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, July 6, 2011

Whole Wheat Bread with Citrus Fiber to strengthen high hydration dough


100% Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread with Citrus Fiber

It is an age-old dilemma:  you want your whole wheat bread to be less dense, and have a nice, airy crumb, so you know that you have to add more water.  More water is required for whole wheat bread anyway, because the bran absorbs the water.  Unfortunately, the more water you add, the more the gluten is weakened, to the point where free-formed loaves will sag with the weight of the water.  So finding the balance of hydration in any given whole wheat bread is the challenge.  A lot of my worst bread disasters have been what are perceived to be a too-high hydration problem.  My breads have been droopy, or even worse, flow-y.  This is a rheological dilemma.

That is why a recent article in AACC International's journal, "Cereal Chemistry" intrigued me.  R.Miller discover that adding Citrus Fiber to bread in the rate of 2.5%, he could strengthen high hydration whole wheat doughs, increasing the water absorption:  "There would be a negative effect on loaf volume, but not on the crumb," he said.

I decided to try it with this 100% whole wheat sourdough, made in the Tartine style.


  • 1000g ww flour
  • 200g ww leaven
  • 20g salt
  • 760g water
  • ??g white pith from 2 juice oranges (! Forgot to measure.  Probably used too much.)


  • Cut the oranges and eat the innards.
  • While watching TV commercials (aren't there any shows any more?), scrape the white pith from the rind.
  • Make the dough in the Tartine style, adding the pith on the second turn.
  • Keep turning Q30 minutes until the orange pith is more or less randomly distributed (about 4 hours)
  • Retard overnight, and most of the next day in the refrigerator.
  • Bake as a Tartine loaf.

You can't taste the orange pith.  But it did seem to have an effect on the loaves: they didn't rise as much during bulk fermentation, they held together nicely when forming them, etc.  And the crumb seems to be wide-holed.  So my experience seems to confirm that the volume will be less, but the crumb won't be affected.

I picked the currants today.  Currant Jelly, coming up!

Unfortunately, the reactions of family members to the pith has been negative.  Wife and son said "ugh" and my wife said that I should have ground the pith finer so it isn't noticeable.  Probably to do so, I would have had to dry it out more.  I will consider this option in the future, if I continue to experiment with this.
There is a German saying: holes like this are where the baker and his wife climbed through.
My wife asked, "Are they still in there?  I can't see the bottom."
What she doesn't realize is that I am the baker, and she is my wife.
So are we in there?  Oh, that blows my mind.
How very Zen, as we are in there, but the bread is actually in us.
Like the entire universe that we perceive outside ourselves, but really, all we have are these perceptions inside us.
And of course, all this babbling means I'm high on exorphins again.

Notes to Myself
  • Reference:

    Miller, R "Increased Yield of Bread Containing Citrus Peel Fiber" (2011)

  • Dry your pith in a dehydrator and grind it up first, so it doesn't have this off-putting effect on people who would otherwise eat your bread.
  • Using this technique, could one take the bread into 80-90 percent hydration?  Would you even need to?  After all, no one could really accuse this bread of being 'dense'.

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