I don't know if it is my enduring love of the classic Star Trek Episode (remember - the tribbles ate all the quadrotriticale) or longing for the wee great mountains and lochs of Scotland (one of my past "homes away from home") but lately I've been obsessed with triticale - the wheat/rye hybrid developed in Scotland.
Now 90% of the time, I am all about the research - reading, questioning, and studying before I make a move. Of course, there's that 10% of the time where I just jump in - and the triticale was definitely in the 10%. And as our story unfolds, we can all see why I usually do research.
I tempered the triticale and achieved a 13% moisture reading. I then milled it as I would wheat to about 85% extraction. It milled mostly like wheat - although to get good bran separation, I needed to mill finer than usual. But I would have been able to easily mill a "near white" flour as I can with wheat.
I then proceeded to mix up my usual high extraction formula (levain based, 12% of the flour pre-fermented, lean dough, 72% hydration) with the aim to "go by the numbers" and see how triticale would be different.
First bump in the road - when I brought the dough together, I realized that I had a dough with the characteristics of high percentage rye dough.
As I passed the time between my 20 "folds in the bowl" - I did what I should have done and looked up triticale. It was first bred in the laboratory in 1875 by a Scottish biologist and now is mostly available as a second generation hybrid (2 types of triticale are crossed.) It is an interesting grain in that it has the high yield of wheat with the range tolerance of rye. This in itself is interesting as it has the potential to produce a useable grain outside the range of wheat. It is supposed to combine the taste of wheat with the taste of rye, which might make it interesting for those bakers who like a little rye in most of their baked products. There are some claims that it is incredibly "good for you" although I take those lightly.
Of course, the downside is that the gluten content is low and it is considered less desirable for bread baking than wheat - but more so than rye.
So with the dough in the bowl, I decided to treat it somewhat like a rye dough. Fortunately the base was already a levain. I continued to mix it 6 times with the "fold in the bowl" method (as I would for a whole wheat - but it never did get any significant gluten development) then shaped it and put it in a banneton moderately dusted with a rice flour/wheat flour blend. I allowed it to proof for 1 hour 15 minutes and it did rise fairly nicely. It did not seem particularly over proofed, but seemed fragile enough that I wanted to get it into the oven. For the first time ever, I "cheated" (by my definition) by using parchment on the peel as I just felt that it would not survive the slightest roughness while loading. After a feather soft landing on the peel - the dough flattened considerably. No need to score, but I did lightly dock it. I baked it in a receding oven starting at 500F with copious steam.
Well, I wouldn't call it good (I gotta be me...), but I wouldn't call it bad. It had a wonderful wheaty aroma while baking and did have a small amount of oven spring, but I was expecting a rock.
See below - It was really, really flat. I put an egg cup in the shot to give an idea of how flat it was.
The crumb, however, although very fine was fairly light. It was not really heavy. (See below.)
The taste was actually quite nice - like red whole wheat with just a hint of rye. Just enough to add complexity, but not to overwhelm the wheat. I probably should have let it settle for a day - but given that this was not destined to be a truly fine bread - I felt it didn't matter.
Now this isn't a question of "what went wrong with my bread?" I know what went wrong. I went off the deep end and used a grain that wasn't going to give me the best results. But it didn't give me horrible results and the taste was quite nice.
The question is really - how do we take this somewhat marginal grain and make a much better bread?
My thoughts are as follows:
- Add wheat flour - this is the obvious one and one that I'd like to avoid for now.
- Bake it as enriched pan bread - I should not have so much trouble with collapse and spreading.
- Use commercial yeast to supplement the levain. The oven spring with a levain is always somewhat less than with commercial yeast. Oven spring may have made up a bit for the collapse.
- Any suggestions?
So I call upon the collective wisdom of the TFLer's to come up with suggestions... I'll certainly be willing to try them if they seem reasonable. This seems like a grain that just hasn't had the right marketing campaign...