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Baking wholemeal bread (not in a breadmaker) - update - success!

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#1 Snot stew

Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:23 PM

So I have tried wholemeal bread but it doesn't rise as much as I'd like... now I am doing a half-half mix with white and wholemeal and it has risen really well.

Question - can I replace the white flour with anything more healthy?  Apart from wholemeal flour?  Or can I make a wholemeal loaf rise better by adding more yeast or something?  I have been googling for a bit but haven't found an answer yet... I'll keep googling but in the meantime I thought I'd ask my knowledgeable EB friends.


Update - success!!  i tried an overnight rise bread and it is quick and delicious(it does use a half half mix of white and wholemeal flour).  The kids say they like it better than the fluffy, higher rise stuff that I have made in the past, which was a surprise.  

Tanks to everyone who replied!

Edited by Orange Underpants, 26 February 2013 - 02:47 PM.

#2 fraidycat

Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:28 PM

I have been baking my own bread for years.  Look up 'the bread bible' it is the best book I bought.  Awesome recipes that work every time.

#3 Sancti-mummy

Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:29 PM

I don't use a breadmaker and I must admit I haven't tried wholemeal as yet (only white or rye), but I read something about the water ratio being important also.

My basic rule of thumb (that I borrowed from someone then tweaked) is 3 1/2 cups flour, 1tsp salt, 1tsp sugar, 2 tsp yeast, 375ml lukewarm water.  Sift flour, make a well, put in salt, sugar, yeast and enough water to moisten those for 10 minutes until frothy, add the rest of the water, knead for 8-10 minutes (this bit is very important, for upper arm toning as well as the bread), rest in an oiled bowl for 45 (the bread, not you), punch and slight knead then rest in tin for 25, cook in 220 oven for 35.

Its not hugely high rise but yummy as.

#4 *LucyE*

Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:34 PM

The whole meal bits are like razor blades to the gluten which is what gives the structure to the bread. It's a matter of minimizing kneading so you don't tear the gluten strands.

Have a look at some of the artisan bread recipes that don't require kneading.

Also, what do you mean by 'healthier' than white flour?  Regular supermarket whole meal flour is rarely 'whole wheat' flour. It's usually white flour with 'whole meal' bits added back in. It may have a little bit more fibre but isn't really any 'healthier' or not than white flour. For me, I value organic, slow fermentation, not instant yeast, and stone ground to be better qualities to look for in a bread.

#5 Snot stew

Posted 24 February 2013 - 04:18 PM

I think I'll try bread rolls next time, then the rising won't be as much of an issue original.gif - susiej does that work for rye flour too, as I've heard it's lower in gluten...?

LucyE any suggestions as to a healthier version are great - can I ask, why you look for stone ground?  Is it 'better'?  I haven't heard of slow fermentation/not instant yeast... off to google again...

#6 Sancti-mummy

Posted 24 February 2013 - 04:24 PM

I must admit I live in a regional town, so I get what I am given which is the bread mix, and it works a treat.

I must admit LucyE's answer gave me pause about the kneading, so I turned to Dr Google - I don't know if I found a definitive answer (or an opening for more discussion) but I loved the last paragraph of this link

One by-product of choosing to knead bread dough is that the activity is good exercise. Bakers have a chance to work their upper body muscles, and gain some mental satisfaction from the process as well. While neither of these two perks have any bearing on the flavor or texture of the bread, they often are quite beneficial to the temperament of the baker.

#7 Snot stew

Posted 24 February 2013 - 04:41 PM

I have found a slow fermentation recipe I shall try tomorrow... I am using dry yeast, not instant, apparently fresh yeast is better but I've never seen it anywhere, and google says it's difficult to find.

#8 *LucyE*

Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:54 PM

why you look for stone ground? Is it 'better'?

I personally don't have an issue with using white flour. We don't each much bread stuff (mainly our once a week pizzas) so we prefer to use white. I do buy an organic white flour from a local mill through a retailer I know who turns over stock quickly. This ensures that it is fresh.

My comment was in relation to whole meal vs white. If you are concerned about 'healthiness', then commercial whole meal isn't that different to white. It is essentially white flour with some (not all) of the bran added back in. It doesn't really offer much in the way of health benefits over just using white.

Stoneground flour is supposed to contain the whole wheat so nothing has been removed. The stone milling process produces less heat so less damage to the natural oils in the wheat so they don't go rancid (why they are taken out with steel mill commercial processing). As a flour, it's more 'complete' than wholemeal or white and has the 'healthy' parts of the wheat still in the flour. The trick is finding a fresh source of the flour.  I find that it is slightly moister than white flour so needs marginally less liquid for breads.

You can buy fresh yeast at some delis. It's usually a special order item but available.

There's a theory about the problems with modern bread product consumption being related to the use of fast acting yeast or too much yeast to produce a quick rise so faster turnaround for convenience and profit. Traditional methods allowed the yeast to ferment slowly which is supposed to mean it is easier for the human body to digest.

There are also supposed to be health benefits to using sourdough starters with the acidity aiding digestion too.

#9 Fright bat

Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:58 PM

Invest in a dutch oven for the best 'oven spring'.

#10 Snot stew

Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:47 AM

Thanks LucyE - that is the sort of thing I'd like to know about.  And I appreciate you taking the time to write a detailed answer!!!  original.gif  Every site I visited (and there were many) stated that wholemeal flour is 'healthier' than white flour, so there you go... if it's a myth then lots of people are thoroughly fooled.  There were also a very large number of bread recipes that contained a large amount of sugar too but were advertised as 'healthy' - sigh - it really is a bit of a minefield.

I am not that keen on bread myself but my kids and DH love it, so I am trying to find a better (cheaper and healthier, if possible) alternative to store bought bread.  I am also going to try making wraps.  I think there may be something in the slow fermentation idea, so I will give that a try today or tomorrow.  Time is fun when you're having flies, as dad used to say.

I'll have to google 'dutch oven' later as I really have things to do!  

#11 Feral-as-Meggs

Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:55 AM

QUOTE (Orange Underpants @ 25/02/2013, 12:47 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'll have to google 'dutch oven' later as I really have things to do!

haha dont

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