The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Laurel's Kitchen Basic Whole Wheat

VonildaBakesBread's picture
VonildaBakesBread

Laurel's Kitchen Basic Whole Wheat

Hello, everyone. I joined awhile back, but have been focusing on family issues since. Now I'd like to start again on my bread-baking hobby. Thus, I'm going to ask some newbie questions, similar to ones I may have asked before.

I have a problem knowing how I'm doing. I'm using Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book. Does anyone know if these are high-hydration? How can I tell?

I end up with this sloppy mess that turns out okay once I kinda scoop it/shape it into the loaf pan. However, I'm shooting for great.

Or else I end up with this dry, dry dough to which I've added over a cup of flour. It looks more like I think bread dough should look, but it turns out mediocre (not even okay). I'm specifically looking at the Basic Whole Wheat recipe.

It always turns out dense, though very tasty and breadlike. I've been trying some soft whole white wheat in place of some of the whole wheat. Could this be part of the sloppy mess problem? It certainly turns out a better loaf of bread than the straight whole wheat, but shouldn't even straight whole wheat turn out a good, loaf?

If I post pictures, would that help?

Thanks!

Blessings,

Voni

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

the hydration of the dough by dividing the weight of water by the weight of flour.  If you don't have a scale use 230 g for a cup of water and 150 g for AP flour using the dip and scrape method.  One cup of water and 3 cups of flour gives you 51% hydration -  a dry bagel dough.  Most bread are around 68%,  High hydration workable doughs go up to 75%,  Anything over that is getting into ciabatta dough.  Whole grain doughs have much higher hydration than other doughs with 100% whole grain rye breads beign 100% hydration or even more.

Hopes this helps

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

I suggest that you buy and work from a text book rather than a cook book.  Texts are thorough, take you from the ground up, and often give you what you need in an organized fashion.  So many cook books have directions for making this or that loaf but don't give the information to understand  what you're doing.  So, start with a beginner's text book (for example, I teach beginners from DiMuzio's Bread Baking) and work your way through it taking it as slowly as you feel is comfortable.  Even if you take a year, you'll end up a wonderful baker, someone who's able to distinguish good from less good answers to the questions you'll still be posting here.

Floyd Mann's Handbook The Fresh Loaf is clickable from the banner above.  Compare it to DiMuzio.

Practice, practice, practice.  It's so much fun to get better.

VonildaBakesBread's picture
VonildaBakesBread

I rather considered Laurel's Kitchen a textbook, but I'll get my library to order DiMuzio on interlibrary loan. It would be fun to read. I've been looking at the Fresh Loaf handbook and watching videos on different techniques. Lots of info! Thanks for the help!

And also thanks for the info on how to compute. I'll definitely have to get a scale at some point in the future.

The people on this forum are great!

 

Blessings,

Voni

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Voni,

I bake with only freshly ground whole grains.  When I use to bake Laurel's basic loaf I could never get a consistently strong dough. When I took up baking again about 2 years ago I discovered Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads.  It is an excellent book for describing exactly why you do what you do and the loaves all turn out perfectly.  Nice and soft due to the long soaking of the grains.  I found his instructions are a lot easier to follow due to his format.  It is available at the library too.  What is really nice about his book is that he has a 'master' loaf that can serve as a base to just about any bread you want to bake.  Very versatile.

Good Luck,

Janet

 

 

Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

...what Janet says.

FF

VonildaBakesBread's picture
VonildaBakesBread

THANKS, everyone! Unfortunately, I'll have to interlibrary-loan the Reinhart book, too. His only book here is "Crust and Crumb," so I'll try it out. I also want to try the stretch-and-fold technique on my Laurel's Kitchen book recipe. I love her book ...so much info and inspiration. We'll see whether another basic recipe might be better, though.

What a wealth of information! Blessings,

Voni

rayel's picture
rayel

Hi Voni, If you type in the search box, Laurel's basic whole wheat, some successeful bakes should come up. I am thinking of Khalid's (mebake) posts on this bread in particular. Sometimes little details of their experiences with this recipe will be just what you are missing. I am wondering if you are skipping some steps, like the middle rise for instance. Have you read the chapter, A Loaf For Learning? Even if you apply those things to your basic whole wheat, it should help. Lots of small details, proofing temps, and approximate times,  shaping information, etc. I think you have chosen a good whole wheat handbook.

Ray

VonildaBakesBread's picture
VonildaBakesBread

Yep, I did Loaf for Learning several times, and moved onto her Basic recipe, wanting a more affordable daily loaf. I struggle with either a very shaggy mess or a near-brick.  Trying to track down my problems, so your advice to search-engine it is great. Doing it now!

Blessings, Voni

rayel's picture
rayel

Hi Voni, thanks for your reply. Please keep us posted on how future attempts are going. I made the two loaf Yogurt Bread recipe yesterday, like the one in a Loaf for Learning,  but with a 9 hour sponge, and the bread was good, high rising, and tasted great, but I might have rushed all the rises. Particularly the first rise. It seems that the second rise never quite makes up for too short a first rise, and the final proof does'nt seem to fix it.  I scored one of the loaves, perhaps not deeply enough, and it burst at the side of the loaf more than the unscored loaf. The sponge hurrys the final dough along, so switching between this bread and the Buttermilk straight dough recipe ( my other favorite) messes up my timing.  I always enjoy the process, and since I can eat my less than perfect breads, all is well.

Ray

 

 

 

VonildaBakesBread's picture
VonildaBakesBread

Eating the less-than-perfect loaves? Definitely one thing that makes bread baking a great hobby, right, Ray? That and the smell of rising bread pervading the house.

I'll keep you posted!

Voni