The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

The Old Troll’s upside-down whole wheat bread

agres's picture

The Old Troll’s upside-down whole wheat bread

This is the best 100% whole wheat bread that does not have any milk or fat added that my wife and I have ever eaten.

Yesterday, we finished off Monday’s bake with lunch, so I wanted to bake today.

About 2 pm, I put 3 or 4 oz of starter from the frig. into the stand mixer with 100 ml of water, and turned it on. I added ww flour (5% rye, 10% spelt, 10% Kamut, 75% hard red winter wheat, fresh ground) until I had a soft dough. I set the hook into the bottom of the kettle, put a lid on it, and left it until early evening. The kitchen was ~65 F. Then, I added 200 ml more water, turned the mixer on and added ww flour until I had a soft dough. I set the hook into the bottom of the kettle, put a lid on it, and left it until early morning. (Kitchen was ~ 60F) I added 300 ml water and 12 gr of salt, and turned the mixer on and slowly added ww flour, until I had a medium dough, let it sit for 30 minutes, and then mixed until it was well developed and smooth. I washed the hook, and let the dough rise in the kettle with a lid on it for about an hour. I turned the dough out on the floured bench, rounded it up and let it sit covered for ~30 minutes. I shaped the loaf, and let it rise in a lined basket for about 90 minutes, then baked it on a stone at 415 F convection for 15 minutes, brushed it with water, reduced the oven temp to 375F convection for another 15 minutes, then let it finish at 325F convection for 5 minutes.

It is upside-down because instead of working from flour measurements, it works from volumes of water. It is moist and tender because it gets a long fermentation (without salt, so the fermentation goes FAST!  And, the hydration is correct.  When working from baker’s percentages with fresh-ground grain mixes, it is difficult to get hydration correct. Only a “Troll” would advocate for skill with baker’s percentages, and then work backwards from water to flour. Only an “Old One” would get it correct.

This is the Old School Pain de Campagne that I have been seeking for 50 years.  This tells me that the traditional “Staff of Life” sometimes included better bread than modern people are ever likely to eat. At this point, I am confused and speechless.



idaveindy's picture

Was the rye, spelt and Kamut home-milled too, or just the HRWW?

Your conclusion is similar to my own about how the hydration can't be firmly specified up front for various proportions of different home-milled whole-grains.  Or even just using one grain.  It varies from field to field, farmer to farmer, and year to year.  Time/years since harvest is a factor in the  kernal's moisture level.  Time since  milling is a factor too.  (I usually mill enough to last 10 to 14 days.)

Big-time Commercial millers test and tweak every batch in order to maintain specifications from batch to batch and year to year.  Us home-millers, take whatever we get:  We buy it, then we mill it.   

But then we make our tweaks, usually,  on a loaf by loaf basis, as you clearly illustrated.


agres's picture

All grains stone ground by me. In part, it was a cleaning the pantry, so every grain had a different source, and the wheat had 2 or 3 sources.