The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Objective criteria for Whole Grain bread

jocelyn's picture

Objective criteria for Whole Grain bread

White breads have their own specific objective criterii for quality, depending on the type of bread.  For baguettes, we are looking for big, irregular bubbles (which I have never really succeeded to get, I hate to admit it), shiny, translucent crumb, a crispy, golden crust, and so on.

For whole grain breads, there does not seem to be standard criterii to base our evaluation on.  Are there objective criterii other then "This is my best ever" (which I use regularly, including last w-e on two fantastic SD multigrain bâtards) that you use to evaluate Whole grain breads?  I understand this is a vast topic, since there is a great variety of possible breads, but for the sake of simplicity, let's talk about a simple SD Whole Wheat.


Haolemon's picture

My main concern with sourdough whole grain bread is that it be sufficiently sour but mostly that it rise enough to not be dense.  I grind my own Durham (semolina) flour for taste, and adding a bit of rye increases the sourness.  Long rise times ensure a lighter texture.

I mostly want to avoid the hippie bread of years past, made with whole wheat and honey, and dense as a brick.  One ate it to be PC, but it really was quite bad.

scottsourdough's picture

I think a good whole grain sourdough bread should be so dense with flavor that you can't place where it all comes from. For me, the sourdough is integral to the flavor, to the point where some people may think it is too sour.

Whatever goes wrong when I make a whole grain bread, I always feel safe saying "Well, it was whole grain." Obviously you won't get a very open crumb, but it's definitely possible to get a good array of smaller holes even in a 100% whole grain bread. As long as "dense" doesn't come to mind when I eat it, I'm happy though.

I don't think the criteria are really different for whole grain breads, you just have different expectations. And for me, one of those is A LOT of flavor.