The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pain Au Levain with Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

  • Pin It
varda's picture
varda

Pain Au Levain with Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

The other day, I accidentally picked up the wrong flour.    I thought I was grabbing the Bob's Red Mill White flour but instead ended up with BRM whole wheat pastry flour.   I'm not much for making pastry and the whole concept of whole wheat pastry eludes me, so I decided to try this flour in yet another variation on the pain au levain I've been experimenting with for the last few months.    On my first try I used the pastry flour as 12% of the total flour with 87% White flour and 1% rye from the starter.    The bread came out with a very nice crumb texture and not bad in other respects but the taste was so mild as to be uninteresting.    Then my son swooped in for a surprise visit for Mother's Day and ate the whole thing so it was good for son feeding at least.  

Try number 1 - tried to get fancy with scoring - didn't really work.

To enhance the flavor, I decided to mix in some regular whole wheat.    So this time I did exactly the same thing but went half and half on the pastry whole wheat flour and Arrowhead whole wheat.   

The latest production of the vardomatic 3000:

As you can see, it blew a gasket.   Not quite the nice controlled expansion that I'd hoped for.    And Mt. Hood from the side:

but even better crumb than the last one and the flavor is much enhanced.

There were both 68% hydration and retarded overnight.   Also I've increased percentage of prefermented flour to 23%.  After going all the way to 33% with Andy's light rye formula, I'm not afraid of these higher percentages anymore.     Has anyone worked with this type of flour before?   The BRM bag says soft white wheat, and there is no discernible bran.    I don't feel like I have a handle on the fermentation yet and would love some suggestions.  

Comments

RonRay's picture
RonRay

Varda, thanks for the interesting post and great photo work.

I am afraid I have never encounter the flour, however, so I cannot help on the score.

Ron

varda's picture
varda

I am trying to learn from some of the really excellent photographers on this site.  As well as the bakers.  -Varda

RonRay's picture
RonRay

TFL certainly has more than its share in both categories. Given that I cannot eat all the great stuff posted, just looking at some is "almost" enough LOL

Ron

Syd's picture
Syd

Did you only increase the total prefermented flour to 23% on the second loaf, Varda?  That might have accounted for some of the flavour difference, if you did.  That, and the addition of the 6% whole wheat. 

What is your fermentation procedure?  How long?  At what temp and how many s&f's do you include? 

I think your breads look great and you are doing an excellent job.  If you want to avoid the Mt. Hood effect, you could consider final proofing for a bit longer. You will get less oven spring and a more controlled opening of your score marks.  But, having said that, there is something very attractive about the reckless abandon with which an underproofed loaf  bursts through its slashes. 

Best,

Syd

varda's picture
varda

Syd, I did 23% prefermented flour for both loaves.   The only change between the first loaf and the second was for the first I included 12% whole wheat pastry flour, and for the second 6% whole wheat pastry flour, and 6% regular whole wheat.    That change made a big difference in taste.  I did a one hour autolyze, then a bulk ferment for 2.5 hours with 2 S&F, then proofed on counter for 1 hour 20 minutes, then refrigerator for 8 hours, then proof on stove top while oven is on for 65 minutes.   I decided that proof was done when the dough seemed to soften under my fingers, but I suppose the oven spring tells me that it needed a bit more softening.   Repeat ten times - patience is a virture.  Since it is spring now, and the dough isn't freezing on the counter, I have got more lackadaisicle about temperature.   Perhaps too lackadaisicle.   Thanks for your comments.  -Varda

Syd's picture
Syd

I don't feel like I have a handle on the fermentation yet and would love some suggestions. 

What part of the fermentation process are you referring to: bulk or final?  Varda, I was thinking about your question on my way back from work this afternoon and it struck me that 23% of total flour in the preferment is quite high.  Most of Hamelman's breads in the (non-rye) sourdough section of Bread are in the 15 - 16% range.  It is not that it is a bad thing to have a higher percentage (indeed, it is going to bring a lot of flavour to the the loaf) but just that one should  be aware of the consequences of increasing the percentage of flour in the preferment.  One of the consequences is that you will be bringing more acid to the final dough which is going to increase dough strength.  This can be both a good thing and a bad thing.  Recently, I have discovered that too strong a dough can seriously affect volume.  I had read about it in Bread, but hadn't really thought about it too much because it hadn't been a problem for me.  Recently, I have really been working the dough while kneading and going for a well developed window pane.  There shouldn't be a problem with this in itself as long as you make the necessary adjustments.  However, I have run into problems  because I have followed with the same fermentation times for a less developed dough and the same number of s&f's.  With the dough already well developed, I should have reduced the bulk fermentation and perhaps gone for only one s&f instead of two because both of those processes have the effect of strengthening gluten.  The result has been some loaves, which while still okay, have definitely suffered in volume.  I am not sure if this has been a problem for you.  I have never had my hands on your dough! and only touch will inform you if the dough is too strong or not strong enough.  I only bring it up as food for thought and something to consider.

All the best,

Syd

varda's picture
varda

Hi Syd,   I guess I was thinking of final proof.   I still find it challenging to determine when it is complete.   I have been doing variations of the following:

Flour - 500g varied between different types of flour

Water - 350g 

Salt - 6g for low salt loaf, 11g for regular (actually between 1 and 1.8% depending on flour weight) - - these loaves were 1%

Starter - fixed at 62% hydration and between 17% preferment and once (Andy's light rye formula) all the way to 33%

It seems like the proofing needed for different flour combos varies a lot.    I hadn't really thought about how the percent preferment impacts this as well, but I need to think about that.   I don't believe that I had an issue with too developed dough, but I will keep an eye on that.    I do a stretch and fold by keeping the dough flat on the counter and stretching it out in all directions until it is pretty thin like a pizza crust without any thick lumps and then putting it all together again and do a bit of a preshape.    If it were too developed I think it would fight back but it doesn't, just seems to lose it's stickiness for awhile anyhow.    I only mix at the beginning for a couple of minutes - twice - one before, one after autolyze.

Thanks for your thoughtful comments.   

Varda

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello varda,
The crust and crumb on your loaves looks really good.
As for the 'reckless abandon' of the oven spring, I think it adds to the charm.
:^) from breadsong

varda's picture
varda

My bread is in the young adult stage - charming and reckless but not necessarily reliable or consistent.   I'm hoping to move it along into sober middle age.  Thanks for your comments! -Varda 

Anjali's picture
Anjali

Must buy it if it gives such results!;-)

Anjali

varda's picture
varda

I'll let you know when the beta version is finished testing.  -Varda

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Varda, another great success! Soft wheat is the norm here, but I'm accustomed to see much closer crumbs using that kind of flour; maybe even your soft wheat flours are much richer in gluten than EU soft wheat flours.

How does the crumb feel like? Is it chewy or soft?

I didn't know that there was a white variety of soft wheat. Something new every day:)

varda's picture
varda

Remember that in this loaf I only used only 6% of the soft flour.   87% was King Arthur AP which off the top of my head is 12% protein.  It was chewy.  As for the soft white wheat, I was extremely surprised to find it in my pantry as I didn't know it existed either.   -Varda

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Varda,

I've used similar flour to this in the UK, but not from white wheat, so bran particles are more evident.

The crumb on the loaf you have produced is beautiful, and the crust has such a great colour.

Regarding the explosions you have, I am sure it is to do with your use of cold temperatures at various points throughout your whole  process.   This is preventing all aspects of fermentation taking place.   Hold things back by keeping them cold, then put them in a hot oven and you will have sudden activity burst resulting in explosions.

Best wishes

Andy

varda's picture
varda

Andy,   Your comments are convincing.   I'm going to try version two without the cold retard and see how it goes.   Thank you for your observations.  -Varda

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Varda,

Just to clarify, but I also think the cold building process you use for your leaven also plays a key role in these "bursts"

BW

Andy

varda's picture
varda

Andy,

I compensate for the cold of the levain with warm water during the mix so the dough is not cold after the mix.   But I think you are saying that the fact the levain was built in the cold has a role.   Is this what you meant?   If so, I'm not sure I completely understand the mechanics.   Thanks.

Varda

ananda's picture
ananda

I know you refresh using a goodly portion of ripened leaven, Varda.

However, if you put the newly refreshed leaven straight into the chiller you immediately retard its activity.   So it just sits there and isn't allowed to ripen and grow properly until you then use it to make your final dough.

Then, before you know it, it's back in the fridge for more retarding.   By the time you get to the oven stage, the fermentation cycle is really just kicking off; it should be almost complete!

Best wishes

Andy

varda's picture
varda

Andy, That gives me a lot of clues as to how to proceed.   Thanks very much.  -Varda

kim's picture
kim

Varda,

I do agree with Andy points because I had the same problem before. I don’t mind your vardomatic 3000 at all, I will take your bread anytime. For the whole wheat pastry flour, I think their flavor is milder or less noticeable than the regular whole wheat flour in general.

Kimmy

varda's picture
varda

Kimmy, I think the soft flour does add a nice element to the texture even in the small quantity that I used it.    I am going to make adjustments based on Andy's comments for version 3.   Thanks for your encouragement!   -Varda

holds99's picture
holds99

Varda,

I saw your post regarding Bob's Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour and thought I would share my experience using Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour.  A month or so ago I ordered what was supposed to be eight (8) three pound bags of Bob's Red Mill bulgur wheat grain that I found advertised online from Amazon.  It was shipped from Nutricity, an Amazon sponsored partner.  When my order arrived it contained eight (8) three pound bags of Bob's Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour, rather than the bulgur wheat grain I had ordered.

I notified the vendor that they had sent the wrong order and inquired as to how to go about exchanging the whole wheat pastry flour for the bulgur wheat grain that I originally ordered.  Well, for starters, Nutricity wanted me to take a digital photograph of the box containing the flour and send it to them as an email attachment.  There was no mention of who was going to pay for shipping the incorrect order back to Nutricity.  Anyway, I went online and checked Bob's Red Mill website and found that they don't offer bulgur wheat grain.  So I suspect Nutricity pulled a fast one.  At that point, because the hassle factor,  I decided cut my losses.  For me it just wasn't worth spending a lot of time and effort attempting to do an exchange with the vendor.   So, I kept the Bob's Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour and have been mixing it in my bread dough with excellent results.  It appears to be finely milled whole wheat flour that, if I'm reading print on the bag correctly, has around 11% protein.

Here are some photos of a recent bake of a generic recipe that I have developed that works well for me.  I can vary the ratios of flours to get the results I want and always come up with the same amount of dough (8-8.5 lbs) for each batch.  Here is the formula I used for this whole wheat dough.

Howard

Levain build no. 1

1 Tb. starter

8 oz water

8 oz Bob's Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour

12-14 hours - overnight in oven with light on.

Levain build no. 2

Add the following to levain build no. 1

8 oz. water

8 oz Bob's Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour

1-2 hours - in oven with light on.

Final Dough Mix

32 oz. levain (all of the double levain build.)

55 oz. Total flour - this amount can be varied between white (all-purpose/bread flour and rye, whole wheat, barley, etc.) depending on what I am baking. For the Final Dough Mix in this whole wheat formula I used 8 oz whole wheat pastry flour mixed with 47 oz. KA Bread Flour.  It's fairly high hydration dough, so after the Final mix I give the dough three (3) stretch and folds at 25 minute intervals. 

35 oz. water

2 Tb. salt

2 cups cracked bulgur wheat soaker (1 cup cracked bulgur wheat soaked overnight in 1 cup boiling water.

varda's picture
varda

Thanks so much for posting.   I will definitely try this.   I have a bag of bulgur wheat in the closet that I have been waiting to crack open and I need something new to do with my WWW pastry flour.    A couple of questions.   Your instructions tailed off after the S&F.   Could you tell me how you proceeded from there?   Also (and I'm just being curious) are you selling some of this?    Eight pounds of bread at a time seems like a lot.   I tend to bake 2 pounds at a time.    And thirdly does BRM ever sell this stuff on purpose, or does everyone buy it by accident?   (Ok - a sample size of two isn't really enough to reach this conclusion.)   -Varda

holds99's picture
holds99

Varda,

After the three (3) stretch and folds I place the dough in  a large plastic container, the inside of which has been sprayed with cooking oil, and allow it to bulk ferment in until doubled in volume (2-3 hours).

I mark the outside of the container with a Post It note (arrow pointing up at the dough's starting line), cover the container and when the volume is doubled I empty the container out onto a floured work surface, divide and shape the dough.  

At this point you have a couple of options.  You have about 8 lbs of dough.  When you start making the formula, you can cut the recipe in half, or you can make the full amount of dough.  I made the full amount of dough and had 8.5 lbs, of dough, including my soaker.  So I divided it in half, making two loaves of 2 kilo each (approximately 2.2 lbs each).  I sometimes divide the dough in half and proof using a two large heavily floured bannetons and bake the loaves on two (2) parchment lined baking pans with a heavy dusting of semolina.  The semolina acts as an insulator and keeps the bottoms from getting too brown and/or scorching.  I place the pans with the dough on a baking stone, which covers the entire oven rack (you can see in the photo of the two (2) terricotta baking vessels in the oven). 

For this baking - After bulk fermentation, I divided the dough in half and final proofed it in the two terracotta baking ovens.  Even though I dusted the inside bottom of the terracotta baking vessel with semolina and left them in the baking dishes after they came out of the oven, to steam for about 10 minutes after baking, the sides of the loaves slightly stuck to the sides of the baking dish in spots and I had to used a large pastry spatula, like they use for applying icing to cakes, to slide between the loaves and the dish to free up the sides.  Next time I'll spray the insides of the dishes with PAM and cut a piece of parchement for the inside bottom of each of the baking dishes.

Anyhow, I preheated the over to 500 deg. F.  Then placed the covered terricotta baking dished containing the scored loaves into the oven.  This was the first time I had used these terracotta baking vessels so I got a little too much dough into each one and had to remove the lids a bit earlier than I normally would have.  Instead of 4.4 lbs of dough, I'm thinking 3 lbs. would be max capacity for these baking vessels.  Once they were in the oven I left the heat on 500 deg. for 15 minutes to get a good oven spring, then reduced the heat to 475 deg. F for ten (10) more minutes.  Removed the lids, turned the baking dishes around in the oven and lowered the heat to 450 deg. F for the final 20-25 minutes.  As a result of having to remove the lids early, I had to cover the tops with heavy duty foil during the final 10 minutes of the baking cycle.  I removed them from the oven when the internal temperature reached 206 deg. F.

Hope this helps.  If you have any other questions please let me know---we're all in this thing together. ( :>)

Howard

 Edit: I'm not selling it.  I give about half of what I bake away to friends and neighbors.  I bake a couple of times a week and usually mix up 8 lbs of dough at a time, unless it's a new formula that I haven't tried before.  I swear that Bob's Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour is like manna from heaven for whole wheat bread.  The taste is incredible.  In the past I have order my whole wheat flour from Cable Mill where they stone grind the flour with a 100+ year old water mill.  Cable Mill is also great flour.

 

 

varda's picture
varda

Howard, Thanks so much for the information.   I'll try this out.  -Varda