The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

No Seeds or Grains for me.

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dlstanf2's picture
dlstanf2

No Seeds or Grains for me.

I've noticed the trend of trying to stuff as many ingredients as possible into a loaf of bread these days. As for me, I like my bread, plain, and my coffee, unflavored.


Flax Seed, Whole Wheat, Whole Rye, Rolled Oats, Peanuts, Cashews, Cherry Pits, Olives, Caraway, Dill, Rosemary, etc., etc., etc. These recipes are beginning to sound like the making of a FRUITCAKE!!! Just a little batter to hold the nuts & fruits.


I like oats, nuts, and spices, but for me, bread is just not the medium for that. I just cannot get my tastebuds around a 21-Nut & Spiced piece of toast with my morning Jam or a PBJ sandwich to go along with my soup.


I'm neither beast nor fowl which love Nuts & Grains. Don't misunderstand, I've tried these breads, just not my thing.


My goal has been to learn a basic White Sourdough Bread. Those recipes are rare. Even the "Holy Grail Vermont Sourdough by Hammelin" has Rye.


 

rockfish42's picture
rockfish42

What exactly was the point of this post? Are you just venting or are you trying to get a rise out of people?

dlstanf2's picture
dlstanf2

No Vent. Just an observation. I had to cut my post short to help my spouse with some post surgical matters.


But, as an observer and someone that enjoys baking a loaf of fresh bread, I thought I would point out that a variety of breads can become over complicated without that being the intention.


In the midst of my post, the fruitcake image did come to mind. Nowadays, in the quest for a healthy bread, the more ingredients that can be stuffed into a loaf seems to be the goal.


I'm not knocking anyone's ability to search for health and taste. Just wondering if during this process of baking bread it is turning into a sort of "31 Flavors". This is different than a variety of different breads from different regions using a variety of methods.


I can't be the lone stranger in thinking about simplicity.

BakerBen's picture
BakerBen

I am interested in this topic.  Please share what you have learned - formula and techniques.  I am serious and very interested - there is nothing wrong with simplicity.

copyu's picture
copyu

He was taken to dinner (by some slightly-more sophisticated people) to one of the 'classiest' hotels in town. It had something to do with my youngest brother's engagement, I think. Dad wanted a bit of bread with his rare steak.


Apparently, the waiter raised an eye-brow (I wasn't there, BTW—thank goodness!) Dad was offered some of the hotel's specialty "walnut bread".


"Walnuts?" he shouted. [He probably wasn't really shouting—he just had a faulty 'volume control', IYKWIM...] "I didn't come here for walnuts. When I want walnuts, I go to the market and buy them in bulk. When I want BREAD I go to the bakery. Just bring me some normal bread."


 


 

staho88's picture
staho88

You've found what you like and what you don't.  Now, go find a basic white sourdough and perfect it!  Some like added grains, seeds, nuts and the changes in flavor and others, like you, just want the basics.  Nuthin' wrong with that!

sjburnt's picture
sjburnt

dlstanf2, your goal is laudible and easily obtained. 


5 cups of  flour, 3 cups of water, 1 cup of sourdough starter, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, and then let it raise and form.  I add Kosher salt and slash the top before baking.  It is delicious.  Neighbors beg for it.


...but for me, there is a large vocabulary in the language of bread, and I like the variety.  After you have successfully made a few loaves of sourdough, add a handful of craisins and some walnuts.  You might find it delectable, but be careful, you may end up eating your words!


Happy Baking;

dlstanf2's picture
dlstanf2

Today was the first full air day of The Cooking Channel, which took the place of Martha Stewart's Fine Living Channel. On old episode from The Galloping Gourmet, Graham Kerr, was on and he featured a white bread being made in a 6" clay flower pot. He talked about seasoning and curing the flower pot before using it as a baking vessel. None-the-less, he made a nice white bread, with a crunchy crust, and a decent crumb. I thought it a pretty interesting program.


I remember back to when most bakers and bread companies wanted to do away with the gas holes and make a decent sandwich loaf. This was before the tie-wrap days and was a main selling point of Wonder Bread.


As this is a bread baking forum, I asked the question of "When did we lose sight of techniques & methods and began down the path of '31-Flavors'? I see my satire of "Fruitcake and Cereal Bread" has struck a nerve with some.


I can just see my granddaughter going to school with her sandwich of an organic banana with low sodium peanut butter on a fresh baked slice of soy flour and oat bran bread.


I know there are those that will love that loaf of rosemary, dill, cucumber chip, whole wheat & rye with cinnamon, cashews, and raisins.


Just a thought! What happen to the 'K.I.S.S. Principle'?


I did put this in the General & Misc. category. An abstract thought on complication has to go somewhere.

dlstanf2's picture
dlstanf2

Here's an example of what I  referred to as "additions". This came directly from a forum member's post:


"One other thing, I decided to add a mix of dried cranberries and black cherries to this oatbread made with whole wheat flour and bread flour."


We all know homemade breads have a short shelf life and needs to be use in a variety of ways. I guess this would make a great sandwich for little Mary's school lunch, Alfalfa Sprouts and Tofu Mayonnaise with a glass of Soy Milk. And to top it off a low-fat chream cheese danish with garlic.


Not trying to be cynical but I do find this humorous.


For those who crave bread like this, help me understand why I've missed the boat.


 

sjburnt's picture
sjburnt

OK, since you ask, you have missed the boat by spending your time criticizing other people's reasonable preferences instead of enjoying your own.


It is not particularly humorous.  If you want plain white bread, go ahead and have it.


 


 


 

Crider's picture
Crider

I'd be fine with some dried cranberries and black cherries right now. Try and be nice, mmmK?

MichaelH's picture
MichaelH

I am struggling with why you would post this comment in a bread forum, where the vast majority of the members strive every day for better more flavorful breads. More importantly, why should I care? Is it because you wish to throw mud on their aspirations? Or is it because you wish to draw attention to yourself.


Perhaps you should take up knitting as a hobby.


Michael


 


 


 


 

sjburnt's picture
sjburnt

dlstanf2, I think I get it, and I was not trying to be as flip as I might have sounded.  There is a joy to a simple plain white bread as well, and that is what I was trying to send you a couple of posts up. 


So anyway, make the white bread, and enjoy it.  I got the basics from the book 'Ratios'.  (OK, I might have really amped up the amount of starter, but that is because I like the taste.)


There is nothing wrong with being 'white bread', or wanting some for a meal.  But there is nothing wrong with celebrating diverse breads, either.


Baker Ben, I agree with you - a good white bread is a wonderful topic as well.  I make it as described above, with a few additional techniques. 


I combine the flour, water, and starter, then let them sit for ten minutes before adding the salt.  It seems to take less kneading.  After adding the salt, I let it raise in a lightly oiled bowl, cpvered with plastic wrap.  After it almost doubles in size, I form it very gently onto oblong loaves and let it raise a gain, usually about an hour, witha light spray of oil on top to keep the plastic wrap from sticking.


After about an hour, I slice it with a serated knife and sprinkle on some Kosher salt.  Bake 40 minutes at 360 F, and try not too eat too much while it is hot!


Simple, but Happy Baking!

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Wheat flour, water, yeast and salt;  That sums up the majority of bread made around the world and I can thoroughly understand anyone's desire to pursue that avenue of bread making.  The ingredients are simple and straightforward but the possibilities are almost limitless.  The real challenge is to extract all that you can from these ingredients...easier said than done.


Jeff

Crider's picture
Crider

The baguette is a white bread and there's all sorts of effort being put into making it right by many folks on this blog. There's one thing you might want to consider, though: white bread isn't very good for you in the long run. People have been lamenting white bread since the Roman Empire times though. 


 


I'm a bit surprised you can't seem to find enough white sourdough bread recipes. Keep looking.

copyu's picture
copyu

You're right, in a way...about 'white bread' not being 'good for you'. But "REAL" white flour (the modern type) wasn't actually available until about 1860-70 AD. That's when steel and porcelain rollers were being developed. These babies had the power to remove all of the 'goodness' from the wheat and other grains durig the milling process. Millers could sell the resulting product as real 'white flour'


Suddenly, 'white flour' could sit for weeks, even months, in a bag without spoiling (turning rancid), without refrigeraion and without the usual household pests attacking it. It's what people wanted. It was cheap and a true 'convenience food' and quite filling in recipes of those days


Before that, stone-grinding was the only technology available, all over the world. This mashed up the grain very nicely, but couldn't remove the 'extras', even with sifting, that made wheat and other flours (even 'white' flour) a truly healthy food. The previous 'goodness' of the food made it more likely to go "off" and to get insect and other vermin damage


I agree with an author I read a couple of weeks ago, who said that TRUE white flour was the world's first "junk food". So what? I still use a fair bit of it it in 95% of my baking. Why? Because I love it!


Cheers,


copyu


 

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Sourdough renders white flour bread into a much healthier product.


Jeff

copyu's picture
copyu

...is there any explanation as to how/why it makes white flour 'healthier'?


I'm asking, because I use sourdough starter a lot—mostly for taste reasons and because my sourdough breads seem to 'keep' a day or so longer. The 'keeping' quality is only important for me occasionally...I bake at home for taste and quality control—only very marginally for 'health' reasons.  I don't really think that white flour is a 'health food', but it's been used in 'traditional' European foods and breads for several generations, now...the results haven't been too bad and most of the food tastes great, in my opinion


I'd be very interested in reading about this a bit more. Do you have any book titles? Links?


I'm also interested because there is tantalizing research from the Uni of Minnesota that whole-grain eaters are 'healthier' and tend to live longer than other people, even if the 'other people' take in the same amount of dietary fiber, folic acid, phytic acid, Zinc, Manganese, Iron, Magnesium, etc, (all the 'goodies' in whole grains) from other foods.


Many studies have shown that it's true—no-one claims to know why


Cheers,


copyu 


 

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Here is one such article,


http://www.aaccnet.org/CerScienceKnowledgeDB/Summary/JLappi.asp


This topic has been discussed in these forums on at least a few occasions that I am aware of.  For reasons I fail to understand, such discussion can bring out sarcastic remarks apparently aimed at discrediting the health benefits of sourdough. It seems that if the discussion goes to the healthy aspects of organic grains, whole grains, or sourdough, there are those who want to blatantly and often sarcastically dismiss the entire idea.  That one would disagree with these concepts is fine but I would hope that a rational discussion can proceed without such a negative tone as has appeared in the past.


I mention all of this not with regard to your question, but more as an attempt to thwart such comments before they appear.


Jeff

copyu's picture
copyu

Thanks for the link.


I hope I didn't sound sarcastic in my post.


To be honest, I don't actually see the point of people being sarcastic on this issue. I love sourdough baking, even though it's sometimes less predictable than using commercial yeast, because the end product says to me, quite loudly, "It's worth it!" 


Cheers,


copyu

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

It is okay with me if negative sarcasm is the approach that someone wants to take, but it is a discussion killer.  I mentioned it only because this is the very topic that potentially illicits such responses, not because of anything in your post.


Back to bread....99% of the bread I make is sourdough and more than three quarters of that is whole grain, it is all organic and it is most definitely worth it.


Jeff


 

dlstanf2's picture
dlstanf2

I began this by looking up basic sourdough recipes. What I began to notice is not that people were looking for healthier bread, but that people were adding all sorts of different additives to the bread. And, this trend not only applies to baking, but other aspects of the food world. Have you tried to buy a plain can of peas or a can of tomatoes from the grocery store lately?


I like to apologize to anyone that I might have offended while bringing this observation to light. The quote I found was from another member while searching for topics of why my dough was tearing during proofing.


I believe in healthy food items and without all the additives. Also, I have spent many years in the Food Science area during my stay with a university. Mostly everything there was to benefit commercial applications and the seafood industry. But I did do a lot of research in the vanilla and spice industry.


I do believe many people get caught up in additions trying to be healthy. My answer has been to eat less bread, but I want to enjoy the flavor I what I do eat. A pizza with "everything" thrown onto it is referred to as a "Garbage Pizza". In many of my church recipe books there are recipes for "Garbage Cakes".


Would not a homemade granola bar, full of fruits, nuts, and seeds be a good alternative? A bowl of oatmeal or cereal for fiber provides a good alternative. Homemade breads have a short shelf-life, and if like mine, feeds a lot of birds.


I was looking for a discussion on why you add so many items to your bread; not to "dis" you on doing it. I like Rye Bread with Caraway Seeds for my Ruben sandwich. I like Pumpernickel for a sandwich with whole grain mustard. But, I can't see baking a loaf of either for a sandwich.


What do you do with your bread and why do you add so many ingredients? Describe the taste. Give a reason if you like.

roxbakes's picture
roxbakes

"I believe in healthy food items and without all the additives."


The bran, the germ - these are not additives. We're just putting back what's been stripped away. What you call this day white is NOT complete, that's the point, and this being healthy is far away from the truth. And if we can throw some other wholesome grains and seeds in it to make it healthier, why not?! It's easy to make a white loaf to rise, now try to make a dark loaf to rise without added gluten, without a mountain of yeast or refined sugars! I think it will take a lot of trials and failures until you get it right.


I prefer whole foods: real milk, real butter, raw cheeses, fresh fruit and veggies grown organically in my backyard, no soy, no margarine, no shortenings. And I also prefer whole grains over plain white. This is no fruit cake, but to me the complexity of flavor is better than white. Except sourdough, of course, but no white sandwich honey fluff bread here, please! 


Coming from Europe in US, I was shocked at the quality of bread or other foods, in the supermarket: sweet, refined and fluffy! Honey this, honey that! Bread is bread, ham is ham, beans are beans and turkey is turkey. Should we get now at the whole american food industry and ask them to keep it simple?! No wonder you see so many overweight people around!


Take a look at an ancient recipe: Ezechiel Bread. It combines grains and has a rough texture. That's what I like: that wholesome texture! Hope that answers your question!


And why not have fun, experimenting and enjoying the ride?! Happy baking!