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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Multigrain Struan 01

This was my fourth attempt at Peter Reinhart's Multigrain Struan bread and I didn't have any more success than I had in the past three attempts. The bread has never risen very well and the taste has always leaned towards being gummy or crumbly. To be fair, each attempt has differed wildly in the different grains used. I really want to be able to make a good multigrain bread, because I really like the idea of having other whole grains besides just wheat. I hope to get more systematic in the next few attempts to try to figure out how I can get a better loaf.

There is a lot of discussion on online blogs and forums about PR's Multigrain Struan, but a lot of it is about the bread in his other book, Bread Baker's Apprentice, which does not use all whole grains.

Soaker and Starter
The soaker in this bread contains 56.5g of whole wheat and 170g of any combination of cooked and uncooked grains. (That is a lot of freedom, coming from PR). Hard grains should be cooked while the soft ones can be left uncooked. The soaker also contains 170g of liquid and the frequent question is: does the liquid used to cook the grains count towards the 170g. I think it should, because the first time I made this bread with 170g of cooked grains + 170g milk, I ended up with a very very wet dough that needed a LOT of extra flour in the final mixing before it could be kneaded. If uncooked grains are used then it makes sense to soak them in the specified liquid. I have read in several places that a combination of cooked and uncooked grains works best.

I recently bought a package of Bob's Mill's 10-grain hot cereal and thought it would be perfect for the multigrain bread. They do need to be cooked though because they are in cracked form rather than flakes. I figured I would cooked some grains using the milk amount specified and then add either uncooked grains or more liquid till the soaker reached the specified 400 g total weight. This is what I ended up with

100 g Bob's Mill 10-grain hot cereal cooked in 150 g milk and 50 g water. = 293 g mix
Added 57g whole wheat flour, 25 g milk + 15 g quick oats = 384 g (- stuck to hands)
Added 6 g quick oats + 14 g milk = 402 g soaker.

I used a recently refreshed mother starter for my starter.

Starter on the left and multigrain soaker on the right

Final dough
The final dough adds a little more whole wheat flour, salt, yeast, sweetener and oil. In the past few PR's breads I have been using less yeast and allowing for more rising time, but this time I stuck with the given amount of yeast. I did half the sweetener. I don't do the window-pane test PR mentions to ensure that the gluten development is sufficient. I usually just go by time and the feel of the dough. I should learn to do the window-pane test.
Final dough ready for bulk fermentation (first rise)

It rose really well, I thought

My pitfall?
Recently I have been rounding and resting the dough according to LR's suggestion. After this bread was done, I went back and read the introductory chapters of PR's WGB book and I think doing this might be letting the enzyme activity go overboard. I will not be doing this for his breads anymore to see if that makes a difference.

I rounded and rested it for 10 mins

Shaped and ready for proofing

Didn't rise much during proofing even after giving it extra time.

Didn't get any oven spring either

Crumb was decent but tight at the bottom

The bread sliced well, tasted decent. However it was not good for sandwiches at all. It crumbled into pieces too easily. It was nice with soups and stews.

Date: Jan 16, 2011
Recipe: Multigrain Struan from Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads

Flours: Whole wheat, Bob's Mills' 10-grain hot cereal
Bread specific ingredients: None
Sweetener used: Agave nectar
Liquid: Milk

First rise time: 75 minutes, followed by rounding and 10 minutes rest
Proofing time: 90 minutes
Comments: 10-grain cereal consumed much more liquid than the plain steel cut oats I am used to cooking. There was no noticeable crunch from them in the bread, probably how I prefer it. I wonder if simply soaking them overnight in milk would be enough. See soaker composition in the description above. The first rise went pretty well. I wonder if the wild yeast starter is not very good anymore (the past few of PR's breads haven't been great either). I think the next version of this bread should use a regular biga to isolate one variable in this multi-variable puzzle.
Different things I want to try with this bread:
Use buttermilk instead of milk
Use a combination of cooked and uncooked grains. I want to try quinoa, brown/wild rice sometime.
Use the specified amount of sugar (even though the sweetness with this bread is just fine), to see if it matters.


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