The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

gummy Struan

hilo_kawika's picture

gummy Struan

I'm happy to say that thanks to the good advice I've received here and from other friends, I've had pretty good luck with my bread baking.  But when I tried to make Peter Reinhart's version of struan bread from his Artisan Baking Every Day book the results were disappointing.

I followed his recipe ( 638 gm unbleached bread flour, 43 gm coarse cornmeal, 57 gm brown sugar, 19 gm salt, 19 gm instant yeast, 30 gm honey, 340 gm lukewarm water & 115 mg buttermilk) except that I replaced the 29 gm of rolled oats and 57 gm of cooked brown rice with 90 gm of cooked rolled wheat flakes.  To cook the wheat flakes, it turned out that 90 gm of them filled the rice cooker measuring cup so I just put the flakes into the rice cooker and put in water to the one cup line for white rice.  45 minutes later the flakes were cooked and when cooled were hydrated but fairly loose in texture.

I combined everything and followed PR's mixing, resting, mixing instructions followed by four sets of folds with resting inbetween and overnight refridgeration.  The next day the dough was separated in two, shaped and put into two 4 1/2 x 8 inch pans.  The dough surface with lightly spray with oil and was allowed to rise to 1" above the edge of the pan.  Then into a preheated 350 F oven, turned after twenty minutes and temperature checked after another 25 minutes.  The internal temperature was 190 F in the center so I called it quits.

The baked bread was removed from the pans after 20 minutes and placed back on the cooling screen for another six hours.  At this point I cut off a 1/2" thick slice and toasted it until the edges were very dark.  The flavor was good, the look of the crumb much like everyone else's pictures and the surface was firm; but the interior of the slice was gummy and essentially inedible.  The next day I tried again with the same gummy texture result. 

This bread has received uniformly rave reviews here at TFL so I really want to make it work.  Any constructive advice will be gratefully received.


Dave Hurd, Hilo, Hawaii

mrfrost's picture

Even though you did not use them, I wonder how Reinhart handled the rolled oats in the recipe? I would be inclined to do same with the wheat flakes. They may not need to be cooked, which evidently is adding too much moisture to the dough.(?) Although that is a lot of additional wheat. Maybe if he describes how the final dough consistency should be, you can add a little extra water to get it there(if necessary).

Another possibility is maybe the dough is still a little too cold on the interior. Maybe let it sit an additional half hour, or so, before baking.

LindyD's picture

While I don't have PR's ABED book, I do have Brother Juniper's Bread Book, where he first introduced his Struan.

That book calls for dry rolled oats and describes the finished dough as being "tacky but not sticky, lightly golden, stretchy and elastic rather than porridgelike."

He also calls for "approximately" two cups of water, then goes on to note "the amount of water varies according to the moistness of the rice and the accuracy of the measurements of the dry ingredients."

I find that that reference to the accuracy of the measurements a bit ludicrous since all the measurements are by volume, not weight.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Next time, lower the oven temp to about 400°F (but only if the crust was getting way too brown) and kept baking until the inside temp reaches 205°F.  Along with adding moisture by cooking the rolled wheat flakes, which isn't such a bad idea, only remember that by adding moisture (to a recipe) it prolongs the baking time.  Another possibility would be to subtract the water for the rolled wheat from the recipe and then add a little for evaporation.

Especially in the tropics, it is important to reach those higher inside temperatures to lengthen the life of the loaf. 


hilo_kawika's picture

Thanks to one and all for your comments on my gummy crumb.  In retrospect, I agree that the cooked wheat flakes' moisture content may well have been the problem.  Their capacity for holding a considerable amount of moisture without turning to goo in a cereal bowl is pretty impressive, but in the Struan may well be deletorious.

I like the ideas of reducing the total water added, increasing the baking temperatare somewhat and going for a higher final internal temperature.  I'm sure that some combination of these will make me a happy Struan baker...(^-^)


Dave Hurd, Hilo, Hawaii