Thursday, March 29, 2012

100% wholemeal bread (Origins flour)

I am pleased to present the results of my second attempt at a 100% wholemeal loaf. As you may know, my first attempt was with PrimaFlour's wholemeal flour, which is coarsely ground. Coarsely ground flour prevents dough from rising much, because it cuts through the gluten strands. This resulted in the crumb of wholemeal loaf #1 being very dense - good for people who like hearty nutty bread, but bad for people who like soft bread.

Upon finding out that the cause of the dense loaf was the coarse flour, I could not resist trying a 100% wholemeal loaf again but with finely ground flour.

Origins Healthfood's Organic Wholemeal Flour was the flour I chose for my second attempt as it looked finely ground enough in its transparent packaging. The flour cost $3.75 / kg at NTUC Fairprice.


I used the same receipe (ie. Peter Reinhart's Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread) as a base, but varied from the process of the first attempt in a few ways:

1. For the final dough of wholemeal loaf #2 I did not use up all 7 tbsp of wholemeal flour, but only about 1 tbsp for dusting. This led to the final dough feeling more highly hydrated and being more sticky than that of #1.

2. For wholemeal loaf #2, I kneaded the final dough for a longer period of time, and used a little of the stretch and fold technique. Not sure how much that helped develop the gluten, but the dough rose a lot and before baking I could see some bubbles below the surface.

3. For a bit of fun with wholemeal loaf #2, I sprinkled sesame seeds on top of the bread and gently pressed them into the surface. No egg wash used to hold them.

4. For wholemeal loaf #2, instead of pre-heating the oven to 218 degrees celcius (425 degrees farenheit), I pushed it up to about 230 degrees celcius. This was to try and get a darker top-crust.

5. For wholemeal loaf #1, I had placed my steam pan on a shelf below my bread, and I think that the size of the shelving prevented the steam from circulating to the bread. Thus for wholemeal loaf #2, I placed my steam pan next to my bread.

During the baking of wholemeal loaf #2, the oven got visibly steamy, causing the two pictures of the bread in the oven below to be little "blurred".

(6) We still do not have a bigger bread loaf pan, and I wanted the loaf to be baked in the shape of sandwich bread than batard. So instead of leaving the dough of wholemeal loaf #2 freestanding in the cake tin, I used a little loaf pan to help push it up against the edge of the cake tin, so that it would rise vertically more than horizontally.

Visual results

A darker top, like I wanted. The sesame seeds were not burnt.

The uneven shape of the loaf was due to the little loaf pan not occupying the full length of the cake tin, allowing the loaf to rise / expand in those areas. The lines on the loaf were caused by the dough pushing against the baking paper lining and enveloping the paper.

You can see from the sides of the loaf the air bubbles - something not seen in wholemeal loaf #1.

After an hour of rest, the loaf was still warm and quite moist inside upon slicing. I was a bit worried when I saw the crumb because it looked more like that of cake than bread. But after another hour of resting and cooling, the crumb looked less moist and more like that of bread.

The crumb of wholemeal loaf #2 looked more open and less dense compared to that of #1, and there were bigger holes, especially in the top half region.

Taste test results

I toasted a wedge of wholemeal loaf #2, and was surprised at the bread's texture being quite soft, even softer than the Gardenia 80% wholemeal that my mother has been buying. The bread tasted a wee bit sour compared to wholemeal loaf #1, and there was little nutty flavour. I guess it was the coarse grains that provided the nutty taste, which also wiped out any sour tones. However a bit of butter and/or jam would be sure to overpower any sourness in the bread.

It is home-baked bread from now!

Submitted to YeastSpotting

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