Whole Foods, but already had ground the grain.

It was not mixed with rye, though - this is a 100% triticale loaf.  It handled like rye and tasted like wheat with rye, but that is the extent of it.  Just wanted to clear up any confusion.

I got the whole grains from Bob's Red Mill (although they also sell the flour) but you should be able to grind up a nice flour yourself...

Hope this helps.  I'm making some adjustments and hope to get a better loaf in the future.


xaipete's picture

Yes, now I see, no rye. I must have misread.


subfuscpersona's picture

I've home-milled triticale in the past. I mill the entire berry, unlike your tempering and sifting approach

proth5 on July 4, 2009 wrote...
I tempered the triticale and achieved a 13% moisture reading. I then milled it as I would wheat to about 85% extraction. It milled mostly like wheat - although to get good bran separation, I needed to mill finer than usual. But I would have been able to easily mill a "near white" flour as I can with wheat.

I used the last of my triticale 2 years ago. The bread was a slight variation on Hamelman's Baguettes with Poolish where I used home-milled whole triticale flour for 10% of the total flour weight. The dough performed well (see photo series B in my post dated July 6, 2007 to the Eye opening techniques thread.) I didn't see what percentage of your high extraction triticale flour you used, so your proportions may be different than mine.

Frankly, I wasn't particularly impressed with triticale. I used it in breads made primarily with commercial unbleached bread flour (as 10% to 20% of the total flour weight) and, as I recall, it delivered less flavor than the equivalent bakers percent of flour milled from hard red wheat or rye. I won't be buying any more of this grain.

I have no experience to offer if you intend to continue your experiments with a high extraction flour milled from triticale. If you want to use it another way, you could mill it coarsely or even mill it as grits (about the size of bulgar or rye chops). This would give your bread little speckles, which I rather like. I believe I used a soaker for the coarse flour or grits when I used triticale this way.

You seem to have no problem with gluten development or flour strength with your home-milled high extraction wheat flour. Coarse triticale flour or grits would be more a non-gluten additive to your dough (like steel-cut oats or brown rice grits in a multigrain loaf) so you could use the formulas for multigrain bread as a loose guide for using triticale this way.

A last thought...sometimes sh*t just happens. This happened to me recently, when flour milled from my stash of organic hard red winter wheat suddenly stopped performing. With no change in the basic formula, the dough was very slack and almost over-extensible. It would proof OK (assisted by some additional stretch-and-folds) but collapsed when slashed and seldom recovered during baking with any appreciable oven spring. Just because the spirits of grain and flour are malevolent for one trial doesn't mean that they won't bless you on the next. I'm sure if you continue your experiments with triticale, you can get it to work for you.

Trusting this may be useful, I remain, as always, an avid fan and devoted reader of your TFL blog and posts. -- SF

subfuscpersona's picture

...because I totally misread your blog entry. Somehow I thought you were mixing your high extraction wheat and triticale flours. Re-reading the original I see that you were using only the home-milled high-extraction triticale flour. My bad!

Any past experience I've had using triticale is totally irrelevant for your approach.

I can only say Good Luck and keep us posted. If you can get a good loaf from 100% high-extraction triticale flour, you will go down as a goddess in the annals of master bread bakers.


nicodvb's picture

Interesting reading. I find very surprising that this flour tastes more like hard wheat than rye. I'd try it immediately... if I could only find it.

Thanks for sharing this experience.

Paddyscake's picture