The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

weird white wheat flour?

Windischgirl's picture

weird white wheat flour?

Hi: I think I had one of those bread-baking days that warrants a root-cause analysis...I'm sure multiple things went wrong to cause me to end up with a hockey puck that got frisbee'd out to the groundhogs.  Maybe you can help me trouble-shoot this one?

I made a WW starter from Reinhart's WGB, with pineapple juice and KAF white whole wheat.  Once the starter got going on day 4, it really took off.  When I split the 'baby' to make the mother starter and added in more flour, the texture became crumbly but moist.  No gluten at all, but I was still getting nice yeast action.  I was using flour from the same bag of WWW for all stages of this starter and in the baking of this loaf.

So with my allegedly perky starter I make the Multigrain Hearth Bread.  For the soaker I use some muesli (rolled oats, rolled wheat, rolled rye, wheat bran, etc), all 'soft' grains that the recipe says do not need pre-cooking.  The dough seems a little drier than usual, but kneads up in the KAM for 4 minutes and probably about 4 min by's sticky and yet 'crumbly', as if I have NO gluten formation at all.  I cannot get a windowpane but tend not to rely on that for breads with a large WW component anyway, and this has NO white bread flour at all. (it does have both yeast and starter, tho)

For first rise I fridge the dough--had to go to work--and it sits out for a good 2 hrs after I get home to come to room temp.  Rising nicely in the container, at least doubled.  I shape it into a boule and place in on a peel for the proof--covered with plastic wrap.  I do get doubling, but...

the oddest texture on the surface of the loaf: the surface was consistently moist to the touch but also "cracking" as IF there were a skin...but there wasn't.  It was as if the yeasts were moving entire land masses rather than strands of gluten.

When I bake I get no oven rise at all, crust that needs a chain saw, dense and moist crumb (I baked to 205F internally and then let it hang out in the oven for another 15 min for good measure as I suspected internal moisture), and horrible flavor: a nasty combo of overly sour SD and Thunderbird Ripple. my starter bad?

Did I get a bum bag of WWW flour? (which is mercifully gone, didn't seem to have a detrimental effect when mixed with other flours, but solo?   :-P

Did I underknead?  Overproof?  All of the above?  All insights appreciated.

I have made several of the transitional breads from WGB with success, so I was surprised by this bomb. 

If I get intoxicated wildlife in my yard, I'll let you know!


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Only it generally needs a bread pan to keep any shape to it. All those gasses that lift and stretch the dough were leaking out, as you had noticed, through the cracks. When I see this and want a free standing loaf, I mix in more water and fine wheat bread flour (high gluten) to glue the loaf back together (and a little salt). Sounds like the yeast action was there, the gluten wasn't.

The gluten in the starter doesn't add a lot of help in this case because it was already breaking down during the first rise. You might have had more luck if you would have worked in some fresh WW flour when mixing the loaf together. But it reads like starter plus whole grains and that makes a very compacted loaf.

And don't be surprised if the wildlife let the frisbee lie for a few days before they devour it. Flavor might improve with age.

Mini O

Windischgirl's picture

Hi Mini:  appreciate your insights.  The loaf was already rising on the peel when I noticed the cracks...but I have reshaped (and kneaded in the cornmeal!) if I have a loaf that's overproofed and needs a little encouragement.  I think what happened is that I ran out of daytime hours to play with it! It definitely would have benefitted from some bread flour.  I was just so puzzled by the texture.  My dau made a straight dough WW loaf a few weeks back and it rose so nicely.  Sigh.

I am now trying to convert the WW starter to white starter and have better texture.  Will have to taste for flavor before I attempt to bake.  'm a little skittish about this starter...I may be better off tossing and starting from scratch.