The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Ground wood chips in flour as seasoning/"smoky" flavouring???

foodslut's picture

Ground wood chips in flour as seasoning/"smoky" flavouring???

Did the search, but found nothing exactly fitting my question.

A buddy wants to introduce a smoky flavour into his bread.  We rejected liquid smoke because even though it's a generally natural ingredient, we don't like some of the products out there.  Another option I suggested one option to consider could smoking the flour.  He said he also has mesquite wood chips at home, which led to this head scratcher.

I know mesquite flour is made from grinding the plant's pods, not the wood or bark.  That said, can anyone see problems with, say, roasting some wood chips, then grinding them to fine sawdust to include in the flour (say, 2-3% of flour weight like a seasoning) as a way of making the bread a bit smokier? 

Anybody know if wood chips one buys to smoke things have extra chemicals added that could create a problem?

Any advice on this greatly appreciated.

baybakin's picture

I would really shy away from adding wood chips into any bread you plan on eating, and would suggest smoking the flour instead.  If you have a home brewing store nearby, look for "rauch malt" which is a smoked malted barley that is used in some styles of beer, and if crushed up would make a wonderful bread addition.  They will even grind the grains for you at the shop generally.

emkay's picture

I would not add wood chip dust to the dough. Definitely smoke the flour or other grains. Also, you can smoke the water too. 

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

If you want a smoky bread, cook with smoke. Bake the bread on a barbecue and burn the woodchips for fuel.

I think it would be a bad idea to use sawdust for flavoring.

Floydm's picture

Yeah... I think I would remind my friend that lead, mercury, and arsenic are "natural" too and suggest sticking with liquid smoke, mesquite flour, or baking in a wood fired oven or BBQ as David suggests.


foodslut's picture

.... for the sage advice.  Again, much appreciated.

Laurentius's picture

He would only need to expose the dough to smoke of a few seconds to infuse it and it will not be as pleasant as he probable expects.

Antilope's picture

could also be added to the recipe in addition to the recommendations above.

Kiseger's picture

Bacheldre do a smoked flour, it's a white bread flour they've smoked over woodchips.  Alternatively, try Chad Robertson's smoking method - Tartine 3. The recipe is for grains but I don't see why you can't do this with flour.  Pretty straightforward.  

cranbo's picture

Smoked flour, or as Antilope suggested, smoked salt will add smoke flavor. 

Liquid smoke is a good way to go; depending on the product, some are very natural. 

Look, you're adding smoke for flavor. There is nothing about "smoked" anything that adds nutritional value, and in fact, most smoke has some level of harmful or carcinogenic products. Depending on how much is used, the risk is pretty minute.  

I would not add sawdust by any means, although apparently food-grade cellulose is not that uncommon in some commercially manufactured foods.