The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hamelman's Whole Wheat Bread

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Hamelman's Whole Wheat Bread

I have not posted much in the last month or so since I have been working on different variations of Hamelman's Whole-wheat bread, p 122 in his book Bread.  The recipe is fine and I am sure most people enjoy it just as it is. I have baked it about 6 times. However, for various reasons I have being trying to in some way supplement the recipe so that the crumb is smoother and creamier.  To do this I have done the following:

1-Added 1 teaspoon of gluten for each cup of flour

2-Substituted milk where water was asked for.  KA advised doing so.

My recent batch turned out very well and seems almost creamy however I do now have problems:

1-when using milk KA and others advise scalded milk, which I believe means waiting for the milk to bubble on the edges of the pan, which it seems is very much a judgement call since to do too little can make as many problems as heating too much. Yes I know there is a school of thought that says scalding is not necessary but for various reasons I choose to do so.

2-the use of milk also results in the carmelizing of the milk after the first 20 mins. in the oven so that the bread crust becomes quite dark..  I guess the tenting over the bread could possibly solve that but I am not sure; however I tented it for the last 15 minutes and it seemed to control it.

So my questions are:

  1. How does one scald milk just right?
  2. Is there a way to use this recipe in a way to get the creamy effects I am currently getting but with a simpler means?  Possibly Potatoe Flour?
  3. My loaves are not as tall as I would expect them to be, ie, no real 'oven pop', but rather about the height at which I put them in the oven (about 450 degrees as directed.) Do I just continue to increase the yeast amount and go for it?

Thanks.


 

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I scald milk when I make yogurt.  After years of frustration trying to do it on the stovetop, I found the easiest way is in the microwave with a tempreature probe.  Boiling the milk makes a mess, whether on the stove or in the microwave.  Direct heat on the stove results in a hard-to-clean pot.  But put it in the microwave and set it for maybe 195 degrees, and that should be perfect.

Rosalie

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

I appreciate your sharing of the experience of trying to scald milk when you say: "Direct heat on the stove results in a hard-to-clean pot"

And of course I have no microwave.

Yet to heat the milk too much or too little results in real problems....maybe I should use Whey instead........

Woz's picture
Woz

>How does one scald milk just right?

One looks at said milk with a mean scowl on one's face, shakes one's finger violently and speaks in one's most menacing tone.

 

Sorry, couldn't resist.

 

Woz

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Woz, that was scolding your mother was doing, not scalding!

Eric

aladenzo's picture
aladenzo

.. I don't know how your face looks... but I'm imagining you looking at the milk with a mean face..... and the violent finger...  haha! ... sorry... can't help it either ... LOL!

Jeffrey's picture
Jeffrey

It's two pans, one fits inside the other, the bottom one is filled with water, then you put the milk in the top one.  Or you could put the milk in a jar, then place it in the boiling watter.  It would be messy using the direct heat on the milk.

 

We haven't replaced our microwave in years.

 

jeffrey

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

That is the only option I can think of also.

Interesting that Joy of Cooking explains how to boil an egg but not how to scald milk.

whatever........

susanfnp's picture
susanfnp

Hi Country Boy,

If you're not getting any oven spring at all, my guess would be that the loaves are overproofed. Try proofing less time and see what happens.

Susanfnp

http://www.wildyeastblog.com

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Add and egg white.  Put it to your measure cup and then add cooled milk to make up liquids.  Sometimes the eggwhite stretches your liquids, meaning you might want to use just a little bit less milk as see what it does.  Before adding eggwhite, you should know that it shortens the life span of your loaf, it tends to dry out faster, not a problem if bread is eaten in the first 3 days. I like mashed potato flakes, not flour, for a moister loaf.  I have never used potato flour or potato startch in bread,  yet.  -- Mini Oven

L_M's picture
L_M

Hope this isn't too off topic, but, can anyone please tell me what potato flour looks like? We have a product here that is called potato flour but I have a feeling it might really be potato starch. It is very, very white and is very fine - feels quite like cornstarch. Potato flakes are a creamier colour and Mini Oven's comment got me thinking that maybe I've been using starch all along instead of flour!  It does seem to give the same moist results in bread though.

L_M

sphealey's picture
sphealey

=== can anyone please tell me what potato flour looks like? We have a product here that is called potato flour but I have a feeling it might really be potato starch. It is very, very white and is very fine ===

That is a perfect description of the product sold to me by King Arthur as "potato flour". It is also a very pervasive material; once you get a bit of it on the counter it is all over the kitchen within a few minutes.

sPh

L_M's picture
L_M

Hmmm, could it be that they are both the same - just different names? From what I have heard King Arthur is a very reputable source.

L_M

sphealey's picture
sphealey

Both King Arthur and Bob's Red Mill list potato flour and potato starch as different products. BRM also carries potato flakes, which work quite nicely in the BRM Potato Bread mix.

sPh

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Someone could e-mail KA & Bob's and ask what the difference is.  Since potatoes are not a grain, its flour couldn't be comparable.

Rosalie

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I think it would be good to know. The most obvious example is corn starch / corn flour. I do use potato starch for cornstarch, like the taste more. I tend to think starch stands by itself (processed into being starch) where flour may also contain starch. Any kind of flour is up to experimentation and not all flours come from grain. (Dried chestnuts are also ground to flour and used for bread. The Romans planted chestnut trees all over Europe purposely supporting their troups.  Read More )

Creamy: Yesterday I forced myself to make a kilo loaf without egg white and was very nervous about it. I did find 150ml UHT whipping cream, so I added that and continued with water, a heaping soupspoon of rye firm starter, yeast, sugar, salt, and AP flour. Ev. put it into my casserole and came out with a lovely creamy loaf! (That with low gluten flour!) Nearly pushed the top off!

CountryBoy, what is your definition of "creamy" ??? Mini Oven

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

To scald milk on the stove top, put the pot on medium heat and wait until you see small bubbles beginning to form on the top (especially at the sides of the pan). Immediately remove from heat. As long as you've seen the beginning of bubble formation, it is "scalded just right".

Scalding milk does *not* mean to bring it to a boil. It means to bring it just to the point where it would start boiling if left on the heat longer. (When milk boils, especially if placed on high heat, it can foam up rapidly.)

Jeeze, people, this ain't rocket science. :)

PS - 2 suggestions

If your bread recipe calls for butter (or other solid fat) as well as milk, you can put the butter in the milk immediately after it is scalded so the butter will melt.

If you want to use half milk and half water for the liquid, add the cool water to the milk immediately after it has been scalded. This will quickly lower the temperature of the milk so you don't have to wait as long for it to cool before adding it to the flour.

browndog's picture
browndog

Milk is properly scalded when, as you say, bubbles are just beginning to form at the edges of the pan. Scald over high heat in a thick-bottomed pan, and here's the deal-breaker, you have to stir constantly to prevent scorching, which is so boring you might decide that whatever the reason you were scalding to begin with may not matter after all.

(Whoops, right on the heels of subfuscpersona, who is making bubbles form around my edges in the form of giggles...)

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

hi browndog,

Not to scold you on your scalding techniques and With All Due Respect, I don't think one should use *high* heat when scalding milk. If you're not careful, this can mean the transition from almost boiling to actually boiling can happen pretty rapidly and this is when the milk can boil over and make a mess. Also, I don't think you need to stir all the time, just every now and then.

I remain, your humble servant, etcetera...

subfuscpersona :) :) :) :) :)

 

browndog's picture
browndog

subfuscpersona:


My goodness, you leave me nearly speechless. Ah, but only nearly.

The truth is I agree with you. Hmph.

If you aren't doing high heat you don't need to stir all the time. But it takes FOREVER on medium. But you can easily scorch it on high. So if you lack patience in one department it's best to have a surfeit of it in another.

P.S.This confirms my every suspicion. You are adorable as well as wise. ; )

P. P. S. It pains me to note further that despite your exceedingly politic presentation, you actually disagreed with all my points...

P.P.P.S. If there's room here for any obscurity whatsoever, let it stand for the record that I'm grinning from ear-to-ear...(Paranoia strikes deep.)

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Appreciate the guidance on this.

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

This might be a bit late but I was always told to rinse the pan with cold water before scalding milk. So I checked with The Joy of Cooking and sure enough they say: "it is a help in later cleaning to rinse out the pan with cold water." I haven't scalded milk in ages so can't remember whether it is yet another old wives' tale, but it might help. NOW, can someone please tell me how to read the latest posts on Firm starter - Glezer method? There must be a way to get to the recent stuff without having to go back - and back - and back? It is raining cats and dogs here this morning so I am happily working on some sourdough bread. Let it rain! A

L_M's picture
L_M

AnnieT, we're onto page 2 on the Firm starter - Glazer method. Scroll down to the bottom of the first page and then click on 'next' or page 2

L_M

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Also, since replies to earlier comments aren't necessarily at the end, I sometimes do a search for the word "new", which appears in the upper right corner of new (to me) comments.

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

I am not sure if people got focused on question #1/Scalding and forgot about the other 2 questions.  So far MiniOven and Susanfnp are the only two who have been able to really tackle the other two questions; for which thanks. 

Since there are so many here who are professionals or with many years experience, possibly they could comment on questions #2 and #3 as well?  Thanks.

biscuitman's picture
biscuitman

Hi CountryBoy ! Biscuitman here !

Scalding milk is a lot less scary a process IMHO then some would have you believe.  The secret is to buy yourself a heavy bottomed pot(higher gauge) that is also non-reactive.  The heavier gauge will help eliminate scorching . Using a non-reactive surface will also help eliminate acidic ingredients reacting with the metals of the pan such as aluminum reacting with citrus juices,lactic acid in milk and other dairy products,and tomato products and sauces .

Scalding milk is a simple process of bringing milk to a temp of about 190 degrees Fahrenheit using an instant read thermometer which most bread bakers today are adding to their equipment repertoires anyway.  As per Jeffrey Hamelman there are certain serum proteins present that are not denatured with the standard pasteurization process. They have a negative impact on the overall gluten structure.  Bringing the temp up to 190 will denature these proteins and render them inactive.

Another way to bypass this issue altogether is to use dry milk powder and water in place of the regular milk. 

What I do when making ww bread is use sweet or regular potato cooking water cooled over night out of the fridge for the liquid in the formula...The yeast loves it and it makes for great toast and also will extend the shelf life an extra day or so . I also will add 1 tbsp of sour cream per loaf.   IMHO using 1 full tbsp of vital wheat gluten per cup of flour is excessive and not necessary .  Too much and your interior crumb can possibly develop a gummy texture which is very undesirable.  I use 1 heaping tbsp per loaf.   I also do a 30 minute autolyse.  I do all my kneading right in my bread machine. Then I shape them into standard sandwich loaf pans (8 1/2 x 4 1/2 )

I have a 12" cast iron skillet on the bottom shelf of my oven filled with lava rocks. Right after the loaves go in I add a cup or two of hot water into the skillet to create steam .  I also have a 15 x 20"x 3/4" thick baking stone that is preheated to 350 . With the preheated stone in place there is no appreciable heat loss when opening the oven door so you don't have to start with a high temp.  I brush my loaves with 1 eggwhite mixed with a little water. Then I dust them with either ww graham flour or a combo of mixed nuts and seeds. 

Having your oven temp too high initially can possibly cause your crust to firm up prematurely and compromise your oven spring .  Your oven spring is enhanced by the steam and brushing because they slow down the crust forming just enough to allow the loaf to rise nicely . Since you don't have the milk in the formula you have no tenting or color worries.  

I sweeten my dough with agave nectar available at your local health food store.  It is a totally vegan product that is low on the glycemic scale and diabetic friendly too. It is sweet in flavor similar to honey but not quite as assertive which I like . I use a poolish and a soaker overnight which really helps to make for a more pleasant tasting loaf.

I use instant yeast simply because it's easier !   You just add it right to the flour being careful to keep it away from the salt which will kill it . I'm able to use less and it keeps for years in the freezer right on the door ! :-) (you do need to secure it in an airtight container though.

As far as proofing goes .....if the loaf is fully proofed it is over proofed!  lol...I try to catch the final rise as close to its peak as I can but still on the upswing.  Just dip your finger in a little water and poke the loaf and if it recovers very slowly your are fire ready !  If there is no recovery then you have let the loaves get away from you .

I think another important thing to remember is that once you get past your first rise you need to handle the dough very gingerly IMHO at this point trying to preserve as much of the gluten structure as possible to avoid that dreaded heavy and dense loaf.

When the loaves have been in about a half an hour I take them out of the pans and finish them right on the stone.  I take them out between 190-195 degrees.

Just some of my thoughts...

I hope this helps you some !    I have many good photos to share but still haven't figured out how to insert them here yet ! lol 

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Your expertise is very much appreciated; thank you so much for taking the time to write in detail.

 The following is an itemized response to BiscuitMan.

  • -IMHO using 1 full tbsp of vital wheat gluten per cup of flour is excessive and not necessary .
    • Ok I will cut back on it.
  • -Having your oven temp too high initially can possibly cause your crust to firm up prematurely and compromise your oven spring
    • Ok I will try that but other sources have suggested the importance of high temps in order to get the Pop and then after 20 minutes backing down on the temp.
  • -if the loaf is fully proofed it is over proofed!  lol...
    • Ok but I am following Hamelman's directions pretty much to the letter. Maybe I will just add more dough to each pan of bread in hopes of getting a higher loaf.  Or to express it differently I will up the quantity of the recipe so as to put more into each loaf pan.
  • -that dreaded heavy and dense loaf.
    • Your comment is interesting.  Most people on the forum want loaves with lots of holes which is nice.  However I am seeking to get a loaf which is light but without holes.
  • It is my impression from your comments that you and I are the only two people on this forum that use baking pans and instant yeast.  Thanks for mentioning it; am glad to know I am not alone.

MiniOven, you ask re the definition of creamy, to which I would respond by suggesting what it is not.  Most people on the forum like a rough crumb with lots of holes.  That is ok but for me creamy is smooth and light without holes.

What I am aiming for is what we have talked about before, i.e., the type of German bread which in my experience is light, creamy, with no holes, and a light chewy crust.  I believe the only thing left to me is to proceed with experimenting with dry, concentrated Whey and to build up the light texture that way.  Also, you or someone suggested actually hitting the dough quite hard to bang out the bubbles. 

I realize that the peasant, hearth bread aesthetic is what dominates on this board and that is fine.  However, I continue to try to copy the German style of bread that I know exists and that I have not been able to copy.

 

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

CountryBoy, I'm interested in producing both types of bread.  I want a sandwich type loaf with a soft even crumb, and also the artisan type.  Right now I'm doing my sandwich loaves with yeast, but would like to move to sourdough on all my breads just because there might be some health benefit to doing so.

Sourdough breads tend to have a lower glycemic index. This doesn't make a difference to everyone, but for those (like my family) who tend to stay healthier and trimmer on a low carb diet it's healthier.  Although I wonder if breads which have overnight preferments and soakers might have also have a lower glycemic value, even though leavened with instant yeast.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I have a bit of trouble with your discription.

So did you try using a rye starter with white bread? or may be as much as 300g Rye/wheat starter? The white german bread I think you're thinking of is anything but light, weight wise.

Knocking the air out of the dough, banging, does make the bubbles smaller and so does raising moisture content of loaf because you can knock it down more often and large bubbles quickly rise to the surface. Try not to overproof your dough in the bulk rise (knocking it down will distract you) and keep track of your time and room temperatures. When your loaf is shaped, wait about 30 minutes to try putting an underproofed sprayed lightly with water scored loaf into the oven 400°f. Let it get nice and brown on the outside. Use milk or cream in your recipe and knead it. It could even be a sour milk wheat bread you're after.

 

Oldcampcook's picture
Oldcampcook

Countryboy,

I lurk - but just wanted you to know that I use bread pans about 75 percent of the time as well as yeast.  My SO loves a "farm fresh" loaf that I found on the net and I have to make 2 batches (6 loaves) a week to keep her happy.

She does not like sourdough, even mild, so when I use my starter and make SD bread, it is strictly for MY use. 

Maybe it is a lady thing (no offense) because my neighbor doesnt like SD either, but her husband scarfs up every bit I give to him!   Hummm, do we need a study on this matter?

Ramona's picture
Ramona

Hi, I am very new to this, but have been studying quite a bit in the past month.  Today, I made Floyd's potato chive bread with hard winter red wheat and no all purpose or white flour.  I had to adjust the hydration a little.  Again, I am learning as I go.  It turned out very tasty and the texture was really good.  I have come to realize, from all my reading and instructions from others, that I really need to do a sponge and maybe an autolyze, as well, to get the flavor, nutrition, and the texture that I am looking for.  I am still learning, but so far have found that doing these overnight practices really helps.  With the potato bread, I also added mashed potatoes and sour cream, which really gave the bread good flavor and texture(creamy?).  I also didn't have a problem with stickiness using the sponge.  I will probably make this bread often, because not only did I like it, but my husband really commented on it, as well as, my children.  As for scalded milk, you seem to have gotten quite alot of answers that are helpful.  All I do, and I realize according to Laurel's breadbook also, is wait until I see a skin ontop of the milk.  But I don't want to cook my milk unless I really need to.  I use raw milk and want the health benefits from it.  I know that some say there is a protein in it that hinders rise unless it is scalded, but I haven't been disappointed by the rises in my bread.  In fact, I have found that my doughs rise relatively fast, compared to recipes.  I did read that whole grains are subceptible to this.  One of the things that is important to me is getting whole grain recipes to taste like white flour recipes(that I grew up on).  And today, I also made sticky buns with pecans and they turned out tasting just like the ones that we use to buy.  They are probably my best yet so far in baking from whole grains.

Ramona's picture
Ramona

I made this with hard red spring wheat.

LisaPA's picture
LisaPA

I am too new to bread baking to be able to say anything useful about the effects of scalded v unscalded milk on rise--I'm not consistent enough to be able to determine individual factors in the quality of my bread.

I can say, however, that I couldn't make a decent batch of yogurt until I started scalding the milk--the instructions with my yogurt maker weren't clear, and just said to heat the milk. Every time, I had yummy but runny yogurt. I did some research and discovered that the milk has to be scalded to break down the proteins that prevent the yogurt setting up. Once I started scalding the milk, the yogurt turned out like the kind you get in the store--firm and spoonable. I do hate cleaning the pot though!

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

So I was reading through the BBA and noted his Light Whole Wheat Bread recipe that includes butter.  Is that a tenderizer? 

Do people use butter and an egg for most breads where they want more tender crumb?

He also mentions that there is no real point in going with a preferment or sponge on this but Hamelman definitely does use a preferment for his whole wheat.