Friday, March 25, 2011

whole wheat flour info.

By far I am getting positive response to our flour and grain products, but once in a while I get somebody come up to me and ask why their bread turns out "like a brick"? Each time I ask how they bake their bread the answer has been the same...bread machine. I don't think that it is possible to bake 100% whole wheat bread in a bread machine and have it turn out properly. Maybe someone could figure out a way to make it work and post their recipe?

I know that it is convenient to use a bread machine. We have one collecting dust in the back corner of the pantry. We used to use it all the time. But if you want the benefits of local, organic, whole wheat bread then it is probably worth 20 or so minutes to bake your loaf in the manner described below. Besides, it is good for your spirit to make your food with your hands (at least until you turn on the Kitchen Aid!). 

We have been telling folks how to bake 100% whole wheat bread in very simple terms. More liquid. More kneading. I found this quote from Wikipedia and it sums up what we have learned about whole wheat bread.

...it is possible to make a high-rising, light loaf of 100% whole wheat bread, so long as one increases the water content of the dough (the bran and germ in whole wheat absorb more water than plain white flour), kneads the dough for a longer period of time to develop the gluten adequately, and allows for a longer rise before shaping the dough. Some bakers let the dough rise twice before shaping. The addition of fats, such as butter or oil, and milk products (fresh milk, powdered milk, buttermilk, yogurt, etc.) can also greatly assist the rise.

Here is a pretty good youtube video that is relevant to our discussion here.

I don't bother with potato flour or orange juice and I get the exact same results that he does. I also don't let it rise twice although I am told by professional bakers that it is best to rise it twice. 

The Kitchen Aid mixer is invaluable for the bread in this video, but it is good physical exercise to just knead the old-fashioned way. I use the mixer and let it knead the dough for around 10-13 minutes. Let the dough get good and 'springy'. There are some other good tips in this video recipe that I want to try like the foil tenting and the braiding. 

Of course a much simpler way to enjoy our flour products is to purchase your bread from Prairie Mill Bread Co. or Treestone Bakery or Queen of Tarts! No matter how you eat our flour, we continue to thank you for supporting our little farm. We really appreciate all of your comments, questions and conversation too! 

3 comments:

  1. I agree with your points above, and baking bricks is certainly no fun. Unless you're building a wood oven, in which case they may prove useful.

    [I also think part of the problem is that we've become accustomed to bread texture being the mutant-child of sponge and marshmallow.]

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  2. You're right about that. You need really good teeth for really good bread...the kind from Treestone or Queen of Tarts. Any Owen @prairiemill makes a beautiful sourdough too! Those breads are far from light and fluffy aren't they. Still though, I know what this lady meant. 100% whole wheat bread in a bread machine is oven building material.

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  3. And all that kneading and punching is fun to do with kids! Pancakes and bread have become big favourites of Rory's--both to make and to eat.

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