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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Beard's William Melville Childs' Health Bread Variation #2

The Official Whole Wheat Version of Wm M. Childs' Health Bread
and a loaf with a Kamut variation

The last bread I made was a disaster and got fed to the chickens.  So I needed to bake some bread to take to work.  I decided to make this 'Health Bread' again, this time with the proper whole wheat ingredients.  The last time I made it, I used some all-purpose flour.

I was going to grind my own wheat here and use only fresh ingredients, but I had another idea and tried that instead.  I still intend to try the freshly milled approach the next time I make this.  Here, however, I wondered what the bread would taste like if I added some kamut flakes and kamut flour to the mix.  I made one batch that was completely whole wheat flour and oatmeal, and one batch that was half-kamut, half-whole-wheat flour, and half oatmeal, half kamut flakes.

I haven't done much baking with kamut, so I really don't know the grain. I didn't have enough ingredients to bake entirely with the kamut, so I used half whole wheat.

The Ingredients:
  • 20g yeast
  • 280g warm milk
  • 4g sugar
  • 434g boiling water
  • 402g oatmeal (Kamut version has 202g oats, 200g kamut flakes)
  • 776g whole wheat flour (Kamut version has 388g wwflour, 388g kamut flour)
  • 258g dark molasses
  • 20g butter
  • 14g salt
Kamut version is to the left of the spoon
The Method: What was supposed to happen.

Proof the yeast in the warm milk and sugar.  Pour the boiling water over the oatmeal and freshly ground whole wheat, and allow to sit until it is 98 degrees F.  Warm the molasses, butter and salt in a saucepan and add to the grain mixture.  Add the milk-yeast mixture and mix with your hands.

Kamut version:

Whole Wheat version:

Allow to rise to double, then knead until the dough is smooth and satiny, about 10-12 minutes.  Divide into 2, place in pans, and let rise until doubled.  Bake 350 degrees F for 1 hour.

What actually happened:

I left the dough in the bulk fermentation phase far too long.  I expected it to rise more, and it just didn't.  I should have just gone ahead when I returned from walking the dog, but I waited a few hours more, waiting for the dough to 'double' when it probably already had.

Thinking that there was not going to be much more rise, I didn't divide the kamut dough after kneading it.  I just put it into a single, slightly larger pan.  The Kamut dough felt a bit runny, but it was hard to knead at the same time.  The kamut flakes had not absorbed as much water as the oatmeal had.

Kamut version:

The whole wheat dough felt like it might have some rise and spring to it, so I did divide it (although not in half: I felt that the dough wouldn't double again).  I took away 1/3 of it and formed some balls with it, thinking that these would turn into buns.

Whole wheat version:

After an hour, the tins were overflowing.  All because I did not 'believe'.

the 'buns' had melded together

the dough had expanded and left ugly surface marks on these loaves

Whole Wheat and Kamut loaves both over-flowed the tins

I took the overflowed dough and made a few small bun-balls with them.


The kamut bread tastes a little different.  The colour is from the molasses, I think.  The smell when it was freshly cooked was unusual, to say the least.  I kept sniffing it, trying to identify the scent.  Cinnamon?  No.  Cloves?  No.  What is that scent?  Sniff sniff.

I will have to eat a few more pieces to decide whether I like it, it is so different.  The crunchy texture of the crust and the crunchiness of the kamut flakes complement each other.  But I'm not really sure what sort of toppings a bread like this can use.  It is a bit sweet due to the molasses.  I tried it with some cheddar this morning, and that wasn't the right topping.  I guess I have to figure out how to eat it.  It can be sliced thin like pumpernickel, but it is not a thing like pumpernickel.

I guess I will just have to have these question marks all over my head as I eat it.

Notes to Myself
  • Next time you make this, try grinding your own flour. 
  • Next time you make this, try dividing the dough.
  • Next time you make this, try soaking the kamut a bit longer in the boiling water.
  • Next time you make this, try using some OJ instead of all that molasses.
  • The top crust is actually kind of nice, with that ugly texture.  You could emulate it by making a wash of cracked wheat, and I bet that would be nice.  Or what about a wash with Kamut flakes?  (Put just enough boiling water over some kamut flakes to release the gums and starches, and then paint it on top of a baking loaf.)

1 comment:

  1. This version looks better, denser, and more tasty than your first one, even if the tastes are hard to place ; ) I love the way you play around with your ingredients, I do that a lot too, and I also get into a bit trouble with it like you do, but we're both going instinctively, for better or worse, and that is what makes these endeavors interesting. I'm so glad I found your blog! I'm emailing my Wild Yeast Pal right now, and I'll reduce the Esalen recipe and attach it here, OK?