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.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Maple Fenugreek 60% Whole Wheat with Rye Sourdough

Maple Fenugreek 40% Rye Sourdough

Philosophical Blather

Sometimes one just wants to set aside recipes, and try something untried.

Of course, there is nothing new under the sun.  Everything has been done, no doubt countless times, whether or not you believe in eternal recurrence.  Even something utterly experimental comes from a question asked by the prepared mind.  We all stand on the shoulders of giants.  And midgets too, for that matter.  The whole past is a pyramid, and we alone stand on the apex, for the briefest of moments.

Blah blah.  Whatever.

I was simply refreshing some sourdough, when I decided to use up some of the 100% rye sourdough.  I had some fenugreek that I'd malted a while back, and it was sitting in my fridge.  I'd wanted to use it in other ways, but other breads had intervened.  Then, we had just recently finished making our tiny home-made batch of maple syrup in our back yard.  Now I wanted some rye bread, but I didn't require a 100% rye loaf.  So I decided to put it all together.

I'm basing this more or less on Hooda & Jood's Fenugreek Whole Wheat that I made a while ago, only I'm using malted fenugreek here, and much less, by weight.  Instead of honey, I've got maple syrup.  And instead of only whole wheat flour, I'm using about 40% rye.  Plus some sourdough.

  • (200g) Rye Sourdough (discard) @ 100% hydration
    • provides 100g hydration, and 100g rye flour
  • 60% (276g) WW flour
  • 40% (186g+1/2 of the sourdough, so 100g = 286g) Rye Flour
  • 70% (293g+1/2 of the sourdough, so 100g = 393g) Water
  • 1.75% (10g) Salt
  • 3.5% (11g) Yeast
  • 8% (45g) Maple Syrup
  • 8% (45g) Malted Fenugreek
  • 8% (45g) Oil
In terms of method, I'm mixing the wwflour, the yeast, the water and the maple syrup together with the sourdough discards, and I'm letting it sit for 1 hour covered in my bulk fermenter, the Excalibur Dehydrator (which gets a lot more use as a bread dough proofer than it does as a dehydrator, at least this time of the year).

Then, using techniques gleaned from the V8 juice recipe I made earlier, I'm sprinkling oil atop it, and the salt, and adding the rye flour and fenugreek malts, folding it all in.

This is then folded into tins.  Another proofing of about 60 minutes, and it is baked for 45 minutes at 400 degrees F.  

After about 30 minutes, I took the loaf out and brushed it with some yogurt because the top seemed to me to be getting dried out, the dough was coming away from the tin due to shrinkage.  Instead of oven spring, I had oven droop. 


This bread has a lot of fenugreek scent to it.  It came out of the pan nicely, and the undercarriage of the loaf seems to show some nice signs of fermentation.  Despite the fact that it didn't rise high from the pan, remember that the dough was somewhat smaller than the volume of the tin to begin with, so it certainly has risen in proofing.  I may have caused some of the droop by taking it out of the oven prematurely to brush yogurt on top.

Crumb Impressions

Wow.  This is one unusual tasting bread.  It is not bad, per se.  Just nothing like anything I would have expected.  The taste is subtle and complex.  I tried some of the crust, and became wordless.  I buttered it, and said "hmmm".  I tried some with maple butter, and a sound like a groan came from my throat.  I sliced some thin, and toasted it, and the complex tastes evolved to a crunchiness and a follow-through sensation after mastication of moistness, sweetness.  I tried some with a bit of old cheese.  The bread complements it.  I just don't know what to say about it.  "Eminently edible with an unusual texture and unexpected taste", I guess.

There are a few pockets of sweetness, which indicates to me that the maple syrup was not well mixed in.  On the other hand, the sweetness isn't overly mapley.  The fenugreek certainly gives a nice scent to the loaf, but that might not be to everyone's enjoyment.  To me, it isn't off-putting; and I don't think it adds much in the way of taste.  You still have the broad canvas of wheat, the undercoating of rye: those are the main flavours.  The fenugreek is there, but it isn't overpowering, it is more like shadows within the overall picture, it adds an extra dimension.

I took a few photos inside, but the flash doesn't do this bread any justice.  The crumb is very unusual, with that malted fenugreek.  Outside on the deck, even in the earliest morning light after a night of rain, the malts could be seen better.

Maybe this bread has some possibilities.  But will my wife eat it?  Will she even try it?

No.  Because last time she tried fenugreek in bread, she had gas.  That, for her, kills the sale of even trying this bread.

Notes to Myself

  • I have read somewhere that rye bread should sit in the final proofing about two hours without being touched, or it may fall.  Another hour of proofing might have helped this loaf to rise even further.
  • I should not have taken the loaf out to paint yogurt on it at the 30 minute mark.  I thought that by then, the bread would have set somewhat, but I was mistaken.  The loaf fell because of it.  Better might have been to cover it gently with some foil if you thought it was burning or drying out.
  • Maple syrup and fenugreek?  How did you imagine that would go together?
  • Does fenugreek give you gas?  I doubt it, but every body's microflora is different.  Of course, I fart so much, I barely notice any more.  It is a happy time for me.


  1. I recently tried a simpler version on a whim:
    ~2 cups rye
    ~1 cup white
    ~1/2 cup 7-grain cereal mix
    ~1/4 t olive oil
    ~1 t honey
    ~1 t ground fenugreek
    ~1/3 t salt
    ~1 t yeast
    There was a nice, mild sweetness with a hint of maple. It went well with the rye.

  2. Thanks. I've been experimenting with spices in bread again lately, and I think that fenugreek still has lots of possibilities.