The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I am so embarrassed

Felila's picture

I am so embarrassed

I usually try to eat healthy food. Brown rice, tofu, beans, no processed foods, etc. BUT I find that I greatly prefer sourdough bread made with white flour to whole wheat sourdoughs.

I've been baking Peter Reinhart's pain au levain (from Artisan Baking Every Day) with Oregon Trail starter, using white bread flour, and that bread is so #@$!@#$!@ good. Love it with butter and jam. Love it with peanut butter. Love it as cinnamon toast. Love it, period. This is not good for me. The bread could be healthier, and adding fats and sugar makes it worse. 

I like whole wheat and multigrain breads just fine with ordinary yeast, but not with sourdough. Struan bread, from the same cookbook, is delish. But not as delish as that devilish white bread. Who knew that just plain flour, water, salt, and starter could taste so GOOD?



dabrownman's picture

If it doesn't have 25-30% whole grains,  it's not very tasty or healthy bread.  To each his own.

Janetcook's picture

If you haven't seen his Whole Grain Breads book you might like to check it out at your local library and give his 'master' loaf a go using hard white whole wheat and Kamut if it is available where you live.  That is an all time favorite loaf in this house and can be used as a solid base for many other wholesome loaves.


foodslut's picture

.... remember that you're far better off eating home-made white bread with ingredients you can explain to a five-year-old than some of the "healthy" breads in the store with all the weird chemical names at the end of the ingredient list.

I'm sure other like Janetcook can share options if you really want to get into more whole grains in your baking, but in the meantime, consider yourself as someone who's progressed from crappy white to "as simple and healthy as possible" white.  Small steps, but in the right direction....

Felila's picture

I ate white bread growing up in the 1950s. I ate white sourdough bread when I lived in San Francisco. Otherwise, I've eaten wholewheat and wholegrain breads (purchased at the health food coop or the supermarket) for most of my life. I've been baking my own for ... what is it, five years? ... and up til now, I've been happy with wholegrain breads. Well, wholewheat with perhaps 1/3 white bread flour to lighten the loaf a little. That's why this yen for white sourdough surprises and embarrasses me. 

Oh well, it's healthier than Cheetos  :)

MangoChutney's picture

Perhaps you can try the recipe with part of the flour made from hard white wheat?  Hard white wheat has fewer tannins in it and doesn't taste quite so much like whole wheat.  If that turns out well, then you can add more of the hard white wheat flour gradually.

jannrn's picture

Sounds like you MORE than make up for it with the OTHER things in your diet!! Just enjoy!! Some people compare breads to the Nectars of the Gods!! ENJOY!!

dmsnyder's picture

The problem is your embarassment. I suggest you do some sort of meaningful penance to aswage your guilt - maybe 10 Hail Hamelmans - and enjoy whatever kind of delicious home-baked breads you enjoy.

Just do stay away from the cheetos! 

In a pharmacy today, I saw another customer who was waiting for a prescription. He was grossly obese and was accompanied by his 3 young children. They were not obese (yet), but each was holding two imense bags of chips or cheetos. That's a problem.


longhorn's picture

Two ideas for making your current bread healthier without going too far overboard on whole wheat. 

1) Try adding white whole wheat. It will add bran without influencing the flavor as much as regular whole wheat. Adding 20 to 25% will give you a significant increase in fiber. (I always add about 5% whole wheat to my boules and sometimes 10 to 25 of white whole wheat depending on my mood)

2) Try adding Ultragrain. While it has the flavor profile of conventioanl "whole wheat" the bran is removed, micropulverized and added back. In my experience it gives texture very similar to white flour. However, if you don't particularly like the taste of conventional whole wheat you might want to try adding it at 5 to 15% for the fiber.

Please let us know if you try these! Good Luck!


Felila's picture

Now THAT sounds like a good plan. I used to buy KA white whole wheat and stopped when I got so dang poor. But it's just a few dollars more a bag and if it increases the whole grain in my diet, it's worth it.

MangoChutney's picture

I'm glad you liked the suggestion.  *smile*

LindyD's picture

A couple slices of sourdough bread brushed with olive oil and a bit of garlic, then lightly grilled, is a heck of a lot healtheir than a couple slices of WW or multigrain bread, lathered with mayonnaise, cheese, and meat, etc.  

Tastes a lot better, too, in my book.

David's advice is spot on.

If  you feel guilty, take a brisk walk for at least 30 minutes.  : )

Felila's picture

As we say in the islands. I'm having hip replacement surgery next week and even after I've recovered from that, the badly pronated foot and weak ankle will make long walks painful. BUT ... there's other exercise I could do :) 

ldavis47's picture

I had problems with the taste in my wheat breads also. Since I started doing 2 things the breads are great: whole wheat flour oils can get bitter after about a month but you can prolong its life by freezing it; I make a preferment overnight with the starter and all the whole wheat flour (usually about 30 %). 

loafgeek's picture

I've made white flour sourdough boules for 4 years and I agree they are very tasty.  But I just started making Hamelman's 3-stage--Detmolder Method--90% Sourdough Rye and it's flavor totally blows away my white sourdough bread I made.

I am guessing you can make a better loaf of whole wheat sourdough than you are now.  You might be using the method you used on white sourdough for wheat.  I tried to do the method I learned for white sourdough on rye and it didn't taste good.  The detmolder method sourdough rye makes for unbelievably flavorful and tangy bread.   I like it much better than white sourdough, so much so I cried when I first ate it because I never ate bread that good before in my life.

I am going to try the detmolder method on 100% whole wheat bread loaf and see what that does for sourdough wheat.  (experiementing).

It's best to try and make your breads with at least 20% fiber content, for health's sake.  One should be eating on average about 35 grams of fiber a day, but e.g. the average American is eating only 10 grams of fiber a day.  Read up on fiber to see how important it is in your diet--it surely helps my blood sugar from spiking.  The rye loaves I make have around 21% fiber, using Hodgson Mill's Rye flour.  (Arrowhead rye flour only has like 15% fiber btw.)

EDIT: I should say I just bought KAF for the first time, the whole wheat variety, and I was amazed to find the ratio of fiber to total carbohydrate was almost 20%--whereas most wheat flours I've seen are more around 15-16%.  I can't wait to try out this KAF flour.

Also, BTW, I stay away from brown rice (I'm diabetic) becuase if you take the fiber content of the rice divided by the total carbohydrates, it's at around 7-8%, which isn't any better than white bread's fiber/total carb ratio.   Beans are around 40% fiber which are really the best source of fiber--I eat more of them now.  Also Kellog's All Bran Original Cereal is over 40% fiber so I eat that for breakfast along with a tablespoon of freshly ground flaxseed & a few drops of stevia.  (sorry for the tangent)


PaddyL's picture

I thought my world had come to an end when I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and could no longer eat my white bread (homemade).  Then I discovered sourdough, I make mine with a buttermilk starter that doesn't make the bread sour, and the fact that it doesn't spike blood sugar the way regular bread or whole wheat does, just gave my breadworld back to me.  I've even adapted some of my old favourite recipes, adding starter, to make them okay for me.  As it is, whole wheat doesn't agree with my digestive system, and as I can no longer have seeds of any kind, the healthy bit comes when I add oat bran.  Do not feel guilty for eating white sourdough bread!

Felila's picture

BTW, I just realized that my "white" bread is 22% whole wheat. The first stage of the Reinhart pain au levain calls for 1/3 cup starter (which I maintain with ww flour) and 2/3 cup ww flour. So that's close to 1 cup of ww. I add 4-1/2 cups white bread flour total.  The bread tastes "white" to me because I'm so used to bread with more ww.  This isn't the 25-30% ww that Dabrownman feels is the bare minimum, but it's getting close. Some white ww flour would bring up the fiber content considerably. 

Getting my fiber from the vegetarian tofu and bean chili I made last night. It seemed blah, so I did some googling for chili secret ingredients. Boy oh boy do people get creative with chili! I ended up adding unsweetened cocoa and cornmeal, which gave it some depth of flavor. 

MangoChutney's picture

Garlic and chocolate are a traditional Mexican combination that sounds weird if you have never tried it.  I make spicy chicken with it all the time.