The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole grain dough failure

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CJtheDeuce's picture

Whole grain dough failure


I used stone ground whole wheat flour That a friend brought me from The College of the Ozarks student operated mill. Followed the recipe for 100% whole wheat in Crust & Crumb. The dough started spliting all over towards the end of final proof. I baked it & it looked terible but tasted good. I started over with some KA whole wheat flour & got good looking & good tasting bread. Some cold beer helped me get over the failure but what the heck happened?

mrfrost's picture

KA uses hard red spring wheat which is best for making bread.

You should ask the college what kind of wheat they are milling; hard, soft, spring or winter. They must surely know.

Hard wheats are best for breads. Hard spring has highest protein.

They way it was ground may also be a factor. Maybe the home millers here would know more about that.

amolitor's picture

Flour needs to sit around and oxidize for a while before it will behave well. Is it possible that the students milled it in the morning, and your friend dropped it off in the evening, and you baked with it the next day?

I'm not sure how long it takes, but I'm pretty sure a couple of weeks of sitting around isn't a bad idea.


Nickisafoodie's picture

I routinly grind my own the day of use, I respectfully suggest that this is not the cause. 


1) proofed too long

2) sponge/poolish , i.e. total pre-ferment was too high of a percentage of the total.  Try 20-30% max- I do not know the recipe you are citing so this may already be the case.  I had a similar dough with tears like in your photo once which I believe was caused by both a high percentage of preferments and point 3) below.

3) Overkneading- if you go too far the gluten will break down and look like the tears you have in your photo.

4) As mrfrost says - hard spring high protein and gluten content for bread vs soft spring wheat.

Hope this helps

Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

I've experienced that on two or three occassions with whole wheat loaves.  I typically use King Arthur whole wheat.  I've had some success removing the shaped and proofed loaves and folding, shaping, and proofing all over again.  That was not ideal, but produced edible loaves.  I thought it might be due to under kneading the dough. 

CJtheDeuce's picture

may be it, the dough was still pretty sticky when I took it out of the kitchenaid & I hand kneaded some AP flour in. The second batch with all KA flour I baked late that night was hand kneaded, no problems. While #2 wheat was fermenting I made some potato bread & some cloverleaf rolls. Then entered all in the fair the next day. The rolls placed 1st & the potato placed 3rd, I'll have to keep working on that darn wheat.