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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Bread - Day Five: Whole Grain Breads

Breads - Day Five

Whole Grain Breads

Baked 07.11.14

Bring on some hearty chew and lots of flavor as Bread Week comes to a close with Whole Grain Breads.

And it's just in time. My freezer is so full with foil-wrapped loaves that I have no doubts that I could ride out a zombie apocalypse if necessary.

Whole Grain Breads:
  • Deli Rye
  • American Pumpernickel
  • Sicilian Semolina
  • Light Spelt & Caraway

Whole Grain Breads
A common feature of whole grain breads is a denser texture, making them not only great sandwich breads, but also great for satisfying, stand-alone slices.

Whole grain flours typically require more water to form an appropriately hydrated dough, so expect whole grain recipes to have higher water to flour ratios than would appear elsewhere (and don't try to swap whole grain flour for bread flour in other recipes without making adjustments).

Most recipes for whole grain breads call for both a greater number and longer resting periods through the mixing and proofing stages. The first reason is flavor - even when using an overnight fermented sponge, the additional rises make the bread all the more tasty. The second consideration is the density of the dough. To fight the heavier consistency of whole grain bread dough, longer rising times are often needed to achieve the necessary lift. 

Deli Rye

Ranking just behind bagels on my favorite breads list, deli rye stands strong in the number two spot.

Chef's note: As I write this, I realize that bagels and rye bread were staples of weekend trips with my father to Chmura's Bakery, so there may be some nostalgia creeping into my rankings (Chmura's also rocks an amazing cheese danish!)

Surprisingly, the hallmark flavor of rye bread does not come from rye flour. It actually comes from ground or whole caraway seeds. In fact, rye bread uses very little rye flour (around 25% of the total mix). If more Rye flour were used, the texture of the bread would be compromised.

The relatively modest amount of rye flour in this bread is used to make the sponge starter. 100% standard bread flour is then added to make the final dough.

Like most crusty breads, the final dough it sprayed with water before hitting the ovens and is subjected to steam throughout the baking process.

Deli Rye Bread

American  Pumpernickel

The dark color of pumpernickel bread is achieved by using molasses and cocoa powder in the dough.

Cocoa is purely a coloring additive - the final bread does not taste chocolaty. Molasses, however, contributes to both the deep color as well as a subtle sweetness in the final bread.

Pumpernickel dough is extremely dense. This isn't surprising because as much as 2/3 of the flour volume is either whole wheat or rye flour. When mixing, the consistency of the dough more closely resembles a pasta dough than a white bread dough.

American Pumpernickel

Sicilian Semolina

Semolina bread is made from 100% durum flour. The flour results in a final bread that is bright yellow in color and not nearly as dense as either rye or pumpernickel. The lighter nature of the semolina flour means the dough is able to rise well with only a little yeast in the final mix.

Sicilian Semolina

Light Spelt and Caraway

Spelt was once thought to be a gluten-free flour alternative in baking; however, it has since been determined that this non-wheat flour still contains gluten protein. Nevertheless, spelt is still used to make breads, as some like the somewhat nutty flavor of the flour.

Spelt and Caraway Bread

Bread Week in Review:

  • Day One - Flatbreads and Crisp Breads
    • Ligurian Focaccia 
    • Habini Pita
    • Middle Eastern Flatbread
    • Grissini Breadsticks
  • Day Two - "One Step" Breads
    • White & Whole Wheat Bread
    • Golden Sandwich Bread
    • Old-Fashioned Raisin Bread
    • Pain de Mie (French Sandwich Bread / Pullman Loaf)
  • Day Three - Rolls and Individual Breads
    • Bagels
    • Sicilian Sesame Rolls (Muffuletta Rolls)
    • Pretzel Rolls
    • English Muffins
  • Day Four - Pre-Fermented Breads
    • Ciabatta
    • Tuscan Olive Bread
    • Challah
    • Zopf (Swiss Braided Bread)
  • Day Five - Whole Grain Breads:
    • Deli Rye
    • American Pumpernickel
    • Semolina
    • Spelt & Caraway

Questions? Comments? Send me an email or leave a comment.
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