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Monday, January 31, 2011

Multigrain Struan 02

Yes, second attempt within a month. I like the idea of a nice multi-grain bread and the wonderful thing about Peter Reinhart's Multigrain Struan from the Whole Grain Breads book is that it lets you choose any grains you want to add (within the given quantity). The good/bad thing is that every new combination of grains is like baking a different recipe because it is hard to predict how well the bread will rise or how it will taste. The bad thing is that to perfect one combination of grains would mean several attempts varying the different parameters (liquid, sweetener, kneading and rising time etc). I don't have the discipline for that and I think it is much more fun to be able to bake something with grains I feel like experimenting with. Like this time, I had some cooked quinoa and brown rice around. Well, ok, when I cooked these grains I cooked some extra so I could use them in this bread.

Soaker and biga
I also had some buttermilk that needed to be used. From different side notes in the book it appears that if using buttermilk or yogurt, a biga is the pre-frement to use instead of a wild yeast starter. (I think my mother starter is going to have to languish because it seems to be restricting me in the types of breads I have been baking). So I made a standard biga (whole wheat, tiny amount of commercial yeast and water). I used the same logic for the soaker as my previous attempt: use the given amount of wheat and salt, and use a combination of cooked / uncooked grains and liquid to make a total of 400 grams of soaker. I did use a little vital wheat gluten to help with the structure and rise. This is what the soaker ended up looking like:
56 g  / 2 oz whole wheat flour
4 g salt
2 g / ½ tsp vital wheat gluten 
84 g / 3 oz cooked brown rice
76 g of cooked quinoa
126 g buttermilk (that is all I had and fortunately that was sufficient)
46 g rolled oats
4 g ground flaxseeds

Biga on the left and soaker on the right.

Final dough
The soaker was pretty damp (notice the water drops on the right in the picture above). I had to add quite a bit of whole wheat flour when kneading the dough. I didn't measure it, but it was about an ounce. Even then, the dough stuck to my hand till the very end. I believe this is normal with multigrain doughs. I also didn't get a convincing window pane test. I kneaded a little more than usual hoping to help develop the gluten.

Kneaded dough ready for first rise. The rice grains stayed intact.

70 mins later, about 1½ time in volume and passing the poke test.
Ready for shaping

Shaping and proofing
I didn't round and rest the dough like I have been doing in the past. The dough felt 'wet' after the first rise and was not easy to shape. It didn't hold its shape very well. Perhaps I should have added more flour in the final dough.

Shaped and ready for proofing.

About 60 mins later, decent rise, I thought.

I slashed the dough. I think I should stop slashing doughs for several reasons: I don't have a good tool for it, I usually do a half-hearted job and it usually causes a collapse that may or may not get fixed in the oven.

Not much oven spring.
Also, I seem to always shape my loaves a little lopsided.

Bread sliced well. The brown rice is clearly visible but the quinoa is lost (not a problem).
I almost always get dense areas at the bottom of the loaf, I need to work on that.

The bread sliced well, tasted decent. We had it with vegetarian chili today and it worked well. I also had a bit with orange marmalade, that was nice. Tomorrow will be the sandwich test.

Date: Jan 30, 2011
Recipe: Multigrain Struan from Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads

Flours: Whole wheat flour
Bread specific ingredients: Brown rice (cooked), quinoa (cooked), rolled oats, flaxseeds, vital wheat gluten
Sweetener used: Honey (1 T, one third the recommended amount)
Liquid: Buttermilk

First rise time: 70 minutes
Proofing time: 60 minutes
Comments: See soaker composition in the description above. The first rise went pretty well but the dough was still a tad to wet making it hard to shape. Tried three of the things I had wanted to:
Used a regular biga
Used buttermilk instead of milk
Used a combination of cooked (quinoa, brown rice) and uncooked grains (rolled oats).

The results are different of course, and a tad better than last time. But changing three variables at once means I can't pin point the reason for better results. However I think I am just going to go with different combinations and have fun along the way. Documenting them here means that if I do make a super winner, I would have the notes to possibly recreate it again.

I also made rye crackers from PR's 'Artisan Breads Every Day'. They have turned out wonderful. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures during the process. I am sure to make them again, I'll definitely write about them then.


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