The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

soft like a pillow: Buttermilk Whole-Wheat Bread

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Salome's picture
Salome

soft like a pillow: Buttermilk Whole-Wheat Bread

I've packed all my stuff, cleaned everything, thrown so much out . . . I'm moving to Basel on Sunday and I'm getting read for it! Yeyy. That's why I stayed the whole day at home. I had to get all these rather annoying things done. Now my room looks very clean and rather empty. Well done, Salome!


Still, I had to make my day somewhat more fun, and a full day at home is perfect for bread baking. Unfortunately, I realized this just after breakfast, so I didn't have time to get my sourdough ready.



That lead to the first requirement: I wanted to use a yeast formula with no pre-ferment.


Secondly, I had some buttermilk which had to get used.


Thirdly, I wanted some whole grains - baking white bread is fun, because of all the nice holes you can achieve, but it always causes me bad stomach-sensations, because I end up eating to much. So, third requirement, a whole-grain recipe!


Tadaa tadaa: I found a nice Buttermilk Whole-Wheat Bread formula!



I just had this bread for dinner, and it is a big hit. You've got to try it, it's so incredible light, even though its 100 percent whole-wheat. And the dough is simply a dream to handle, I never had a whole-wheat dough that behaved like this.


But it requires an effort: I kneaded for 30 minutes by hand, using the bertinet technique. during the last ten minutes I added gradually more water, the dough was able to absorb at least 50 ml, I'd guess. After the kneading the dough felt very smooth.


The dough has to rise twice before it gets shaped. It's a pleasantly warm day today, around 75° F - maybe that's the reason why this dough rised so beautifully. It was a real joy to watch it. It rose as high as many white flour doughs do! First rise: ~1 h 45 min, second rise ~1 h. After shaping, I wettened the dough slightly and rolled it in coarse wheat.


The next time, I'll add less honey. (The bread is subtle sweet, which is tasty and you'd think that it's the natural sweetness of the wheat if you wouldn't know better. But I found something about this subtle sweetness disturbing, too.) And more important, I'll bake it at a higher temperature. When I checked the loaves after 30 minutes, it was still incredibly soft on the outside. So I gave it 10 more minutes at 230°C, in order to achieve somewhat of a crust. This worked, but I'd still prefer a somewhat crisper crust. Next time I'll start baking at 200°C, take the loaves out of the pan after 20 minutes and maybe lower the temperature if required.


The recipe is originally from Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book and got posted here on thefreshloaf.com. I did the version without a biga. (but I'm planning on trying it with a biga soon as well.)


Comments

chouette22's picture
chouette22

Hi Salome,


this bread looks wonderful! I am definitely going to try it; as a matter of fact I was just searching for a good whole-wheat bread recipe.


So you are moving to Basel, that's a great city. And so close to France and Germany (with a greater choice of flours)!
I don't know if you are interested in cooking as well, but there is a wonderful Gourmet cooking blog (with a mediterranean focus) by a retired chemistry engineer (he often adds some scientific tidbits) who lives in Basel. He often also writes posts about Basel and its surroundings. He has quite a following and the address is: http://lamiacucina.wordpress.com. It's in German though.


Oh, and thanks for that Paillasse link!


I hope you'll have a great oven in your new place! :)

Salome's picture
Salome

Quote:
I hope you'll have a great oven in your new place! :)

I already checked. What I know so far is that it's an electric oven that reches up to 275 degrees. That's already a huge improve to my current oven, which only reaches up to 230 degrees. (But has a steam function . . . )


I've been on la mia cucina, but it hasn't become a habit to check it regularily. I'm very interested in cooking though, so I'll check it again! I get a lot of inspiration for my (vegetarian) cooking on the web, so thanks for reminding!


Did you try the pailasse recipe? I'm curious how it would turn out! So if there are already some results, I'd be very happy to hear more about it.

paddyboomsticks's picture
paddyboomsticks

Holy mackeral, sounds like a recipe for carpal tunnel, Bertinet or no! I admire your industry (and forearms!) in pursuing what looks like a beautiful loaf.


I may have to adopt, for the somewhat more infolent... ;)

Salome's picture
Salome

Probably you could get there with a mixer as well. I just felt like kneading yesterday! (I've got a kenwood mixer, too, and sometimes I'm to lazy for kneading by hand.)


Salome

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Salome.


I do want to try this bread. I wonder if a less laborious kneading approach would work as well. What about stretching and folding multiple times with 20 minute rests between S&F episodes?


Jeff's (jmonkey) recipe looks to be about 66% hydration - pretty dry for a whole wheat dough. You said you added another 50 ml of water during kneading, as I understand it. I imagine the dough was pretty stiff.


David

Salome's picture
Salome

Hi David,


I haven't tried it yet with less kneading. It turned out great this way and I didn't mind to knead. I'm sure it's possible to achieve a light bread without that intense kneading. Maybe by using a preferment, doing some autolyse . . .


I didn't calculate the dough's hydration and I do agree, 66 % is not much. The dough was initially somewhat sticky but turned rather stiff when the bran started to absorb the water. As I'm thinking about it, I probably added even more than 50 ml. I filled a soup table twice with water (just covered the bottom by 1 cm or so) and used it all. that must be more water! When i was done with kneading, the dough was pleasantly tacky, definitely not wet or dry. I can't tell you what hydration I ended up with . . .


One question @ everybody: If I would reduce the amount of sugar drastically, what would happen? Would the bread be denser? Or would it be basically the same consistency, just less sweet? (I would expect it to rise slower, but would it rise less?) I'm thinking about reducing the sugar because I'd like to bake this bread as a heart loaf, on a baking stone, at high heat. And it would probably burn immediately with this much sugar, wouldn't it?


Salome

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Hi Salome,


If you reduce the sugar, then you can likely also reduce the amount of yeast in the recipe. Both fats and sugar inhibit yeast growth. There is a special kind of yeast, osmotolerant yeast (or something to that effect), that withstand high levels of fats and sugar better than regular yeast. Also, sugar in the dough will compete with the flour's protein for the water. That's why you often see that sugar is held back when mixing rich doughs - this way, the flour can fully hydrate and develop gluten before sugar is added (which will firm up the dough). Thus, I'm guessing that if you reduce the amount of sugar, then you should also cut back slightly on the water... And I think you're right about the baking bit: Rich doughs are usually baked at slightly lower temperatures, as milk, sugar and/or fats make them brown faster.

Salome's picture
Salome

I'm excited. I'm baking this bread again and I did some changes: 


1- this time, I used a preferment. With sourdough.


175 g water, 250 g whole-wheat flour and 20 g mature culture. I kept it in the microwave with light on over the night, just for about 8 hours. The dough was "flat" this morning.


2 - I let the rest of the flour autolyse with the water and yoghurt (I don't have any buttermilk on hand, so I substituted it by 150g yoghurt (3% fat) and 150 g water.) Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention that I included 25 grams of Vital Wheat Gluten. (I did this the last time, too.)


3- I increased the hydration by a lot. at the final mixing, I already used somewhat more water, and then I gradually incorporated another 100 ml during kneading (isn't this crazy? It still didn't stick at all . . . ) Finally, I was surprised that I ended up with a 86% hydration.


I mixed the preferment with 20 grams honey, 17 grams salt, 1 tsp yeast, 30 grams butter, additional water and the autolysed flour and kneaded it for about 20 minutes. The gluten was today even better developed than the last time.


@ David: I checked the original hydration in the recipe as well, and I got the the result of a 70% hydration. Did you use the gram or ounces indications? I calculated with the grams.


I'm curious whether this bread is going to be even better than the last one. In case, I'd let you know and share the recipe.


Salome

chouette22's picture
chouette22

... for the update, that is great. I am curious to see the outcome and will then incorporate your changes.


I have been working on recreating some sort of Paillasse and will post here soon. Just haven't gotten around to it. Till soon!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Salome.


When I estimated the hydration, I used grams, but I also estimated the weight of 1 1/4 cups of buttermilk. Maybe I got it wrong. Even 10 gms difference makes a big difference in percentage.


David

Salome's picture
Salome

Hi everybody,


The second aproach to this bread (with the changes described above) turned out pretty good but not perfect. thanks for all your answers! I'll post a blog entry about my second try tomorrow. It's actually already written, but I didn't have the possibility yet to upload the pictures. . .


Salome

bell22's picture
bell22

Hi, do you have the recipe for this kind of bread? I know I've been eating this soft bread, but I wonder how were they made. Thanks.


Neck pillow