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egalecki 02-27-2009 09:36 AM

The best way to go about increasing whole grain content?
I'm trying to increase the whole grain content in my life, just like everyone else. I have a couple of recipes I'm very fond of- like Reinhart's oat bran broom bread (for sandwiches, it's my husband's favorite), but I'd like to try to up the whole grain content in some of the other breads I'm comfortable with. I know I could just try some of the other recipes, but I'm already good at these others- is there a method to go about incrementally upping the percentage?

Seems like I'd have better luck playing with a recipe when I already know how it should perform. I'm just not sure where to start. How much white flour at a time should I change to whole wheat?

AnnieMacD 02-27-2009 10:05 AM

Re: The best way to go about increasing whole grain content?
Elizabeth, Do you have Hamelman's book? He has a whole range of breads with different percentages of whole wheat. I used to follow them to the gram but I now tend to add a lot more wholemeal without reducing the white flour content. I know, I know the percentages will be off BUT after the autolyse I gauge the moisture content by look/feel and if necessary add more water - and I write down how much I added so I basically adjust the recipe. They are all sourdough anyway so the hydration isn't exact. You will just get a feel for it yourself. And then you can keep doing this until you are satisfied. You could also feed your starter with wholewheat flour in place of white.

Peter Reinhart's last book on Whole Grain baking contains recipes with 100% whole grain and also what he calls 'transitional' recipes with about 50/50 but I know you want to use your old recipes.


egalecki 02-27-2009 12:38 PM

Re: The best way to go about increasing whole grain content?
Yes, I have Hamelman's book. I'm trying out the flaxseed bread today- it baked ok, but I don't know what it looks like inside yet. (darn waiting!)

I also have Whole Grain Breads by Reinhart. I really like it too. I tried a rye out of it, though, that turned out just awful. I'm pretty sure now that the rye soaker was contaminated with that leucostonoc bacteria, though- even though I didn't have sourdough in that part, it seemed quite spongy and smelled really odd when I went to use it the next day. I've since done lots of soakers with rye, and they NEVER smell or feel that way, so I did something wrong there...

I'm up for trying new recipes all the time, but there are a few I would like to up the whole grain ante on. I'll just have to play with them, I think. Today I switched the 10 oz of white flour in my ryebread soaker to 10 oz whole wheat. That pushes the whole grain total over 50%, so we'll see...

james 02-27-2009 01:03 PM

Re: The best way to go about increasing whole grain content?
It's interesting to think about the difference between modifying something you know and taking on an entirely new formula. I guess I do both. I have had some good experiences trying out some of the Hamelman recipes in the sourdough section from scratch. What I lack in experience and try to make up by actually trying to follow the recipe. Still, pretty much the whole time I'm doing it for the first few times, I'm thinking -- I wonder if I'm doing this right. :-)

Someone (Dutchoven or Jim, I think), recommended tackling a new recipe and doing it over and over to get a feeling for how small changes to the recipe or technique will change the loaf.


egalecki 02-28-2009 07:28 AM

Re: The best way to go about increasing whole grain content?
3 Attachment(s)
Well, I haven't cut into it yet, but the loaves themselves look pretty good. I'm having some strange issues with "belly buttons", though. I think I'm seeing the ears from when I shaped the batard- I'm trying to do it like Hamelman's book suggests, but I must be doing something wrong either in the shaping or in the scoring. Or maybe I'm a tad underproofed? This happened the last time I made these too. Any suggestions?

These loaves are 18oz rye, 10 oz white whole wheat, and 25 oz bread flour.

The first two pictures show the belly buttons- one at one end of a loaf and the other smack in the middle.

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