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Sunday, June 5, 2011

100% Whole Grain Maple Oatmeal Bread

And another new toy

This recipe was adapted from 'Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day' by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François. I really wanted to like this book. Infact it was the first bread book I checked out at the library, my first bread was the basic recipe from this book and this book was the reason I ever purchased vital wheat gluten. The video I saw on Amazon.com was so impressive and the book had such good reviews, I had thought it would be the only bread book I would need. But that first bread was way gummy, only a small section of recipes are 100% whole grain and after 14 months of regular bread baking I still don't feel inspired to purchase this book. Last week I checked out the book from the library once again and chose to try the 100% Whole Grain Maple Oatmeal Bread recipe.

Messing with the ingredients
I picked this recipe for two reasons: It used some buttermilk which I wanted to use up and because a slightly sweet bread would be good for nut butter and jam sandwiches. I was only going to make one loaf, so I mixed only half the recipe. I tried really hard to talk myself into following the recipe as given, but I just couldn't justify 2 tablespoons of vital wheat gluten for 2.5 cups of flour. I've baked with much less v.w.g and had gummy bread. As I was going to change measurements anyway, I decided to reduce the quantity of maple syrup and substitute agave nectar for some of the maple syrup, fully prepared for a less sweet and not-so-maple-flavored bread.

This was the composition of my dough (half the recipe given in the book)
325 g: Whole wheat flour
    1C: rolled oats (forgot to weigh)
  10 g: Flax seeds (not in original recipe)
    5 g: Instant yeast
   ¼ C: Wheat germ (forgot to weigh)
     1 t: Salt
10 g / 2.5 t : Vital wheat gluten
2 T: Light olive oil
2 T: Maple syrup
2 T: Agave nectar
½ t: Cinnamon
117 g / ½C: Buttermilk
1 ¼ C: Lukewarm water


The most appealing thing about this book the first time around was that it uses a no-knead method. But after many months of kneading dough, I almost prefer doughs that need a little kneading and can give you a feel for the consistency of the dough and allow you to make adjustments.

The ingredients are mixed together (not kneaded) and the dough is left to rise for a couple of hours until it doubles in volume. This is then followed by overnight refrigeration (up to 7 days).

Ingredients mixed

Starting bulk fermentation

About 3 hours later... ready for refrigeration

New toy!
I recently purchased a Lodge pre-seasoned cast iron loaf pan. I didn't read up about how it is used for yeast-risen breads. Unlike a cast iron skillet or deep pan, the dough cannot be risen elsewhere and placed in the preheated pan before baking. I decided to proof the dough in the pan and place it in the cold oven and preheat the oven and pan+dough at the same time.

The recommended shaping process involves minimum handling of the dough to shape it. The dough was fairly wet and sticky. It was going to be very difficult to get a stretched gluten surface, so I shaped as best as I could and placed it in the loaf pan.

New Lodge cast iron loaf pan

Shaped but without a nice surface

When to put the bread in the oven was a difficult decision. I put it in after 90 minutes of proofing knowing that the pre-heating process would take 15-20 minutes. I preheated the oven to 450° F and then turned it down to 375° F

Risen barely over the rim of the pan

The bread
There was no visible oven spring and the result was a fairly flat loaf. After waiting for a bit and then loosening the edges with a silicone spatula, the loaf eventually came off. Like the Not-so-transitional rye bread I baked at the same time, this bread had to be sliced before it had completely cooled. The slicing created lots of little bits and pieces of bread.It tasted decent and I've mostly had it with jam. Definitely sweeter than the breads I usually bake and there is barely a hint of maple flavor. But that was expected.

Date: May 29, 2011
Recipe: Adapted from 100% Whole Grain Maple Oatmeal Bread recipe from 'Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day' by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François.

Flours: Whole wheat flour,
Bread specific ingredients: rolled oats, wheat germ, flaxseeds, vital wheat gluten
Sweetener used: Maple syrup, agave nectar
Liquid: Buttermilk and water

First rise time: 3 hours and then refrigerated overnight
Proofing time: 90 minutes
Comments: See composition in the description above. Using the cast iron loaf pan added more variables to the experimental changes in the recipe. Need to read up more about using the pan. I don't know if I will ever have the desire to make any recipe as given in the book. I should probably read the introductory chapters once again and then make at least one bread before I give up. Until then, I have no right to complain about this book.


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