The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

First bread from Reinhart's _Whole Grain Breads_

sphealey's picture
sphealey

First bread from Reinhart's _Whole Grain Breads_

Whilst cleaning out the coin container on my dresser in preparation for taking the coins to the supermarket to be counted, I found an unused gift card from Barnes & Noble.  Had it been there 8 months?  20 months?  Who can say; the question was - what to do with it?

What type of book to buy was not in question, but exactly which book was.  I still don't have any of the first four Reinhart books (and would very much like American Pie), Leader has just released a new one, and there are other classics I don't have.  Based on reviews and comments here I decided to get Reinhart's new Whole Grain Breads.

This is without question an excellent book.  I have read some of the chapters and skimmed through the rest, and I would say it will take 4-5 thorough readings until I have absorbed everything Reinhart has to say.  Which is bad, because I am still re-reading The Bread Builders and trying to absorb that.   Reinhart has put together a lot of thoughts that I have been stumbling towards over the last year as I have tried to increase the fraction of whole grains in my bread (and other baked stuff), and it was interesting to see that the bibliography included many books (such as Bread Science) that  have read in the last year, as well as a nod to this web site and its participants.

I decided to start out with the Transitional Country Hearth Loaf, as my family's preferences lean toward white(er) loaves.

Given that I had not yet read the Theory and Process of Delayed Fermentation chapters when I jumped ahead to the recipe, the steps were fairly straightforward for anyone who had made a RLB or Hammelman recipe.   I tried to follow the recipe exactly to see if I would get the results from the book.  One point that bothered me was where the sequence said "combine the soaker and biga pieces with all other ingredients".  The "other ingredients" were 5g salt and 7g yeast; I was expecting some more water, flour, or something.  But when I mixed it up the texture seemed right.  One thing I did is carefully interweave the 12 pieces of biga and 12 pieces of soaker into a neat 3-layer pattern with the salt and yeast in between the layers.  I have zero artistic ability but the weave looked neat (unfortunately I did not hae the camera at that point) and I was gratified the next day to find a similar picture in the opening chapters of the book.

Here is the proofed loaf on the peel, waiting to be slashed and go in the oven:

sPh - Reinhart Transition Country Proofed LoafsPh - Reinhart Transition Country Proofed Loaf

Here is the baked loaf about to come out of the oven.  Since I proofed it in the banneton I was not able to put semolina on the peel.  I should have put some between the loaf and the end of the peel before sliding but did not, so the result was some ovalization of the loaf:

sPh - Reinhart Transition Country Baked LoafsPh - Reinhart Transition Country Baked Loaf

This picture on the counter gives some indication of the size of the loaf with the thermapen in the background.  Quite a bit of distortion from the wide angle lens though since the standard Corelle bowl in the backgorund looks small:

sph - Reinhart Transition Country Baked Loaf on Countersph - Reinhart Transition Country Baked Loaf on Counter

Here is the "crust and crumb".  I took this outside to get some strong light, which allowed a good handheld closeup.  The crust was good; thick and chewy but not too tough or crunchy.  The crumb was open and had a good taste but was a bit dry:

sph - Reinhart Transition Country Crust and Crumbsph - Reinhart Transition Country Crust and Crumb

And here is an end-on shot of the sliced loaf.  Note that despite my careful layering of the soaker (darker) and biga (lighter), mixing, and a total of 7 minutes of kneading there are still clear areas of light and dark crumb:

 sph - Reinhart Transition Country End View Crumbsph - Reinhart Transition Country End View Crumb

Conclusions?  Overall this was a good bread, well-received by family and neighbors.  As mentioned my family and I found it a bit dry.  The published hydration is 65%; when I make it again I will try 70% or even 75.  The taste was good with no bitterness and just a hint of "whole wheat" flavour; the crust was very good.  Toasted with a little butter it was excellent.   A good recipe and actually very easy to make.

sPh 

Comments

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

I like the marblization and ovalization! I'm very interested to hear how the increased hydration goes. What types of flour are in this formula?

sphealey's picture
sphealey

There are only two flours in the Reinhart Transitional Country Bread: whole wheat and white. The whole wheat is mixed with water and a small amount of salt, covered, and left at room temperature overnight to make what Reinhart is calling a soaker. The white flour is mixd with water and yeast, kneaded, and refrigerated overnight to make a biga. The two are then mixed along with the rest of the yeast and salt.

Percentages are

  • Whole wheat 53
  • White flour 47
  • Salt 1.9
  • Yeast 1.6
  • Water 65

sPh

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

the biga and soaker in a 3 layer pattern..could you describe for me?..I can't visualize what you are saying. Interesting..I've never seen a recipe with both.

sphealey's picture
sphealey

=== the biga and soaker in a 3 layer pattern ===

It is the picture on Page 75 of the Reinhart book.

The biga was cream-colored and the soaker was medium brown. Both were firm, so when I cut them each into 12 pieces I had fairly firm strips about 1-1/2" long and 3/4" wide. I was using my medium mixing bowl so I placed the strips one at a time in the bottom of the bowl, weaving the end of one under the top of the next basket-style. Sorta like this: \/\/\/\/. It took about 6 strips of each to go all the way around the bowl, so now I had one level of basket weave. I put the salt on top of this, then started another level of \/\/\/ but I also started with a wheat chunk on top of a white chunk so the pattern was now checkerboard vertically as well. This gave me a 2nd layer and I put the yeast on that, then the remaining strips on top of the yeast.

It looked pretty neat, especially to me as I have virtually no manual dexterity and having somethng like this actually work out the way I intended is rare ;-)

Hope that description helps. In this case a picture really is worth 1000 words because if I had one to post you would immediately see what I had done.

sPh

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Nice looking loaf. :) 

You mentioned the loaf sticking to the peel.  I don't have a brotform, but sometimes proof bread in a towel-lined colander.  Before inverting on my makeshift peel, I sprinkle the surface of the dough with cornmeal.  So far it has slid right off the peel with no problem.

I assume the semolina would serve the same function as cornmeal? i.e. to be little "ball bearings" for the loaf to slide on. 

sphealey's picture
sphealey

=== I assume the semolina would serve the same function as cornmeal? i.e. to be little "ball bearings" for the loaf to slide on. ===

Yes. I got the idea to use semolina from a King Arthur video. It has a higher burning temperature and less taste (unburned and burned) than cornmeal, so I prefer it.

=== I don't have a brotform, but sometimes proof bread in a towel-lined colander. Before inverting on my makeshift peel, I sprinkle the surface of the dough with cornmeal. ===

I did put some semolina on the bottom of the proofed loaf in the brotform before I inverted it, but apparently not enough ;-). I find though that semolina I put right on the dough tends to get absorbed into the dough but when I sprinkle it on the peel it does not get absorbed and provides more of the ball bearing effect. YMMV.

I guess what I need to do is develop the skill of flipping the brotform up into the air, tossing some semolia after it, and sweeping the peel around in one continuous motion to scoop up the semolina and gently catch the now-inverted brotform. Ha ha!

sPh

PS Testing the underline function.

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

<em>Yes. I got the idea to use semolina from a King Arthur video. It (semolina) has a higher burning temperature and less taste (unburned and burned) than cornmeal, so I prefer it.</em>

I'll have to try that. For pizza skins, I especially tend to use a LOT of cornmeal, and it is a bit of a negative in the finished product. It's just better than a wadded up pizza on the stone!

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Well, you can see how well the HTML code works for me! I've been unsuccessful in the past, but thought I'd give it a try again. Your underlined items show up as block quotes to me.

For bakers who aren't born jugglers, the loaf in a brotform might be one place the cornmeal works better! Thought it's also possible that extra heavy semolina might do just as well.

sphealey's picture
sphealey

Semolina works very well for me on the pizza peel; I try to get an even but very thin layer over the whole peel. I haven't had any trouble sliding the pizza onto the stone since I figured this out.

Interestingly, the maple peel seems to work better for this than the stainless steel one even though the stainless feels slipprier to the hand.

sPh

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

"Interestingly, the maple peel seems to work better for this than the stainless steel one even though the stainless feels slipprier to the hand."

I had wondered about that.  Right now I'm still using a very beat-up metal cookie sheet. It works, but I suspect a handle would be a bit easier - not to mention a truly flat surface. 

Rg's picture
Rg

When reseaerching Brotform How To's on TFL, I found the tip to use rice flour in the form. I rub a couple of tablepoons into the form after final turn and place the shaped loaf into the form. When bread is ready to go into the oven, I just place a piece of parchment paper onto a peel, lay both over the form, flip and the loaf consistently slides onto the peel. Then I just use the parchment paper to transfer the loaf into, and out of the oven.

 

Rachel

Edited: bad grammar

bluezebra's picture
bluezebra

marble look of it!

Sorry it was dry but I know you will figure it out soon! :D