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Old 04-01-2009, 01:35 PM
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Default strange texture

I've been fooling around with different whole wheat flours. This week it's Hodgson's Mills whole wheat. I made the wild yeast starter in Whole Grain Breads last night for my bread today- and it was not the same texture at all that I am used to. It was quite wet, for one thing. I couldn't get the same feel in the dough at all. I did add some more flour, but I decided to wait and adjust some more today if needed.

Well, the starter/biga was still quite wet this morning. I added it to the soaker and put it in the mixer, and I had to add a LOT of flour to get the texture anywhere near correct. It's risen ok and is in the wfo now, but I am not sure why it's been so wet.

Has anyone else used this flour? It has bigger particles in it than the KA whole wheat I've been using. Could this affect its ability to absorb moisture? And if it does, is it ok just to add flour until it feels ok? I'd say I added several handfuls to the mixer to get it to the slightly stick stage. Any less than that and I'd have had something more like soup than bread!

I use a scale to measure all my ingredients, so they should all be accurate.

By the way, what kind of scales are you all using? Mine is digital, but I wish it had smaller increments. It only goes by 5g and 1/4 oz. I keep having recipes which call for odd things like 52g. I can't do that! Of course, that 2g seems like about a teaspoon of flour, so maybe it doesn't matter mostly...
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Old 04-01-2009, 01:48 PM
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Default Re: strange texture

Elizabeth - I bought my scale at Bed Bath and Beyond. I has an auto zero, grams and oz's. It was pretty reasonable in price.

Les...
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Old 04-01-2009, 01:53 PM
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Default Re: strange texture

This is new to me. I can't quite imagine your whole wheat flour feeling wet or damp. I've only used a couple of different brands of whole wheat, but I haven't experienced that feeling. Also, across the different mills, the way the flour reacts to a fixed recipe doesn't change that much. Let us know how it comes out. I'm wondering if it will be heavier, and you brought the hydration down to get it to form a dough ball.

Hmmmm.

I like the scale we sell in the FB Store. It works with single grams, which is how I use it. Mine is holding up really well and I use it every day.

James
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Old 04-01-2009, 02:11 PM
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Default Re: strange texture

Elizabeth,

One of the articles I read recently about flours used the amount of water a flour would absorb as an indicator of protein content. The more water a flour would absorb, the higher the protein.

The chart in the article says that a bread flour with a 14 grams of protein per cup will use 2 cups and 1 tablespoon to absorb 1 cup of water, where a cake flour with 8 grams of protein per cup will use more flour to create the same consistency - 2 and 3/4 cups of the flour. The higher protein flour will absorb more water.

If the flour you are experimenting with has a markedly lower protein than you have been using, then it would take less water or more flour to get to the correct consistency.

I wonder if this is what you ran into with your new flour?

I have been using the scale from Forno Bravo, and really like the results...

JED
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Old 04-01-2009, 02:15 PM
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Default Re: strange texture

Jed, that makes a lot of sense. I have always thought that whole wheat flour would be bread flour, with gluten in the 12%+ range, but maybe that's not true. A light weight flour would definitely not take on water the same way your bread flour does.
James
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Old 04-02-2009, 01:09 AM
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Default Re: strange texture

How did the bread turn out Elizabeth? I get that sometimes, needing quite a lot more or less water, but with the self same flour I always use. I've always put it down to humidity, or just-one-of-those-things.

Here are the scales I use and I really love them! Exact to 5 g with the weights I've got, but you can really see how much over you are and guess at the 2 g more. And like you said, does a teaspoon either way really matter anyway?

http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f18/...ales-4016.html (Kitchen scales)
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Old 04-02-2009, 06:38 AM
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Default Re: strange texture

The bread came out ok. A little heavier than normal, but not as dense as I was afraid it would. It rose really well in the pans, which I use to make my huband happy. He likes tidy sandwiches.

I am not sure what the protein percentage is- the bag lists 3g per 30, while the KA white whole wheat lists 4 per 30. I'm out of the regular KA whole wheat so I can't look at that one. I suspect that protein content may be it.

I find that the KA whole wheat is ground much more finely than the Hodgson's. You know in BBA where he talks about sifting the whole wheat flour to get an approximation of high-extraction flour? Well, this is the one you'd use for that. You'd get a whole lot of bran particles from this flour.

No complaints about the flour (if they're looking!) Just didn't behave the way I was expecting. It has good flavor and the end result was fine.

I will look at the FB scale. I didn't realize you had one!

I also made a double batch of rye yesterday. I nearly got eaten by it! I neglected to do the math- a double batch weighs a little over 12 pounds.. So now I have successfully baked approximately 20 pounds of bread in one firing. Anyone want a loaf of rye?
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Old 04-02-2009, 09:12 AM
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Default Re: strange texture

That reminds me. I have to keep making both boules and pan sourdough bread. The kids ask for a "normal" sandwich from time to time.

Elizabeth, glad to hear the bread came out OK in the end. I find it difficult estimating how much to bake. You feel badly throwing out stale bread -- but it's worse running out.

Off to my mixer.
James
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Old 04-02-2009, 11:08 AM
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Default Re: strange texture

oh, there will be no throwing out. I freeze it. It works just fine that way. I also give it away to my friends. I haven't bought bread in months- I even make English muffins for my husband, who eats one every single day. They freeze ok too.

The sight of the enormous vat of bread rising was enough to scare me a bit, though! Bigger than a basketball punched down. Needless to say I had to mix it by hand. It's a very forgiving recipe, though.
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Old 04-02-2009, 02:55 PM
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Default Re: strange texture

Hi Elizabeth!

You don't say which specific Hodgson Mill WW flour you used - though that missing fact doesn't do much good because Hodgson Mills doesn't provide protein specs on their flours. And the numbers they do report are wierd, such as ZERO % protein in their Whole Wheat Pastry Flour. The only flour of theirs for which I found a protein level was their Best for Bread at about 13%. I feel pretty confident their WW is somewhat lower - probably in the 10% range (more of a WW AP) which would be consistent with 3 grams of protein in 30.

As a comparison, KA white WW is 13.2% and Traditional WW is 14% so I think Jed was right on. And his "table results" seem to fit with the appx amount of extra flour you used.

Wish I could trade some bread with you. I need some rye right now!
Good Luck!
Jay
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