The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Greetings from Spokane

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spokane home baker's picture
spokane home baker

Greetings from Spokane

Hello,

Although new to this forum, I'm not new to home bread making as I have been doing it on and off for a good number of years. I'm an ex-patriot "Brit" and I've gone back to making my own bread as I find most commercial American breads are either too sweet or too flavorless or just plain bad. I will say a good word for the La Brae bakery however as their artisan breads are generally very good. Coming from the UK I do miss "Hovis" bread which is or was a type of semi whole wheat bread which I grew up eating. It is next to impossible to find "Hovis" flour in the US. At the moment I'm using a mix of 350 grams of strong white flour to 150 grams of whole wheat, plus the usual salt, water and yeast ( I also add about 2 tablespoons of light olive oil).. This gives me about the color of "Hovis" and nearly but not quite the taste. I understand some people have added malt extract to get a "Hovis" type loaf. However I understand that the orginal bread did not contain this. Has anyone else tried to make this? 

 

cerevisiae's picture
cerevisiae

I've never heard of Hovis bread, but from the Wikipedia article, I gather it's got extra wheat germ in it. Are you adding additional wheat germ along with using wholemeal flour? That might be the missing flavor.

If you do try adding wheat germ, you may want to try it both toasted and untoasted. I prefer toasting it myself, but I don't know which is closer to what you're trying to replicate. I'd suggest starting with 5% germ and maybe increasing it from there as you see fit.

Another factor to consider is the type of whole wheat. I am given to understand that white whole wheat is more common in the UK, while red whole wheat dominates in North America. You may want to try experimenting with each variety of wholemeal flour.

spokane home baker's picture
spokane home baker

Thank you for your reply. No I haven't tried adding wheat germ. Is this easily available? I knew that most bread flour in the UK used to contain "soft" wheat as opposed to the "hard" wheat common in the US.,but that later a portion of "hard" Canadian wheat was imported and added to bread flour. Is it possible to get a "soft" wheat type flour over here?

cerevisiae's picture
cerevisiae

A natural foods market (food co-op or Whole Foods) is likely to have wheat germ in it's bulk section. These markets and some supermarkets might have packaged wheat germ in their baking or natural foods aisle; Bob's Red Mill sells it, so if you see a section with a bunch of their products, you have a good chance of finding it there, I think, though I'm sure there's plenty of other companies as well. So yes, it should be pretty easily available, though not every grocery will have it.

Hard vs. soft wheat is a regional thing. There are parts of the US where soft wheat is more common (like the southern states) and parts where there is more hard wheat. This is separate from the red vs. white wheat thing I mentioned. While I've read that white wheat is a little lower in protein (thus making it "softer"), I think that depends on where it comes from. King Arthur's white wheat seems to have the same protein content as their other whole wheat flour (which is red wheat by default), so neither seems to be "softer" or "harder/stronger" than the other in that case.

In general, there is a tendency for US flours to have a higher protein content, but there's often a variety of options available. You probably want all-purpose flour, rather than bread flour, or possibly a blend of a bread flour or strong all-purpose cut with a little cake or pastry flour. Maybe see if you can find out what the protein content of the Horvis flour is and then find a flour with a similar one available here.

Antilope put together an very comprehensive list of flours and protein content, which you might find useful. Go here and scroll down several comments.

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

I'm in Montreal, and I've tried making Hovis by adding wheat germ but the bread didn't rise properly.  The only times I've ever managed to make it was when someone sent me some Hovis flour from Vancouver; I gather you can get it from professional bakers there.  We used to be able to buy Hovis here, but that was years ago.  I do love it, though, and I do miss it. You could always look for some malted wheat flour, not easy to find, but it is available.

spokane home baker's picture
spokane home baker

Well I rather easily managed to obtain Wheat Germ at my local "Big Lots". Red Mill brand and not very expensive. So I will try toasting about 25 grams of this and add it to my next flour mix,  it will be about 5% of the flour by weight. I appreciate your link about the protein content of flours, most informative. Any ideas why Paddyl from Montreal would have problems with the bread rising after adding Wheat Germ?