The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Old lurker, new user, and a question: Polish "wholemeal" flour

cinnamonshops's picture

Old lurker, new user, and a question: Polish "wholemeal" flour

Hello all,

I've been trying to soak up information from this site intermittently for months now, and more intensively in the past few weeks. I'm not a brand-new bread baker by any means, but my attempts have come in waves, and I'm looking once again to improve my game. I began baking as a kid from Beard on Bread (and even did a science fair project using one of its recipes), but in more recent years have relied pretty heavily on Nancy Silverton's LaBrea book. I'm just getting around to the Bread Baker's Apprentice, and have been having some trouble getting my loaves to brown, which is very strange -- I'm chalking it up to a new flour I was using; will try again this weekend with some other brands. Anyway!

I mostly wanted to ask about some other flour that I recently bought at a Polish grocery store, thinking it was regular bread flour. When I opened it, it turned out to be what I see now is labeled as "wholemeal" flour, which I take it is whole wheat, but is much, much rougher than any WW I've seen before (I live in Toronto). It looks intriguing, but I'm not sure what exactly to do with it.

Any suggestions, recipes, etc?

Thanks and hello!


BreadBro's picture

Without looking at it, it's probably just coarsely grown whole wheat (like Hogdkin's Mill). You can use it just like regular whole wheat, but should be advised that the loaves might not come together as well or rise as high. Try using it 50/50 with strong white flour.

vtsteve's picture

If it's very coarse, you can make a soaker to allow it to soften before mixing into the dough. In your regular formula, replace 10-15% of the flour with wholemeal that you've pre-soaked overnight in an equal weight of the formula water. If it's *very* coarse, you can use boiling water to further soften the grains. Ideally, the soaker is 'hydration neutral' (the same consistency as the final dough), but it's easier to incorporate a wetter soaker than one that's too dry/pasty. You may need to add a little more water than usual at the final mix to get the right feel.

dabrownman's picture

also run it through a coffee mill to get it much finer and sift out what ever portion you don't want or keep it whole,  A 4 hour autolyse for whole grains is the minimum in my book.

I also like to feed the sifted out portion 22-25% to my starter when building the SD levain for the bread so that the hard. gluten cutting bits are wet the longest and can get softer while still keeping a 100% whole grain bread when mixed back with the autolyse that can now be 2 hours since hard buts were sifted out to feed the SD levain.

Happy baking

cinnamonshops's picture

Thanks for the feedback and advice, you guys!

Looking around, I would say it somewhat resembles this stuff, from King Arthur:

Which they say would work in brown breads and such -- maybe I'll have to try that! I like the idea of a soaker too.

I have another flour question, but perhaps I'll move it over to the ingredients section...? It's about the aforementioned flour that I felt wasn't resulting in properly browned loafs.