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.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

60% Rye with Soaked Kernels

60% Rye with Soaked Kernels

This is a 60% Rye Bread (40% Whole Wheat), using a whole wheat wild yeast starter at 100% hydration. 

I made a mistake and added 400g of starter instead of the Tartine Bread usual amount of 200g, so I expected this bread to ferment quicker and be more sour.  I didn't expect how much it would change the hydration of my dough.

Grains in a Thermos

After adding the salt, the dough sat for about an hour, and then I added some rye kernels that had been soaked in boiling water overnight.  Recently in my internet browsing or reading about bread, I encountered someone who used a thermos to keep boiling water that is poured onto grains hot overnight.  The grains get substantially softer (I was told).

I've tried that here, and I think it is a pretty good idea.  These rye kernels were still too hot to touch when I checked on them this morning.  They needed about an hour of cooling, out of the thermos, before they could be safely added to the dough.


  • 600g rye flour
  • 400g whole wheat flour
  • 720g water
  • 400g whole wheat starter @100% hydration
  • 20g salt
  • 50g water (when adding salt)
  • 573g boiled, soaked rye kernels
The dough was sloppy.  I figure it to be hydrated at around 77%, and with poor gluten formation, as is usual in rye breads that have a lower wheat content.  I didn't expect this bread to really hold up to baking in a dutch oven, but I went for it anyway.

On Gooey Hands
My mother reports that when I was an infant, I hated to get my hands gooey.  Of course, back then, one has little dexterity with which to feed oneself with a spoon, or indeed, to do much of anything.  Goo makes that even more difficult.

Hands are more than mere appendages, they are our first contact with the world-as-it-is.  They are confirmation that things that we see and hear inside of us, are actual things with physical properties outside of ourselves, things not directly attached to us.  Touch, through the hands, brings the universe into focus.  The 'Thou' of the 'I-Thou' relationship: the object in your hand, which also brings the subject, your consciousness, into focus.  We grasp and we let go, and so we learn about boundaries of skin and self and other.

Things get blurred therefore, when stuff gets stuck to your hand.  Imagine your rage if you are an infant with a newly emerging identity of self and body consciousness, and stewed prunes, or pureed carrots, gets stuck to your hand.  What is this stuff?  Get it off!  Get it off!

As a young child, however, I learned to revel in dirt, and water, and how you could mould these elements to make things.  I loved making sandcastles at the beach.  I would even dig vast holes and mounds in the dirt at home using the hose.  This was a way to manipulate the objects in the universe, to express the self.

There is something of that to be found still in high hydration doughs, especially rye dough, which doesn't build its gluten as a wheaten dough does.  You have to get your hands dirty.  You have to learn how to relax when it sticks to everything.  Moist hands are helpful.  An attitude of playfulness is best.  An appreciation that the division of subject and object, so useful for the child's engagement with the world, and the adult's sanity, are not particularly the predominate consciousness of the baker, who loses himself in his work.

Folding rye dough, I am at one with the Universe.


Big disaster, getting this dough from the basket into the hot dutch ovens.  The first one I did Lahey-style, picking the dough up by the cloth,  The dough was very wet and sticky and stuck to the cloth, and when I pulled the cloth free, at least half of the dough was still on it.  I cursed, as the smoke alarm started going off, and I began tearing off handfuls of dough and tossing it into the pot with a sense of urgency.  The knife I had sitting close at hand to score the loaf still sat there, laughing at me: ha!  You really thought you'd use me today?

The second loaf I was going to do much the same way, but because of this disaster, I elected to upend the basket over the skillet side of the combo cooker in Robertson's Tartine style.  Again, some dough stuck to the cloth, and flopped over the edge, missing the skillet entirely.  The dough that did make it flattened right out like a sourdough pancake. 

So much for being one with the universe.  Realizing how quickly my zen had become spoiled, I became humbled.  I grew quiet and philosophical amidst the noise of the smoke alarm.  Mindfulness.  Be here now.  Breathe deeply.  Awaken the Kundalini.

The dog looked at me as if I had lost my marbles.

I will eat these loaves.  Perhaps I'll consider it my penance, or Karmic retribution.  I'll report back here whenever.

You can see the whole wheat flour that should have been on the outside of the loaf, mixed with the inside crumb: what a disaster

Look closer, you can see the rye kernels in the crumb too: quite plump and moist

These rye kernels do add a lot of moisture to the bread so the knife comes out sticky.
This sort of bread needs baking a lot longer, in which case it would probably resemble a pumpernickel.

Notes to Myself
  • Cut the water back to 65%: 630g (+ 20g when adding salt)
  • Cut the ratio of rye to whole wheat flour to 40:60
  • Use a ton more whole wheat on your basket liners.
  • Get some real bread baskets that won't require lots and lots of flour on them (you never put enough flour on the basket anyway).
  • Grains overnight in boiling water is a great idea, if you use a Thermos, youcan keep the grain hot for a long time, and the grain softens substantially.  It will have water content that will go into the dough, too, so really be careful about the hydration of this loaf.  You should not add too much water.  Keep it about 65% if you can.

Monday, July 18, 2011

An Everyday Bread: WW bread from ABin5

The Whole Wheat Bread from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

Here's a bread that I come back to from time to time, just for the ease of it.  Last time I made it was with ginger, and some dried peppers.

The bread does contain some honey, so it is fairly sweet, but it works up fast.  It fit into my schedule this week.  I knew that I'd need a bread today, since I was down to crusts, and I wouldn't have time to properly bake a Tartine-style loaf using wild yeast. 

The dynamic duo that author the '5 Minutes a Day' books gave us this whole wheat bread in their first book, and I actually like it better than most of the breads that I've tried in the second book, which mostly contain vital wheat gluten.

I stirred up the dough last night and it sat in the fridge until morning after rising at room temperature about 2 1/2 hours.

the loaf remains in the cooling oven

I baked it at a lower temperature

Today I was making some Sourdough Discard Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Muffins, using the recipe from 'The Baking Barrister', and made this loaf at the same time.  I didn't let the loaf rise in the tin any length of time, just took it from the fridge, formed the loaf, put it in the tin and right into the oven, at the muffin temperatures, which is kind of low for this recipe (350 degrees).  It baked for the first 20 minutes under another, overturned tin, and then 20 minutes more with the lid off.  Then I took it from the tin and turned off the oven, leaving the bread in a cooling oven until I could return, about 7 hours later.

I didn't expect the bread to rise much, I was rather expecting the crumb to be dense.  And certainly it is, but that's okay for a sandwich bread: it holds the butter and tomatoes just fine.  For a quickly made bread, its okay.

More about the Muffins

I'm always on the lookout for good sourdough discard muffin recipes.

These were a failure (no doubt my fault, not the fault of the original recipe).  My sourdough was likely a bit wet.  The recipe calls for 100% wild yeast discard, and mine was just mixed up ad lib, Tartine-style.  And my backyard-chicken-laid egg might have been a trifle large.

The original recipe, and the weights I found as I made it:

  • 3/4 c sourdough discards 200g
  • 1 c ww flour 148g  - I think I would increase this to perhaps 175g next time
  • 1/2 c sugar 103g  - I think I would decrease this to 50g next time
  • 1 tsp baking powder 3g
  • 1 tsp baking soda 5g
  • 3 Tbsp cinnamon 9g
  • 1 egg 63g - a smaller egg would be okay here, since the mixture was a bit wet
  • 2 tsp vanilla 11g
  • 1/4 c oil 52g  - I would back this off to about 30g next time
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored, cubed 106g  - use some sour apples, even dried apples
  • Topping: 3 Tbsp brown sugar 42g
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

The muffins flowed too much, but they did show some promise.  They did appear to be rising a bit as I spooned them into the tins.  But they didn't mushroom up over the top of the muffin tins like a muffin is supposed to.  Instead, they spilled out onto the floor of our new, used oven, causing quite a lot of smoke.

But they taste okay -- if a bit too sweet for my liking.  There is a lot of sugar in them.

Here's another bread from the batch.  This one sat for 1 1/2 hours after being shaped, then baked for 50 minutes at 350 degrees.

Notes to Myself
  • As for the muffins: 
    • cut way back on the oil, next time.
    • Use less sugar.  More whole wheat flour.
    • Use a sour apple.  Would your dried apples work here?
  • As for the bread:
    • Of course, if there is time, let it proof in the tin at least until it comes to the top of the tin
    • Try this with no honey, some time.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ikea Lingonberry Bread

 Ikea Lingonberry Bread

Everybody I know, especially those who drag me to an Ikea store, has heard my Ikea rant.  I freely give my opinion of Ikea (and the stuff they sell) to anyone who will listen:  It's crap.  It's not designed to last.  I hate shopping there because it is always crowded.  The store is arranged so you are cow-corralled through section after section, dodging other irate customers.  The whole experience is so awful, I wonder that this company has enjoyed such a massive popularity and growth.

Granted, a few things have quality.  Most of these are not what everyone buys.  I am talking about the laminated pressboard units designed to fall apart as you screw them together with an allen wrench.  You know that if you buy one of their bookshelves it will look good until you put a book on it.  You know that if you buy one of their beds it will be the most uncomfortable thing you've ever had to sleep on outside of a penitentiary. You know that if you buy a dresser, it will fall apart from ordinary use (i.e. opening the drawers).  If you know these things, fine, buy the ugly spartan mass-produced products, take them home, build them with your loved one (tempting a divorce) and expect whatever you are building to fall apart.  But if you want something durable and something with character, I say shop elsewhere.

On the other hand, in my Internet surfing, I came across a reference to a Lingonberry bread mix that Ikea sells in their food dept.  So I figured, the next time someone drags me to an Ikea store against my will, I would have a look and maybe buy some.

It didn't take long.  We used our vehicle to transport a bookshelf for my son, and I had a look at the ingredients on the bag of the Lingonberry Bread Mix, and decided I would try it.

This is the first website I saw that made me curious about the Lingonberry Bread Mix.  Note that this "woodfiredkitchen" site is baking the bread in a woodfired oven.  Note also that this fellow is not following the instructions on the bag.  He's adding 10oz (283g) of all purpose flour to the bread mix; and he is taking the hydration to 737g: with the alteration in flour and water, I figure that instead of 63% hydration, his bread is 57% hydrated.  More flour is used, too, during the bench work, so his free-form loaf, which looks sort of nice, is not a very high-hydrated dough at all.

I lost that site, before I began to make the bread.  I found several other sites that mention the mix:

Here in Canada, our labelling laws are such that the Danish Finax company who supplies Ikea with the Lingonberry Bread Mix must affix a label stating some of the nutritional info, and ingredients, as well as some French and English directions.  The gooey label covers the entire package front, and the directions are actually hidden on the second page of this label, so you have to peel the top label back to find another label underneath (page 2).  Unless you know that this is bread mix, you will never figure it out because the labels cover the picture of the bread.  It is a wonder that anybody buys this stuff without knowing about it before going into the store.

When measured, the mix turned out to be 1002g

My whole wheat leaven that I'd use instead of yeast

Mis en place: Mix, 200g of whole wheat leaven, water, packaging garbage

I decided not to make the bread the way the recipe is written anyway.  I decided not to add any more all purpose flour the way sortachef of woodfiredkitchen did.  And I decided to use my whole wheat wild yeast leaven instead of the supplied yeast.  Using 200g of this sourdough I would let it rise much longer (4-5 hours) and proof longer (4 hours), and I would bake it free form in a dutch oven.  I would take the hydration to 760g instead of the 600g that they advise.  In other words, I would make this loaf as if it were a Tartine style bread.

I turned it every 30 minutes or so during the bulk fermentation.  We went out for lunch for the last little bit, so it didn't get turned exactly every 30 minutes toward the end of that stage.

I divided the dough, did a 20 minute bench rest and then (tried to) form them before putting them in the baskets.  The first loaf I didn't add any flour for 'benchwork'.  The second, I floured my surface to see if it might help.  I didn't add much flour to the loaf.

The final proof was about 4 hours, including preheating time.

What's in the Lingonberry Bread Mix?
If I were to reverse engineer the Lingonberry Bread Mix, based on my perception of the way the dough behaved as I worked with it, this is what I would say it contains (and this is pure guesswork, and I'm no expert):

Dutch/Swedish Ingredient English Ingredient Possible Grams Baker's %
Vetemjöl Flour (All Purpose) 500g 53%
fullkornsrägmjöl Wholemeal rye flour 345g 36%
rägfiber Rye Fibre (Rye Bran? Rye Chops?) 50g 5%

malt    (frän korn) 
Malt (From Barley) 34g 4%
vetegluten Wheat gluten 20g 2%
TOTAL FLOUR INGREDIENTS Total Flour Ingredients 959g 100%
salt Salt (sodium 16%) 16g 1.7%
socker Sugar 15g 1.6%
surdegspulver (frän räg) Fermented Rye Flour 10g 1%
druvsocer Dextrose 5g 0.5%
frystokrade lingon Freeze dried lingonberries (0,3%)* 3g 0.3%  (!)
och emulgeringsmedel (rapslecitin) lecithin (From canola) 2g 0.2%
värm vatten  Warm water 600g 63%
torrjäst / brodgaer / torrgjaer  Dried yeast, emulsifier (E491) 2 x 7g pkts. 1.5%

* Mängden frystorkade lingon motsvarar 1,5% i färdiggräddat bröd
The amount of freeze-dried cranberries is equivalent to 1.5% in the baked bread

The emulsifier added to the yeast is Sorbitan monostearate, regulated and approved as a food additive in the EU, the US and Canada (some sites claim that Canada has put it on the Environment Canada Domestic Substance List as 'not expected to be potentially toxic or harmful', but the official DSL suggests it is inherently harmful to aquatic life: search DSL for the CAS number 56451-84-4 of Sorbitan Stearate).

The only quantities you can be sure of in the chart above are the lingonberries and the salt, which are on the label.  The rest is pure guesswork, based on the order of ingredients and the way it behaves when you work it.  The dried lingonberries take on some water and expand a bit during the mixing, that is why they go from 3g to 15g, supposedly.  They get noticeable as a red smear.  If I'm right about the above quantities, that means that instead of following directions and adding 63% water, I have made this bread with 79% hydration.  And that is a little bit too wet to handle nicely.

The interesting part to me in the ingredient list is the 'fermented rye flour'.   I had a look at the Finax site, where they have 5 Bread mixes that are similar to the one sold at Ikea, but it would appear that Ikea has something of an exclusive on this particular mix.  In addition to their bread mixes, Finax does do a 'Coarse Loaf with Lingonberries' that they supply to restaurants and catering.  The ingredients of that loaf are similar but different to the Ikea bread mix -- it contains syrup, sauces, sugar beet fiber, and stabilizers and preservatives - but it also contains a vört, or a wort.

Wort is a liquid product made from a grain mash, often used in the making of beer, full of enzymes and sometimes fermented.  My guess is that their wort is made from fermented rye flour, and this is one of the ways that they get enzymes into the bread mix.  The Ikea Lingonberry Bread Mix probably contains some of the same sort of stuff in dried form.  Again I am guessing, but I think that the wort is essentially a dried sourdough based on rye.


The bread baked okay.  The high hydration meant that the dough was difficult to work with, and because of the high rye content, the gluten didn't develop that well.  That is why sortachef of woodfiredkitchen used extra all purpose flour.  My loaves sagged when baking.

This is a light rye bread, made with all purpose flour as the main ingredient.  Using sourdough instead of the yeast packet that the bread mix comes with, you can achieve a nice open crumb.  Possibly with a longer bulk fermentation, and less yeast than the recipe calls for, you might be able to achieve similar results with the packaged yeast.  The secret, I think, is in the Tartine Bread methods of frequent gentle turning in the bowl (no kneading).  You probably will need some experience with higher hydration doughs though, to be able to push the amount of water you use to 70-75%.  Here I've gone a bit too high, and the dough does sag a bit.

There are a couple of lingonberries in this crumb that appear as a sort of tasteless red smear

I'll never buy this again, but that is just because I prefer my breads whole grain.  For most people, this bread would be perfectly acceptable.

You do see the odd speck of colour in the crumb that is a freeze-dried lingonberry, but you really won't taste them.  Ikea sells this for the Swedish nostalgia factor of lingonberries.  For the rest of us, this doesn't matter.  If you want to taste something, add a few freeze-dried cranberries or red currants or pomegranate seeds.

Notes to Myself

  • Try backing off the hydration to about 700g (which is still more than the recipe suggests). These breads sagged a bit, and were a bit unwieldy they were so wet.
  • Here in Canada, lingonberries are not found, to my knowledge. They seem similar to cranberries or red currants though. Perhaps one could add a few of these to improve the amount of red stuff in the loaf. Or even pomegranate seeds (as I've used before). If that is what one wants.  An interesting switch-up might be to use our Canadian wintergreen berries, if they can be found fresh in quantity in the wild.
  • The better loaf seemed to be the one baked in the 3quart lodge dutch oven, rather than the 3quart lodge combo cooker dutch oven, simply because the first one had steeper sides, and less places for the bread to flow to. Deeper dutch ovens are better for high hydration breads with poor gluten content, like this one: so the Lahey method of placing it in the hot oven worked better than the Tartine method of inverting the dough on the flat frying pan lid.
  • This dough would have backed well in buttered tins, like most of my high hydration rye breads.
  • For those who can't find the labels in English: