All grains contain peptides that mimic morphine or endogenous opioid substances. This is where I deal with my latest loaf craving. Get your bread-based exorphin fix here.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Everyday Bread #60- Revisiting Doris Grant's Original Whole Wheat No Knead Loaf

Doris Grant's No-Knead Whole Wheat Loaf

After yesterday's disaster loaf, I felt I had to try to redeem myself.  I'm trying this recipe again.

In addition to trying the recipe, I've been thinking a lot about this loaf, in its historical context.   And here's the thing that made me most curious of all.  Doris Grant became a firm believer in not mixing your starches and proteins.  Well then, what do we do about bread, which is a lot of starch, but also contains proteins?  And if bread (her bread) is okay to eat, what do we put on it?  Not meat, or cheese, or even butter, surely.  I still haven't wrapped my understanding around this idea.  She gave us this loaf, but it is filled with contradictions.

Further questions as to why Grant and Allen and Beard warmed the flour lead me to investigate starch and its gelatinization.  The Wiki article on Starch tells me that "if starch is subjected to dry heat, it breaks down to form pyrodextrins, in a process known as dextrinization."  That is just pyrolysis again, and we are back to examining the Maillard Reaction, like what happens to the crust when the bread is baked, or the bread is toasted later.

Is this how the Grant loaf achieves its sweetness?  Amylase will break apart starches into glucose but so, apparently, will dextrinization. 

Starch is not soluble in cold water, but it is in warm water: which leads me to suspect that again, it is the heat that does the job.

What sort of heat are we talking about?  Gelatinization occurs at 190-194 degrees F; it is complete at 203 degrees, but it has to be moist heat.  Dry heat causes hydrolysis, making short-chain dextrine.  This gives the 'brown' colour.  I was only going to 170 degrees.  Was that enough to begin gelatinizing the starch?  I didn't think it was.

But anyway, to today's loaf. Or loaves.  I've doubled the recipe. 

Dough: (doubled)

  • ~6 c wwflour (900 g)
  • 2 tsp honey (13 g)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Instant Dry Yeast (6 g)
  • 2 tbsp butter (30 g)
  • 1 tsp salt (8 g) 
  • ~800 ml water, at 110 degrees F. (800 g)
heat the flour and the pans and a pizza stone

about 800 mls of water; microwave 90 sec to get 110 degrees F

put yeast in honey; add some of the hot water
make sure it is 110 degrees F
The smaller glass might lose a few degrees of temp
Melt the butter in the microwave
The water is cooling but the hot butter warms it again
Once the yeast has a good bloom, stir it all into the warm flour
It is wet enough to stir up with one finger

half goes in the warm tin
The other half you do an envelope fold, as best as you are able
There is no way this is going to have any gluten sheath.  Forget it.
This dough goes on a cold stone; the stone will later go on the hot stone

They proof about 30 minutes.  A bowl over the one on the stone.
The one in the pan has risen well; the one on the stone has just spread
- I scored it anyway and coated it with water before baking

40 min at 425 they look okay (no oven spring tho)
-- but they are stuck to stone and pan
Dough on a cold stone that you put on a hot stone: bad idea?
Or is it just this particular stone ?
(the same thing happened to the pizza I made on this stone)

As for the crumb of this loaf, it is dense but generally acceptable.  It holds up to slicing thin, but just barely.  It shows a lot of stress fractures as I attempted to get it free from the tin for the final bake in the oven while out of the tin.  Better to just bake it completely in the tin and then wait for the bread to set before trying to get it out, if it is so badly stuck.  I'm still not sure why this loaf sticks to everything it touches.

As for taste: it doesn't taste bad, per se.  But it certainly is not as good, in my opinion, as the Wolter and Teubner whole wheat bread with wheat germ that I recently made

I wonder if this loaf could be baked in a hot casserole dish, like a Lahey loaf?  I wonder if the amounts of the ingredients could be adjusted to make it more like the whole wheat loaf that the King Arthur Flour kitchens produce and claim are so popular?

Notes to Myself
  • Will the cold stone on a hot stone work for bread?  Why does this bread always stick?
  • Perhaps the one on the stone needs to be put in the oven right away: it won't hold up to any proofing, it is going to spread no matter what you do.
  • Bake this in the tin 45-50 minutes.  Don't try to take it out of the pan if it doesn't come easily, until it has properly set.
  • Try it in a casserole dish, like a Lahey loaf.

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