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Mash Bread - New horizons...

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dsoleil's picture
dsoleil

Mash Bread - New horizons...

Hi All,


I've been playing around a lot with mash bread and wanted to share my thoughts and hope some other people might want to give it a try.  For those who aren't familiar with mash bread, Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain cookbook discusses it.  The essence is taking flour or grain and cooking it with water at around 150 degrees for a few hours to get the enzymes to convert starches to sugars.  He uses flour and spent grains for mashing and then adds it to bread for a great addition of flavor and complexity.  After looking further into the mashing process, it is very similar to brewing beer.  When brewing beer, brewers take sprouted grains, cook them at a low temperature in water so the enzymes can convert starches to sugars.  The sugary liquid is called wort.  The wort is then fermented and the yeast eats the sugar converting it to alcohol and beer is born.  So, I thought, how can we use that process or part of it for bread making?  Reinhart says there are very few mash bread recipes around and he's right.  So, I thought I'd add my experiences to the small pile.


I love the purist concept of the baguette, using only flour, water and salt.  Well, here is another grain manipulation that can create sweetness without any additional ingredients.  Since rye has one of the highest level of enzymes, I went with whole rye grain.  It produces the greatest amount of sweetness in the shortest amount of time.


Soak the rye grain in water overnight.  Then, drain the water and keep the grain moist.  In 36-48 hours, it will have sprouted and grown to its enzyme peak.  The sprouts should be 75 - 100% the length of the grain.  I then grind all the sprouted rye in a food processor.  I then measure water at double the volume of the grain.  Heat the water to 165 degrees and add then grain.  Then cover it and put the pot in the oven at 150 degrees for 3 hours. 


What you get is a sweet, watery grain slurry.  Reinhart would call it mash, some might call it wort.  The key here is that the grain is not "spent" from the beer brewing process.  You get the enzymes to work for you for the bread making.  I believe Reinhart uses more water than I do, but I have found 2x the volume of grain to be plenty.  I let the mash cool and then use it exclusively as the liquid in a bread recipe.  Wheat berries will produce a similar effect but will take a bit longer to sprout.  


This is where things get a bit experimental.  Do I have exact measurements and a recipe yet?  No.  I'm going entirely by feel of the dough.  What you will find is that the dough will be stickier than usual.  You will want to judge the dough more by its density than by the feel of stickiness.


I have made breads with both white flour and 100% whole wheat.  With white flour, you will get a complex, sweeter taste with a moist crumb.  It reminded me in sweetness of the soft Hawaiian bread you can buy in the stores.  With 100% whole wheat, you get the sweet complexity, a moister crumb and you can eliminate the typical addition of honey or agave or sugar.  


This has been a very interesting way to add sweetness and moistness to bread without additional ingredients.  It's just grain, water and salt.  For those who love to take a long time to make a loaf of bread, instead of a three-day bread, add this to the mix and it will take 5 days to make a loaf due to the time of sprouting the grains.  You can also make a lot of the mash as it freezes well and you can put into single-use containers.


I hope that provides enough explanation to get people going.  Feel free to add your own experience with mash bread, ask questions, etc.


Best,


dsoleil 


 


 


 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

dsoleil,


It's good to see your experiment with rye mash. Is this a 100% rye mix here or are you adding it to another blend of flours? I hope you have the ability to include some images as you continue down this path.


Eric


Added by edit: I didn't read your post closely, sorry. I see you made bread with white and WW flours using the wort as the water component.


Do I understand this to mean if you need 400 grams of liquid that you use 800g of wort?


Eric

grind's picture
grind

Thanks for this.  I love your experiment.  I've been having similar thoughts lately, especially when working with high falling numbers.  My one major concern is how do you control the enzyme action and determine the right amount of enzyme rich slurry.  I'd hate to go too far and then get a too sticky crumb.  I guess it becomes another variable with a learning curve attached to it.  Just a thought, Tony.

grind's picture
grind
nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Hi,


very recently I've been experimenting myself with malted grains.


I bought some malted rye and some malted barley from a brewster. They are already sprouted and dried, so you only have to grind them in the food processor and do the mashing as usual. Moreover there are many types of malt, some slightly toasted to add a lot of aroma. Generally you have to avoid darker malts that underwent a massive toasting process that destroyed the enzymes.


I already made a 100% rye bread that used 40% of the malted rye in the mash, but unfortunately I used boiling water that must have partly disactivated the enzymes, so even though the bread is remarkably sweeter than I used to get in the past it can get even better ;-)


Very interesting thread!


 


P.S. very low EBC seems to be necessary to get amylase working, as a high EBC implies high roasting  temperatures. I just received an email from a producer telling me that crystal-type malts are unfit because of the high temperatures. Lager and Ale malts are fine.


 

amolitor's picture
amolitor

Adding malt extracts of various kinds to doughs has been done for a while, and is sort of a shortcut approach to this. The final effect *should* be similar. Of course, the process is a lot less fun!


 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Has anyone used the black patent malt referred to in the Lepard thread?


Eric

rockfish42's picture
rockfish42

Black patent has no active enzymes, if you want to mash with it you'd have to add some other form of malt.

wally's picture
wally

I've been wanting to create a rye mash based on my experience with friends of mine who have a distillery and use rye flour as the basis for their products (ryes, duh... and gin as well).  The mash/porridge which they create and subsequently distill is incredibly sweet, so I have been wondering how to bring out that sweetness in a rye soaker.


Bear in mind that while you're working with the whole grain, I'm just looking for a way to better activate the amylase present in the flour.  Still, I think we're on the same adventure.


I turned to one of TFLs resident experts, who has reached out to a couple of people.  Jeffrey Hamelman has volunteered that one of his favorite (80%) ryes involves a "bruhteig--'broth dough'--a boiling soaker in addition to his rye sourdough.


I think I'm going to try a rye soaker that is actually cooked - like a porridge - at just under 150F, at which point I believe amylase, which converts the sugars, becomes denatured.  Probably for 30 minutes or so initially.  I think the easiest way to test the soaker is just to taste it, so I'll use that to determine whether to go longer or not.


Anyhow, please keep us abreast of your experimentation - and I will do so as well.


Initially I'm just looking to produce a 25% rye, but I may up the percentage if more rye soaker is needed to produce the desired sweetness.


Larry

rockfish42's picture
rockfish42

Amylase is actually active up until around 170 degrees, 150 is about the sweet spot between alpha and beta amylase to give you conversion of starches into sugars but not breaking down all the larger sugars into simple ones.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Many of the "Sour Rye Breads" have you add the rye starter with all of the rye flour for the mix. The rye is then "soured" for at least overnight and sometimes longer. The experimental rye I made a couple weeks ago I first scalded the rye to 150F and left it set overnight, then mixed it with the levain to sour for a few hours. I didn't want to leave it overnight as I normally would, thinking the added sugars would jump the activity of the culture. Not sure if this was sound thinking but the bread was sweet and very slightly tangy. A new flavor for me. The soured rye was very different in texture, smooth and creamy as it was mixed with all the remaining water.


Eric


 


 

dsoleil's picture
dsoleil

To Eric's question, rather than 400g of grain and 800g of water, I used volume measurements.  Say, 2 cups of grain and 4 cups of water.  One other clarification I should make is that I only used my sourdough starter for leavening.  That controls the enzyme activity.


I'm glad to hear someone else has used home brew grains.  I was tempted to try it but decided to malt my own rye first.  I'd be curious to hear more about the sweetness and flavor characteristics of the grains used. 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I put 1-1/2 Cups of rye berries in a bowl and covered them with cold water overnight. The next day there was a nice sweet almost spicy aroma. Then I drained the water, rinsed the grain and left it covered for 48 hours on the counter top. They started to show signs of sprouting after a day. Now when I opened the bowl up they have an off smell almost putrid. I rinsed them a few times and dumped them into 160F water followed by the oven at 170F (lowest it will go).


My question is about the aroma. Is this normal or did I let it set to long? The sweet phase I can see would have been nice in rye but now, I don't know.


Eric

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Eric,


the seeds must breath or they'll get putrid in no time. Cover them only with a towel and keep them far from the light, but if they already smell rotten I'd drop them.


The aroma is normal. Rather than spicy mine have a grassy smell when just sprouted. How is the aroma of the soaker like?

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Thanks for your reply nico. I dumped the batch. I'll do it again when I can pay closer attention. The smell is no good.


Eric

dsoleil's picture
dsoleil

I keep mine in a metal colander and stir the grains a few times during the 48 hrs. to prevent anything from going rancid.


I hope that helps.  Off aromas or colors is definitely not desirable.  Best of luck!

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

sorry, I pushed the wrong button;-)


 


I made an experiment with my malted rye: 10% of malted rye cracked in the food processor, 90% of ordinary cracked rye, 2%  of salt and 100% water. I mixed all ingredients in a plastic bowl, covered the bowl with a plastic film and heated it in the microwave at 900W until the thermometer read 65°C, then I kept the bowl in a blanket and I re-heated it in the microwave with the same method whenever the temperature fell near 50°C. Overall the soaker lasted 8 hours. I baked the bread at 180°C for 2.5 hours (first hour covered with aluminum foil) and sliced it the next day.


Even though it's not particularly black it suuuuuuuuuuuuuper sweet, a real delight! Unfortunately it crumbles... really hideous. The methodology is worth the time, but some ordinary rye flour is really necessary to keep the structure. I'll try with 50%.


I didn't reduce hydratation to the usual 80-85% because I was afraid that amylase activity would be hindered. After all those enzymes work by hydrolysis...

baytonemus's picture
baytonemus

Brand new to the forum. Interesting discussion. In addition to being a bread baking enthusiast, I'm also a home brewer. Just a comment about use of the terms "mash" and "wort."


When brewing beer, malted barley grains are crushed (but not ground) and then soaked at temps of 145-155°F for about an hour in most recipes. The term "mash" is used here both as a noun (to refer to the "porridge") and as a verb (referring to the process). This converts the starches that were created during the malting process to sugars.


The next step is called sparging where more hot water (usually 170°F or less) is sprinkled over the top of the mash as liquid is simultaneously drawn out the bottom, thereby rinsing the sugars from the grains. That liquid is called "wort." The "spent" grains that are left in the mash container (called a "tun") don't have much flavor.


Good homebrew supply stores sell several varieties of whole grain malted wheat and rye. This would eliminate the first soaking and germination steps and would assure that you started with grains that were properly malted and would therefore consistently produce the maximum amount of sugar when mashed.


I've actually been thinking about making a little mash with crushed barley malt and using that in a batch of bread or possibly stealing a little of the mash from my next batch of beer. I'll report back when I do.


Thanks.