Stone Ground Whole Grain Flours

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Dave Mott's picture
Dave Mott
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Stone Ground Whole Grain Flours

Hey everyone. Got a question for you about these flours. I use Red Fife Stone Ground Whole Grain flour for my sourdough recipe. My recipe is 70-2, with 400g of Bread Flour and 100g of Red Fife. The thing I noticed that when my dough has gone through the bulk fermentation stage and the proofing stage, in both cases, the dough seems very wet still. It holds it's shape ok, but looks and feels like a jelly fish, if you know what I mean, It's got some wiggle to it and seems very loose. After my proofing stage, when I flip it out of my proofing bowl it really has that jelly fish characteristic to it. In Jacobs Sourdough Country Loaf video, his dough seems very together and hold it shape well. When Jacob flips it out of the proofing basket in his hand, it holds it shape very nicely. When I flip it out onto my hand, the jelly fish just wants to droop, so I need to be fast to put in my dutch oven. The only thing I can think of so far is that Stone Ground Whole Grain flour doesn't have the absorption characteristics as regular whole wheat flour. So it's not absorbing as much water as regular whole wheat flour. I don't know! Any ideas out there?
Cheers!

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jacob burton
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At 20 percent of your flour formulation, the whole wheat flour may be negatively effecting your gluten structure. Whole wheat can actually absorb more moisture than bread flour, but the microscopic bran of the flour is jagged and will cut into your gluten strands.

Try some stretch and folds with rest periods in between instead of kneading, and then do some tension pulls. Also, check the protein content of your bread flour; it should be around 13%.

Also, maybe try baking a 70-2 loaf with just bread flour to isolate what's causing the lack of structure.

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Dave Mott
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Thanks Jacob. I'm not so good at calculations so maybe you can help me. I just checked my bread flour and it says there is 5g of protein per 40g of flour. Not sure what that works out to as a percentage. I think you divide 5 by 40, which works out to .125, or 12.5%. Correct?
I will definitely try a 70-2 loaf with just bread flour to see if that's the case.
When I use to do bread my old way with active dry yeast, I wasn't using the baker's percentage so I would just add flour at anytime until I was happy with the moisture content. But now using the bakers percentage and really honing in on the science behind it, I realize now that I was using too much flour in my old recipe and did not achieve that open, airy crumb.

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Yep, that would be 12.5%, which is pretty average for bread flour. Do you have all the measurements written down? If so, put them here with your method and I'll see if I can find anything helpful.

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OK. Here we go! I love this forum!
Original recipe and method is your Sourdough Country Loaf. With the exception of using Red Fife:
400g Bread Flour
100g Red Fife Stone Ground Whole Grain Flour
500g Starter
275g Water
15g Salt

Maybe my gluten structure isn't developed enough? I just don't want to over-knead. I'll try what you suggest by taking out the kneading process and just do stretch and fold, 10 min rest periods, and tension pull.
In your video, after kneading are you doing only a total of 3 stretch and folds at 10 min. intervals?
I was also thinking about trying regular whole wheat flour to narrow it down even further. Nothing like baking for experimentation!

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Your ratios look spot on. What are you feeding your starter? Is it a 50/50 mix of whole wheat and bread flour.

Try a longer autolyse period as we discussed in this thread: http://stellaculinary.com/forum/all-things-bread/sourdough/oven-spring

Perform stretch and folds every 20 minutes, for a total of 3-5 times. You'll be able to tell when your gluten structure is developed just by the feel of the dough. The dough should feel smooth, springy, and full of life.

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Yes . My starter is a 50/50 mix. I started out with Red Fife and All purpose white. Then changed it to 50/50 mix of Stone Ground Whole Grain Rye and All Purpose White. I know I should be using bread flour but decided to go with All purpose. It seems to work great when feeding it before use. Lots of rise and air. Did the float test as well and all is good.
Do you think I should change my starter to Bread Flour due to the less gluten and protein content? Would that effect it because of the mix of All purpose in my starter, and then mixing it in with dough that contains bread flour?

In the picture I posted of my Sourdough loaf, that starter was 50/50 mix of All Purpose and Red Fife, and it leavened that loaf bang on! But I still had that same jelly fish thing happening.

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It's the AP flour in your starter that's giving you the slack dough. A couple of things you can try:

  1. Replace AP flour with BF and bake on.
  2. Drop your hydration rate down to about 66-68% using your current recipe, and still doing the stretch and folds. You won't get as open as a crumb as a higher hydration + bread flour formulation, but it will still be good.
  3. Keep feeding your starter AP, and use it in small amounts to do a preferment. I always like to use my whole wheat flours in the preferment because it gives the grain more time to soften and be digested, and also creates a complex flavor. Using your same 70:2 formulation with your AP/Whole wheat poolish, here's how it would look.

Preferment

  • 25g Poolish Starter
  • 125g Whole Wheat Flour
  • 125g Bread Flour
  • 250g Water

Mix together and let ferment at room temperature overnight. The next day, it should pass the float test.

Mix this sourdough preferment with:

  • 500g BF
  • 275g Water
  • Salt (optional at this step which you understand based on our autolyse conversation).

1-2 hour extended autolyse, 3-5 stetch and folds at 20 minute intervals, bulk fermentation, proof, bake.

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Jacob, your awesome dude! Thanks for the info, and the time you took in creating the preferment recipe.  I think I will switch back to using BF in my starter. I'm enjoying so much the open airy crumb from the higher hydration. I never achieved that in my old commercial yeast recipes.
I will definitely let you know if that has ridden me of the elusive jelly fish!
So my now starter recipe will be:
125g of Stone Ground Whole Grain Rye Flour
125g of Bread Flour
250g of Water
Cheers!

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Glad I could help.

One last thing to take into consideration is, if you're feeding your starter whole wheat (which I recommend), make sure you're calculating that amount of whole wheat into your 20% rule. So if you're using 400g starter, with 100g Whole Wheat and 100g BF, make sure you account for the 100g of whole wheat in your final formulation, and try not to exceed 20%.

Now the 20% rule and the use of bread flour (and 70% hydration) is just to get you a successful loaf. As you exceed 20% whole wheat and 70% hydration (or when you start mixing flours that lower your gluten content), you can still achieve amazing breads. However, those types of formulations take a lot of practice and intuitive feel to produce. First we need to get you to produce your ideal, artisan loaf with good oven spring and the open crumb, than you can start playing with more advanced formulations.

Let me know how your next loaf turns out, and be sure to post a picture of the crumb.

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OK. Thanks for the advice.

Is it ok to use Red Fife Whole Grain Stone Ground flour in my starter, as my whole wheat flour?
Or should I use regular whole wheat flour in my starter?

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Yeah, the Red Fife should be fine.

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OK. I'll switch from Rye back to Red Fife.
I'll let you know how it goes.

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Oh, one last thing. I haven't been educated on the 20% rule. Is it covered in your podcasts? I just got finished listening to SCS 18, and am working through SCS 19-21.

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Yes, I talk about it in the bread lectures, but pretty much, you can have 20% of your flour content come from whole wheat before it starts effecting your gluten structure and the density of your loaf.

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Ah yes. Now I get it. Hence the 400g of BF and 100g of whole wheat in your recipe.
100g secondary ingredient divided by the total amount of 500g = .2 or 20%. Just like I learned in your baker's percentage video.

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Hey Jacob. So I switched my starter back to the original recipe of BF and Red Fife to see if that would make a difference in my gluten structure. I fed it through the week to make sure that it would be pretty well rid of the rye flour and APP flour. This is the result. Good crumb structure but I didn't achieve the desired oven spring I was looking for. The gluten structure was still very loose (jelly fish like), especially at the end of the proofing stage.
So today I am just using BF in the recipe to see if the Red Fife is the cause. I will let you know how it goes. If that doesn't work than I'm thinking of switching to a 65-2 bread dough to see if that works.
Cheers!

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That loaf actually looks really good. This time around, I would try proofing it just a little less (maybe by 20-30 minutes). Your oven spring issue could be coming from a slight over proofing.

Let me know how the next loaf turns out.

Jacob

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OK! I'll try that for this round of 100% BF.

Thanks again!

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Hey Jacob. Finally!! I think in the 2 years that I have been baking bread, this is the best loaf I've done so far! I'm so stoked! You can seriously tell me what you think though. I love feedback! So this was my experiment in using all BF, and taking out Red Fife. During the kneading, stretch and fold, and proofing stage, the gluten structure did seem a bit more tighter. I probably kneaded for about total of 6-7 minutes.
Final proofing stage was about 1.5 hrs, as you suggested, and...VOILA! We have oven spring Batman!

Scoring technique is improving a little more.

Nice color and shape.


I through in an extra stretch and fold with tension pull before proofing.
Good crumb structure.

Next experiment will be trying to perfect that Red Fife. Like you suggested, I'm going to try a 1 hour autolyse, and a 1.5 hr proofing time.
Thanks again for all your help dude! You Rock!
Oh man! I just want to bake bread my whole life!
Well, looks like I'm giving my notice at work tomorrow!
Cheers!

Sorry. Don't know why the formatting turned out so messy. Still trying to figure that out. Maybe my pictures are too big.

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WOW! That looks awesome. I can tell by how far apart your expansion marks are at the top of the bread that you got an amazing oven spring. Also, notice how the exterior of the entire loaf expanded, opposed to your previous picture where it looks like just the top puffed up a little bit.

This is the victory that I wanted you to have, so you could gain the tactile sensations and visual cues throughout the bread baking process. Now, it is possible to achieve this same result with up to 20% whole wheat flour, but the dough is less forgiving. You have to handle it less, and really respond to what the dough is telling you.

Try another loaf with all bread flour, but this time, no kneading. Do the 2 hour autolyse, then 3 stretch and folds at 20 minute intervals. Bulk ferment for about 2 hours, then form and proof for 1.5. I think that will really turn out an amazing loaf.

Then, you can start adding in some whole wheat.

Also, here's a fun trick for you. Weigh out 20% whole wheat and pass it through a sifter. Set aside the stuff left in the sifter, and use the flour that passed through in your final dough formulation. Then, right after you form the loaf, roll the top and sides of the boule in the larger whole wheat that you set aside from sifting, allow to proof seem up, and then bake. The larger whole wheat particles will embed themselves during proofing, and give an amazing crust with great texture and flavor.

Great job! 300+ Stella Stars for sticking to it and not giving up!

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Cool! I will try the all bread flour with no kneading next. Also I think for the next couple of loaves or more, I'm still going to work with all BF. Just to get the consistency I'm looking for. And like you said above, to gain more of the tactile sensations and visual cues throughout.

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Speaking of sifting the flour...

What do you think of using a burr grinder to “mill” the grain to create a flour. Then sift the flour to get a more consistent product. I’m thinking more of specialty breads, but also some of the wheat relatives that may not be easily available as flour.

I’ve seen burr grinders available for as little as $15, with more expensive ones that grind slowly to generate less heat at over $100.

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That sounds pretty cool GreenBake! I've never tried milling my own flour before.

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Hey Jacob. Hope things are well with you.
So I tried the recipe you recommended of a 2 hour autolyse, 3 stretch and fold at 20 minute intervals, bulk ferment 2 hours, form and proof for 1.5 hours.
This was a long day. Good thing I had the day off. HAHA!

A couple of challenges along the way:
The dough was very wet and sticky (had to constantly wet my hands, not too wet, so it wouldn't stick)
The dough stuck to my proofing basket lining (metal bowl with a lint free cloth), and I dusted it quite well with flour. So it tore the dough a little when removing into the dutch oven, But didn't deflate it.
The dough kept on sticking to the plastic wrap that covered it during the bench rest (so I tried a little bit of oil)
I didn't get the oven spring I was hoping for. It was a hot day here Toronto, so I think I over proofed it. Perhaps I could of knocked off 20 or 30 minutes from the 1.5 hrs. I did notice at the end of 1.5 hrs it did seem to have doubled, or a little more, in size.
The dough was hard to score because it was so wet (I use a bakers razor)

Positive things that happened:
Beautiful crumb and crust
Really excellent taste. A little more sour than usual
Very happy with the outcome!
Want to bake bread for ever!

Question- Will the 2 hour autolyse give the bread more flavor? Thought I noticed that this loaf had a little more sour taste to it. Really tasty!

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Looks great!

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That bread looks awesome. Remember, you can always use a little flour if you need too. If the dough seems sticky and is giving you issues, flour your work surface and rock on. Just be careful not to get any flour in the seam of you loaf while forming. The flour will keep the seam from sealing.

Delayed fermentation in general will cause the loaf to be more sour. Since you took longer to bake (extended autolyse), a more sour flavor developed.

But really Dave, the bread looks amazing. I know you didn't get the oven spring you were hoping for, but I know dense, under proofed bread when I see it; your's is definitely not that.

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Thanks Jacob for the advice on using a little flour if I need to, and the seam sealing. 

I've been experimenting on wetting my hands and it hasn't been going well. I think it just added too much extra water to my dough, and the attitude from my dough I was getting along the way really showed. Especially with the loaf I baked last night. Blahhhh!

With flouring my hands I didn't want to add the extra flour to my dough as well, but if I only use a little on my hands and work surface I should be fine. I won't use flour during my kneading, only on stretch and fold/bench rest and then I'll see if I need it for forming.

Cheers!

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