The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Flours and their textures.

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DakotaRose's picture
DakotaRose

Flours and their textures.

I have been baking bread for years, but have only recently gotten more serious about it.  I must admit that all the terms I read about on the form have gotten me totally baffled.  I have no idea what many of them mean.  Can anyone suggest a good book that would go in depth about terms and the science behind bread making without going over my head.  One of the things I have been wondering lately is whether or not the different wheats on the market will make a huge difference in the bread produced.  I prefer the hard white wheat, but the white wheat white flour seems to be so dense.  I don't get the lift I always use to get from using Dakota Maid bread flour.  I believe the bread flour was always hard red wheat.  I want a more open bread like I use to get.  I know I need to start using my scale for all my bread making so I can get a consistant bread, but right now I am wondering about the flour and if it makes for a great difference in texture.

Thank in advance.

Blessings,
Lydia

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Hi Lydia.

At the moment I am utterly enjoying my way through Jeffrey Hammelman's book called Bread. It has in it everything you have asked for above, and many many people on this forum swear by it. Reading it I can see why. We are very fortunate to have this information available to us.

As far as the crumb, my understanding is that the hydration level controls the openness of the crumb to a much greater degree or perhaps completely, as opposed to the flour type. As long as you develop your gluten accordingly. Meaning not overdeveloped or underdeveloped.

Blessings to you as well and Good Luck.

Rudy

P.S. This forum has turned me into a scale user for all my breads as well. And I have to say it is quite incredible. It doesn't take away my need to bake by feel but it gives me the tools to know what happened and why and what I can or should do next time.

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Hi Lydia,

I'm with Rudy on books: Hammelman is great for its terrific education in bread baking, and a joy to go back to any time. Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice is also good in my book (so to speak).

Lots of folks here bake with all sorts of grains, so search the archives. Hammelman explains all the usual flours and the grains they come from, though I'm not sure he hits all the whole grains as you may want. Quinoa anyone? I have ordered, but not yet received, Reinhart's Whole Grain baking book. I suspect there will be lots of food for thought on all sorts of grains in that one. I expect to learn something from this book and will respond on this thread.

Soundman (David)

DakotaRose's picture
DakotaRose

Hi Soundman,

I like to add quinoa to our multi grain sourdough bread.  It adds this delightful peanut sort of taste.  I like using all sorts of different grains.  One of our favorites breads is made with kamut.

Thanks for the info on the books.

Blessings,
Lydia

DakotaRose's picture
DakotaRose

Hi Rudy,

Thank you for the suggestions on the book.  it is actually one of the books I have added to my wishlist on Amazon.

I also need to get more into using a scale.  I do with others things I make, but I guess the idea just has not hit me about how helpful it would be for bread making as well.

Blessings,
Lydia

holds99's picture
holds99

Rudy has hit the bulls eye.  Read and understand the 11 steps of baking beginning on page 4 of Hamelman's BREAD A Baker's Book of Techiques and Recipes...and keep reading through page 92.  Then re-read and refer to this information as you bake the varous recipes in this terrific book.  When you finish reading through page 92 you should have a good grasp of the basics of bread baking including the issues you raised in your post.  It's a great book, especially for understanding the sytematic process of baking.

Best of luck to you in your baking endeavors,

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Lydia,

First of all, I agree with everything Howard said. (I have learned a lot from him.)

Second, you mentioned wanting a light crumb in your bread. Though the non-wheat grains don't contribute much, if at all, to gluten structure, there's no reason you can't bake excellent bread with them. Still, you need to use them in judicious amounts if you want a light and airy crumb. Otherwise you risk having them cut the gluten strands, making your bread heavy, though delicious.

White flour (unbleached, and organic if you can afford it) gives the best gluten structure, and that's what makes for good rise and good oven spring. Fortunately a recent thread on TFL was devoted to a Canadian study affirming the very positive health benefits of white flour, when baked into sourdough loaves.

Here's a link to that thread:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/7908/sourdough-vs-whole-wheat

Some whole-grain bakers consider using white flour with whole grains cheating. But understanding the importance of gluten to the crumb of a loaf of bread makes me happy to "compromise" and mix my whole grains with white flour to get a balance between highly nutritional and well-risen and esthetic loaves.

That said, Reinhart's book on multi-grain baking, which I am champing at the bit to read, promises new techniques for making 100% multi-grain bread that, somehow, overcomes the challenges of creating a good gluten structure without white flour. (The proof of the bread will be in the baking, and the eating.)

Keep us posted on your baking!

Soundman (David)

sannimiti's picture
sannimiti

Hi there, I think we're on the same level, I learned making bread from peter reinhardts books, which I can highly recommend, especially because he has a very encouraging art of writing and motivating you to at least make your own bread even if it's not gonna be perfect. But at the moment I'm re-reading some of my books and getting on peoples nerves here by asking and asking. So while I can only recommend pr's books I would suggest hanging around at the freshloaf and exploring the great websites some of the members here have. And definetively going on with breadmaking bcs the truth is, most of what you'll bake will be highly appreciated by others and a lot better than what you can buy even if you yourself are unhappy with the crumb, oven spring etc.

Greeting from Germany, Sanni

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

get away with thinking you ask too many questions.  Nope nein nada   I do have a little problem in that I've never read any of PR's work.  All I know is from what people quote so I do feel a little "outside" on many threads.  

Dakota Rose, welcome and enjoy!  This site can become addicting as you bread ideas spread their floury wings and rise.

Mini O

DakotaRose's picture
DakotaRose

Hi Sanni,

I added all of Reinhardts books to my wishlist now so maybe I can have my hubby and friends buy me some bread books for my birthday next week.  LOL  Then I could have a small library dedicated to bread making.

Blessings,
Lydia

dougal's picture
dougal

My take is that PR's understanding of baking evolved considerably during the periods between publication of his various titles (he says something similar in Whole Grain Breads).

Hence I wouldn't suggest getting them all - at least not all at once!

Bread Baker's Assistant is a pretty good introduction to understanding bread, and sees PR most of the way up the curve!

Choosing between BBA and Hamelman's Bread, I'd rather keep Bread - but BBA is the one I'd recommend to a newbie baker wanting to know a bit more without intimidation.

 

To learn more about the hard science, Emily Buehler's (self published, not on Amazon AFAIK) "Bread Science" is pretty good stuff - I just kinda wish she had covered (even) more ground. And she gives lots and lots of references to the actual research papers. Most of the bakers just tell how they think it is - without giving any citations to support their assertions. Dr Buehler's book isn't like that. She's a scientist with a lot of floury hands-on bakery experience, not your average baker.

http://www.twobluebooks.com/book.php

 

 

And if you want to break your baking out of a rut and start making a whole lot of VERY different breads, Dan Lepard's "Art of Handmade Bread" is just the thing (and in paperback its cheap). Its called The Handmade Loaf outside the US.

DakotaRose's picture
DakotaRose

Wow, I had no idea there were so many books on bread making.  I have only been baking bread for 15 years now, but only started playing with sourdoughs about 5 years ago.  I am one of those purists when it comes to sourdough.  I have been slowly turning all my yeast bread recipes over to sourdough, but as I mentioned I want them a bit more open in the crumb.

I do use a blend of white flour when making my sourdough breads, but when just doing yeast breads I have gotten great lift and crumb with total whole grains.  I guess for the most part the sourdough is giving me the most trouble.  I didn't grow up with a bread maker in my family so this has all been trial and error with me.  I am playing around with 3 different kinds of white flours right now.  I am rather blessed to live only 8 or 9 blocks from an organic grain mill and beings we do a great deal of baking for the markets in the area the owner has been kind enough to give us a break on the price of flour.  He even sends home new flours with me when they get something in and I get all the over run.  I want to do the flour justice so I am very interested in learning the science behind bread making so I can make wonderful breads no matter what the grain we use. 

We live in a small town and unfortunately most of the people here are use to the store bought breads and if they don't look a certain way they don't have much interest in purchasing.  I would love to do some artisan loaves for the markets, but just am not sure how they would go over.  One of my favorite things to do are the braided loaves.  I have so much fun with the 5 braid loaves, but still want to learn how to bread with 6 strands.

Oh my, look at me I rambled on and on already.  I just want to say thanks again for all the suggestions.  I know that there is no need to get all the books, but with my birthday coming up I am not so worried as friends have already started asking what they can get me now I have some ideas for them.  LOL

Blessings,
Lydia