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Whole grain crust texture

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  • Whole grain crust texture

    This isn't my best photo, but I am seeing a consistent pattern with whole grain bread that I am hoping you can help with. The crust on my whole grain breads is definitely different than my whole wheat breads -- including my Miche with whole wheat and whole rye. It isn't just that it is more crunchy, but the crust is very thick and almost as though it has lots of tiny holes. It definitely does not have the elasticity of whole wheat.

    This loaf has oats, rye, corn meal, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds at about 30% on a 50/50 white and whole wheat flour recipe.

    I guess my question is -- why is the grain crust so different?

    I will post another photo tomorrow with better light showing slices.
    James
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  • #2
    Re: Whole grain crust texture

    James,

    First reaction is grain sugars; there's much more of them in rye flour. They tend to congregate in the crust, so you'll get a much thicker, chewier bite than other breads. The one thing you might try is more steam for longer than normal.

    Jim
    "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827

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    • #3
      Re: Whole grain crust texture

      Nice idea. Thanks Jim -- I'll give that a try. I will post a crumb photo today. The loaf is crunchy and pretty dense, but it's nice. It's like an entire meal in a slice of toast.
      James
      Pizza Ovens
      Outdoor Fireplaces

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      • #4
        Re: Whole grain crust texture

        Hi James!

        I don't think the sugar in rye is it though it could be. Looks to me like your description of "holes" is right and that the crust is drying out. You have a lot of stuff in the bread to poke holes in the gluten. Rather interestingly you seem to still be getting good rise so I assume your kneading and gluten development are good. Your gash looks GREAT.

        The crust looks a lot like it you rolled it in rye at the end... (something I do on my 100% rye breads) Was it fully mixed in earlier? (I presume so, but...feel I should verify.)

        I have a feeling the crust is an ingredient characteristic related mainly to rye and the relatively low flour content. What Bakers Percentage are you at?

        Look forward to hearing how increasing the steam does.

        Good Luck!
        Jay

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        • #5
          Re: Whole grain crust texture

          So how do you increase the steam? Do you spray water for a longer period, or would you put a water source in the oven, like a reallly hot cast iron pan on the floor with hot water in it?

          I usually spray back to front, slowly, until it's rolling out of the opening. Once, before I'm getting loaves ready to go in, and then once immediately before they go in. Could I put them in and then spray again, and slam the door on quickly?
          Elizabeth

          http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/e...html#post41545

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          • #6
            Re: Whole grain crust texture

            Elizabeth,

            I steam the oven before loading and shut the door tightly. Once the loaves are loaded, I position to the door so it can be shut very quickly, then spray above the loaves until you can see a fog in the chamber. Normally, I'd vent the steam half way through the bake time, but James might want to leave it in there another few minutes to assure complete spring before the crust begins to set.

            Jim
            "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827

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            • #7
              Re: Whole grain crust texture

              Jim, Is this a sourdough or yeasted loaf and how long was it proofing? It looks a pretty great loaf to me. I concur with Jay about the gluten getting a bashing. Another possible reason that you have a thicker crust is that the outer skin of the bread formed a crust if it had a long proof and wasn't airtight. I leave my loaves in bannetons (linen lined baskets) and the soudoughs can be proofing for 3 - 4 hours. If the 'skin' dries out you can get a thicker and harder crust in the finished loaf. Loaded dough takes longer to rise, so....

              As someone mentioned steaming the oven, on a similar topic, has anyone noticed the difference in moisture loss between conventional and WFO loaves? I have found that when baking in the electric oven I scale dough to 880g to get a 800g loaf. In the WFO I need to scale to 940g - this is a lot of dough, guys! This applies to tinned bread as well as hearth bread. Steaming the oven doesn't seem to make much difference.
              "It's not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it's because we do not dare that things are difficult." ~ Seneca

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              • #8
                Re: Whole grain crust texture

                Hi Annie,

                It's a sourdough loaf that proofed overnight in a bowl under a towel. I folded it twice the next day, shaped the loaf with the complicated Hamelman method, and proofed the loaf for a couple of hours in a linen lined banneton. The house was cold, so I used the proof setting on my oven (84F). It wasn't air tight -- just a linen towel on top.

                Maybe it is the air, the time or the slightly warmer proofing temperature. Also, the proofing setting blows a little convection air. Maybe this is it. The loaf is nice, but the crust is seriously crunchy.

                Should I be using plastic wrap on top of the banneton?

                This loaf was in a conventional oven between two big FB pizza stones, using a cast iron pan and boiling water for steam. I used convection.

                The WFO is baking out an extra 60g of water out of each loaf? That's a lot of water in the oven for steam. I have to test that.

                Thanks for the help!
                James
                Pizza Ovens
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                • #9
                  Re: Whole grain crust texture

                  Here is the crumb. Lot's of stuff going on in there.

                  Can you tell that the crust is a little dry?

                  James
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                  • #10
                    Re: Whole grain crust texture

                    james, that is one beautiful loaf! To me the crust looks perfect but understand if you think it too hard.

                    When I use bannetons I always either place each one in its own big plastic bag and tuck the end under, or put them on a rack and cover the whole thing with a plastic cover. Next time, just try the bag and see if that helps. The bannetons allow air circulation through the basketwork and the dough could dry out. How about making two loaves and do a side-by-side comparison?

                    I find that the crusts in the WFO are much softer than in the electric oven in any case.

                    Annie
                    "It's not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it's because we do not dare that things are difficult." ~ Seneca

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                    • #11
                      Re: Whole grain crust texture

                      Originally posted by AnnieMacD View Post
                      Next time, just try the bag and see if that helps. The bannetons allow air circulation through the basketwork and the dough could dry out. How about making two loaves and do a side-by-side comparison?
                      Nice. I can even use (reuse) plastic bags rather than throw away plastic wrap.

                      I'll do that next.
                      James
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                      • #12
                        Re: Whole grain crust texture

                        Hi James,

                        I did an experiment for you - and everyone! I made some mixed seed (sesame, flax, pumpkin and sunflower) sourdough last night. Fermented and shaped into bannetons and let dry out slightly (about an hour) before putting in plastic bags in refrigerator to proof overnight. Took them out this morning and left out at room temp (still in the bags) for approx 3 hours. Baked in the electric oven on baking stone with steam at 225F for 40 mins. They have VERY hard crusts! What you can do IMHO is one or all of: make sure the dough is not drying out while proofing; when they come out of the oven, wrap them in linen cloth to keep in the moisture (like for pitta breads to keep them soft); do not bake on the stone but on a half-sheet pan; spray the loaves themselves before putting in the oven and once or twice in the first five minutes; or, best of all, use the WFO where you will have no need of any of the above!

                        I'm doing a big bake again Tuesday evening in the WFO so will keep a seed loaf back and bake it in the electric oven with the stone (same as I did today). Then we can compare the results. I'm on a mission now.

                        Annie
                        PS the bread tastes wonderful and I kinda like the hard crust!
                        "It's not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it's because we do not dare that things are difficult." ~ Seneca

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                        • #13
                          Re: Whole grain crust texture

                          I can't wait. Hamelman recommends wrapping his big Miche in linen while it cools. I will start putting a bag around all my whole grain sourdough and see if it helps. Water directly on the loaf? What will that do?

                          Funny, I like the crust too -- but I am running the risk of alienating the family. They sticking with me on my "no store bread" quest so far, but I need to keep their hearts and minds. :-)

                          James
                          Pizza Ovens
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                          • #14
                            Re: Whole grain crust texture

                            Sorry, I didn't get back. My thought on spraying the dough directly was to soften the 'crust' before putting it in the oven. Last night I made a sourdough multi-seed which is fermenting in the refrigerator. I'll shape and proof in bannetons and bake all but one in the WFO, and then try one on the stone in the electric oven. I'll report back tomorrow.

                            I just had another thought - try taking the loaf out of the oven whenever the internal temp gets to 190F - the crust always crisps and thickens the longer the bread is in the oven.

                            Errata from previous post above - I meant 225 Centigrade of course (430F)!
                            Annie
                            "It's not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it's because we do not dare that things are difficult." ~ Seneca

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                            • #15
                              Re: Whole grain crust texture

                              OK, I think I may have got to the bottom of the problem. The loaf baked in the WFO was also hard (not quite as hard as in the electric oven but hard nonetheless), and I made some rolls and they were hard too. I make many of Hamelman's and Reinhart's lean doughs with seeds and they are never hard (in fact I had loads of PR's Struan in the oven at the same time and they were all soft), but the difference is soaking the seeds/grains overnight. I think what may be happening is that the seeds are robbing the dough of its moisture and then the crust is drying out. I'll test this out later in the week.
                              "It's not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it's because we do not dare that things are difficult." ~ Seneca

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