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Whats the most tasty multi-grain combination?

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scottfsmith's picture
scottfsmith

Whats the most tasty multi-grain combination?

I have recently been experimenting with multiple grains in bread for the first time. I was making 100% whole wheat but I recalled something better in various multi-grain breads I had bought over the years.  Basically there seems to be something boring about pure whole wheat compared to a multi-grain bread.  (I am baking using a "pain a la ancienne" variation which I posted about earlier -- see http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/8881/pain-ancienne-ww-version)  So far I tried the following.  

  • 7/8ths WW, 1/8th polenta added - this was my first bread with something besides whole wheat flour and all we had in the kitchen was polenta.  It still had an good rise which compared favorably to the pictures I posted in the above thread.  I liked the taste a bit better than the 100% WW loaf as well.  I didn't soak or cook the corn in advance, I just added it, but the long rise time softened it well.
  • JMonkey loaf -- http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/4737/finally-100-whole-grain-hearth-bread-i039m-proud -- roughly 2/3 WW plus 1/3 which is (2/3 spelt and 1/3 rye flour).  This bread had the best taste of the three I made, and again the rise was good.  I was impressed with how the spelt did.  A small amount of vital wheat gluten was added to make sure I got a good rise; maybe it was not needed.
  • 2/3 WW and 1/3 (2/3 rye and 1/3 oat flour).  I saw this oat flour in the store and bought it, but after coming back home I could not find any recipes for yeasted breads using it.  This bread did not rise nearly as much as the others, although it was still light.   The oat flour also made the texture much more soft and creamy.  This was not what I was after at all but it was still good on its own terms.  The flavor was good, better than 100% WW but a notch below the Jmonkey loaf.  I don't think I am going to use the oat flour again unless I am making something where the creaminess is the goal.  In something like multi-grain cinnamon rolls I think that soft, creamy taste could be great for example.
I looked through the Reinhart whole wheat book and most of the other grains he mentions are added in whole form (amaranth, quinoa, millet, etc).  I did not buy any whole grains but would not be adverse to trying some if it made for a good loaf.  Also I would be interesting in trying out other kinds of flours such as amaranth flour etc.  I definitely like the spelt flour and plan on trying some recipes with a higher percentage of spelt.  I think I have pictures of most or all of the three breads above if anyone is interested.  Scott  

 

 

 

shakleford's picture
shakleford

Cooking with unusual grains (basically, anything besides wheat and rye) is a particular interest for me.  I use them both as whole grains (typically in a formula similar to Reinhart's multigrain struan), and as flour (both in combination with wheat flour, and in entirely non-wheat loaves).  Keep in mind that if you stray from wheat flour, your breads are going to become much denser, similar to what you saw with the oat flour.  I've managed a 100% barley sourdough loaf nearly as light as a 100% rye sourdough loaf, but even that isn't very light.

As far as which grains to use, that is largely a matter of taste, but I would most highly recommend quinoa and amaranth.  Quinoa has a stronger flavor, which may or may not be what you're looking for, but both are excellent.  Buckwheat is another great grain if you enjoy its taste (many do not).  While I have made 100% buckwheat flour loaves, I find buckwheat best when used in moderation, preferably in a darker loaf that includes things like molasses and/or raisins.

I could go on for a long time, but I'll stop here in case this wasn't quite what you were looking for.  I've been meaning to create a blog entry with some of my more unusual loaves, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

scottfsmith's picture
scottfsmith

Thanks, this is exactly the kind of thing I wanted to know.  I have already gotten interested in amaranth and quinoa after reading about them in the Reinhart WW book.  I had not thought about buckwheat but will put that on my list.  I am not sure whether to take a flour or whole grain approach so any reasons why you pick one over the other there would be very helpful.  The basic bread recipe I am using now is very good at getting a open crumb on the bread, and I am hopeful that it will allow me to make multi-grain breads that are at least not bricks.

 

Scott

 

hullaf's picture
hullaf

I'm also interested in multigrains and have tried various combinations. I like quinoa for the flavor and flaxseed (whole or ground meal) for the 'umph'. When I'm in a hurry or have not much to select from I'll use Bob's Red Mill 5-grain or 10-grain cereal mixes which come out with a great taste especially if the flour is whole wheat. Though, I don't like the denseness of total whole wheat so I tend to make many of my breads with part wheat and part white flours. 

Many times I add toasted sunflower seeds at the final kneading because that is the taste and texture I like best for the final loaf. I tried Reinhart's sprouted grain recipe once using red hard wheat berries (which did sprout by 18 hours) and ground up in the processor but . . . the taste was just so-so to me. 

Here are the last loaves I made using Hamelman's recipe for a liquid levain "Whole Wheat Multigrain". Only thing was, I let the levain over ripen and it collapsed (let it go too long!) so I added 30 grams of sourdough fed starter I had saved in the refrigerator and that seemed to help. The soaker was the multigrain part and for that I used part of Bob's 5-grain mix (a lot of oats) and also the 10-grain mix. The taste is nicely wheaty.   Anet

 

whole wheat multigrainwhole wheat multigrain

whole wheat multigrain bouleswhole wheat multigrain boules 

shakleford's picture
shakleford

I sometimes use whole grains and sometimes use flour, depending on the taste and purpose I'm looking for.  For sandwich breads, I usually use whole grains.  I've used a wide variety of combinations in Reinhart's multigrain struan bread, and while some result in a higher loaf than others, all make quite serviceable sandwich loaves.  This also results in a milder flavor, which can be good for certain grains (eg, millet and buckwheat).

Using alternate flours will typically impact your loaf's rise and taste more significantly - the greater the proportion of the non-wheat flour, the greater the effect.  One of my favorite-tasting loaves is made out of 100% barley flour.  However, the loaf is very dense and crumbly, making extremely poor sandwiches but an excellent side for dinner.

One thing that I do not do very often is mix multiple types of flours in a single bread (other than wheat/rye mixes, sometimes with cornmeal).  However, this is solely a matter of taste.  If I'm looking for a light quinoa flavor in a light bread, I'll use the whole grain; if I'm looking for a strong quinoa flavor and very dense bread, I'll use 100% quinoa flour.  A mix of flours would produce a loaf somewhere in the middle, and for whatever reason, that's never what I have a taste for.

As on additional note, some grains (eg, barley) can only be used whole if you boil them beforehand.  I like barley flour a great deal but find cooked barley pretty flavorless, so I never use it as a whole grain in my bread.

Finally, I should mention that I have a mill, so it's pretty simple for me to buy whole grains and grind them or not as I prefer.  The availability and prices of grains/flours in your area may be something else you'd like to consider.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Scott,
I too have been experimenting with various combinations of multi grains trying to find combinations I like. I noticed your mention of Amaranth and also others above talk about it in passing. As it happens I decided to order some Amaranth flour and also the grain from Bob's Red Mill last week. I have heard or read that a small amount of the flour gives a nutty taste to the bread. I've not been able to find anyone who has written much about actual trials and how Amaranth changes the flavor.

I really like Hamelmans Multi grain formula and will use that as a benchmark to compare with. I don't have a mill yet but plan on getting one soon. My goal at the moment is to produce better tasting multi grain and rye loaves than I can using off the shelf standard flours.

One other thing I might toss out is the use of sweetener. I have a friend who is a bee keeper and produces honey. Through him I have learned to appreciate the various types of honey available and the rather stark difference in flavors that come out in whole grain or multi grain breads depending on which honey I use. As it turns out the taste of the honey changes depending on the plant it is pollinating. Clover honey is quite different from say buckwheat for example. Then there is sorghum which is not honey but made from the plant of the same name grown in the upper Midwest. A deep flavor that I can't do justice to with words makes a very interesting flavor.

The only firm rule I have with honey is never ever buy the supermarket variety. Most of it comes from China and is blended with other things. It is cheaper and in comparison to a local farmers product, tasteless. In addition I have zero confidence anyone is paying attention to the safety of the food chain in China.

If anyone has direct knowledge of using Amaranth I would sure like to hear from you. I'll post my trials here when I get to them.

Eric 

shakleford's picture
shakleford

Getting sick of my posts yet? :-)  I have also often seen amaranth described as "nutty;" unfortunately, nutty seems to be the adjective of choice when describing the flavor of many alternate grains and ingredients, so I don't find it very helpful.  Unfortunately, I can't really offer anything better when using it as a whole grain.  Of the different ingredients I've tried, I would probably say that it's closest in flavor to sunflower seed kernels.

When using it as a flour, the best comparison I've read described it as an unsweetened graham cracker taste.  It is a stronger flavor than rye, but less strong than quinoa or buckwheat.  It also works well in quickbreads; I have a simple whole wheat beer bread recipe that I modified to use amaranth, and it's very soft and flavorful.  Overall, it's probably one of the easiest alternate grains to use in my opinion (whether whole or as a flour), as the taste is pleasant but not overwhelming.

Other than that, you just have to keep in mind that amaranth doesn't have any gluten, so it has the effect you would expect on the dough's rise.  I rarely add gluten to my breads, but as mentioned below, that's also an option.

egoldstein's picture
egoldstein

Scott,

I have been making a loaf for some time now that is 2/3 WW and 1/3 pre combined mixture of amaranth, quinoa, spelt barley and rye flours.  With a 65% hydration.  Since it has such a high concentration of non-gluten flours I add it a significant amount of vital wheat gluten.  For a standard 1 pound (3 cup) loaf I add a full 1/4 cup gluten.

Lastly, to add to the nuttiness and texture contrast to the top I add a sprinling of King Arthurs "Artisan Bread Topping" which is a combination of white sesame, black sesame, flax seed, tiny sunflower seeds, and poppy seads.

Enjoy,
Eric

Richelle's picture
Richelle

whoof, that's a might amount of gluten you add... considering that Spelt is actually a higher gluten flour than wheat.... doesn't it make the dough very springy?

Richelle

Kuret's picture
Kuret

hm? spelt is higher gluten than wheat? I do not think that is true, really spelt makes for fragile doughs that easily overproofs and generally does not rise that well.

 On topic, I really like to make rye breads with sesame seeds, you should try it out: Make a 30% rye or similar, a formula that you are familiar with and instead of adding caraway you add a hefty amount of toasted sesame seeds, and after shaping you can mist the dough with water and roll it in sesame seeds so that it is covered with them, makes for an eccelent "tri-grain" bread. 

Richelle's picture
Richelle

Well, according to the supplier of my organic flour their wholemeal wheat contains 12,9 % proteins and wholemeal spelt 14,7%... the only thing is that the gluten strains of Spelt are indeed more fragile than those of Wheat, you can easily overknead and overproof, but in my experience it rises just fine. I only add gluten to a speltbread if it contains many nuts, grains etc.

I made a 50% spelt/50% rye bread (both almost white meal) this morning and I only added a little teaspoon of gluten to compensate for the lack of gluten in the rye.

I'll definitely try your suggestion of rye with sesame seeds!

Richelle

scottfsmith's picture
scottfsmith

Keep those posts coming, thanks!  I stopped by Whole Foods last night and decided to start with flours first and try whole grains after I have given the flours a good work-out.  So I bought some amaranth flour and some quinoa flour.  I am now making a loaf with around 1/5th quinoa flour in it, and will follow that with the same recipe but using amaranth flour instead.  I have always been adding enough wheat gluten to compensate for ingredients with no gluten, basically adding enough to make the "0% gluten" come up to 15% given the addition.  For this recipe it meant 4% wheat gluten.  I don't know if it is making any difference or not.  Eric, that is quite a lot of gluten you are adding.  Your recipe sounds like something I want to try once I figure out what the flours individually do.

 

shackleford, I am surprised you can even make a bread with 100% quinoa flour.  How do you get any rise out of that?  I guess it is extremely dense.

 

Scott

 

shakleford's picture
shakleford

Just to clarify - there is absolutely no rise with 100% quinoa flour.  The same applies to millet, amaranth, and oats.  Buckwheat has a tiny bit of gluten, but I get essentially no rise there either.  Barley gives a little bit, but as I mentioned above, it's even less than rye.

I'm apparently quite an oddball in that I tend to prefer denser breads.  That being said, breads using 100% nontraditional flours are the exception for me rather than the rule; I would say that I make a loaf like that an average of once every 6-8 weeks.

MommaT's picture
MommaT

I like making multigrain breads and have experimented with both Reinhart's ww multigrain loaf and the Hammelman multigrain loaf.

The prescribed combo in Reinhardt's transitional multigrain loaf works quite well.

I have been very pleased with the use of whole (pearl) barley (with a boiling water soak).  The flavor diverges from that of the wheat and provides a nice semi-soft bite.  Flax seed are a staple, as are sunflower seeds.  

 An easy, typical multigrain mix for me would have 20% cornmeal, 35% multigrain cereal (oatmeal type), 25% barley, 10% flaxseed and 10% sunflower seed.  I pour boiling water over this to help ensure the barley is soft enough.

 My last comment - I have been very disappointed with the use of rice in my multigrain breads - both brown and white rice.  I've used them both cooked and 'raw' with the boiling water soak and find the end result rather insipid. 

Glad to hear about the amaranth and quinoa.  Will try those next! 

MommaT, Novice Baker 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Anyone playing with it?

MommaT  have you tried germinating the brown rice first?  Soaking for 24 to 36 (or longer) hours? 

Mini O

MommaT's picture
MommaT

Thanks for the great idea!

I hadn't thought of that -- I'm usually only soaking for 8-10 hours.  Will give it a try!! 

 

MommaT, Novice Baker 

MommaT's picture
MommaT

Thanks for the great idea!

I hadn't thought of that -- I'm usually only soaking for 8-10 hours.  Will give it a try!! 

 

MommaT, Novice Baker 

shakleford's picture
shakleford

I used a bit in teff in one of my versions of Reinhart's multigrain struan, but it was in combination with a number of other grains and I couldn't detect much difference in flavor.  I also made injera (a pancake-like, fermented flatbread) using 100% teff flour.  I haven't repeated that, partly because I didn't much like the taste (it was extremely sour), but mostly because I managed to give myself food poisoning on that same day.  I don't think that the teff had anything to do with it, but squeamishness knows no logic. :-)  I too would be interested in hearing what anyone else has done with teff.

Also, thanks for the tip on brown rice - I haven't tried sprouting it.  My experiments with white and brown rice flour have been pretty disappointing.  Has anyone ever tried using wild rice in bread?  I'm curious, but wild rice is rather expensive, so I haven't tried it yet.

scottfsmith's picture
scottfsmith

I baked my first quinoa loaf last night.  Here were the ingredients:

 

200 grams whole wheat flour 46.5%

130 grams spelt four 30%

80 grams quinoa flour 19%

20 grams vital wheat gluten 4.5%

344 grams water 80%

8 grams salt 1.9%

1/10 tsp yeast

 

I had decided to add a fair amount of spelt, just to see if I could still get an OK rise with less than 50% whole wheat flour. 

 The bread was very easy to work, it didn't stick as much.  It ended up being somewhat but not very dense - it still had some open crumb.  The taste reminded me a lot of poppyseed/lemon for those of you who have had lemon poppyseed cake - it both had a bit of sourness as well as that indescribable taste of poppyseeds.  Overall I would call it a nice addition at the level I put in, and probably not worth adding more since it would be too sour. 

I am going to try to post pictures of all these breads soon, once I get them all downloaded off my camera. 

Scott

 

egoldstein's picture
egoldstein

My goal was to make a multi grain loaf that would be soft enough to make sandwiches out of and that the kids would find as soft as my white bread which this has become (they of course require me to cut the crust with the seeds off). 

I find the extra gluten a must when working with a high concentration of non-wheat flours.

scottfsmith's picture
scottfsmith

I will try some more gluten to see what it does.  I read somewhere that 9% is the max you should use before the taste starts changing in a bad way but I am only halfway there.

Here are some pictures of my multi-grain breads.  First is the JMonkey loaf: spelt and rye added:

 

WW Spelt Rye loaves

WW Spelt Rye loaves 

 

WW Spelt Rye loaves crumb view

WW Spelt Rye loaves crumb view

 

OK now for the rye/oatmeal loaf. This guy I just threw on my 500F stone - no shaping into batards.  It came out pretty well that way but somehow the crumb in the center was not as much as the top - not sure why.

 

WW Rye Oatmeal loaf

WW Rye Oatmeal loaf 

 

WW Rye Oatmeal loaf cross-section

WW Rye Oatmeal loaf cross-section

 

Finally here is my quinoa loaf.  You can see the crumb is more dense on this one.  Still is has some open crumb. 

 

quinoa spelt WW loaf

quinoa spelt WW loaf

 

quinoa spelt WW loaf cross-section

quinoa spelt WW loaf cross-section 

 

Scott

 

 

scottfsmith's picture
scottfsmith

Yesterday I baked the last two tests in my initial batch of multi-grain breads: an amaranth bread which used the identical recipe as the quinoa loaf above but with amaranth flour instead, plus a loaf with 1/4th whole grains in the form of Bob's 8-grain cereal (thanks for the idea, Anet!).  Both loaves fermented and baked up nicely.  They were definitely different in taste, and both were very good.  The amaranth flour loaf I would say I liked a bit more than the quinoa.  I am not a big fan of sour breads and that may be the reason.  In the future I will probably use at most 10% quinoa flour in my breads.

 The 8-grain loaf in particular had an excellent rise and large crumb, more like my 100% whole wheat loaves and larger than any of the loaves with non-wheat flours added.  I was surprised that there was no crunch at all in the grain. I had cooked it for five minutes before adding so it makes sense that there would be no crunch but it surprised me anyway -- I hardly could tell it was in there when eating the bread.  I used 95% hydration if you counted the water I used to cook the grains in; I picked that amount by look and feel.  In going back to Reinhart's Struan recipe I noticed that he did not "count" any liquids used to hydrate whole grains in the overall liquid percentages.  Overall I was very happy with this and like how I can still get a big crumb out of it.  Here was the formula in summary:

330 grams whole wheat flour 77%

100 grams 8-grain cereal 23%

407 grams water 95%

8 grams salt 1.9%

1/10 tsp yeast

This dough did not get any kneading but had 3-4 stretch and folds over its 24-hour fermentation period at room temperature, and was not proofed. 

 The amaranth loaf had a nice distinctive "dark" taste which I would say is my favorite overall so far of the different grains.  The 8-grain bread was more mild in taste. This loaf had a very large rise so I was hoping for a large crumb but it did not come in at much bigger than my quinoa loaf above; not sure why.  The same 24-hour ferment and no proofing technique were used for this loaf as above.

 I am going to continue to do whole-grain experiments, trying out different combinations.  These last two I did side-by-side, in small batches.  I found it very nice to be able to taste the two freshly based loaves head-to-head, the subtle differences in flavor came through clearly.  Thus far I am not either a whole-grain or flour additive fan, I prefer the taste a bit more on the flours but like the nice open crumb on the whole grains.  I should also try some other whole grains with more flavor than Bob's 8-grain mix which looks like majority oats and brown rice.

Scott

 

scottfsmith's picture
scottfsmith

(oops double post deleted)