The Fresh Loaf

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85% white whole wheat loaf

Cristina's picture

85% white whole wheat loaf

This is the highest percentage whole grain (white whole wheat) loaf that I've made that turned out pretty decent! I am new to this, so forgive me if I do not have the right terminology. If my calculations are correct, the bread turned out to be 85% whole wheat (because my starter is fed with AP flour) and 82% hydration. 

125g starter (100% hydration, AP flour)

275g water

350g KAF white whole wheat flour

7g salt

I did 4 folds every hour for 4 hours and then put it in the fridge overnight at around 9pm. The next morning, I took it out of the fridge and let it sit for 2 hours on the counter.  Then, I shaped it and let it sit for about 1.5 hours. 

Baked at 450 deg F for 25 min in a dutch oven with lid on, then about 5 min with the lid off. 

Please take a look and critique! 

Also one question .... when I shape my loaves into boules, I get these large air bubbles just under the surface.  I used to pop them, but then I read that it's bad to let the surface of the loaf tear - I'm still not sure why it's bad, but regardless, I stopped popping them.  What ends up happening is large holes near the surface (see right side of loaf in pic below). Any suggestions?

gavinc's picture

To eliminate unwanted large holes in the crumb, I pre-shape into a ball and bench rest seam side up for about 10-20 minutes, then do your final shaping into the boule.

I think the crumb in your pictures looks quite acceptable.  I would worry if they were so large that mice can run through them :)

I love the scoring.


David R's picture
David R

I have seen pictures of other bread that was clearly ... defective? ... because it had one unbelievably huge bubble at the top, and then the rest of the loaf was in a hard dense doughy lump at the bottom. What you have here is (to my eye) nothing like the defective loaf. Your crumb is quite even and good-looking from top to bottom, with one stray bubble. I vote ignore the bubble and enjoy the bread. ?

bikeprof's picture

nice loaf...and you have stumbled upon another one of the contradictions in much of the baking lore...on the one hand: no tears in the skin of your dough ball during shaping, or it will spread and lose its shape...and on the other: pop large bubbles that you run into (of course the latter has fallen by the wayside a bit since open crumb became an obsession).  In my experience, the first claim is simply not true, and I believe it is just an oversimplified caution that you don't want to shape so aggressively that you are tearing the surface of the dough, and that you generally want to keep that dough skin in tact (which makes sense, even if popping a bubble or two doesn't make a noticeable difference, since it isn't only that very outermost layer that has gluten holding things up).  For popping bubbles, that all depends on the bubble, the dough, and your goals.  If you think it will cause a problem in the finished product, then by all means pop away...if not...don't.

Personally, for a bread like you are making, I use the divide/degass/pre-shape as the main place where I'm hunting big bubbles, so that I'm not facing that dilemma during final shaping, but it's not big deal to me, esp. for a goal of modestly open crumb, to pop bubbles in final shaping.

On this of the things it took me a while to tune into was using my gentle pat-down/degassing before preshaping and/or shaping as a means to not knock all the air out, but using it to watch and feel how the dough reacts.  Like a geologist monitoring seismic waves to determine the structure of underground rock formations, you can tell when larger bubbles lurk within the dough without actually seeing anything bubble like sticking up.  Pat the dough and pay close attention to how it'll find those lurkers