The Fresh Loaf

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Disapointing Whole Wheat Bread

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DakotaRose's picture
DakotaRose

Disapointing Whole Wheat Bread

I don't know what the problem is this year, but every time we make a whole wheat bread with red wheat flour it doesn't rise well and we never get any oven rise at all.  It is so disappointing.  I never had that problem last year, but this year it never fails to disappoint.  I am using the same recipes as last year, but nothing works.  Our sourdough breads aren't bad this year, but I don't use any red whole wheat flour in them because I don't want them to come out as hard lumps of bread.  Any ideas.


 


Blessings,


Lydia


 


Here is the recipe


2 t. salt
2 1/4 c. water
1/3 c. honey
1 T. yeast
6 c. flour (equal parts, red whole wheat, white whole wheat and Kamut)

Cooking202's picture
Cooking202

so I started using 1/4 cup vital gluten per 6 cups of flour and that eliminated my "lead" loaves. 


Carol

Big Brick House Bakery's picture
Big Brick House...

If you are grinding your own grain, are you checking the temp when you are done? If it gets to hot it kills the gluten and nutrition, it shouldn't go over 115 degrees. Is it fine enough, if it is course, feels like sand, it will create bricks.  You might have to add more water also because the way it absorbs it. You could add in a different flour to still use it.  Also humidity has a roll in this, might have to reduce your water.  I also see that you don't add any egg, that does produce a low rising bread also.


hope that helps.


 

DakotaRose's picture
DakotaRose

Yes, the flour seems quite course.  I wish I ground my own, but instead I get it ground from the mill.  I tried again adding the 1/4 c. of gluten and still it won't rise properly and falls as soon as it starts to bake.


 


Blessings.
Lydia

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

Not that I'm an expert but I'd like to suggest that you try using a sponge of half the flour. I baked a loaf using half whole wheat and half unbleached bread flour this past week. I started with a sponge of the WW, water, and 5g of active dry yeast. After two hours, I added the remaining flour, an egg, salt, a TBL of brown sugar and a couple TBL of butter. The bulk fermentation was done in 40 minutes, I shaped the dough for a pan (thank you Jmonkey!) and did my proof in 40 more minutes. A quick score and into the oven for about 40 minutes gave me a loaf that my wife heartily approved and ate.


You can't go too far wrong using a sponge.

DakotaRose's picture
DakotaRose

I will do the sponge.  I use to do the sponge method, but for some reason putting it out of my mind with this batch of bread.  Life gets a bit hurried with little children and sometimes this mommy forgets things tha worked in the past.


Blessings,
Lydia

Patf's picture
Patf

Just an idea - perhaps the mill you obtain your flour from is using a different type of wheat. You say it was ok last year.


I don't know anything about types of wheat available where you are (I'm in France) but I know that flour varies greatly acc. to the type of wheat and especially gluten content.


I use a Hovis wholemeal flour, imported from the UK, and the recent batch produces much less rise than previous ones.

DakotaRose's picture
DakotaRose

I guess that could very well be beings they get all sorts of wheat in.  I think they just use the hard red spring wheat when they mill the whole wheat flour, but I guess it is also possible that they substituted some hard red winter wheat.  They keep a record of each lot so I will have to go and see today.


Blessings,
Lydia

rayel's picture
rayel

I have never baked with Kamut, and since last year's recipe came out well, it is probabaly not the culprit. I wonder though, how much gluten Kamut develops and contributes? Is two cups the amt. you are using? If so, might it be too much? I find white whole wheat to have a different feel then when I use 100 % whole wheat. The dough always seems to work differently for me with white whole wheat. I have never needed to use vital wheat gluten in my breads. Could some detail, like a warmer or longer (or both) proof gone unnoticed?  I am thinking of warmer room teperatures in August, when I mention warmer proof. I hope you find the elusive gremlin in your process.  Good luck.  Ray

DakotaRose's picture
DakotaRose

My understanding is that Kamut doesn't contain much gluten and that its gluten strands are not very strong.  That is why I don't use a great deal of it in a recipe.  I have found that my breads are always better with the white whole wheat, but I thought I would give the red whole wheat flour another try.  It always seems like such a fight to get a good loaf with the red whole wheat.


Blessings,
Lydia

rayel's picture
rayel

I forgot to mention that I have had great oven spring when using course whole wheat flour. I, like Postal Grunt, have better breads with the sponge method, than with straight doughs. My recipes from Laurels Kitchen Bread Book, usually contain small amts. of oil or butter, for their dough conditioning effect. I am wondering if 1/3 cup of honey stimulates the yeast so quickly, that the bread is more easily overproofed. (idle musings) Laurel's recipes usually use honey as a sweetener but 3 Tlbs. per 6 cups flour, plus oil or butter. I had something similar happen to me with a spicy currant bread, containing 2 cups apple juice and 2 tlbs.molasses, which I thought was a lot of sweetener at the time. When I put the loaves in to bake they seemed to first begin to spring but later sagged. They were far from completly flat, but dissapointing anyway. The recipe also contained 1/3 cup bran that had soaked for hours, so that could also have contributed to the small amt of oven spring.  Great bread but smaller slices.  Ray

DakotaRose's picture
DakotaRose

I will try cutting the honey down a bit in the recipe to see if that helps at all.  This years oven spring has just not been there, but then again I haven't been slashing the loaves beings my blade has disappeared and when I try to use a knife it always seems to deflate the loafs.


Blessings,
Lydia

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Interesting points:


Additional gluten doesn't seem to help.  I have read a study (Cereal Chemistry;1992; Rubenthaler, Polmeranz, Huang) Steam and high gluten flours that do just what you are discribing when steamed.  Why not try reducing the gluten?  Try substituting some low gluten oat flour into the recipe and see what happens? 


Collapsing in the first 10 minutes also indicates possible overproofing.  I think it is uncanny that even with the air conditioning on, my dough "knows" it is summer and is easily overproofed.   Try underproofing drastically, don't let it rise until it looks ready to bake, keep your eye on the clock instead.


Red wheat flour.   Are we talking spring or winter wheat?  Is there a chance that you had one last year and the other this year?


Mini

DakotaRose's picture
DakotaRose

Thanks for the info.  I will give it a try in the next batch of bread.  I noticed that they also now carry the oat flour and I am dying to give it a try anyways.  LOL


Never tried the underproofing.  I will try a few loaves with that method as well.  I am worried it might be my oven as well.  The crazy thing has been acting strange.  Taking forever to preheat and sometimes never getting to the correct temp even after it should be preheated.


Blessings,
Lydia

rayel's picture
rayel

That cereal chemistry study indicating steaming high gluten flours might work against what we are trying to achieve is fascinating. The loaf I was describing, with extra bran and lots of sweetener, was steamed. I remember my wife said that I should have left well enough alone. The moment I steamed the bread it seemed to stop dead in its tracks. Then it actually went the other way. Downward. I could barely believe my eyes. I wonder if you still have a link to that study? Ray

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

type in the name of the study, Steamed Bread. IV. Negative steamer spring of strong flours   there are plenty of hits.  I have this as a 4page PDF file.


http://www.aaccnet.org/cerealchemistry/abstracts/1992/CC1992a76.asp

rayel's picture
rayel

Hi Mini Oven, thank you again for providing that study. I read it.(wow a lot to ingest) Please don't ask me if I understood it all. I am still in disbelief that lower protein fours can out perform so called strong flours in certain circumstances. It sure is counter intuitive. I tried to find it on my own but uncovered portions of the study that seemed to suggest it was talking about steamed bread that was not baked. Perhaps I was just too tired.  Thanks again  Ray

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

But I get the notion that's not your bread's problem.  Can we link back to where you discribe your loaf?   -Mini

DakotaRose's picture
DakotaRose

Well I know it wasn't from steaming beings it was not steamed.  I never seem to be able to steam our 100% whole wheat breads beings the humidity is so high here.


Blessings,
Lydia

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I spied what I thought was a purple walnut sandwich loaf in my local supermarket and to my surprise it turned out to be black bean & rice!  I just had to try it.  Having it with breakfast and I am quite pleased.  That reminds me how much black beans can soften and lead to a nice high rise. 


another interesting clue.... high humidity   


How's the underproofing going?    I slash sometimes with a wet scissors and kids can do it too!


Mini