May 24, 2020 - 1:32pm
Hello from a homebody in Los Angeles
I'm Stephanie, a home baker/cook by night (and weekends), and an immunologist/microbiome scientist by day (and sometimes weekends). I've been baking sourdough for about 3 years, and have been lurking on here for general tips, troubleshooting, and just learning about bread since I started baking. Didn't actually join until recently when I really needed help (shaking my fist at gluten-degrading enzymes right now), got some good answers here, and thought, I'm not a pro but someone took the time to help me so maybe in the future I can pay it forward. About a year ago I got a home mill and started baking 100% fresh milled, whole grain breads. It's been a challenge but I absolutely love the taste.
Here's a little 100% whole grain loaf...I forgot what all when into it...maybe hard white and some kamut? As you can see, shaping and scoring are things I constantly struggle with, but it got a little ear and nice rise.
Hey that looks great!! In my opinion (just my opinion), baking with fresh milled flour is all about flavor and nutrition. If you’re baking 100% freshly milled loaves that look like that (assuming the crumb is within margins of success, not gummy, etc), I think you’re killing it!
I would not expect the sharply defined ears, tall “Instagram loaves” from what you’re doing. And who cares, your bread probably tastes better anyway :D
What formula/procedure have you been following for these loaves? (times and temperatures included if possible!)
Oh, and from a fellow LA homebody, welcome!
Thank you! But unfortunately my whole grain bakes are still patchy. This one was in a streak were I was killing it, but the past month I've been baking discs :/ I never did get gummy crumb texture, except for one time I did an all einkorn loaf and had no what einkorn was). But now that I found the whole grain page, I'm 90% sure I've been massively over proving my dough, and I'm testing out some of the suggestions in that thread with markedly improved results.
I would not recommend my unreliable process. But the gist of it was I'd mill my flour (fine), add cool water to get it to 75% hydration, and put in the fridge to autolyse overnight. The next morning I'd take out the autolyse and let hang out for ~hour to take off some chill, add starter (15-20% based on weight of flour in dough), salt, and more water to bring it to whatever hydration I wanted (accounting for the starter), and work the dough to pass the windowpane test (usually slap and fold on my counter). Then I'd pitch it in an oiled container and let bulk ferment until it grew by ~50%. At that point I'd preshape and rest on the counter for 20min, shape, and let rise typically to bake the same day. I'm sure it's not as detailed as you wanted, but I think you'll find much better formulas in the whole grain page.
A large part of my problem is inconsistency, and I knew it and just plowed through anyway: sometimes I'd add the starter with the the autolyse (so it wasn't a true autolyse), I'd do everything at room temperature which I'm sure you know skews warm in LA, I'd bake with week old starter, fresh levain made that day, and everything in between, noted when I'd start things but went my how my dough looked/felt rather than time...kind of all over the place. I did notice my dough performed better at the cooler temps (if I let my dough bulk at something like 78F proteolytic enzymes seemed to act faster than my microbes), and shorter rises after shaping. Again, strong indications that proving less gave me better loaves. Though in the loaf pictured I'm pretty sure I threw in starter with the autolyse for an overnight hang in the fridge and it worked out well.
Yeah I've given up on the irregular crumbed, instagram loaf 100% whole grain, which is just as well since I prefer a more even crumb - call me crazy but don't enjoy my bread topping falling through my bread. Though I still post my bakes on instagram even if they're not trendy right now. I would like to have regularly good loaves: rounded, nice oven spring upwards not outwards, not pancakes. But you're right! I've gone from thinking "whole grain" tastes like slightly bitter cardboard to loving the flavor with the fresh flour, and even my frisbee loaves still taste good. At the end of the day, it tastes good and it's good for me and my microbiome. And thanks for the welcome! We're all homebodies now, but now you don't have to make excuses for it ;)
Tasty. I've been struggling with baking bread from home-milled grains. Finding something I really like. That's why I'm here. Thanks for sharing.
I'm still patchy with the home-milled bread - I baked two proteolytic pancake loaves just yesterday *sigh* the struggle continues. Did you notice there's a whole grain page? Added that to my bookmarks.
Got it now thanks. Oh I'm from Los Angeles btw. Born and bred but I've lived in Seattle since 1992. I left Los Angeles but Los Angeles has never left me and never will. Happy baking!
Thank you, you too!
I’m also in the LA area, and bake mostly 100% wholegrain (fresh ground) sourdough bread. Over the last 5 years I’ve gotten to where most of my bakes are a success, but there is still the occasional flop ( though now it’s because I forgot to tend the dough or something- less complete mystery failures). Your loaf in this thread looks fantastic.
Good to know there's something to aspire to! That loaf was a good one before my current proteolytic enzyme funk (or at least I'm pretty sure that's the problem right now). Thanks for the encouragement!
Sometimes all it takes is a few good large feedings in a row.
Thanks! I was thinking of doing that over the next few days before I bake with it again
Hi all, I just wanted to chime in on this whole-grain millers and bakers thread and say hello. I'm in Santa Cruz (currently cold and rainy here after a scorching hot spell last week).
I have a Mockmill and bake with 100% whole grain, with varying degrees of success. So far my favorite bakes are Patrick Ryan's spelt-molasses sandwich loaf made with yeast, the Laurel's Kitchen fresh milk sandwich loaf made with hard red wheat and yeast, and the overnight autolyse sourdough from Elly's Everyday channel made with hard red. I have Kamut and love the flavor but haven't yet developed a very successful consistent bread with it. Mostly I use it in pancakes.
I have also struggled at times with my starter and /or dough going proteolytic with high temperatures, overproofing, etc.
I would like to be able to convert some of my sandwich loaves to sourdough but so far they haven't turned out as well as the conventional yeast versions.
I love experiments and at different times I have made successful starters from raisin water, apple water, and wheat berry water, but I keep coming back to my old dependable rye starter.
Anyhow, I just wanted to say hello. I also have a few blog posts on here that might or might not be useful if you want to check them out.
Good luck and happy baking!
Thanks for the shout out. I joined here to jump in and explore baking from home-milled grain. I will look over your blogs. I'm about to blog a 50 percent home-milled bake where I did a few new things. Waiting for the loaves to cool before I make a crumb shot. Stay tuned.
I've already perused some of your posts in the whole grain posts, and yes they were helpful, thank you! I've had good results with yeasted, whole grain loaves (I really love Zingerman's Bakehouse recipe for a buttermilk, whole grain sandwich loaf). It's sourdough that's tricky for me. So I'm going to look up that overnight autolyse recipe you mention. The last loaf I made was better: I used much less levain, kept the dough in a cooler spot in my kitchen, and stopped the bulk at 50% rise to bake the same day. It was much easier to handle, and wasn't nearly as sticky when shaping as the few previous attempts. All tips gleaned from the whole grain posts!
I love Kamut too, but haven't used it at more than 20% in bread. I use it pancakes and other sweet bakes more. I converted Maialino's olive oil cake into a whole grain cake with a mix of kamut and einkorn - the kamut lends a delicate crisp layer on the cake, and gives the crumb a texture similar to a semolina cake. I know the perfect loaf blog has a kamut baguette recipe, but I think it's mostly bread flour.