The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

WW Bread

MJO's picture
MJO

WW Bread

I was reading a post from..I think..Tessa?  Where she was desribing a problem with her WW dough tearing.  This post was a couple of weeks ago.  I have had the very same problem!  I started making bread again in the last few months, after taking a few years off.  I don't remember having this problem before, but it was a long time ago, so I may not remember quite right.  I posted a question a couple of weeks ago, desribing my bread as "lumpy" on top.  It's hard to explain, it just doesn't come out looking beautiful.  After reading Tessa's desription of the dough tearing, I realized that I should have mentioned that.  One answer was to limit the oil I was using--it didn't make any difference.  I have adjusted everything I know of, exept the kneading time.  I use a Bosch Universal Mixer on #2 for 8 to 10 minutes (depending on if I make 2 or 3 loaves).  One poster commented that she (or he) kneaded for "as long as it took", sometimes as long as 30 minutes.  I am wondering if this person was kneading by hand or using a machine?  Does it sound like my problem could be solved by more or longer kneading?  I should mention that  I am using hard red and hard white (50/50) and I have quite a bit of it, so I have to make the best of it.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

1234,


It would help if you could post your ingredients list or recipe so we could help you better.


That said, I suggest you think in terms of developing the gluten by hand by folding, rather than by using the mixer. Use the mixer if you wish to "Mix" the ingredients well. That should take no more than 2 minutes on the low speed. Then using a plastic scraper or spatula, dump it in a largish bowl covered. After about 45 minutes, using the scraper, fold the dough onto itself about 10 times, trying to stretch it each time you scoop under and pull up, then rotate and do again. Repeat this procedure 2-3  times. Each time you fold, the dough will look and feel better. You will start to feel strength in every pull. The last fold should be dusted with flour and pre shaped on the counter. After a short 15 minute rest you can proof in a basket  or free form as you prefer and bake normally.


The above procedure will work well if the hydration is above 65% so the dough isn't to stiff for easy folding. Remember, using Whole grain flours for a portion of the total flours will require additional water than when using standard Bread Flour.


Hope this helps. Please let us know if you have questions.


Eric

MJO's picture
MJO

Hi Eric,


I started to reply to you, when all at once I found myself at Amazon,com!  That was weird!  I hope you did not get half of a message!  Anyway,  I used a no-knead method (stretch an fold) last week, making a boule.  The dough didn't break, but didn't rise as well as I would have liked, either.  I will try again, using your suggestions.  Here is my recipe:


3 cups water


1tbs + 1 heaping tsp. yeast


2c. ww flour


1/2 cup honey


I let that make a sponge for 30-45 min.


2tsp salt


1/2 oil


1/2tsp glutin


1tbs dough conditioner


6 more c. ww flour


 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Try cutting the yeast in half and skip the honey in the sponge.
Then if you want, add some honey in the dough (2 T max).


Also I would drop the dough conditioner and gluten and cut the oil in half.


Once you get this to work, you can play with tuning the honey and oil a little. The Whole Wheat flour has plenty of gluten, you don't need to be adding any.


In general less yeast will slow things down and allow the natural development of gluten with time. Don't be in a hurry, wait for the sponge to be all bubbly and peaking in activity before mixing the dough.


You didn't say but this should be done at room temp. (72-76F). The temp will matter if you are more than a few degrees from that range. Use the water to adjust the dough temp as you mix the sponge.


Eric

MJO's picture
MJO

Wow!


That's scary.  You sound like you know what you're talking abut, so I'll try it.  It sounds as though I've pretty much got it all wrong.  Have you ever heard of the grain being a problem?  In the post that I originally refered to,  it was suggested that there was a milling problem with the grain that she bought.  Well, tomorrow I'll try it again, and I will let you know how I do.  Thanks again!  BTW, many of you sound like you are a tad bit more than AMATEUR bakers! :)

ericb's picture
ericb

1234,


Eric Hanner really knows his stuff, but don't be intimidated. You don't necessarily have it all wrong, but there are a variety of ways to make 100% whole wheat bread. By removing extraneous ingredients and following the "stretch and fold" method (rather than the "knead the helloutofit" method), you are simplifying both the recipe and the technique. Eliminating variables is an excellent way to get to the root of problems.


I suppose it's possible that your flour is bad, but unless you're buying from someone who has milled the grain in his kitchen, then it's pretty rare (I would think) to come across poorly milled flour. If you have any doubt, pick up a bag of King Arthur Whole Wheat.


If you're passionate about whole wheat bread and continue to have trouble, I recommend Peter Reinhart's book on the topic. It's thorough, well-written, easy to follow, and has some well-tested recipes. 


Please keep us posted on your progress, and good luck!


Eric B.

MJO's picture
MJO

Oh, all you Erics are so smart. :) Actually I would be the one who mills the wheat in my kitchen.  However, I have played around with the coarseness of the flour, and it really didn't make much of a difference.  In my original remarks, I refered to a comment by, I think it was Tessa, who had a problem with her ww dough breaking.  THAT conversation led to the possibility that the GRAIN she bought  was questionable.  So, I just wondered if that was possible in my case.  But probably not and it is just a matter of me getting the whole thing right.  I have a lot of experimenting to do, I can see that.  I really appreciate everyones  insite!

PiperBaker's picture
PiperBaker

...the easier it is for the gluten to develop. At least, that's what I find from milling my own flour. If the grind it too course, the bran tears the gluten so it can't come together the way it needs to. Then again, if you mill it too fine, people warn about starch damage. A happy medium is what you need. The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book has really good tips about baking with whole wheat, as well as some information on what to look for if you mill your own.

Whole wheat, especially home-ground, benefits from long soaking procedures as Eric mentions, be it a long autolyse or an overnight sponge. Sourdough is also fun to play with this way. If you give the wheat the time it needs, you don't need to add any dough conditioner (what _is_ that, anyway?) or additional gluten.

Good luck, and enjoy the journey!

MJO's picture
MJO

Hi PiperBaker!


I have heard that about course ground ww flour--I have recently refined my flour a little.  BTW- my bad- what I referred to as 'dough conditioner' is really 'dough enhancer'.  The ingredients are: whey, soy lecithin. citric acid.  If I use an over-night sponge, do I keep it at room temp.?

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

If you leave your dough out at room temp overnight, it'll over-rise.  Refrigerate it and pull it out of the fridge a couple hours before you want to bake.  That slows everything down and gives the flavors a chance to develop.


Rosalie

Dcn Marty's picture
Dcn Marty

In developing a new bread recipe, if I used whole wheat flour, with soy flour for a percentage of flour total, how would I calculate the amount of vital wheat gluten to add to compensate for the lack of gluten in the soy?

ehanner's picture
ehanner

1234,


After sleeping on my comments to you about your WW bread, I should have suggested that you first try substituting 1/2 of the flour for All Purpose flour. At least try this first to get a feel for folding and gluten development. The bread will have a similar flavor to a 100% WW bread and I think you will gain the confidence of working with a blend of flours that is easier to work with.


Where are you located in the world?


Eric

MJO's picture
MJO

Good Morning!


I am located in the Atlanta area.  Woodstock. actually. (I'm a yankee transplant. :))Where are you?

MJO's picture
MJO

Hi Eric,


Today I made a sponge (with less yeast and no honey).  I took rosalie's advice and put it in the fridge overnight  Tomorrow, I'll make 50/50 ww and white flour (actually I'm using KA unbleached AP flour).  I'll let you know how it turns out!  BTW- I think Floyd is going to let me change my name to sexysadie.  :) 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Sadie,


For now, save that container of conditioner in a safe spot for later use. You won't need it for any conventional breads I know about.


As for refrigerating the sponge, that shouldn't be necessary if you tone down the yeast so it is peaking in about 8 -10 hours. I prefer to leave any preferment on the counter or at 72-78F and let it work. Yes you can cool it to prevent it from running flat or going past peak but it works better in my opinion if you cut back on the yeast so the food lasts longer. I typically use 1/4 teaspoon of Instant dry Yeast in 300 grams(approx 2 cups) of AP flour and leave it overnight. It's fine the next day. I usually add a like amount of water by weight.


 


Hope this helps.


Eric

MJO's picture
MJO

 


 


Hi Eric!  What an incredible difference!  The crust is soooo good!  It's crunchy and chewy at the same time!  AND the crumb is 100% better.  My family agrees, it's the best bread I have ever made.  Thank you so much for your help, and everyone else  that contributed.  How does it look?

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Your bread looks great. You should be proud.


This thread is a wonderful example of how bakers can reach out to help one another.


Happy Baking and Keep Visiting

MJO's picture
MJO

Thank you!  I can't tell you how much the advice I received means to me.  I have been at it for many years, and have never been truely content with the result until now.  Now--onwards and upwards!!!

PiperBaker's picture
PiperBaker

Excellent work, and great that your family likes it!

MJO's picture
MJO

Hi Piper,


I am wondering what the temp. should be in my oven, and how long I should bake it.  I used to bake at 350 for 35 min., but read from someone that it is better to bake at a higher temp, for shorter amt. of time, so I baked this bread at 425 for 25 min., but it still doesn't have that beautiful color that I've seen in photos here.  Can you help?

MJO's picture
MJO

Also--I would like to know where I could get a really good slicer (guide) maybe other than the plastic kind, and I also need a plastic thingy that you use to scoop the dough out of the bowl and also use to stretch and fold the dough.  Do you know where to find these items?  Maybe King Arthurs catalog?

PiperBaker's picture
PiperBaker

Sorry, while I'm not an expert in general, crust is something that I'm inconsistent on.  Usually it's just right for me, but then it's sometimes too dark, sometimes too light.


 


There are just so many variables that go into getting the crust right that it is the last thing I'm worrying about--I'm still working on some other technique issues at the moment.  For example, steaming will make a darker crust (I think), as will slightly under-proofing (more sugars left to caramelize).  Temperature plays a role, but I can never remember which way it goes.  So, I defer to others to help on this question, and look forward to the answers.


Cheers,


-Joe. 

PiperBaker's picture
PiperBaker

...adding the all purpose flour will help you get a feel for what the dough should, well, feel like.  I bake with 100% whole wheat, but did start out with unbleached all purpose, which probably helped be understand what the dough ought to feel like. Once you understand that, you can adjust the AP down and play with sponge, kneading and other variables until you get where you want to be with the whole wheat content.  


The overnight sponge will help, but let me reiterate the comment from way up above that whole wheat absorbs more water:  you'll either need to add more or put in less flour in the final dough.  This gets to be a tricky balancing act, but you'll probably want to wind up with a wetter dough than you think you need, at least at the first mixing.  The extra water will get sucked in and it will firm up, I promise.  


Good luck, can't wait to hear the results.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Now THAT'S a nice looking loaf. Sorry I'm late to the party, I didn't see your last bread post. I would work on that bread a few times making small changes one at a time so you can tell what happens. Really happy this worked out for you.


Eric

MJO's picture
MJO

Thanks, bread buddy.  :)