2-3 Bread with three whole-grain variations

Hey everyone,

In the interest of science, I thought I would show the same recipe three different ways, the only difference being the type of whole grain I added to it.

I used my basic 2-3 White Bread recipe, adding 1/2 cup of each type of grain along with an extra 1/2 cup of water.  This bumps the hydration of the bread up from 66% to about 84% hydration, but uncooked whole grains and whole grain flours suck up more water than bread or all-purpose flour.

For the experiment, I used buckwheat flour, rolled oats, and wheat bran.  I was originally going to also use some cooked wild rice, but it all got eaten the night before.

I was going to also use the pearl barley, but I was too lazy to cook it.

For one loaf of bread, you will need:

1/2 cup (65g) cooked grain, quick-cooking grain, or whole grain flour
1/2 cup (115g) hot or boiling water
375g all-purpose or bread flour
250g of warm (not hot) water
7g salt
7g of yeast

1. In a large bowl, mix together your whole grain of choice with hot water.  This will release the sugars in the whole grain and makes the resulting loaf tastier.  This process is called autolyse, and some bakers swear by it.

I did 1/2 a cup of wheat bran, buckwheat flour, and rolled oats.  I used 1/2 cup of hot water for the buckwheat and wheat bran, but for some reason I decided to put a whole cup of water in the rolled oats.  This messed everything up for my loaf using rolled oats.  More on that later.

2. Let the whole grain and water mixture cool completely.  Then add the 375g of flour, 250g of water, and the salt and yeast.  Mix well.

buckwheat flour dough
buckwheat flour dough
wheat bran dough
rolled oats dough

3. Let the dough rise, stretching and folding every hour or so until the dough is smooth and the gluten is well-formed.  Like magic, the dough forms a more cohesive ball each time.  The dough in the top left corner is the rolled oats, the top right corner is the buckwheat flour, and the bottom center is the wheat bran.

stretch and fold #1
stretch and fold #2
stretch and fold #3

Of the three, the dough that did the best in terms of rising and gluten formation was the buckwheat flour.

buckwheat flour dough

4A. If your dough is very cohesive, meaning it easily forms a smooth ball and stays that way, punch it down gently, shape it into a ball and place on parchment paper.  Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F with a cast iron dutch oven inside.

buckwheat flour dough
wheat bran dough

When your oven is ready, score the top of your loaf with a serrated knife or a razor blade.

buckwheat flour dough
wheat bran dough

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes with the lid of the dutch oven on.  After 25 minutes, remove the lid and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

4B. If your dough is very wet, like my rolled oats dough ended up being, you are not going to be able to score it.  Instead, bump the temperature up to 500 degrees F, scoop the dough into your dutch oven as best you can, and accept the jagged rips along the surface as artistic.

rolled oats dough

When the bread passes the thump test, meaning that it is very hard and sounds hollow when thumped smartly with a fingernail, remove from the oven and let it cool completely before cutting into it.  Or at least an hour if you can stand it.  The bread should crackle as it cools.

buckwheat flour dough
buckwheat flour crumb
wheat bran loaf in front
wheat bran crumb
the rolled oats dough was a bit of a flop.  Hydration too high, oven temperature too low to get good oven spring.
despite the rolled oats bread coming out flat, the crumb was still nice and airy due to the highest hydration, over 100%

The flavor of the whole grains isn’t very pronounced, but that is because the autolyse in the beginning took away some of the bitterness that whole grains can sometimes impart.

I hope this tutorial gives you the confidence to experiment with whole grains.  They are tasty and easy to use.

As always, let me know in the comments if there’s a particular grain you like to use in your baking.

Thanks for reading!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s