This is the very first bread that I've made from Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads book. I probably should have made the yeasted version, or better yet, made the yeasted version and the motherstarter version side by side. But since this was my first try at any recipes in this book, I wanted to be careful and I didn't want to get mixed up. And I had refreshed my starter within 3 days, so now was the perfect time.
This bread is a 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich bread, and like most of the breads in this book, it comes together 'like epoxy' by creating first a soaker, and then a biga, and a little bit more raw material on baking day. It takes 2 days to make. The whole idea is for some pre-fermentation to occur before you bake it. Reinhart says that this allows the enzymes to work at the whole grains, so that more complex flavours are developed. I am not willing to swear to that, but having eaten a couple of slices now from my first loaf, I have to agree that it tastes good. On the other hand, is that due to the addition of honey and scalded milk? There doesn't seem to be all that much, but the addition of fructose and lactose is going to sweeten the loaf. So you are getting some extra sugars on top of all that carbohydrate.
On to the pictures of the process.
Day 1, Mise En Place, the ingredients for the Biga and Soaker:
The Soaker (on the right, below) is just mixed and you can forget about it. It gets to stay out at room temperature 12-24 hours, i.e. until you bake with it the next day. The Biga has to sit out only 8 hours, and then it can be refrigerated. The first thing I noticed was that the Biga didn't rise so much. I assumed that was due to my newly refreshed 100% rye motherstarter not knowing what to do with whole wheat. It was room temperature from the fridge; but perhaps it was stunned. Eventually it did decide that whole wheat was worth fermenting, however, and I did get some sort of a mucky increase in volume, although I wouldn't call it a rise.
Day 2. Now we are mixing dough for bread.
I had all my instructions written on a card, which I misplaced at just the worst moment, when I was trying to time my mixing and kneading to Reinhart's direction. In the end, I overworked the dough by giving it about 3 minutes more kneading than I was supposed to. I'm not sure why I wasn't getting the rise that I wanted.
Not knowing what to expect from the bread, I decided my first loaf would be made in a pan, rather than on my baking stone.
The second rise took about 4 hours, much longer than Reinhart said it would. I had spent all day watching this dough, and I was beginning to feel like mine was a wasted life. To pass the time, I tried to find some information on how healthy whole grains are. What I found was controversial. I will have to report on this in another blog.
Despite the crooked way the dough ended up in the pan, it baked up all right (even though I forgot to slash it). Now I had oiled the pan, but the dough still didn't want to come out easily, so I just sat it down until the pan cooled a little, and then it slid out better. The only problem was, it was now a little moist on the bottom, so I stuck it back in the (still warm) oven so that some of this moisture could evaporate. It did, but because I had placed it upside down on the oven rack, the loaf had settled a little.
So the crumb was a little more dense looking than the picture of Reinhart's bread in the book.
Notes to Myself:
- double the recipe, at least. It is a lot of work for just one loaf.
- Next time, try the batard shape.
- Make the yeast version of each recipe first
- Check your motherstarter. Did you miss a step, going from barm to motherstarter?