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Wholemeal Bread - what tips/techniques do you have? - Page 2

post #31 of 48
Someone was talking about windowpanes, and i just wanted to add a comment on that. I tried doing the windowpane the first times i was doing the 100% whole wheat bread. It's useful to get an idea of what dough should FEEL like when it's kneaded enough. I never did it again. It's useful as a gauge. If the dough feels like this under my hands and looks like this it would be making a windowpane now if i tried. But i don't bother now that i have a sense of the feel.
It's like cooking steak by touch, the first times it's useful to test by touch and then cut into the steak to see what that particular softness indicates in terms of doneness - rare, medium, etc. Then once you "have" it, once your hand "knows" what it feels like, you don;t have to cut the steak, you just feel it.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #32 of 48
Exactly! It is like learning to balance on a bicycle.
Success is getting to eat your mistakes along the way.........

35 years of baking and pastry making, and every day still brings new learning opportunities.
Happy Baking! Cheers! Mr. Pastry
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Success is getting to eat your mistakes along the way.........

35 years of baking and pastry making, and every day still brings new learning opportunities.
Happy Baking! Cheers! Mr. Pastry
Reply
post #33 of 48
Thanks BDL - I'll try to expand:As mentioned later, the bran particles are very slow to hydrate, therefore firstly the approach is to properly hydrate the bran and 'dead-weight' damaged starches etc.. The yeast also begins to ferment, consume some sugars, and 'shorten' the gluten forming proteins. The gluten formed by kneading is less 'bucky' and becomes more extensible. The autolyse also tends to have the effect lessening the time or amount of kneading required to develop the dough. - For this reason a 'rich' dough as well as generally slack dough are easier to handle - and don't get overheated by excessive mixing (in a large quantity machine).

I would concur as noted above. Personally I allow sweet dough and 100% whole wheat autolyse for 1 hour when I am baking at home.

True, but I felt it should be mentioned. Preferments, levain, sours, etc. can get pretty complex, and there all kinds of variations on different themes. Sometimes I will cube up some left-over whole wheat bread, add a little more water, and set and overnight sponge with the old bread mixed in as well. And I occasionally play around with different ideas on sours. Tomorrow I am making some breads with a 10 day levain style (no added yeast) sour fed only with white flour. Smells good so far.

Most traditional bakers will add the salt only in the last minute or 2 of mixing. - mainly when using mechanical equipment. This helps prevent the dough from getting too hot during mixing.

Also as the salt strengthens the proteins, and tightens the gluten the dough resistance can 'feel' developed when it is not.

If you conceptually view a dough as a solution in water, then you have the salt competing for water with the flour, and once in solution creates pressure on the cell membrane of the yeast, which reduces or slows (retards) it's ability to split (duplicate).

It is like the yeast feels to full to eat any more and slows down. Kind of like when we crash in front of the tube after Thanksgiving dinner.

The conversion of complex carbohydrates in to consumable simple sugars is when the effects on the gluten happen. Slow this down and it changes the end result.

I hope it is not too muddy and helps provide you with a greater sense of control, and desire for adventure.
Success is getting to eat your mistakes along the way.........

35 years of baking and pastry making, and every day still brings new learning opportunities.
Happy Baking! Cheers! Mr. Pastry
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Success is getting to eat your mistakes along the way.........

35 years of baking and pastry making, and every day still brings new learning opportunities.
Happy Baking! Cheers! Mr. Pastry
Reply
post #34 of 48
Mr. Pastry stated: <<If you conceptually view a dough as a solution in water, then you have the salt competing for water with the flour, and once in solution creates pressure on the cell membrane of the yeast, which reduces or slows (retards) it's ability to split (duplicate).

It is like the yeast feels to full to eat any more and slows down. Kind of like when we crash in front of the tube after Thanksgiving dinner.
>>

In my bread Salt is added at the end of the autolyse, immdiately prior to kneading. But for my last loaf I accidentally added the salt at the beginning of the autolyse instead of at the end and the dough was allowed to rest as usual. The subsequent proof-rises seemed much slower; and, the ovenspring, although reduced, was not as tall but still yielded an open crumb. Fearing the proverbial doorstop,I really worried about serving this loaf to my guests; but alas, we all enjoyed my 'mistake' over the course of the whole meal even though the bread seemed a tiny bit denser. It was aptly named as my hybrid ciabatta.

Next time I'll be more attentive as to the timing of the salt addition. I promise! ;)

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #35 of 48
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the continuing help. :cool:

I am interested to know if generally speaking, contributors alter the degree of hydration when working with percentages that include wholemeal/brown flours.

So if you had a simple white recipe:-

White Strong Bread Flour 100%
Water 60%
Instant Yeast 1%
Salt 2%

.... and then altered the flour so that it became 50% white/50% wholemeal (brown), would you then alter the base percentage of water? Or do you think that something like an extended autolyse process to allow for improved distribution is normally sufficient in itself?
post #36 of 48
Thread Starter 
Additional:-

Using slice/profile below, I'd appreciate observations re. 50/50 white/wholemeal made day before yesterday.

I Generally bake quite hot (230 - 250c) for first ten minutes and reduce to around 180c (fan oven), then go for internal temp of 90C before removing.




Thanks.
Andy.
post #37 of 48
Overall I prefer my hydration(s) in the 65% range and you might see your crumb open up a little more. Otherwise our bread looks good - a nice tall crown.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #38 of 48
Dude,

Your bread looks pretty good to me.

The crack on the right side of the picture is probably an artifact of your loaf formation technique. Are you sort of flattening the dough, then rolling a cylinder to form your loaf?

For whatever reason, you're about halfway on the road to something called a "flying crust." That's when there's a big whole right below the top of the crust, that follows the crust's curve. One way to prevent it is to press a little channel down the all the way along the center of the long axis of your loaves with your finger tips after it's almost finished its proof. Just the center, try not to push down the edges at all. Of course, no matter how careful you are you'll have to allow some extra proofing time for it to recover. Besides guarding against flying crust, another result will be a sort of "hear shaped" loaf so characteristic of French style sandwich loaves.

Alternatively it might have something to do with the bread sticking to the pan on one side. In any case, something's going on there.

You can probably get a more open crumb by "punching down" less vigorously. You do want to get a lot of gas out of the dough -- but not all of it. And you certainly want to retain all of its lightness.

The level of "hydration" for a two loaf whole wheat or half whole wheat recipe should be anywhere between however much liquid the dough can hold without getting sticky and clinging to the work bowl; and however little liquid the dough can hold and pick up all the solids. It doesn't sound very scientific, but in practice it's actually a pretty tight range, and will produce consistent and consistently good results.

Honestly, if you're mixing by hand, you've got enough information to measure by hand as well -- and can learn to bake very good bread without a formal measuring device of any sort other than your Mark IV GI eyeball, experience, and the palm of your hand.

Speaking of experience, Siduri made a good point. There are other ways to check how far along you've gone in the kneading process without "windowpaning." The windowpane is just one test. It's especially valuable for impatient optimisits who tend to overestimate how far along they are.

Personally I can't tell the difference between a 60% and 65% hydration by looking at a picture on the interwebs, and must defer to those who can. Besides, there are too many other factors which go to the openness of the crumb. Things like handling and ingredients.

Also, while I don't argue with the "salt" at the last minute of kneading school of baking, I don't particularly endorse it for small quantities either. In my modicum of experience baking home quantities (two loaves at a time ish), mixing the salt into the dry ingredients before mixing the liquid doesn't harm the final product at all. The first rise may take longer, but I don't time it by the clock and neither should you.

If you like we can get into the dissolution, diffusion, distribution, and equilibriation of salt in a semi-solid like a bread dough; but I don't think it's necessary. Holding the salt back allows the yeast to work faster and as a result it will produce more gas, which form bubbles, and the dough will develop some extra "cell" structure. Unfortunately, that's all lost when the dough is kneaded. It's easy enough to bake bread a few times in a couple of weeks and try it both ways for yourself.

As a personal matter, I don't see enough difference to bother with it myself, nor to rewrite the recipes I write for other people -- something I am doing to reflect the benefits of autolysis.

BDL
post #39 of 48
BDL stated: <<Personally I can't tell the difference between a 60% and 65% hydration by looking at a picture on the interwebs, and must defer to those who can. Besides, there are too many other factors which go to the openness of the crumb. Things like handling and ingredients.>>

I can't tell by looking at the photos either. But, Andydude indicated "60%" hydration and so I thought I'd suggest increasing the hydration a bit to achieve perhaps a more open crumb.

Please elaborate more on your term "flying crust". In an earlier post I indicated the ability to see "bubbles in my dough...". Well, actually, it was 'blisters" just underneath the surface of my dough that I observed, especially with increased hydration. Huge blisters the reached 1+ inches in diameter at the base.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #40 of 48
"Flying crust," aka "flying top," is something which occurs during the baking process when the top crust rises (a lot) faster than the bulk of the loaf underneat. A big bubble forms under the crust and leaves a hole -- often running the length of the loaf -- when the bread is sliced.

If you go to the fresh loaf site, The Fresh Loaf | News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts, and search the term, you'll find some discussions.

It happens mostly in breadpan loaves, but happens with handformed as well -- expecially batards. Maybe a little less often with loaves that are shaped by a banneton or the like, or are formed as a boule or miche.

The "predisoposition" usually occurs during the last proofing, when the top part of the bread rises faster than the lower -- because the lower has the weight of the top pressing it down and retarding the rise. One solution is to gently press the center of the dough down (along the long axis of the loaf) near the last part of the final proof. As I said (but misspelled) it forms a characteristic "heart" shaped top -- pretty typical of Euro "sandwich" breads -- and not atypical of sumpermarket loaves, either.

Another solution, more appropriate with free-form loaves, is to let them take part of the proof, then turn them over to finish it. But better, I think, is getting a lot of "surface tension" on the loaf before formation. You control the crust and the crust controls the bread; and, that takes care of that.

I won't try and guess if and how your essentially "no-knead" style of baking performs in terms of flying crust.

BDL
post #41 of 48
Mine is more characterized by a blister here and there and not a single, long hollow section running the entire long axis of the loaf.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #42 of 48
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the feedback kokopuffs & BDL.

I have a bad habit of sabotaging my boule type loaves. I taughten/shape by pulling up consecutive sections of dough up from the bottom towards the centre of the top pinching in the middle, eventually turning the whole over before proofing (no bread tin). Occasionally, while baking, as one side holds its intended shape the other rises a little upwards before the crown is formed. I will try a different technique.

Not withstanding the lack of consistency with shaping (possible overproofing?), it's useful to know there are some merits to where I'm at the moment, and here's why. When you guys talk about values like complex flavours, I have no idea how to turn that into a target when striving for excellence - I can't frame that in such a way I know how to aim for it.

When I make a simple white loaf that's pleasing to me, when I feel it's right, There's a great relationship between the crust and the crumb, and I get a sense of the sunshine that went into the making of it. Fanciful description, but it's the best way I can describe the sense of it. i

I've not got that same relationship yet when working with wholemeal/brown flour. I don't yet find the dough as pleasing to work with, and I don't feel I've hit the equivalent of recognising that 'sunshine taste' moment.
post #43 of 48
Based on my evaluation and that of my friends/critiques, the flavor of my bread improved greatly when I switched from all purpose flour to a bread flour and I'm certain that there were other factors in the flour besides protein content that contributed to improved flavor.

Have you tried taking some of the overall flour, water, and a pinch of yeast to make a preferment? I've achieved a much better flavor using a preferment that's 8-10 hours old versus one that's 12-15 hours old.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #44 of 48
Thread Starter 
Thanks kokopuffs.

I've done this a couple of times when baking white bread, and found that there has been an intense and undesired 'home brew' kind of quality about the bread when I've done it this way. I know I need to experiment more with this and downsize the amount of yeast I use, together with as you point out, experimenting with my timings.
post #45 of 48
Perhaps some of the more experienced bakers can tell you a little more information, as most of my approaches have a scientific basis, however the flavours of bread come from:

1) The ingredients.
2) The yeast.
3) The bake.

Think of your basic bread; (as you mentioned) white flour, water, salt and yeast. Apart from using a different flour and the addition of anything else, most of the flavour comes from the yeasts and bake.

Here's the rule; Yeasts not only excrete carbon dioxide, but also alcohols. The SLOWER it ferments, the more complex the flavours of the alcohols in the mix. The quicker it ferments, the harsher the flavour.

SO, the slower you ferment it, the more flavourful it is; this can be done by cooling to fridge temps and leaving for as long as you like. A poolish is flavourful as it fully endorses a well-fed, slow fermentation.

Couple of things to remember:

Don't run out of things to feed your yeast! Add a pinch of sugar (tinyest pinch) or a dribble of honey, and your yeasts will be very happy feeding (although will weaken your glutens slightly),
...and don't add too much... in terms of percentage anywhere between 0.5% - 4% of the flour weight is fine, half that if slow fermenting (retarding).

I, like most here (I believe) generally produce maximum flavours, by adding a poolish and retarding for as long as possible (I usually aim for overnight).
I will leave my poolish for as long as possible before wild cultures start to acidify the flavours (5-7 days at fridge temps work great for me).

...And the bake;

The MIGHTY brown! The browning reaction generates hundreds of aroma compounds including caramel, vanilla, and even slightly fruity and buttery aromas. Get it as brown as your comfortable with the crust, and you'll enjoy good flavours. That means HOT oven! (I don't allow mine to drop below 250C).
post #46 of 48
Chris,

You got to the heart of a lot of matters. There are a couple of things I'd like to add to, though.

Handling: How you handle the dough has a lot to do with the ultimate texture.

Holding: You talked about retarding, preferments, all the right things but didn't give it its own separate paragraph. It called me in tears. I can't repeat the entire conversation but as your mutual friend: If you want out of the doghouse,you owe it flowers, dinner at its favorite restaurant (no hot pot joints), and earrings. Minimum.

Speaking of preferments -- Poolish, biga and sour are nice and the more you use them the nicer they seem and the more you use them and so on. But not for every loaf. Some things are better without. But, there's a very interesting formula for sourdough challah on The Fresh Loaf. Have you seen it?

Oven temp: Hot! Hot! Yes if you want crusty, crackly bread. Lower temps for a more tender crust, as for sandwich breads.

BDL
post #47 of 48
For my 6C loaf, the preferment consists of 1/8th tsp of INSTANT YEAST, 1.3C water mixed into 2 1/4C flour. And yes, at the end of the 8-10 hour preferment there certainly should be a beery odor because that's what beer is, essentially, fermented wheat. A tiny amount of yeast is preferred since it'll minimize the beeriness (CO2and alcohol production) and, I think, optimize starch conversion into sugar and its's those sugars that'll improve the flavor of your bread.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #48 of 48
I'm sure you're quite right chef.
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