The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Favorite whole wheat flour?

katyajini's picture
katyajini

Favorite whole wheat flour?

With a little bit practice and experience I can perceive how much difference there is between even white flours for bread baking, both for structure and flavor. I am thinking this must be true for whole wheat flour too.

I know very little about whole wheat flour.  Is there a brand you favor?  Available to me are KAF, Wheat Montana Farms Bronze. Bob's Red Mill and Hodgson Mill.  I am happy to look up other brands that are not too much trouble.

Thank you!

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

When I teach my bread class, I show participants the difference between whole-milled whole wheat flour and commercial 'whole wheat' flour. It's a significant difference! The one I use is actually grown locally and milled close by, and is the whole grain simply milled once and bagged. The commercial one is basically blended unbleached flour made from the endosperm (starchy bit) of the wheat with the germ removed and a whole bunch of bran added back in.

I would expect any whole milled whole wheat would be pretty good, but it also depends what kind of wheat (hard red vs. soft white, for example) and where it is grown (cold climate versus warm). Can you try a small bag each of two or three of the available ones to see which one you like best?

suave's picture
suave

The commercial one is basically blended unbleached flour made from the endosperm (starchy bit) of the wheat with the germ removed and a whole bunch of bran added back in.

 

According to  21 CFR § 137.200 it would be illegal to call it a whole wheat flour, since it requires that "The proportions of the natural constituents of such wheat, other than moisture, remain unaltered."

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

That's really interesting. If you look at Rogers whole wheat flours (descriptions in this link), you'll note that only two of the four are described as having 100% of the wheat milled. I use the Coarse whole wheat flour which, when sifted, results in almost white flour and a whole lot of bran. Totally different from the local, stone-ground whole wheat flour that I buy.

suave's picture
suave

That's because in the USA whole wheat and whole grain are the same, and in Canada they are not.

katyajini's picture
katyajini

Hmm, you don't say!  Yes I think I will try small bags of them then. Seems like then there could be much variation...Thnk you Lazy Loafer.

pmccool's picture
pmccool

is a very finely-milled flour; no large chunks of bran visible.  It milled from a hard red wheat.  The specs don't say whether it is winter or spring wheat.  Protein content is 14% or higher. 

I'm not sure if I've used Hodgson Mills whole wheat flour or if I'm confusing it with graham flour.  My recollection, limited though it is, is of a rather coarse-textured flour with largish bits of bran that could be sieved out.

Paul

katyajini's picture
katyajini

Without belaboring the point, when I want to use a whole grain flour like whole wheat I want to use a very finely milled flour right?  Or are coarsely grounds flour interesting....Any guidance where to start?  Thanks!

 

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Coarsely-ground whole grain flours can indeed be very nice, but may require slightly different handling. The bran in coarse whole wheat (hard red wheat) flour can cut the gluten strands, and whole grain flour also hydrated differently. Some people like to sift the flour and use the coarse bits in the starter (whether sourdough or made with commercial yeast), or use the whole grain portion of the total dough flour in the starter. Others may soak the coarse bits first, or do a long autolyse. You need to be careful with high-bran flours though, as there is a lot of yeast and bacteria on the bran and you might find the dough will ferment more quickly.

katyajini's picture
katyajini

Thank you for an informative comment LazyLoafer.  It is definitely something to make a note of.  I was wondering, and thought I would ask on TFL,  how a loaf of bread would turn out different when the whole grain flour is used in the starter vs the main dough.  I think I understand and want try a recipe in different ways now.

Just a question: I just made a loaf of bread where I included whole wheat (which was 20% of the total weight of flour) in the very liquid starter.  It got quite acidic after 16 hours or so.  I could smell it.  I went ahead with it.  I have made this recipe many times but with onlly 4% WW flour in the starter and let it go for 16 hrs before.  It makes a wonderful bread, very dependable recipe. This time the bread was denser and the crust was not really nice.  I dont think the dense-ness was due to the increased ww flour.  I make many breads with 20% WW, they are dont become dense at all.  Can it be that when a starter becomes very acidic (combined with whole wheat flour or not) a the bread will become dense?

Thanks!

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

I think it's possible that your starter peaked much sooner when you made it with all whole wheat flour, meaning that it was far past it's peak after 16 hours and perhaps didn't have enough 'push' left to rise the bread properly. It sounds like it had a lot of bacteria (producing acetic acid) but maybe the yeast was affected.

suave's picture
suave

pmccool's picture
pmccool

I hadn't come across that in my prior reading.  Can you point me toward some additional information, please?

Paul

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Paul,  I just did a google search and found this on that quote  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/229188497_The_effect_of_particle_size_of_wheat_bran_fractions_on_bread_quality_-_Evidence_for_fibre-protein_i...

There is a link to download the full study, and I am just reading it now.