This Saturday’s Bake
This Saturday I plan to make 80% whole grain loaves, using organic winter wheat berries, organic white flour and water at and 85 – 90% hydration. This high level of hydration – 65 – 70% is more typical – takes into account both the fact the bran from the berries the brown husk) absorbs a lot of water, and the fact that I want to give the bread as open a crumb as possible. Heavier flours, those made with all or most of the wheat berry and/or a lower gluten content (Rye flours fall into this category) result in breads that are denser with fewer bubbles in them.
Let's talk about taste - Fresh milled whole grain is just that - fresh - so the wheat germ hasn't had time to oxidize, which can generate a slight bitter aftertaste (you sometimes pick this up in whole wheat flour purchased at the supermarket.). In fact, fresh ground whole grain imparts a sweet, slightly nutty taste the the loaf. This will be a hearty, fiber-full bread.
A Note on How Bakers Think About Measures
Bakers think terms of weight and percentages. So, rather than measure by volume – e.g. two cups of flour – I measure in grams and kilograms. Additionally, the percentages noted above cited as the percentage weight on an ingredient (in that case water) relative to the weight of flour.
This is helpful for a couple of reasons. First, measuring by weight enables the baker to control for humidity and the amount of air in the sifted flour and. Using percentages makes it easy to scale a recipe from just a few loaves to many – like the 50 that I will bake this weekend. I have setup some spreadsheets that enable me to play with percentages and scale recipes as needed.
Your Canadian Baker