The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole Wheat soaker

  • Pin It
PeterPiper's picture
PeterPiper

Whole Wheat soaker

I've been messing around for a while trying to make the most tasty whole wheat sandwich bread.  I've tried PR's epoxy method, which is time consuming and results in low oven spring.  I've tried a direct-mix simple 2-proof method which doesn't develop a lot of flavor.  Last night I tried the Tassajara basic recipe, which has techniques I've not tried before.  First, you make a really wet sponge that rises for 45 minutes.  Then you add the salt, fat, and rest of the flour, mix, and second proof.  It calls for two more proofs after that before baking, though I just did one.  I was REALLY impressed with the oven spring, flavor, and strength of this bread.  Has anyone else used a wet sponge for whole wheat?  It seems like it strengthened and flavored the bread much more than Reinhart's method.  Here's what I ended up with:




-Peter


http://psoutowood.vox.com

scientistbaker's picture
scientistbaker

I've never tried the soaker method, but you've convinced me to give it a try.  Did you use 100% whole wheat, 100% white whole wheat, or a mix of wheat and bread flours?

inlovewbread's picture
inlovewbread

Hey-


I hear you on the whole wheat sandwich loaf dilemma. I tried everything. Two weeks ago I went on a search for the best sandwich loaf (my requirement was one that I could spread cold peanut butter on, and 100% whole wheat flour). I tried 8 recipes- yes, 8!!! Including PR's. I encountered the same problems. Though the flavor was great, it was a lot of extra time/work and ended up very low-profile.


Long story short, I did find a recipe that I really liked. I was very skeptical about this recipe, but tried it anyway, and boy did it fit the bill. This is the perfect sandwich loaf. I wasn't crazy about adding vital wheat gluten, but have come to terms with it after all the other ones I tried without it. I also decreased it to about 1/4 cup for 3 loaves. Give it a try, even though it's not in grams- whole wheat flour is easier to weigh anyway and the measurements are exactly what you need.


All this to say, too, that this recipe uses the "sponge" or "flying sponge" method as you described. You mix 1/2 the flour, yeast and water and let rise for 45 min, then mix the salt, fat, etc. and let that rise. Then shape, rise, bake. 


*also to answer your question above, I used whole white wheat and also have had incredible results with Prairie Gold (Wheat Montana's white wheat).


 

PeterPiper's picture
PeterPiper

I have to admit I've never thought of adding egg to enrich whole wheat sandwich but it makes sense.  I'm going to try a version of the Tassjara recipe using brown sugar and egg.  I liked everything about the bread except the lack of strength when cut thin.  I was able to spread peanut butter on it, but it is all-natural and very oily.  Cold butter or regular peanut butter would tear up this poor bread!


FYI, I use Stone Buhr whole wheat but am switching over to an organic WW so we'll see how that goes.


-Peter


http://psoutowood.vox.com

inlovewbread's picture
inlovewbread

Just a couple more things...


I found the key to using whole wheat without an overnight soak is to grind it very fine. I use the pastry setting on my mill. It just reminded me because I used to use Stone Buhr (and sometimes still do) before grinding my own organic wheat berries, and Stone Buhr's flour is a bit grittier than mine. I think it makes a difference in this type of loaf. If you were soaking it overnight or pre-fermenting it, the grind wouldn't matter as much imo. 


Also- I saw your blog post regarding this and couldn't post there so I'll post it here. If you are up to driving up to Ramona, there's a co-op/ CSA group up there (and on yahoo groups) with tons of organic products. They're great. I think you can have a box of fresh produce delivered each week, and they have bulk organic flours as well. http://www.ramonafamilynaturals.com/index.html


I don't know if it's exactly what your looking for, but it might be! a little like the milkman ideal :-) 

ChristineH's picture
ChristineH

Beautiful loaf pics Peter! The recipe linked above by "inlovewbread' looks great! I'm going to try it. I like the idea of using safflower oil. I typically use canola oil  as oil and honey for the 'sugar'.....and always soak all my ingredients for 20 mins - 1/2 hr before adding the remaining flour. I grind my own wheat. My recipe is very similar, except I add dough enhancer which is basicly a 'recipe' of dry milk powder, vitamin C crystals & lecithin granules. Recently I created a thread asking how to get a better loaf; I didn't call it a sandwich loaf, but that's pretty much what I wanted. I took it upon myself to substitute 1/4 or 1/3 of the flour required with soft wheat flour and the rest was my hard red berries. It definitely made a softer yet still a bit firm sandwich bread. Also, when I rise my bread this is what I do. I have a warming stone that I 'nuke' for 5 mins. and leave in the microwave. I then form my loaves and put the bread in the warmed micro to rise. After 15 minutes my oven begins the preheat and by the time 1/2 hr - 40 mins passes the bread is ready and the oven is wonderfully hot!

smjayhawk's picture
smjayhawk

I have used the Tassajara sponge method for years.  It is a very versatile recipe. I frequently use blackstrap molasses for the sweetener, which combined with whole wheat makes for a nice dark bread.  It is also easy to vary the grains to adjust the flavor and texture.  If you are making the full four loaf recipe, before the second proof, try adding a cup or two of multi grain cereal, or throw in a cup of sunflower seeds (this one is especially good toasted).