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.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Wholegrain Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread with lots of wheat berries

Wholegrain Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

Today's Musing
How do you know if you are making too much bread?

I personally love the smell of fresh made bread.  My wife, however, is starting to lose her interest in it.  Years ago, she was a Real Estate Agent.  And you know what those agents tell people, before their open house, right?  "Bake some bread."  Yes, there is nothing that tells people "you are home" than the smell of fresh baked bread.  When people walk into a house and smell fresh baked bread, they start writing cheques.  Apparently.

Except that all those open houses, and those many years spent with a husband who bakes bread constantly -- not to mention that I make such a terrible mess in the kitchen, and invariably I am off to the cellar to look for my camera just at the precise moment she walks through my mess and thinks I have abandoned it -- all of this has left my wife with nausea whenever she smells me baking: "Again?!" she shouts at me as I move yesterday's loaves aside so I can bake more.

So today, instead of mixing 2 different doughs to make 4 loaves, I set aside some of the rye discards and decided to just make 1 dough.  I figure, this marriage is a collaboration, and we all have to compromise.  Right?

I know that I am baking too much bread when my wife gets really really angry at me.  She starts talking to the air instead of talking to me.  (Or is that just me, tuning out?)

Today's bread is just tossed together ad lib, so as to abandon the kitchen (which should be a neutral space) as soon as possible.  I decided to stick to Wheat, and so today's bread theme is entirely wheat.  Even the 'extras' are wheat, or wheat based.


  • 90% Whole Wheat Sourdough 398g
  • 100% Whole Wheat Flour 442g
  • 65% Water 287g
  • 2% Salt 8g
  • 1% Yeast 4g
  •  4% Wheat Germ 19g (1/4 c)
  •  44% Wheat Berries, 194g dry weight,
    20 min. in Pressure Cooker with 2c water, then rinsed (1c)

the wheat berries are still in the pressure cooker

I can mix everything up and add the berries later, when they are cool


Prepare the Wheat Berries in the pressure cooker.  Run some cool water over them so that they are not too hot before adding them to the dough.
That sure is a lot of berries!  And they are still moist, so they are going to add some hydration as you mix them

Mix it all together, kneading only enough so that you see the cooked grains are more or less randomly distributed.

Let it sit under a cloth while you sleep in the daytime, about 4 hours.

The dough is a little sloppy.  I can't form a decent gluten cloak, it tears when I try.
 Knead it again a bit, and then form a boule.

 After 45 minutes proofing in a basket, bake at 410 degrees F for 40 minutes, with steam.

lately I've been spritzing the dough before popping it into the oven: good idea, or not?

I probably could have done without the yeast here.  The sourdough is working again as a wild leavener (I've returned all of the starters to the refrigerator now, they all seem to be viable).  This means the bread really didn't need the help with extra commercial yeast, especially since I was sleeping in the daytime and couldn't get back to the dough for 4+ hours.  At that point, the dough was a bit over-fermented.  I did form my 2 boules, but the gluten was already starting to break down, so I couldn't stretch it much (of course, this could also be the wheat germ that is doing this too).   Thus I didn't see much of a second rise, nor much oven action.

Right out of the oven, stick your ear to the crust and you can hear it sing. 
What is it singing?  The same song the Sirens sang to Odysseus.

The bread smells like a nice sourdough.  It came out of the oven crackling.  One of the loaves I smeared with butter for a softer crust.

It tastes quite nice, lots of really complex subtle harmonics from the sourdough culture, lots of interesting textures from the whole grains, lots of nuttiness from the wheat germ.  My wife, who is so very tired of my bread, ate two slices of this loaf today for her lunch.   So I think that I have redeemed myself -- and I have successfully brought my sourdough cultures back from the brink.

Tastes particularly good with a small amount of honey.


Notes to Myself

  • If you can't get back to a dough for a certain length of time, modify the yeast, or the temperature. You were right to leave it at room temperature on a cold day, but wrong to add the commercial yeast to a starter that could have risen the dough on its own.
  • Mix up some grains in the pressure cooker and let them soak in a fruit juice over night: try different juices. Nils Schöner uses apple cider, but you have been thinking about tomato juice for a while and haven't done it yet. What about your homemade grape juices? What about something exotic like vinegar, or vanilla, or rum?

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