The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole Wheat Goodness

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David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Whole Wheat Goodness

This weekend was a busy one, but I still managed to bake my loaves in the dual combo cooker.

Because we were having a BBQ birthday celebration on Saturday, I had too many things to do and not enough room to do them, until the house cleared out.  Saturday night, I took my tablespoon full of starter and mixed it with 200 grams of freshly milled hard red winter wheat, and 200 grams of water.  The product started out looking like this:

By Sunday morning, it looked like this:

Which, from the bottom of the bowl, looks like this:

When my levain looks like this, I don't bother with the float test. I just take my scraper, cut it in half, add the water and mix the dough.

This time around, rather than using rice flour and white flour, I used coarsely ground wheat berries to sprinkle my baskets (still, I used a sifter to cover the basket) together with some rice flour.

Because I was leaving the house for the day and because my fridge was still full from the BBQ, I put the baskets in a large ice cooler (with yesterday's ice in it) and when I came back from my day out of the house, the dough had risen considerably. Perhaps it was over-proofed, I don't know.

One of the loaves bloomed nicely. The larger one did not...I think I may have deflated it a bit when I transferred it to the dutch oven since it wound up going over the side a bit.

In any case, here is the crumb of the smaller loaf which bloomed a bit higher than the larger loaf.  The bread came out awesome. I waited nearly two hours to cut it, and it was fantastic both with and without a buttery spread.

The following morning, I sliced it for a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, which was delicious.  The bread is wonderfully moist and full of flavor.  Alas, now it is in a ziplog bag. I don't know if it will ever be as delicious, but I remain willing to find out.

Next weekend, I plan to follow the Tartine Bread, Rye formula and see how that comes out.  Though, I intend to use fresh milled flour instead of AP flour.

Comments

CAphyl's picture
CAphyl

David:  I bet these loaves tasted so good.  Congratulations and let us know how the Tartine comes out.  Best,  Phyllis

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

The do indeed taste very good. Well, the first loaf did. I will try the second on tomorrow.

I am excited to try a different bread and to make use of my rye berries.

I also am glad to have found a use for my mill's coarser setting, to make meal to prevent sticking.  I will still use rice flour in the mix, because I like the white rings.

I am also now an expert pancake maker.  Have some extra starter and some extra coarsely ground flour?  Mix it up, add some water or milk, add an egg, a bit of honey, a sprinkle of baking powder and flour until it is the right consistency and you are good to go.  No need at all to follow a recipe.  It is quite liberating.

Though, my favorite pancakes are still those made with only wheat berries and no sourdough, but the sourdough are a close second.

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11

...and i'm sure tastes, delicious!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

from the looks of the bloom I would say these were 98% proofed instead of 85%.  You will find the closer you are to a 100% whole grain bread the closer you need to be 85% proof to get spring and bloom - otherwise they will deflate when trasfering them to the DO.  Doesn't effect the taste at al though and these have to taste great.

Happy bakign David

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

It just makes me so happy to bite into my sandwich when the bread is moist and flavorful.  With failures like these, it is very easy to keep trying!

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

As Karin/Hanseata always reminds people - flavor rules and, despite your unexpected results with oven spring, your loaves met that criteria.

Something you might try to get a 'stronger' loaf/spring would be to decrease the HL of your leaven.  My leavens are all made with 100% freshly milled whole grains and I keep them from between 65% - 75%HL depending on the season.  From my perspective of the photo of your ripe starter it appears to have gone too long and is over-fermented.  This time of year with warmer weather I keep them stiffer to slow fermentation down and a firmer leaven also adds strength to the final dough. 

Janet

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

That is very helpful to know.  I was wondering about whether the levain was over-fermented, but then I convinced myself, how can it matter? Obviously, when I add it to the flour, it rejuvenates just like it rejuvenated when I added the old starter to make the levain.  I assumed it would only change the flavor profile and not the leavening properties, but I suppose I was wrong about that!

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

One of the things I love about breads is that I am always learning something.  You may try out a firmer leaven and decide that you like the flavor profile of your 100% leaven better.  Being a homemaker you get to decide what you like in your breads which gives you lots of room for experimentation.

If you care to I know a bit more about this there are discussions here on the merits between the two extremes of judging when a starter is ready to be used.  Some say just prior to peaking, some swear by using right as it hits its peak and then there is the camp that insists that it is perfect when it has gone beyond its peak.

Have Fun,

Janet

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

But, alas, I don't have the time to watch my starter or my leaven to figure out when it is "at peak" and since I don't feed it consistently, I can't even determine how long it "typically" takes to peak.  And so, I must settle for doing my best with the time I have, to make good bread.

But now that I know the peakiness of my leaven can implicate how well it raises bread, I am prepared to experiment with stiffer levains that peak slower and see how they raise my bread when I mix dough with them the following morning.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

You are already on your way to figuring out how your leaven behaves.  You know how it turns out at 100% HL so now all you need to do without having to watch a clock, I fall into the flexible school of starter readiness myself, is build another leaven changing only 1 part of your process.

 Example:

 Use the same amount of seed and flour that you used for your 100% leaven but use only 50% of the water you used and see what happens.  

Knowing how to feed and take care of your starter is similar to learning how to feed and care for an infant.  It will let you know what it needs and it can be adjusted to your schedule so it is not running your life - you are in control.  *^) 

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I presume this to be the case, but for the sake of completeness, if I reduce the water for the leaven, I assume that I should add that water back in when mixing the dough -- in other words, the intent is not to change the hydration of the bread as well, correct?

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Yep, you have presumed correctly.  It really isn't as complicated as it sounds.

Have fun!

Janet