100% of whole wheat bread

3rd attempt. No salt.

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This is 100% of whole wheat grain milled at home. The grain is soft white Spring wheat of moderate protein value. It does not behave the exact same way as hard red Winter wheat, which I prefer.

I'm disappointed in 100% of whole wheat loaves because they simply do not rise in the way we expect when a considerable percentage of refined flour is included with the dough.

Having said that I must hasten to add this is among the most delicious bread I have ever tasted, and I do believe this is the bread of history. This is the bread pictured on the walls of numberless ancient Egyptian tombs in a wide variety of shapes. See Gardiner's hieroglyphic sign chart section X 1-8. (Incidentally, after 100 years of concurrence that first sign, the small semicircle that stands for the phonetic "t", it is finally being disputed as representing a small loaf of bread due to it usually being painted black when the walls are painted with a full palette of colors. It is now thought by some present-day experts to represent the primordial mound. Colors do mean something.) But this is all a little bit off the point, in'nit?

It's impossible for me to believe the ancients had any more success than I do in getting loaves to rise much more than this, given their mills were more rudimentary and their yeast cultures were no different. There is no way they could have kneaded the dough as thoroughly as I can do right here at home with a machine that can work far beyond what any person could do by hand. I'm saying throughout history right up to modern era, it was not possible to mill grain as finely or work the dough more thoroughly than I can do right here at home. That's my story, and I'm stickin' with it.

In fact I think damage to the teeth of ancient people shows that it was not uncommon for tiny stones to make their way into the dough, being abraded by the mill stones used to crush the grain, either huge ones or small home types. Can you imagine what a drag that must have been, and how coarse their standard bread must have been? I'm certain if they were presented with a loaf of, say, Wonder bread, they wouldn't even consider it to be bread at all.

I only got as far as I have because I didn't add salt. My second failure, pictured below, taught me that salt was retarding the progress of the yeast and bacteria. One way to avoid that is to add the salt later but that risks forgetting it altogether which I've done several times, and it deflates the loaves, which isn't usually a problem unless it took a day to rise the first time, in which case I'm reticent to start over.

Forlornly pondering the situation of dough suddenly stopping all progress caused me to have an insight related to aquariums. In the Takashi Amano style of heavily planted aquariums, CO2 is introduced to the water along with powerful fluorescent lights above the tank. CO2 can be sparged throughout the tank a couple of ways, one with a separate metal gas tank, another using a smaller plastic jar outside the aquarium that hold water and yeast fed with sugar connected with aquarium hose to the tank. In the second case baking soda is included to retard the yeast so that 1/4 teaspoon yeast feeds on 1 cup of sugar for nearly a month. That's what I was doing by adding salt with the flour for the final feeding of the dough. Duh. The tender delicate little yeasties didn't much care for that.

Even without salt, I almost didn't bake this salt-less loaf pictured above because it failed to rise to the top of the bread pans which would have doubled its size. It rose less than double. It rises fine as a wet sponge in a jar, but hardly rises at all as a dough with much more weight bearing down on it, flattening it. The yeast really does need a lot of liquid to multiply effectively. There was no oven-rise either as expected with refined flour loaves.

The loaf was not fermented either, save for the unusually long period it took to proof.

Still, I would be proud to serve this cut thinly as the base for small canapés. Its natural flavor is truly astounding, and I can imagine small sandwiches, cut thinly, of course. And that's without salt. Usually bread without salt is the most bland thing you can put in your mouth, but not so with these slices. Salt added to individual slices enhances the flavor even more.

Below are three trials of sourdough starter cultivated directly from grain. The first two used heat, the third one at room temperature. There was little activity for nearly twelve hours and finally, out of impatience I put the third one with the other two near the heat source and went to sleep. When I woke up, they were all active. The third one the most, so I discarded the other two and went with the strong one that started at room temperature.

I made dough from it. I added salt along with the last doubling of water and flour mixing to the consistency of dough. It failed. I threw it all out. Pondering the situation, it occurred to me that salt was probably arresting the yeast growth. I started again, the third time with no salt added to the dough. The result is pictured above.

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These were mentioned in an earlier post.
The first two jars were discarded in favor of the third. The second trial failed due to salt, but the third culture, the one on the right, went on to a third trial that succeeded partially although it failed to rise satisfyingly.

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These loaves were discarded due to failed rising.
It seems salt is responsible.

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1 comment:

Avierra said...

The crumb looks nice and moist, even if it isn't as poofy as you would have liked. It kind of reminds me of a very dense bread I had while I lived in Denmark, made from rye and whole wheat. It too was sliced very thin, and it had wheat kernels (I think) in it for textural appeal. It made very tasty, but somewhat delicate, open-face sandwiches. We used it for pretty much all our bread needs.

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