The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

100% wholewheat not doing well in cast iron cooker (everything else fine)

Sencha's picture

100% wholewheat not doing well in cast iron cooker (everything else fine)

Bit of a weird one


I've started baking most of my bread in a dutch oven. All well and good. But weirdly 100% yeasted wholemeal seems to come out a little weird. 


Its like the crust isnt letting out any steam and it doesnt tear well. Instead when I take the lid off its risen but the slash has this this blurry edge and no defined tear and the flour on the outside of the loaf is brillant white like it hasnt been exposed to any moisture at all. All other bread is fine even 100% wholemeal sourdough but for some reason yeasted 100% wholemeal is a problem. Misting the loaf on the out side makes no difference. That just darkens the flour coating.


Well I say problem but I've just gone back to cooking it with the lid off and seperate steam source in the oven. I guess I'm not looking for a solution but the reason why this is happening to this specfic bread for curiosities sake.

clazar123's picture

Whole Wheat/whole meal absorbs a lot of moisture over a long period of time so the dough does best when it is wetter than usual at the beginning and allowed to sit for a longer period to give the bran bits time to absorb the moisture.  The higher the percentage of whole meal in a recipe (in other words-the less AP flour)the more critical an autolyse,sponge or retard is for the  successful loaf.And 100% WW absolutely MUST have adequate hydration and development of the starch and gluten to be successful. It also generally needs a lower,longer baking temp.From the description, it sounds like the moisture is being absorbed rather than released as steam. I would hazard a guess that  you are putting the dough in a non-preheated DO.

So-more questions than answers for you right now. I am wondering if the dough needs more moisture/liquids. You don't mention how you bake-Are you starting with a preheated or cold oven? Is the Dutch Oven preheated? Do you allow the whole meal or dough time to absorb moisture in the form of an autolyse or retardation or use a sponge? What is the oven temp? Is the dough enriched or lean?



Sencha's picture

It was a 75% hydration wholemeal. In pre-heated DO. Autolyeese for 20-30mins. I usually retard but didn't on this occasion.


I don't know the oven temps but it would be about 450-500f for the first 20 mins then lower for the last 20 mins. (gas mark 6)


Same temps on the stone or uncovered iron produce a lovely ripped loaf but not in the DO. I'll test out a 80% hydration or something. 75% works great on the stone but that may be the reason why the wholemeal sourdough is coming out great because that I do 82%


As I said I can get the loaf I desire another way but was just interest in the why. Thanks so much for taking the time to post. Its great info.