The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

PROBLEM IDENTIFIED - Previously good WW/Oat/Bread Flour recipe not rising

vincewarde's picture
vincewarde

PROBLEM IDENTIFIED - Previously good WW/Oat/Bread Flour recipe not rising

I have been baking nearly all our bread using bread machines for many years.  I do several different kinds (Plus Pizza and Rolls) using pre-measured packets we make ourselves.  I recently moved and had to use another source of flour for our latest packets.

Our white bread packets have been working fine - but we cannot get out old reliable breakfast bread recipe to rise AT ALL.  It's 1.5 cops bread flour, 1.5 cups whole wheat flour and 1 cup quick oats, 1/2 cup dry milk, 1/2 tsp salt. 2 tbs oil and 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 1/3 cups water and a 1 tbs dry yeast.

I knew my yeast was good because it was working on everything else.  So, I tried making up a batch measuring all ingredients instead of using the packets - it rose a little.  So, I did a test replacing the WW flour with Bread Flour.  Of course it rose like crazy.

So, I have it narrowed down to the WW flour.  Wondering if I bought the wrong kind, or if something else could be wrong with it.  Any ideas what the problem is and/or how I can get the packets to rise?

Thanks much! 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

flour by now?  Has it expired?  Whole wheat can go rancid quickly if exposed to heat, perhaps during the move.  Or if you have a new source, perhaps it is expired or was stored badly before you purchased it.  

vincewarde's picture
vincewarde

I don't think age is the problem.  We store all our flour and our bread packets in vacuum bags.  No air = no bugs and no going rancid.  I have used much older wheat than this in the past with zero problems - in fact, the WW flour in the packets is just a few months old......

Thanks for replying, any more ideas?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

If fresh, could be too powerful tearing the gluten before it develops in the WW and initial rise gas is escaping.  Is the yeast a quickie, no bulk rise type yeast?  Reduction of yeast might help.  So might lowering the temp of the water to slow down the yeast.

Try a little experiment...Along with the "normal" ww mix, make up some ww mix with cold or ice water to slow down fermentation and compare.  Fix a deflated bag over the top of each tightly with tape or rubber band, let the yeast gas raise the bag.  How do dough levels compare when the bags are filled?

vincewarde's picture
vincewarde

I did try one in my proofing box (kneaded in bread machine).  For the first 12 hours, nothing.  Checked it after 36 hours and it had risen some - a bit less than double.  In the past, this recipe has risen rapidly and tripled in size.

Coming at the problem from a different direction: What is the best WW Flour to use for bread?

Thanks all!

dobie's picture
dobie

vincewarde,

Well, home milled probably.

Assuming that's not the answer you're looking for, I would take a stab at King Arthur (if it's available in your area).

I know a lot of people swear by it and being popular, I would imagine freshness could be less of an issue. Plus, they try to keep pretty tight reins on the quality and consistancy.

dobie

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

I would be more suspicious of the oats in combination with the whole wheat, rather than the flour per se. I had a lot of trouble in the past, trying to create a bread made up of 75% whole wheat and 25% rolled oats. There was something synergistic happening between them that caused the dough to break down rather rapidly and impressively, so that long or warm fermentations were out of the question. When I tried oat flour, things only got worse. I fixed the problem by keeping the oats and whole wheat apart for as long as possible, pre-fermenting a large portion of the flour in a sponge and hydrating the oats in a soaker. Once combined in the dough, things go well as long as I limit the time from mixing to baking to about 4-5 hours total (bulk fermentation, dividing, resting, shaping and proofing --- everything), yeast adjusted to accomplish all that at 72-74F. From the time they are combined it's like starting the clock on tiny, ticking, proteolytic timebombs. The sponge and soaker approach bought me the time I needed for flavor development.

Best of luck with it,
dw

dobie's picture
dobie

dw

Very interesting bit on information (and a nice work around). I will take note.

dobie

vincewarde's picture
vincewarde

OK, bought some "high gluten flour" and used that in place of the bread flour and it rise perfectly.  So, next question is how to save those made up packets. 

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Good thinking. High gluten flour is/was the same approach used for San Francisco sourdough --- the old "traditional" process: start with a higher level of gluten so that there's enough left after degradation for light bread. Maybe you can save those packets just by adding a tablespoon or two of vital wheat gluten.

Edited to add that if you add VWG, you may need to increase the water.