The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Basic Brown Bread

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

Basic Brown Bread

Not sure I am posting in the right section here, but I am looking for a basic brown bread recipe. No bits or such, just brown bread.

I thought this would be an easy recipe to come by, but google is not being my friend. Wondering if you wonderful folk could help me out?

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Great, Charlie.

Congratulations for your archievements with white bread.

You can turn your white bread into brown bread just by substituting some of the flour with wholemeal flour.

If you have a Waitrose nearby get their organic stoneground strong wholemeal flour. I also had good experiences with Tesco's organic stoneground strong wholemeal.

You can start off by substituting 30% of the white flour with wholemeal and see if this is dark enough for your taste.

You might want to add a few more drops of water.

Happy Baking,

Juergen

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

Thank you :) No small part of my white breads success was down to your (and others) help and advice.

Is it really that simple? I assumed that it would be an entirely different procedure altogether.
I am going to tesco tomorrow to pick up more supplies (I went through a 2kg bag of flour in under a week. Think my friends and family are going to be sick of bread soon.) so I will pick up some of that flour you suggested and give it a whirl!

Thanks a million,

Charlie

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Charlie, there are loads of methods and recipes around, but to get a basic brown - it's that simple.

You might not get the best result possible, but you start at a place you know and get a feel for different flours and dough textures.

Kind of like acrobatics with a safety net...

Juergen

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

Then start there I shall. I like the idea of a net.

Took a journey down to my local M&S to try and get some flour today, but they had clean run out of wholemeal of any kind. So will have to wait untill the big shop tomorrow.

Slightly off topic, what yeast (if any) would say is best for brown bread? or bread in general for that matter. Just wondering if I need to move away from the fast action sachets or if they will do as well any any other at this point and with the basic recipes I am using.

Thanks,

Charlie

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Charlie,

The yeast you use is perfectly alright. I use Dove's Farm instant yeast all the time. Comes in a bigger pack, I keep it in the fridge in an old airtight honey jar, keeps for ages.

It looks like you are getting deeper into making bread, I would tecommend that you get two things:

1. a scale with a resolution of 0.1 g. Makes it so much easier to measure yeast and salt. Got mine from Amazon for £14.

2. a book. Now, this is a matter of taste. Personally I like Hamelman's Bread the best. It's aimed at professional bakers. That's why it tells you almost everything you need to know, the recipes are great, but it can be a bit overwhelming at first. DiMuzio's book belongs to the same category. Have a snoop at Amazon, look inside the books and see what you might like. Look for the following authors: Jeffrey Hamelman, Daniel DiMuzio, Peter Reinhart. There are also a lot of book reviews on this site.

Now about the advanced stuff others mentioned:

Mixing flour and water and let it stand: This is called autolyse, the gluten forms as if by magic and you have to knead less and the hard bits of the wholegrain flour get fully hydrated. On the other hand some enzymes can kick in and turn your dough into something quite soft.

If you don't do it for too long (depends a bit on the flour) this technique has a remarkable effect on crumb and taste.

As always, it is good to take a step at a time so you can appreciate the differences.

Juergen

 

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

Yes, I think the title of your last response- "You have been bitten by the bread bug!" sums it up perfectly. It is amazing how much detail can go in to bread. But how simple it can be as well.

Had a quick glance on amazon for scales, but could not see any that had (or stated as having) that resolution. Wondering if you could give me a model name?

That book looks fantastic. I have a birthday coming up so will start dropping hints to people about it and hope it does the trick. :)

As for letting the flour soak, will it make much difference with a 30 percent mix? Was going to skip it on this first attempt, just wondering if its vital or not.

As always, thanks for your help.
Charlie

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

They've come down in price!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/PROFESSIONAL-DIGITAL-POCKET-SILVER-KX-500/dp/B000VJKGWM/ref=sr_1_10?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1317122111&sr=1-10

And about the autolyse: I think it would make a difference; It's not vital, it's just another technique (or tool).

When you make white bread you can use it to substantially decrease kneading time. (Look for "No Knead Bread" on this site)

Same ingredients, lots of choices out there ... It's truly fascinating.

Juergen

 

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

Thanks for the link! just ordered a set.

As for the soaking, I will tell you my main concern. I never use all of the water the recipe calls for, so how much would I use for soaking the flour? Can I soak it in half the water amount or and add the rest later, or am I restricted to the amount I use to soak?

Thanks,

Charlie

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi,

If you soak 30% of the total flour weight, just use 30% of the water.

Another thing to get: a notebook.

I started taking notes after attending a baking course, and it has improved my baking a lot:

If you take notes of how much water you actually use, prooving times, temperatures etc you start to spot patterns

and you can always return to that fantastic loaf you made 5 weeks ago and do it again!

Juergen

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

Ahh, so I can soak with less water. That is good to know. Thank you.

I will try that for my next loaf. Just made the dough for my first attempt at basic brown. In the kitchen now rising.
Will keep you updated!

Charlie

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Juergen

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

I undercooked it a little (hence my interest in probe thermometers right now), so it went a little soft. But much like the last loaf that went soft on me, it was delicious! The 30% mix was great, going to go a little darker on the next one- just because of personal preference. But yes, for a first attempt it could have been a whole lot worse.

Thanks again (and again and again) for your help with the recipe.

Just wondering if you knew of a book or some sort of guide to what breads would need what internal temps to be considered "done"? Looked up some info on google, but I can only find 80-90c, and am assuming that wont be the case for all (or even the majority) of recipes.

Cheers,
Charlie

Emelye's picture
Emelye

I've found a good reource for whole grain bread formulas in "The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book."

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Upd Sub edition (September 9, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812969677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812969672

Amazon has it in stock.

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

Appreciate the info. will check that out :)

BettyR's picture
BettyR

you will get your best results if you make a batter with your liquid and whole grain flour and allow it to soak for several hours before adding the rest of your flour and finishing the recipe.

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

Really? That sounds like an interesting technique. May I ask what advantage this gives?

Or is it just something you have picked up that you find works well?
Just for my own interest.

Emelye's picture
Emelye

My guess would be that the flour/water batter will develop some good flavors due to enzyme activity which helps break down the large starch molecules into simpler sugars. 

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

That would make sense I suppose :)

BettyR's picture
BettyR

the soaking also softens and hydrates the bran. The bran has sharp jagged edges that act like a thousand tiny knives that are constantly cutting the gluten strands. This is why it is so hard to get good gluten development with whole wheat flour.

Try it you will be very pleasantly surprised with your next loaf.

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

Thank you for replying :)

I am unable to make bread untill saturday! A little annoyed, but time for some good research I think.

I am using about 187g of stoneground wholemeal flour (30percent of my final mix, although looking to step it up to 40 for the next attempt, just for personal preference.)

How long would you look to soak that for? Assuming I soak in 30% of the final water of the mix.

BettyR's picture
BettyR

4 hours. I mix all my liquid along with my salt, yeast and whole wheat flour first thing in the morning. It makes a batter about the consistency of a cake batter.

If I need to do my baking early in the day I put it together right before I go to bed and let it soak overnight at room temperature. Then add the rest of my ingredients and knead 5 to 10 minutes or until I have a smooth elastic dough. Rise about 1 hour, deflate and shape, rise about 40 minutes and bake.

Let us know how it turns out.

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

So, I soak all my ingrediants? (apart from the bread flour)

Sorry to keep asking questions, just trying to get it all straight in my head before I try it out.

 edit: ignore that. just read what you put. you made it very clear if I had taken the time to look.lol
Oh, and that sandwich is fantastic. Made me hungry just looking at it.

Thanks,
Charlie

BettyR's picture
BettyR

I actually do it differently depending on what time of the day I'm making the bread. I have chickens and I use a lot of eggs in my bread...it's a good way to use up some eggs, we always have way too many.

On days when I'm making the bread the same day I put the eggs, honey, ect... in as well, but if it's going to sit overnight I don't.

Edited to add:
It really doesn't matter what you put in to soak and what you don't as long as your ww flour gets a good soak. Of course you want to be mindful of food safety. The rest is personal preference. Although if you soak overnight I would use at least 1/4 teaspoon of yeast. I think it helps to develop the gluten.

senara's picture
senara

Hi:  Google Ballymaloe Brown Bread.  There are several variations of the recipe but it's a basic Irish brown bread from Darina Allen of the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Co. Cork, Ireland.  It was created in the 1940's in Ireland during the 2nd World War to make sure the Irish ate nutritionally dense food.  It's no knead - endlessly changeable - I add an ounce of toasted ground walnuts, rye flour, fennel seeds - it's a recipe that you can play with, it's simple and it's delicious.  I don't eat anything else.  Good luck.

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

Just looked it up, sounds and looks fantastic! 

Going to go raid my cupboards in a minute, see if I can find a loaf tin that will suit this one.
Then all I will need is some fresh yeast. (all I have right now is sachets)

Thanks so much for suggesting that,

Charlie

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi,

You can use dry yeast - for instant yeast divide the amount of fresh yeast by 3.

30g fresh yeast = 10 g instant yeast

brightonbaker's picture
brightonbaker

I made a pact with my partner in January never to buy another loaf of bread from the supermarket and make our own loaves from scratch instead.  Sometimes it's difficult to stick to and too often we have to resort to soda bread in need of a bread fix quickly, but it's so been worth it.  I have now perfected my favourite brown bread recipe that is perfect for sandwiches, and works every time.  You can find the recipe on my blog here:

http://brightonbaker.blogspot.com/2011/10/best-everyday-brown-bread-recipe.html

Hope you like it - drop me a comment and let me know how it goes if you make it :o)

 

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

That looks like a fantastic recipe. I might have trouble finding malt extract locally, but I am certainly going to try. Seems like quite a lot of water, am I going to have to spend an afternoon removing dough from my sideboards? (as I did this weekend with a rather moist pizza dough.lol)

Will be sure to let you know how it goes if I can get the ingredients together!

brightonbaker's picture
brightonbaker

Perhaps you can get the malt extract online if your local health food store doesn't have it?

A plastic D shaped scraper is good for kneading wet doughs by hand and will hopefully save your sideboards!

Good luck :o)

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

You can buy it on amazon. Is there anything they do not sell? :|

Also found this
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Plain-Plastic-Scraper-Flexible-blade/dp/B00237UYDG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317728094&sr=8-1
Is this the sort of thing you mean? First time I have encountered one. Looks like a very handy tool to have about.

Thanks for taking the time to reply :)
Charlie

brightonbaker's picture
brightonbaker

As much as I hate amazon they do seem to sell absolutely everything....

Yes the scraper you found is the right type of thing.  They're cheap as chips (mine was only 59p at a catering shop!) and so useful when making bread and cakes - kneading wet doughs, scraping bowls, levelling buttercream etc definitely worth getting one :o)

E x

www.brightonbaker.blogspot.com

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

Yes, they do seem to have a finger in most pies dont they.

Going to look around before I order the malt extract, it comes to over 5 pounds on there with delivery (of which 3 pounds in the delivery) but have ordered one of those scrapers.

Thanks again for the recipe. Hope to try it soon :)

Charlie

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss