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.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

8 grain loaf

8 grain loaf

Arva flour mill bags an 8-grain mixture for sale as a cereal.  It has oats and other meals and flakes and tinier seeds that they process, and they mix it all together for convenience.  It is similar to many other multigrain mixtures you can get.  I've been wondering how to add this to a bread dough. 

The problem one faces when making it can be stated thus:

In order for the gluten of the whole wheat to be properly developed (using Tartine-style methods), one needs to tease the strands of gluten with enough hydration, stretching, folding, and resting so that the length of gluten elongates, but adding various other grains (as meals or chunks or ground bits) interferes with this formation of gluten.  Therefore, at what point is the addition of these other bits most advantageous to the loaf?

Here is what I tried this time.  I conceive of this bread as 3 parts:

1. Stiff starter
    200g starter @100% hydration
    100g ww flour
2. Main dough
    1000g ww flour
    850g water
    300g stiff starter
    20g salt
3 Multigrains
    100g sourdough starter @ 100% hydration
    150g Arva 8grain mix
    50g sunflower seeds    (I'm glad I added these, although they are in the mix, more was nice)
    50g water

I mixed up the stiff starter the night before. 
On mixing day, the multigrains are mixed and set aside covered at room temperature.

dough with stiff starter on left, stiff starter with multigrain on right ready to be added

Lumps of multigrain unevenly distributed in othewise silken dough
after final turn

To mix the main dough, the stiff starter was placed in 800g of water, and mixed to add oxygen to the water and it became frothy and bubbly.  Then this mixture was added to the ww flour, and mixed by hand until all flour was incorporated.  After sitting 30 minutes, salt and 50g of water were added and incorporated.  The dough rests for 30 minutes, and is stretched and folded again for a total of 3 hours.
At that time, the multigrain mixture is crumbled and stretched and folded into the main dough.  Continue to stretch and fold for one hour.  Then divide the dough, do a bench rest, and shape the dough into a loaf.  Proof overnight covered in the fridge.

On baking day, remove the first banneton from the fridge and leave it covered atop the stove while preheating the oven, with stone and steam-tray, to 500 degrees F.  Sprinkle a bit of cornmeal onto the dough, so that when you gently turn it onto the pizza peel, it will more easily slide off.  Score the loaf, put about a cup of water into the tray and slide the loaf onto the stone.  Turn the heat to 450 degrees F.  Bake for 20 minutes, then turn the loaf 90-180 degree-angle for even baking, and bake another 20 minutes.  Remove to a rack and let cool.

This loaf rose okay, which leads me to the conclusion that the gluten was properly developed before adding the mixture of multigrain.

For the most part, the lumpy multigrain mixture did not poke through the gluten cloak of the bread, even after the final turn.  But neither was it mixed evenly.

The bread tasted okay, but the lumpy parts didn't mix well at all with the rest of the bread.  This is not the right way to do it.  The lumps have lots of flavour, and seem a bit more sour than the rest of the dough, and they sit in pockets of the bread because they are unevenly distributed.  Tasty enough, but I found myself reaching for a 30% rye bread rather than this one more often than not.

Notes to Myself
  • Not sure what I should try next, to get a multigrain mixture to work better. Perhaps a Reinhart-like methodology, his 'epoxy' method.  (Although I seem to recall that his method was similar in ways to this -- a stiff sourdough leavening of the multigrains, added later to a dough.  But in his case, the gluten wasn't as far developed as my dough, I think).  May have to return to his book for some ideas on the addition of multigrain.
  • The Arva 8-grain mix is tasty enough to be eaten on its own (without fermentation, without even milk), and it has a natural sweetness than unfolds in the mouth from our own saliva-made amylase.  So I wonder if this really needs to be fermented?  Perhaps it would be better to just boil it to soften it slightly, and then add it to the loaf when it is somewhat cooled?
  • Sunflower seeds are already part of the 8-grain mixture from Arva.  I just wanted more of them, and I think it was a good choice.  I'm not sure exactly what 8 grains are in Arva's mix, but to me it looks like:
    • Oat meal
    • sunflower seeds
    • flax seeds
    • cracked wheat
    • cracked rye
    • spelt flakes
    • sesame seeds
    • triticale flakes?

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