The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Lucy’s Favorite Methods To Make Healthy and Beautiful Bread

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Lucy’s Favorite Methods To Make Healthy and Beautiful Bread

This is something that Lucy has been researching and trying to get right for at least a couple of years and she thinks she is close enough to getting a method finalized to post about it.  First off, I am a type 2 Diabetic which makes her quest a little more difficult but the results would be better for everyone - diabetic or not.

 People who have gluten protein sensitivity might also be able to digest this bread better.  Those who have a problem digesting the starches in whole grain breads should also benefit by having more starches pre-digested in the fermentation process.

 Minerals, vitamins and nutrients cannot be released in whole grain yeast bread because of the binding effects of phytic acid in bran.   We want to neutralize it so these nutrients can be utilized by our bodies.

 More than half the nutritional value in grain is stored in the bran and endosperm.  If it is sifted out to make white flour or isn’t treated properly, this extra nutritional value to us is lost.  We want to use all the grain to add nutritional value and not be wasteful.  We want to increase the protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals in the finished bread without any additives at all.

 That is a pretty tall order but the science behind how to do it has now caught up, over the last 100 years, with the bakers who have been doing it for thousands of years without really knowing exactly why what they did had such health benefits.

 On top pf all that, we want the bread to keep well, spring, bloom and brown neautifully, have a soft moist crumb, taste better and not be bitter even if it contains a high percent of whole grain - without adding a sweetener.

Now this bread making task is really starting to get difficult and take longer - but it’s not impossible - Lucy and I do it every week.....and if we can do it ….. then anyone else can too.

 Some keys to maximizing the health benefits while producing a great looking and tasting loaf of bread are:

  1. Use fresh milled whole grains -sprout,mill and dry then first if possible - make whole and sprouted grans 30-50% of the flour or more
  2.  Get some whole rye in every bread recipe - even if only in the starter.  There is no grain like rye when it comes to health benefits.
  3. Autolyse the flour including the flour in the levain build.  The enzymes will make for plenty of food for the wee beasties and the left over sugars make for sweeter and browner bread. Nothing like the pre digestion of starch for our stomachs too.
  4. Make sourdough bread and use less pre-fermented flour to do it - 10% or so. Dump the commercial yeast entirely.  It just works too fast and you lose the health befits only sourdough can provide with LAB and yeast fermentation working together.  Plus the bread will keep much longer too.
  5. Sift your milled whole grain and use the sifted out 15-20% hard bits to feed the levain.  Then retard the finished levain for 24-48 hours.  There is sill 20% starch in the bran that the autolyse enzymes will break down providing plenty of food for the sourdough wee beasties.  The wee beasties will love it and your bloom, spring, crumb and taste bubs will thank you for making the bran as soft as possible.  Plus the phytic acid will be neutralized. This will release half the health goodies that were previously locked up plus the bran will be pre-digested making life easier on your stomach.
  6. Use long cold retards for the starter, levain and dough.  Long, low and slow means extra flavor.  Lucy’s No Muss No Fuss Starter can be stored for up to 20 weeks in the fridge with no maintenance hassles.  Create recipes that have low pre-fermented flour amounts so that you can do a bulk or even shaped final proof of 18 - 48 hours.
  7. Use a higher overall hydration for the dough.  The crumb will be more open, soft and moist than low hydration bread plus the wee beasties love a higher hydration.  Too much liquid will make for Frisbee's Flat Bread.
  8. Do the counter work for building levains, gluten development and countertop bulk ferment at higher temperatures. A mix of high and low temperature brings out all the flavor your SD bread can provide.  Think Detmolder http://germanfood.about.com/od/germanfoodglossary/a/Detmolder-Three-Phase-Sourdough-Method.htm
  9. Try a double levain - one white and one dark each made with high and low temperatures with high and low hydration to squeeze out more flavor.
  10. Try a different liquid for the dough like potato water or yogurt whey to enhance the flavor and fortify the nutritional benefits of the bread. Put some healthy add ins into the dough like seeds n nuts and re-hydrated dried fruits to increase it’s nutritional value and flavor too.

Here is a recent bread that utilizes most of Lucy’s methods above.  Double Levain Sprouted 4 Grain Sourdough with Seeds and here are many, many sites for further reading about the health benefits of making sourdough bread

Happy sourdough baking Lucy’s way.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bran

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phytic_acid

http://realfoodforager.com/5-reasons-to-make-sourdough-your-only-bread/

http://www.naturaltherapypages.com.au/article/Benefits_Sprouted_Grains

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2012/11/27/what-are-sprouted-grains

PalwithnoovenP's picture
PalwithnoovenP

Must go to my bookmarks! Lucy is a great teacher!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

when making bread.

Happy baking 

isand66's picture
isand66

Great post DA and Lucy!  Some real good tips here.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Lucy aha been working on it for quite a while.  

Happy baking 

Skibum's picture
Skibum

Wow, dab, your kitchen assistant took a deep dive here. Great information and thanks for sharing! Happy baking, Ski

PS your second link Detmolder is broken. If I copy and paste the link I get the article, but if I click on it i just get about garbage, fyi  b

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

But maybe not.  After the fix, I tried it ans it worked.

Glad you liked the post Ski

Happy baking 

Flour.ish.en's picture
Flour.ish.en

Great writeup. I like the ideas of feeding levain with some brans, cold retard with high-temperature bulk fermentation and double levain. Very informative. Thanks for the insights.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

of the typos in the post.  The thing to remember about using high temperatures for the counter work for starter,levain gluten development and bulk ferment  is that things happen very fast.  But, then following each with a long cold retard,  slows thong back down so that the complex flavor can be extracted from the grains and wee beasties.

White and dark, cold and hot, wet and dry are the ying and yang of SD bread making.  

Glad you liked the post.

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

Thanks so much for this post.  It's quite inspiring.  I can't take advantage of all your recommendations (one toy at a time), but I'm going to try as many as I can.  I love the idea of retarding the levain and maxing high and low temps.  I made a levain this weekend using sifted KA WW for bran, and came up with very little bran.  I'd say it was 2/3 to 3/4 bran all told.  I will experiment  with a levain retard this week.

Question: instead of using bran, would it work to use cracked rye or wheat for a levain, including an extended retard?  Would it require softening with hot water, and if so, would it still be desirable for use in a levain?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

That is about what I get out of my home milled grains.  You either dn'lt have a fine enough sieve or the folks at KA aren't really putting all the bran back into their WW flour after the milling is completed = or both.  You could grind the cracked wheat or rye and sift that to get the bran out and use the bran.  Wheat bran is available in most heath foods stores.  It is the bran that provides the buffering effect that allows the LAB to continue to reproduce and produce more acid at lower pH levels than normal.  

Getting the ;starter, levain and dough to have a higher LAB to Yeast Ratio than normal, using bran and temperature and getting the bran wettest and under attack by the acid the longest, is what makes for the best whole grain breads.  That is Lucy's general basis for her theory at any rate and she is sticking to it since her many tests have born this out in the finished bread she has made the past year and more:-)

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

but I can't figure out what you mean by pre-fermented flour. Can you explain exactly what you mean?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

 is pre-fermented flour.  A 100% hydration levain that was 100g would have 50 g of pre-fermented flour and 50 g of water in it.

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

Thank you! So you advocate no more than 200 grams of levain in a dough that would use ultimately 1000 grams of flour (100 g of flour/ 100 g of water) in order to be able to retard the dough 18+ hours at either the bulk or proofing stages?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

I use for any bake depends on the time of year (kitchen temperature), hydration, amount and type of whole grains and how much time I have to make the bread.  Higher temperature - less levain, higher hydration - less levain, more whole grains - less levain, more sprouted grains - less levain and more time means less levain.

I rarely use less than 5% or more than 20% pre-fermented flour though .  If you are doing a shaped final proof in the fridge for a long time, then you really need to make sure that your levain isn't too big or the dough will over proof in the fridge while you are sleeping and over proofed dough won't bloom and spring properly.  But if it does all is not lost either.  Just reshape it and proof it again on the counter.  This would be just like doing a long bulk ferment in the fridge and then shaping the dough the next morning for final proof which is what many bakers do.

Everyone's starters are different so you just need to experiment with yours to see how small a levain you need to use to get a shaped proof in the fridge for along time to work for you.

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

I am quite surprised at how much my normal procedure follows the tenants outlined here. I guess that over the last couple of years, you have been pushing me in this direction bit by bit!  Thank you!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

make really good bread that is tasty, nutritious, healthy and, if it looks good inside and out, that is the gravy plus Lucy said she would never make First Class BA without something that would make it look like she knew what she was doing for a change:-)  Sometimes it is better to be find out bit by bit and discover these things for yourself with a little prodding instead of getting it dumped on you all at once:-)  Your bread is much better as a result don't you think"  Lucy thinks so.  Lucy says one baker saved is worth the effort!  Lucy said she would write it differently today and at least get the sleeping Ferret, Slap and folds, stretch and fold and the Strutting Peacock Folds in there along with Chacons, the BBB's and the OSM's  not to mention seeds, fruits and nuts. 

Glad you finally noticed just the same

Happy baking Danni

Portus's picture
Portus

Per 4 above, you write "[m]ake sourdough bread and use less pre-fermented flour to do it - 10% or so".  Does this mean the 14.28% preferment implied in a 123 recipe conflicts with your guideline?  Ditto breads based on a biga or polish, or "no knead" varieties? 

Trying to find my way round diabetes 2-friendly sourdough recipes.

Joe

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Less levain and pre-fermented flour means more time for the dough to ferment and proof.  Slow bread tastes better than fast bread just like most sloe food tastes better than fast food.  The longer the we beasties can work on the dough; whole and sprouted grains, the better it will be for all diabetics who eat it.

The 123 doesn't work very well for diabetics.  First off, the more whole grains in the mix,  the better it is for us and no white flour is the best,  The more whole grains you have the more hydration you need in the mix to get the bread to come out right - so the 2 for the water is way off also.  The best formula for us is 7% pre-fermented 100% hydration bran levain that is retarded for 48 hours after doubling with all whole grains for dough flour , a 2-4 hour autolyse and  85 -100%  overall hydration depending on how much sprouted grain is in the mix with a long cold retard as possible for the bulk and or final shaped proof.  The more sprouted grain in the mix, the less hydration required.

This also makes the most nutritious, healthiest, most tasty bread for everyone else as well so we all enjoy the best there is by following the basic rules for making great tasting bread!,

Happy baking the diabetic way Joe - it is good for everyone!

Portus's picture
Portus

Will have to re-schedule my usual weekend baking my routines to accommodate the longer processes, though almost without exception (e.g. JH's Pain au Levain) I retard my loaves overnight.  Aside from flavour, I think it improves oven spring and makes for easier slashing.

Now for the fun of developing my favourite 123 mix of stoneground flours (35% whole wheat, 11% rye, 11% spelt and 43% white) into a formula that approximates your methods ;-)

J