The Fresh Loaf

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Wholegrain flour in my country

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Ilse's picture
Ilse

Wholegrain flour in my country

Good morning

I think the wholegrains that we get here in South Africa are far more coarse that what I see on the photos of what everyone else is using.  Our wholegrain is called nuttywheat and the brownbread flour is just a little more refined.  Do I need to adapt my recipes or make changes in anything because the flour is less refined? Any advice would be very interesting.

Thank you.

Regards

Ilse

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

If you haven't yet, try some Eureka Mills flour.  They grind theirs to a finer texture than the nutty wheat / krackly wheat types.  While I lived in ZA, I could usually find it at Spar stores.  The Eureka Mills web site has a listing of distributors and retailers.

As for using the others, give the bran plenty of time to soak, like overnight.  Those big chunks of bran take a long time to absorb the water.  You may find it best to mix the flour, the salt, and the liquid (not including oils) in the recipe for an overnight soak so that the salt can keep the enzyme activity at an acceptable level.

Paul

Ilse's picture
Ilse

Thank you Paul

I've got a loaf in the oven as I'm writing this.  I followed your advice and soaked all of the bran and half of the flour for an hour before I started.  The dough definately felt different!  I am very curious to see the result.  I will try an overnight soak with the next batch.  Am I correct in soaking half of the flour and bran?

Then just another question - can I do just a couple of stretch and folds and not knead at all?  I do 4 stretch and folds with 45min intervals.  But I am never quite sure if it is enough.  I have never got the windowpane test right. :)

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

You can soak as much or as little of the flour as you wish, Ilse.  I'd probably choose to soak all of it but that's just my preference.  I'm not sure that I could produce tangible evidence that it is better than soaking just half the flour.  The one thing to remember with the flours that you are using is that a portion of the bran is small enough to pass through whatever sieve you may have used to separate the larger pieces of bran from the flour.  That residual, fine-grained bran in the unsoaked half of the flour will obviously not be as hydrated as the same bran in the soaked half of the flour.

The type and degree of kneading that you choose should be aligned with the characteristics of the bread that you want to produce.  Are you working with a high-hydration, hearth-style loaf in which you want an open crumb with large, irregular bubbles?  In that case, hand kneading may not even be practical, depending on how wet the dough is.  If so, stretch and folds will work very nicely to produce the desired outcome.  Or, are you working with a sandwich-style bread, typically baked in a pan?  If so, you want a finely-textured, smooth crumb characterized by very small bubbles of uniform size.  In that case, extensive kneading of 10-20 minutes would be appropriate with no stretch and folds required.  Those are sort of the outer extremes, with lots of room in between for using various kneading techniques and timing.

Shh!  Don't let the rest of the Loafers know, but I rarely ever check for windowpane in my doughs.  Most of the time I bake breads with fairly high wholegrain content and I don't necessarily want something that is worked enough to allow a windowpane to form.  Even if I did, it would be very hard to do with all those bran bits disrupting the gluten mesh.  Let's just keep this our little secret.  Mum's the word!

Paul

Ilse's picture
Ilse

Thanks so much for your advice.  Last nights loaf was beautiful and definately better, but I could see in the crumb which parts were soaked because parts were clearly lighter and more soft.  I will soak all of it next time.  I've got a bit of a sore shoulder, that's why I choose to stretch and fold.  I bake sandwich loaves in pans.  Do you think it will be a better bread if I knead the wholegrain instead of stretch and fold?

I feel so guilty asking all these questions, and am so amazed at the wonderful helpfulness of the folk on this site! Bakers are nice people :-)

Blessings

Ilse

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

I wasn't aware that you had something like that to contend with. 

You may want to think of "better" in the context of "Does it look/taste/behave the way that I want?"  If the stretch and fold technique produces a loaf that meets your needs, then you are already in a good place.  If you want something a bit different than you are presently achieving, then some tweaking in process might be appropriate.  If you use the Search tool here (it's that little white box at the upper right-hand corner of the page) and look for French fold or slap and fold or Bertinet, you will find some videos that show a technique that produces a well-kneaded dough with very little effort.  How that motion will feel to your shoulder, I can't say.  It does produce a smoother, more uniform crumb than simple stretch and folds.  And it is much quicker than the traditional push-turn-fold method of kneading on the countertop.  That's just one option.

If you were to using "kneading technique" (minus the quotation marks) as your search term, you will also find other methods of kneading.  Or use Google to search the Web, focusing on videos in particular.

I realize that I may sound evasive.  The point is that there are many different methods for working with your bread.  Some will give you more of what you want for a specific bread, some less. 

If you can, post some pictures of your bread to help illustrate what it is you have achieved and then point out what you would like to change.  That will go a long way toward giving us a common point of reference.

Paul

Ilse's picture
Ilse

Hi Paul 

Thanks for the advice. I would love to add some pictures.... my system is able to ... I might not be :-D  Will ask the help of hubby. :-) I am using the french method of kneading, but the stretch and fold seems so much less time consuming.  I've got Jason's Quick Ciabatta in the oven right now, and because i haven't got a mixer, i used the french method.  Will see how it turns out.

Regards

Ilse