Wednesday, June 2, 2010

thoughts on bread



I love bread. I love kneading dough, forming loaves, smelling it bake. And, of course, I love eating it too.

As more and more information came out about white flour and the evils therein, I started to wonder and worry about my bread-making. I didn't want to stop making bread. Making bread for me is just as much about the making as it is about the eating. And I worried more about my bread than cookies or cakes or any of the other obviously naughty foods I make. Cookies and cakes we know are naughty. I just want my bread to be wholesome!

For Christmas a friend sent to me a new bread-making book called Whole Grain Breads by Peter Reinhart. In his book he introduces a new way to make bread that uses all whole wheat flour.

I've made "whole wheat" bread before, but the dough was always largely made of white flour with some whole wheat flour thrown in. The method Reinhart outlines in Whole Grain Breads uses all whole wheat flour. I was skeptical at first. I wanted to make bread, not bricks, and I thought that eliminating white flour would make the bread way too dense.

But, I read it through, learning about the parts of grain, the seasons its harvested in, how flavor comes out of the grain, how gluten works and I was ready, though still a little nervous, to give it a try. He has you make two pre-doughs that rest overnight before you combine them into a final dough the next day. The slow rise softens the grain and encourages the most flavor possible out it.

I've made 4 batches of bread now with this method. The first batch I had to throw away. This one was my fault. I didn't let it bake long enough and when I sliced into it there was a giant tunnel running through the middle of the loaf. The next couple of times I made smaller loaves with better success.

I feel like I am not quite there yet. I haven't quite nailed it. But, I want to keep trying. Yesterday I made these Multigrain loaves. They have whole wheat flour, oat bran and flax seed. Soooo good for you. And super tasty too!





Though we'll see if Andrew eats his sandwich today. The ultimate flavor test.

11 comments:

erin said...

I love bread too. The first song I ever wrote was a love song to bread. Not kidding.

Goodyreid said...

Robyn, what do you think about white whole wheat flour? Ever use it?

Robyn said...

I have used white whole wheat. I liked it! Definitely lighter than whole wheat..both in density and flavor...but pretty nutritious too. Good stuff, Sarah!

Mama V said...

This bread sounds and looks delicious! I'm impressed that Andrew would eat a monster sandwich like that. Both of my boys prefer open-faced sandwiches because the bread creates too much of a mouthful. I hope Andrew gives you a good report today!

Have you been using the organic, freshly milled flours from our CSA? I love them! So fluffy and fresh (they have an expiration date!). And you can purchase "brown flours," which have some of the bran filtered out to create a lighter flour (therefore you're not mixing in bleached white flour, which isn't ideal, but just using flour that has had the bran removed to make it more "white.").

Sometimes I substitute whole wheat pastry flour for some of the regular whole wheat to create lightness as well. Do you ever do that as well? Or do you not like the results?

Kirsten said...

I'm kind of relieved to see that your whole wheat loaves don't rise as high as your white loaves. I often wonder if I'm doing it wrong, but I think whole grains just make for a denser loaf in general.

I hope I get to taste some tomorrow! :)

kate o. said...

a friend just gave me reinhart's "the bread baker's apprentice" but haven't gotten a chance to try anything out yet. i feel like i'll need to read it a few times before i give it a go - so much info!!

Robyn said...

"Do you ever do that as well? Or do you not like the results?"

I have never tried it! And I have not gotten flours from our CSA. I really should look into that!

firefly said...

Oh my gosh, those photos make my cheeks hurt from longing! That kind of dense, wholesome looking loaf is literally my idea of heaven. Looks SO, SO, SO, SO yummy to me!

firefly said...

"For Christmas"

wink wink...

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

there is a great book - Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. I love it. It has you make up batches of 4 loaves at a time & keep them in the fridge for up to 2 weeks to use as needed. That really helps with the longer rise that the whole grain & multigrain breads need

Goes On Runs said...

i was wondering about the same thing. i love my white flour..... good ideas from the comments. more to consider. progress these days is slow, but i should try something along these lines.