The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

75% whole stoneground red fife honey sourdough 85% hydration

Benito's picture
Benito

75% whole stoneground red fife honey sourdough 85% hydration

idaveindy challenged me to bake a bread with more whole grain so I decided to take the plunge and bake a 75% red fife loaf.  I don’t recall having baked anything more than 40% whole grain before so this was going to be different for sure.  Red fife is a heritage wheat and I believe one of the first to be grown in Canada so it is dear to my heart and is what I use instead of whole wheat.  Despite the pandemic I’ve been able to reliably source it here in Toronto.

Going head first into this project I decided to write my own formula for this bread.  I recently have been trying to write my own formulas or adapt other formulas from the net.  I expected this whole red fife to be thirsty so my original recipe called for 95% hydration, however, I was shocked at how relatively not thirsty it was and ended up around 85-86% hydration.

Levain 92 g needed whole red fife 

Overnight build 1:6:6

8 g starter + 48 g water + 48 g red fife

 

Dough mix 

115 g bread flour 25%

299 g whole stoneground red fife 75%

9.2 g salt 2%

 

322 g water for 86% hydration

27 g honey 6%

 

Overnight saltolyse

The bran in whole grain need sometime to absorb water and soften.  I believe that this long saltolyse really helps that happen.

 

 

In the morning add levain to saltolyse dough, mix to incorporate with Rubaud mixing.

Slap and fold to good gluten development. 600-700 

Rest 30 min then bench letterfold ferment at 80ºF removing 30 g of dough for aliquot jar

Rest 30 min then lamination

 

Then every 30 mins coil fold - six done

 

Final shaping when aliquot jar reaches 60% and dough is domed, jiggles well and has fermentation bubbles visible.

Placed into banneton and left to rest on the bench until aliquot jar show 80% rise.

 

Cold retarded overnight.

 

Next day

Preheat oven 500ºF with dutch oven inside.

Once oven reaches temp, turn dough out of banneton, score and bake in dutch oven for 20 mins at 450ºF with lid on.  Drop temperature to 420ºF and bake 10 mins with lid on.

 

Remove lid and bake for 20 mins or until done with the bread out of the dutch oven on rack directly.

Comments

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Excellent oven spring for a mostly WW loaf.

Lookin' good!

Benito's picture
Benito

Thanks Dave, I was pleasantly surprised when I removed the lid from the Dutch Oven and saw the bloom.  We’ll see if the crumb is any good, I was quite concerned that I pushed proofing too far.  I’d never gone to 80% aliquot jar rise.  I know that Kristen will often go to 100%.  I think that my fully developing the gluten upfront with hundreds of slap and folds if paying dividends now.  I think my doughs are tolerating pushing proofing further than they have in the past.

Benny

mdw's picture
mdw

Very interested to see the crumb here. I also take my loaves to 100% rise, but my results are usually better with very little active gluten development. I suspect yours will be very, very even, and maybe a little tighter than you expect, but I'm definitely no expert and excited to find out. 

Benito's picture
Benito

I’m sure you’ll be proven correct.  I have no previous experience with whole grains up in this range so you are far more experienced than I.  I generally prefer an even but relatively open crumb, lacy.  But I cannot have that expectation with this bread.

Benito's picture
Benito

I am pleasantly surprised at the crumb I was able to achieve with 75% whole stoneground red fife.  It is as open as I have been able to achieve in other breads.  I am also surprised at how much I am enjoying the flavour of it.  Growing up eating store bought brown bread really turned me off whole wheat breads.  But now having made one with a good amount of whole red fife in it, I’m a convert.  The red fife has a nice wheat flavour and those hints of cinnamon that I associated with it.  Importantly, it has none of the bitterness I always associated with whole wheat.

Now as to why I was able to get this crumb I’m so happy with?  I think it goes back to how I been developing most of my dough lately.  The overnight saltolyse allows the brans to fully soften and the flour to fully hydrate and gives the gluten a head start.  Then fully developing the gluten with the slap and folds, in this case 600-700, I think I actually did 650 for I now forget and didn’t record this in my notes.  Finally coil folds until the dough is holding its structure without too much relaxing in the bowl.  Finally allowing the dough to proof further than I have in the past, this time to 80% aliquot jar rise.

mdw's picture
mdw

Looks great! Another success!

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you MDW, I’m quite satisfied with this bake.

Benny

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Wow! I also haven't really ventured into such high % whole wheat, but this crumb is excellent! I'd be happy with it even for just white flour bread. Well done Benny, sounds like you are enjoying the taste a lot too, which is crucial, of course.

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you Ilya we are enjoying this more than I expected. I’ll be baking more high % whole grain breads in the future. 
Benny

HeiHei29er's picture
HeiHei29er

Beautiful loaf Benny.  Your technique and ability to create a recipe with that outcome on the first try is pretty amazing.  Well done!

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you Troy, I’ve gradually become more consistent.  I still have my issues at times, but generally I’ve gained some consistency I didn’t have last year.

Benny

jl's picture
jl

This is amazing. I don't think there's any room for improvement. You need to start baking 100% whole wheat loaves.

Is there a typo in the notes? The hydration doesn't seem to add up.

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you JL.  My initial plan was to use whole white wheat instead of bread flour.  I spent a day searching for it here in Toronto, but had no luck.  Places that I had seen it for sale before no longer have it and told me it might be a long time before they get any more.  I can only assume that it will take until the next crop so no time soon.

I included the honey in my calculation of hydration since it is a liquid, is that incorrect, I’m not always certain.

Benny

jl's picture
jl

That's an interesting question, actually. In a formula everything would be self-evident. Then again, int the context of brioche it doesn't make much sense to speak of hydration.

Most baking books classify honey as a sweetening agent. I personally wouldn't be inclined to include it in hydration calculations. 

Benito's picture
Benito

I’m not sure, but I think any liquid ingredients are usually included in the hydration because they do hydrate the flour.  

Without the honey the hydration would only be 80%.

Benny

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Most varieties only have 15-18% water.  That won’t nudge the overall hydration by more than a percentage point or two, usually. 

Paul

Benito's picture
Benito

OK so it might have been 81% hydration then based on 17.8% water content of honey.  The funny thing is that it acted like it hydrated/loosened the dough more than 1%.

Benny

isand66's picture
isand66

I don’t include it in the hydration since it’s not really a liquid and you’re not using enough that it would have much of an impact.  By the way your bake is excellent with such great crumb fir such a high % of whole grains.

Benito's picture
Benito

That does seem to be the consensus on honey, not to be added to the hydration calculation.  This was my first bake with a majority whole grain and not to be my last.  We’ll see if I can get another good result with the spelt and Kamut I have in cold retard now for baking tomorrow.  

Benny

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

Congratulations Benny. That’s a triumph to look at. Did you mill the Red Fife or was the flour storebought? How’s the flavor?  I’ve had nothing but disappointments from 40-60% fresh milled Red Fife. Awful crumb structure. But I’m too lazy for 6-700 ff’s. And je ne saltolyse pas. Maybe that would help. We’ve relegated it now exclusively to sweets with minimal gluten requirements. There it works fine but any special heritage flavor (the reason I bought it for bread in the first place) is masked by the enrichments.

Nice loaf!

Tom

 

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you Tom, I unfortunately don’t have a home mill, no space in our condo for more stuff and unmilled grain isn’t that easy to buy here anyhow.  I suspect that the red fife I used wasn’t great in terms of gluten potential.  I really expected it to take on more water and to develop gluten a bit more quickly, but ended up at around 650 FF before I could get a windowpane.  That was a bit of an early morning workout before my morning tea.

I started doing saltolyse out of convenience because I wanted to save daytime by doing the levain build overnight.  But then lost the ability to do an autolyse because the levains would always be ready as soon as I was out of bed.  I’ve since found saltolyse to be so convenient and also beneficial, I think, for really softening the bran.

Benny

headupinclouds's picture
headupinclouds

I'm glad to see you will be doing more whole grain bakes (for selfish reasons). This one is beautiful.  Your intensive active gluten development has me rethinking the passive soaker/saltolyse + gradual/gentle stretch and fold approach, although I've seen very successful whole wheat examples with that approach too.

Benito's picture
Benito

That more gentle less intensive dough development was always what I used to do until recently.  I finally finished reading Trevor Wilson’s book and the information on lacy crumb (always my favourite crumb) got me rethinking what I was doing.  The idea that if you want to achieve a lacy crumb, your gluten needs to be fully developed upfront and not during bulk depending on folds.  As he said, fully developed gluten in the dough has a better chance of holding in more of the fermentation gases developed during bulk.  You need very fully gassy dough, lots of structure and shaping that goes quite late into bulk before shaping to get a lacy crumb.  I don’t currently have the skills to shape well a 70% rise (aliquot jar measured) dough, so decided that since I can competently shape 60% risen dough, I’d do that and this time left the dough to continue to proof warm until the aliquot jar showed 80% and voila, this loaf was the result of that.

Now, many better bakers than I somehow achieve incredible crumb with less intensive dough development, but I’ve not been able to.  Also this bake might be a fluke and beginner’s luck with wholegrain.  However, it is in keeping with the gospel of Trevor Wilson and what he says in his book makes sense to me logically, so I’ll be doing this for future bakes until I find it doesn’t work anymore.

Benny

mdw's picture
mdw

This resonates with me, I applied the same logic when I started experimenting with gluten development during autolyse (posted here). I didn't pursue the idea beyond what I've already posted as I was a bit disheartened with the results of the slap and folds. I've also noticed that in Bertinet's more recent posts he always seems to be pulling well developed dough out of the mixer, before working his magic on the bench. In retrospect it was likely the additional water that I kept adding that led to my disappointment, but I think it may just be too violent to have the bran knocking around the gluten this way. Ultimately I'm unsure whether the gluten can be developed beyond what occurs naturally during your overnight saltolyse, although that still leaves structure to be built with your many coil folds. Speaking of the saltolyse, I picked up a crumb from Gänzle's thesis recently that describes how salt potentially benefits yeast growth. Perhaps a long saltolyse provides benefit related to the theory. 

Another thing Trevor says is that's about 80% fermentation, so there's a chance that very little of the manipulation on our parts has much effect ultimately. Our healthy starter maintence and time management would be far more valuable (yours appears to be excellent).

Edit: One other thing I was thinking about was the effect of the honey. I wonder how different (if at all) it would be without it.

Benito's picture
Benito

I remember that Ganzle paper too, but not sure how it applies here in terms of yeast growth since the levain isn’t added until the next morning.  But yes there are some here who have experimented with salt in their levains or starters.

You are correct though, I have gradually changed more than one variable with increasing the slap and folds and pushing the post shaping rise.  It is most likely that the crumb achieved is multi factorial, and not due to one or the other separately.  But since it is currently working for me, I’ll keep doing it until it doesn’t anymore.  The slap and folds are a good exercise for early in the morning anyways. 

A very wet dough just doens’t take well to slap and folds at least for me, so maybe the dough you tried with slap and folds was a bit too wet?  With the bran so well hydrated I’m not sure that it is damaging the gluten strands but who knows.  If I could tolerate doing enough Rubaud to get the same degree of gluten development that would certainly be gentler, but my arm strength isn’t sufficient to do more than 5 mins of Rubaud before I have to call it quits.

Regarding honey, I have no idea if it is doing anything other than balancing any potential bitterness that was the only reason I added it.  Oh it also darkened the crust much faster than I expected.  I’m not read anything about its affect on gluten or crumb.

mdw's picture
mdw

It's possible the honey increased the yeast activity, which would affect the crumb. But I'd have to do some searching through the archives to remember the variables involved there. Regarding salt and yeast, I was thinking it's possible adding the salt to the flour has an impact despite the levain not being included. Maybe it sets the stage somehow. Pure speculation, I have no idea if or how. 

In any event, everything clearly worked here. I hope it inspires you to continue exploring whole grain!

headupinclouds's picture
headupinclouds

This is very interesting.  I've been wanting to push BF further without much luck, and more active early gluten development might help.  Thanks for a thoughtful response.  In the discussion @mdw refers to above we were talking about what I referred to as "fraying" or light tearing of the gluten early on when using french folds with whole grain flour (although I'm not sure it is specific to whole grains).  My sense is this has to do with tight gluten from the soaker/saltolyse and perhaps the bran content of the flour.  In this case, it started happening almost immediately after finishing the initial mix, so I snapped a photo.  This was probably close to 73% hydration.  I usually get the sense this isn't a good sign, but am not completely sure.  Did you see anything like this in your 650 FF's?

 

Benito's picture
Benito

I’ve seen that with low whole grain and also with this high whole grain dough.  I also remember conversations with DanAyo about how the dough seems to come apart at times but if you continue to slap and fold it comes back together.  I think I’ve seen that less with higher hydration doughs, but I’m not altogether sure.  I don’t usually get too worked up about that and just keep going unless I need a quick break then I’ll take one.

JonJ's picture
JonJ

Hi Benny,

Congratulations on the inspiring bread. I always feel ashamed that I'm using store bought whole wheat and that I should be milling my own. Your bread at least gives me confidence that amazing things can be made with store bought as well. Although this is not to say that you can't buy freshly milled bought whole wheat flours too!

Regarding the gospel of Trevor J, here is a quote from a discussion on his advice on this site:

"a younger bulk (maybe a 20% to 30% rise in volume), and a final rise to maybe 80% to 90% of maximum proof (80% if the dough is room temp, 90% if refrigerated -- with refrigeration creating even more openness)."

In any case, like you my latest approach is to shape at around 40-50% and to leave it out until I need to go to bed or the aliquot says around 70-80%. Perhaps I should pay more attention to that quote above, eh and consider shaping earlier and leaving out for a touch longer!

Finally, slap and fold is fun, but it sure makes a mess. I'm beginning to feel that I can accomplish similar with the Kenwood, but I can understand that doing it by hand may give greater precision to the method as machine mixing is still a little bit of a mystery to me (what to do if the dough is puddling, does going faster with the mixer stretch or tear the gluten) are just some of the factors that still muddy the waters for me. Any thoughts?

Anyway lovely loaf indeed, and interested to see how this direction changes the breads you bake in future.

Jon

 

 

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you for your kind comments Jon, much appreciated.

The whole red fife that I am able to get is organic and from a local farm in our province of Ontario.  I can only assume that it is pretty fresh and better than what I could find in a grocery store, not that I’ve ever seen red fife in a grocery store.  Perhaps this relative freshness is also partly why there wasn’t any bitterness to this bread.  Since finding this flour I haven’t bought any whole wheat flour elsewhere.

Regarding Trevor Wilson’s gospel, I was and still am aiming for lacy crumb as my ideal.  For that if I recall what he wrote in his book correctly, fully developed gluten up front is important.  Pushing bulk to the max is very important and shaping with some tension is essential.  I think for the quote you wrote above, is not for lacy crumb but for another type of crumb that is less even and very open.  Shaping earlier in bulk and allowing more proofing after shaping will give a more irregular “wild” crumb than a dough that is shaped later in bulk and with less proofing later.  

I’m not a fan of machine mixing unless I’m trying to add fat to the dough.  For one thing I don’t have a good mixer, I have a newish KA Artisan stand mixer the one with the C hook and not a spiral hook.  As you probably know these aren’t the best for mixing dough for bread.  As such, I prefer to slap and fold and as I’m still really learning about the feel of dough in its various stages of bulk, it is helpful to be handling the dough.  Of course if the dough is too high hydration then slap and fold is too messy.  With this dough slap and folds were fine and not all that messy so that is what I did.

I do plan on baking more whole grain breads in the near future and eventually may try some 100% whole grain.  I do still see the benefits of using some bread flour in my doughs, so going 100% isn’t necessarily a goal, but more like another challenge to try eventually.

Benny

 

headupinclouds's picture
headupinclouds

I have definitely been underdeveloping gluten in my whole wheat bakes.  This discussion turned out to give me just the hint I needed.  I really went for it with initial FF's and Rubaud after my morning final mix and was able to push the final proof much further and still get oven spring.  The dough is stronger and has more of a sheen at the end of bulk fermentation.  This should give me a lot more room for experimenting with degree of fermentation.

Benito's picture
Benito

Yes you’re right, having a better developed dough allows you to push bulk and proof further.  I’m also amazed that the dough that has well developed gluten is so much less sticky as well.  As I have read described it is just tacky rather than sticky.  I’m glad the discussion we’ve all had here has been helpful to you, it has been enjoyable analyzing things and consolidating our knowledge.

Benny

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Welcome to the "dark side."  ;-)

Good job, inside the loaf as well as outside.

 

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you Dave, I’ve always avoided majority whole grain fearing the bitterness I associate with whole grain.  Fortunately except when I just over toasted this bread, it doesn’t have any bothersome bitterness.  This won’t be my last mostly whole grain bread I’ll bake, I see more in my future.  However, I won’t also switch to only baking mostly whole grains, I like the flexibility of baking whatever I can.

Benny

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

Benny -

We've found that bitterness becomes unpleasantly detectable above 40% hard red wheat (generic -- variety unknown).  At or below that, it's rich and wheaty but not bitter.  Our house standard for the past ~five years has been 30-40% hard red and then hard white to make a total of 60% fresh milled in the weekly miche.  30%-30% or 40%-20% are both good and fairly indistinguishable.  Above 30% hard white gets assertively bland (if such an oxymoron is possible).  And having the remaining 40% AP malted may mask some of the hard red's bitterness.

Tom

Benito's picture
Benito

Tom that is very helpful information thank you.  I may have mentioned somewhere in this thread that I initially had intended to use 25% whole white wheat, but unfortunately after almost a day of investigations wasn’t able to find any that I could get.  The one source that seemed to always have it in the past told me that they were out of stock and didn’t know when they would have it again.  I’m assuming it won’t be until the next harvest.  I am pleasantly surprised that this red fife at 75% lacked any discernible bitterness so I’m glad that I finally gave it a go and have to thank idaveindy for pushing me to finally bake something with a majority of whole grain.

Benny

SabineGrandma's picture
SabineGrandma

I always wondered how the aliquot jar method works. Do you do mini coil folds and tiny lamination too?? 😂 Otherwise the dough in there doesn't really get the same treatment. I haven't tried it jet, I'm just wondering about it.

But I did try the saltolyse after your posts (actually made 2 breads..one with saltolyse and one with autolyze) and the saltolyse one burst open a lot more. I like it better because I milled the salt together with the grain and feel that salt distribution was better. I do use the KitchenAid for mixing. My shoulders don't like the Rubaud method 🤷🏼‍♀️.

Benito's picture
Benito

Sabine, if you haven’t already have a look at THIS THREAD.  I’ve outlined and included video of how I use the aliquot jar.  You’re right the dough in the aliquot jar doesn’t get the degassing that the main dough does with folds, which is why when I state rise in my blog I always try to state aliquot jar rise.  So the aliquot overestimates the rise.  But that is taken into consideration when using it.  The most beneficial thing about using the aliquot jar is that if you’re repeating a recipe and want to adjust the fermentation from previous attempts you can use the aliquot jar to do so quite accurately.  Also, if your dough is heavy with inclusions as many of mine often are with 40% inclusions of fruit or nuts, then it is very helpful to know what the rise in the aliquot jar it because the main dough isn’t going to rise as well because of the weight of the inclusions and if you waited for a 30-50% rise in the main dough then it could be overfermented.

Benny

SabineGrandma's picture
SabineGrandma

Thanks for pointing out that threat. I'm totally going to do that next time. I have an empty glass spice jar (4cm x 10cm) that should work well. And I might even bake the "baby dough" into a bird bread, since my parrot can't eat bread with chocolate and I sooo want to try to make that M&M loaf that's been going around on Instagram. ;)

Sabine

 

headupinclouds's picture
headupinclouds

I've tried both removing and degassing the sample at the time of final shaping (a reset) as well as just letting it continue to rise.  One of the challenges I find with the degassing approach is that while it has the potential to better match the real dough, removing the sample from the jar and then restuffing it in the bottom completely takes a fair amount of tinkering, which will likely result in more degassing than the dough receives with gentle folding and shaping.  So the degassing approach most likely underestimates the dough rise, whereas the hands-off approach probably overestimates it.  If you are using a short bulk fermentation (say 30%) then I would guess the degassed sample is probably a closer approximation of the main dough than with a longer bulk fermentation of 50% or more.  I agree with Benny's comment, that, if used consistently, it should serve to provide reproducible behavior and support fine-tuning for the same dough in similar conditions.  All of this can be skipped with a clear straight-walled bulk fermentation bin, but that precludes work-in-a-bowl dough handling enabled by the sloping sides of the mixing bowl that many of us like for single or double loaf recipes.

SabineGrandma's picture
SabineGrandma

Thanks for your answer!  I will try it in a spice jar, just to see whether I'm estimating the rice correctly. I usually have my dough in a 16-oz pyrex cup. Some doughs come out better than others, so this will help I think. 

Sabine

Benito's picture
Benito

I agree with everything you said, couldn’t have said it better myself.

Benny

isand66's picture
isand66

Curious, what temperature and for how long are you doing the overnight bulk of the dough without the starter?  Also are you refrigerating your starter or is it developing overnight and then added in the next morning to the saltolyse?  
Thanks

Ian

Benito's picture
Benito

I start out by refrigerating the saltolysed dough for 30-60 mins then place it along with the levain in my proofing box.  For my 1:6:6 levain builds if I set the proofing box to 75ºC then in 8-9 hours the levain will have peaked.  So that way they are at the same temperature in the morning for mix.  I find that doing these overnight builds are very convenient and also that the bran is well hydrated and softer than I think they would be with a much shorter autolyse.  

Benny

isand66's picture
isand66

I will have to try this method with a few adjustments to fit my schedule.  I’ve done similar doughs using a 36 hour method but I don’t think the salt was added until the final mix.

headupinclouds's picture
headupinclouds

Did you use the following shaping approach for this dough? (I believe this is closer to cinching than fold and roll in Trevor Wilsons's terminology.)

Do you make any modifications to shaping for this mostly whole wheat dough, which is presumably stronger and less extensible than the one in the photo?  I ask because after seeing that video I started to incorporate more of an initial stretch and tuck step before rolling up, which I believe improved oven spring, but I'm curious if the added tension is responsible for tighter overall crumb with the stronger whole wheat doughs I'm working with.  I'm going to look into this further but was curious if you have adapted your shaping with the whole grain bakes.

Benito's picture
Benito

I have to admit that I haven’t made any changes to my shaping since baking more whole grains.  The only thing I’ve changed is that I’m not using nearly as much flour on the bench.  I flour the top of the dough in the dish and flip it out onto an unfloured counter.  I then sprinkle a bit of flour around the dough on the countertop before shaping.  I actually hadn’t thought that I needed to adjust my shaping just yet.  I don’t think this is how Trevor Wilson shapes his dough when trying for lacy crumb, but so far it ain’t broke so I haven’t changed it.

I am interested in hearing what you are doing when you settle upon what works best for you.

I do have a 100% whole red fife dough in bulk today so I guess I’ll see if this shaping still works with that dough.  Wish me luck.

Benny