Where ARE our wool socks and Birkenstocks? (BBB June 2016)

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BBB June 2016 summary: recipe for BBB Bran Bread with Walnuts (and Raisins), based on the recipe for Pane con crusca e noci (bran bread with walnuts) by the Sorelle Simili (Simili Sisters); problems with 100% whole grain dough; water content and doorstops; run for the hills if it looks like the croc; adding more flour vs adding more water; going healthy; dealing with disappointments; about-faces; a Bread Baking Babes project; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Bran Bread Toast and Jelly Bread Baking Babes (BBB) June 2016: Bran Bread

Healthy Bread… oh no!!

Lien's Bran Bread

  Lien’s (Notitie van Lien) Pane Con Crusca

T has a horror of 100% whole-grain bread, always fearing that it’s going to be like a doorstop. (I confess that even though I love 100% whole grain bread, I too fear the possible doorstop aspect.) I was going to have some difficulty selling this bread but after seeing the spectacular results that Lien got, I can show him that it looks almost like the kind of sandwich bread he likes (now only the dark colour will give him pause…). The addition of raisins and walnuts will really help.

Since seeing Lien’s wonderful successes with this bread, I had such high hopes…. I was really surprised by the final results.

...Bran Bread (BBB)

Here’s what happened:

BBB Healthy Bran Bread diary:

1 May 2016 00:46 Wow! Because of the 100% whole wheat as well as extra bran, this IS going to be a challenge. What a great choice, Lien!

I’ve searched for others that has already baked this recipe, (in Italy the Simili sisters are famous, so I was bound to find some)….they added white flour or reduced the amount of bran to 20 g. (or both) I haven’t found one that was true to the recipe (yet) I think we could really be braver!! Forza!
-Lien, message to BBBabes

Forza! Yes, I agree! If we’re willing to wrestle with the croc, we should definitely be willing to do this.

Ages ago (2002? 2003?? …it was pre-digital-camera, pre-blogging days), I made quite decent 100% whole wheat bread (without added bran) using a recipe from “Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book – A Guide to Whole-Grain Breadmaking” by Laurel Robertson. I liked it quite a lot but at that time, T was objecting to any lumps (ie: whole grains) in bread. So I stopped making 100% whole wheat and switched to slipping some whole wheat into our regular bread.

But times have changed and even Ts might be willing to try 100% whole wheat again – especially if the bread has walnuts in it!

Here is my take on the Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book recipe

The Laurel’s Kitchen bread calls for 0.25tsp (~1gm) active dry yeast and 300 gm (2 c) whole wheat flour in the starter and 1.75 tsp (~5gm) active dry yeast and 600 gm (4 c) whole wheat flour in the dough itself.

Along with 100% whole wheat flour, the BBB recipe calls for bran and “1 Tbsp malt flour (light or dark) (or honey)”. I was confused. Does this mean malt syrup?? So I asked.

No it is malt flour. You have this in different colours (blond, nut-brown, red-brown, dark brown), but where it isn’t available you can use honey, but malt syrup would be perfect too.
-Lien, message to BBBabes

Aha!! I’ll use the crushed malted rye berries we have on hand.

2 June 2016, 09:12 We’re running out of 100% whole wheat flour (already) and it’s a LONG bike-ride to replenish our stock. Still, we are going to need to replenish our stock of whole wheat flour if I’m going to make this month’s BBB bread.

The flours we like, Rogers unbleached (no-additives) all-purpose and 100% (no-additives) whole wheat, are available at a supermarket north of the 401 – ie: a 44km round-trip bike ride. But I wonder if there are any stores closer to the lake in Toronto that sell Rogers flours.

12:18 After checking the internet to see if there are any closer stores that carry Rogers, and coming up with nothing positive, we just got back from going on what I thought was sure to be a wild goose chase. T decided that we’d bicycle to the various relatively closeby supermarkets and see if they had Rogers flour. All I could say was, “Doubt it, Ralph.” But it was a lovely morning for a bike ride.

Miracle of miracles, it wasn’t a wild goose chase after all. Freshco has just finished phasing out Robin Hood and replacing it with Rogers. I bought a 10kg bag of Rogers 100% Whole Wheat (no additives) flour for $10!! at the Freshco on DundasW just north of Bloor. They also have 10kg bags of Rogers unbleached (no-additives) all-purpose.

12 June 2016, 08:14 I was thinking about baking this bread yesterday, but then I learned that it was going up to 30C. It was hard to believe that the weather office was right when we headed out on our morning bikeride. It was beautiful, sunny and about 18C. About 15 minutes into our ride, as we rode away from the lake up a little hill, it suddenly felt warmer. And warmer. And warmer. For once the weather office was right. By the time we got home about an hour later, it was 30C.

But another cool front rolled through last night and it is wonderfully cool again. Apparently, it’s only going up to around 20C today and tomorrow. (Considering their track record, I don’t know why I trust the weather office predictions. But I do.)

So I’m going to bake the bread tomorrow. “Why not today??” you ask. Because I can’t stop thinking about what Zachary Golper wrote in “Bien Cuit” about the superiority of long slow rises vs the commercial quick rises that result in slightly empty tasting bread. So, comme d’habitude, I’ve decided that I’m going to reduce the amount of yeast and make a poolish to ferment overnight. (I’ll make a starter for focaccia at the same time.)

I hope I haven’t misread Lien’s recipe to know how much water to add for the bran….

  • Starter
    » 250 g whole wheat flour
    » 450 g water 96F
    » 50g wheat bran
    » 10 grains active dry yeast
    » 10g malted rye berries, crushed
  • Dough
    » 250 g whole wheat flour
    » 100 – 150 g water at 96F
    » 2 g active dry yeast
    » 30 g butter
    » 9 g salt
    » 50 g instant skim milk powder
    » 200 g walnuts (or maybe half walnuts and half Thompson raisins)

16:37 I’m trying to decide what size of container to use for maximum loft and minimal horizontal spread. I wonder what the dimensions of Lien’s pullman tin are.

21:23 The starters are made. And I’m an idiot!! I just automatically turned to page 98 in Flour Water Salt Yeast and mixed the starter for Forkish’s White Bread with Poolish, instead of going to page 220 to make the starter for Overnight Pizza Dough. Duhh!

No matter…. We need bread anyway and this way if the whole wheat loaf is just toooooo whole grain for white bread lovers, there will be an alternative. Instead of making three loaves, I’ll shape two rounds and a focaccia.

13 June 2016, 09:16 Shriek!! That sure is wet dough!

What am I saying?? It’s not dough at all. It’s batter.

So I added another 100g whole wheat flour. And then another 50g again. It’s still pretty sloppy but at least now it doesn’t resemble the croc. Very much.

Of COURSE I can’t find the walnuts in our ridiculous little freezer that has no shelves. Why is it that they design freezers without shelves?? :stomp: :stomp:

Or maybe they do.

Our fridge/freezer is ancient, designed sometime in the last century. It’s so ancient that we still have to defrost it.

14:39 Luckily, the weather office was right (for once) and it is nice and cool today. In fact, it’s the perfect temperature for defrosting the freezer.

Suddenly, we have LOTS of room in the freezer. And I found the walnuts. I also found some blackberries we brought from my cousin’s farm last summer! (How do you spell “pie”?)

Back to the walnuts… SOMEONE has been eating them. We only have 50g left. Shall I go out and get more? Or shall I substitute with Thompson raisins?

What to do. What to do.

Meanwhile, the dough (still pretty slack) is very active and I’ve pushed it down twice now.

15:10 Lien reported that her pullman tin is 33x11x11cm. Our bread tin is roughly 30x15x15cm. If I’m calculating correctly, Lien’s pullman tin (363 sq.cm) still has a smaller area than our regular bread tin (450 sq.cm).

BUT I did have to add a whole ton of extra flour so it’s possible that the amount of dough will be exactly right for our bread tin. I’ll give it a shot!

In the meantime, I thought I’d be unprecedented and actually read the instructions.

While the dough is rising: Soak the raisins for about 20 minutes in lukewarm water, pat dry with a kitchen towel and leave them on a dry tea towel to dry a little further. If you use nuts you can do the same, the soaking time will be longer about 40 minutes.
-BBB June 2016 recipe

Soak the raisins?! Soak the nuts???

I. Don’t. Think. So.

(I KNEW it was foolish to actually read the instructions!)

But, as I was reading, I came across the following that I had left a note for myself to look at more closely.

I did a little test with two methods of kneading.
The first one. I kneaded the dough without the added bran, so that the gluten were already strong, in the meantime soak the bran in some water. I used less water than the recipe; about 60 g water on 75 g bran, but it will depend on the bran. Add the soaked bran after kneading the rest for at least 8 minutes and knead it in (my machine was on 1) until combined, this takes several minutes.
The second one. I added everything (except raisins and nuts) to the bowl at the same time and kneaded until I could pull a window from the dough. This used 40 g less water. Even though both doughs ended up moist.
There was just a little difference, in the first one the air was more evenly distributed and seemed a little lighter.
-Lien, in message to BBBabes

Ooops!! I completely forgot that I had planned to follow Lien’s first method and add the bran AFTER kneading!

I basically did the second version. Without the window pane test.

I don’ need no stinkin’ window pane test.

I’m an expert! And I can tell when the dough is ready.

I hope….

16:24 I shaped the bread. The dough was still pretty wet and probably wouldn’t pass the window pane test. But it seems relatively well developed, in spite of that. I hope….

The resident expert said that the amount of dough I had was enough for two loaves. And that I should use our two loaf tins. But when I divided it into two and shaped one of them, it looked ridiculous in the pan that dwarfed it completely.

So, I shaped it into two rounds, almost forgetting to put the walnuts in, and put both rounds into our largest pyrex bread pan (shhhhhhh, don’t tell T! He still thinks it should be two loaves…).

One half of the bread is going to have walnuts and raisins (I only used a handful of raisins) and the other half is going to have walnuts only.

Wish me luck with the rise!!!

17:59 It looks good but it’s not ready yet!

19:01 Into the oven it went – along with two rounds of Ken Forkish’s White Bread with Poolish, revised by adding some whole wheat flour, a little malted rye, and less water. (The focaccia is still on the counter waiting to be baked after the bread is done.)

19:32 Not done yet. And… wwaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!! The whole wheat loaf didn’t pop at all. It’s flat as a pancake. It smells good though….

19:47 Still not done….

20:01 Ooops. The emergency regular bread is a little dark. Zachary Golper would approve (I think a cheese grater is in order for the blacker parts of one side of the bread…).

The BBB bread looks okay from the top. If you don’t pay too much attention to its squatness, it looks good from the side too. The resident expert says that if I had put it into two loaf tins and really let it rise, it wouldn’t have been so flat. Hmmm… I think not.

But it smells really good. I can’t wait for tomorrow morning to try it!

And AT LAST it’s time to bake the focaccia!

20:33 Wow, the focaccia looks brilliant! And it’s crispy and thin, the way that Cathy envisioned it for us last month. Too bad we didn’t have any lemons on hand. Otherwise I would have stolen some rosemary from our brand new plant in the garden to make yet another Spring Focaccia. But without lemons and being too lazy to go to get more chives, it’s simply onion focaccia.

2 kinds of bread (BBB) Last night’s focaccia was even better than I thought it was going to be. It was brilliant!! (Sorry, no photographic proof; we ate it before anyone could get hold of the camera.)

But I digress. This is supposed to be about BBB Bran Bread, isn’t it?

Bran Bread (BBB) You see, I’m putting it off. Because I am sorely disappointed. I was really expecting the bread to be lofty and light and wonderful. Instead it is dense and branny. It’s so healthful that I feel like I need to part my hair in the middle and braid it, and then put on a baggy men’s dress shirt, a giant Indian cotton skirt, heavy woollen ski socks and Birkensocks.

I cut the loaf in half and sliced one half to put in the freezer (it’s the walnut only half). The other half with the handful of raisins, we left on the counter and sliced it for toast this morning.

By 8am, we were sitting on the porch (what a gorgeous morning!) with our cafe au lait and thinly sliced pieces of BBB Bran Bread, toasted and slathered with butter, listening to the dulcet tones of a jackhammer. There’s nothing like it! Unless it’s the thrumming and vigorous drumming as the concrete slabs are lifted into two dump trucks (because one truck isn’t enough).

(And really?? Why are they digging in exactly the same spot they were two years ago?! ie: does it have to be right across the street? The other remarkable aspect of this was the enormous number of drivers who turned onto our street and then waited, some of them impatiently honking, until they could proceed. Surely, when they were at the 4 way stop not far away, about to turn onto our street, they would have noticed the giant machines. Wouldn’t they?)

Anyway. As I was chewing, chewing, chewing, then choking down my piece of toast and pouting, T said cheerily, “I actually think it’s not that bad.”

What?!! Now there’s an about-face! Clearly, the noise from the jackhammers addled his brain.

Of course, he’s right. It’s NOT that bad. If I stop focussing on imagining Lien’s gorgeous loaves and just concentrate on the aroma and flavour, I can easily see how the bread can be rescued.

It will be great with chili. It will also be exactly right for cheese snacks.

But. Will I make this bread again? I have to be honest. Probably not. Or certainly, if I do, I’ll add WAY less water, or WAY more flour.

Because in retrospect, when I started remembering wrestling with the croc, I really should have just continued throwing in massive amounts of flour until the dough resembled dough instead of batter.

And maybe, just maybe, I should have done the windowpane test and kept kneading until it passed the test with flying colours. Maybe….

Still, in spite of my misgivings, T announced that he quite liked the bread for morning toast!

Will wonders never cease?

And unlike me, he didn’t think it was necessary to put honey, jam, or jelly on the toast to make it a little less “healthy” and a lot more palatable. (It is indeed delicious toasted with butter and NFFTT crabapple jelly.)

Bran bread (BBB)Bran Bread (BBB)

Thank you, Lien, for the adventure!

Lien's Bran Bread Here is the BBB June 2016 Bran Bread recipe, with measurements by both weight and volume (do take a look, Lien’s bread looks wonderful).

bran bread (BBB) And here is what I did to create my doorstop (with gram measurements only):

BBB Bran Bread with Walnuts (and Raisins)
based on the recipe Pane con crusca e noci (Bread with bran and walnuts) in “Pane e roba dolce” (Bread and Sweet Things) by the Simili Sisters

for 2 small loaves or 1 large one

Starter ¹

  • 250g 100% whole wheat flour
  • 10g malted rye berries, crushed ²
  • 50g wheat bran ³
  • 10 grains active dry yeast
  • 450g water at 96F 4


  • all of above starter
  • 250g whole wheat flour
  • 50g instant skim milk powder
  • 100g water, very hot
  • 30g butter
  • 2g active dry yeast 5
  • 9g salt
  • 50g more whole wheat flour
  • 100g more whole wheat flour
  • 50g coarsely chopped walnuts and a handful of Thompson raisins 6
  1. starter: In the evening before you plan to bake the bread, put flour, bran, crushed rye berries, and few grains of yeast into a large mixing bowl. Pour water at 96F overtop (why 96F?) – please do not use water from the hot water tap!. Stir 50 times with a wooden spoon. Cover the bowl with a plate and put it in the oven with only the light turned on, to leave there overnight.
  2. dough: The next morning, dump whole wheat flour, milk powder and salt on top of the starter. When measuring the salt, be really annoyed that there is hardly any kosher salt in the shaker over the stove. Reach up to the shelf and grab the box of fine-grain seasalt. (Please note that I always weigh salt for bread making…. For more information about measuring salt, please see Salt is salt, right?.) Put butter into a small bowl and pour very hot water overtop (please, please, please do NOT use water from the hot water tap) to melt the butter. Set aside until it cools to body temperature.
  3. When you can easily drop the butter water onto the inside of your wrist, whisk in yeast until it has dissolved, then pour it into the bowl with the starter. Stir with a wooden spoon and freak out that you’ve created a loose branny batter. Add 50g more flour. Stomp around a little, cursing yourself for blindly adding so much water to the starter, then add another 100g flour. Try not to be too upset that it’s still pretty much like a sticky batter instead of dough.
  4. kneading in the bowl: Use your hands to turn and fold the dough in the bowl as many times as you feel like. Put a plate over the bowl and leave it to sit in the oven with only the light on for about half an hour. Notice that after half an hour, the dough is still pretty grainy. Turn it a couple of times in the bowl and hope that it will improve. Only after the bread is out of the oven should you pay attention to Lien’s instruction “I think it’s best kneaded long and slow, but too long is possible as well, as the gluten are already ‘bothered’ by all that bran, keep the gluten strands as strong as possible, so check the window pane from time to time”. Because, of course, you’re so accomplished that you don’t need to waste time with window pane testing. :stomp:
  5. After about an hour, take a look at the dough and be amazed that it has doubled and seems to want to escape out of the bowl. Give it a few turns and hope that it will start to be a little more like dough than stiff, grainy batter. Repeat this step two more times.
  6. read the recipe: Chastise yourself for not doing this sooner. Then, immediately forget what you’ve read and proceed as normal.
  7. shaping: Generously scatter some whole wheat flour onto the board and turn the dough out onto it. Try not to have a fit that it isn’t even remotely smooth and console yourself with the fact that is appears to be retaining its shape. Divide the dough evenly in two pieces. Press each one into a rectangle. Scatter the walnuts overtop. Scatter raisins on top of one half. Roll each rectangle into a log, fold in half and place both pieces side by side in a parchment lined rectangular pyrex casserole dish. Try not to beat yourself up that you probably should have followed the Simili sisters advice to make free-form loaves. Completely ignore the resident expert’s advice to use two bread tins instead of one. Cover the shaped bread with an overturned bread tin and put it into the oven with only the light turned on to rise until it has almost doubled.
  8. baking: Preheat the oven to 400F. Completely forget the instruction to “Make slashes in the dough”. Also entirely ignore the note in the recipe to “Check if it’s ready to bake by pressing a floured finger in the dough, if the dent springs back, leave it to rise longer, if the dent doesn’t disappear, it’s ready to bake.” Keep right on track with your silly notion that you are an expert and don’t need to read the instructions anymore.

    Spray the top of the bread liberally with water and bake for about 30 minutes. Try not to cry too much when you see that there has been zero oven-pop. Note that the bread isn’t even close to being done. Put it back in the oven and bake for another 30 minutes until the bread is quite dark and sounds hollow when rapped on the bottom (internal temperature will be around 200F or a little higher.)

  9. cooling: Allow the bread to cool completely before cutting into it. It’s still baking inside! N.B. Of course you may want to serve warm bread. Reheat it after it has cooled completely. To reheat any UNsliced bread, turn the oven to 400F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread in the hot oven for ten minutes.


1.) Starter The BBB recipe is a “same day” recipe. But taking various authors’ advice about the advantage of long, slow rises, I chose to change the recipe into a two day recipe.

2.) Malted rye The BBB recipe calls for “1 TBsp malt flour (light or dark) (or honey)”. Apparently, malt flour is readily available in Europe and comes in various colours: blond, nut-brown, red-brown, dark brown. Lien said that if malt flour wasn’t available, to “use honey, but malt syrup would be perfect too”. I decided to use malted rye berries.

Bran The BBB recipe calls for anywhere from 50-100 g wheat bran and a note to add “Extra water for the bran (± 200 g water per 50 g bran)”. Lien wrote that the Simili sisters advise in their book that a novice is “urged strongly only to use the minor quantity, because it would become like chipboard if you were to use more”.

4.) Water The BBB recipe calls for a total of “300-380 g water” and “+ Extra water for the bran (± 2 g water per 1 g bran)”. In retrospect, it would be a good idea to calculate the baker’s percentage here to decide how much water to use. And yup, here I go again: please do not use water from the hot water tap. Instead, heat the water in a kettle or microwave. If you are allergic to using a thermometer, you can check the temperature by putting a few drops of water onto your wrist: if it feels warm, it’s too warm; if it feels cold, it’s too cold; if it feels like a cross between cool, warm and nothing, then it’s fine. Please note that before the yeast is added, the liquid temperature must be BELOW 120F (49C) because yeast begins to die when the temperature is higher than 120F.

5.) Yeast The BBB recipe calls for “20 g fresh yeast or 7 g instant dry yeast” in all. We don’t have instant yeast and always use active dry instead – measure for measure. I chose to add only a few grains for the starter and made an executive decision that 7g was way too much yeast for the dough, switching to using only 2g of active dry yeast. It was plenty.

6.) Walnuts and Raisins The BBB recipe calls for “200 g walnuts (or other nuts), coarsely chopped (you can also use raisins instead or ½-½)”. I thought we had plenty of walnuts in the freezer. I was wrong. Someone ate them. But, as it happens, 50g walnuts is plenty. For one half of the loaf, I decided to use raisins and walnuts. The raisins are a very nice touch. Also, the BBB recipe suggests pre-soaking the nuts and raisins. I chose to ignore that, having a horror of bloated raisins.


Today, for lunch, we made cheese snacks with the BBB bran bread: by toasting the bread and then melting mozzarella and cheddar cheese on it in the oven.

Lunch was delicious! Even I had to admit that I like the bread and its slightly sweet nutty flavour. T liked it so much that he announced that he’s going to try making it.

And watch. His bread will be stellar: lofty, light and perfect. And what do you bet that he’ll achieve it by refusing to measure any of the ingredients? :stomp: :stomp: :stomp:

Bread Baking Babes BBB June 2016

Lien is our host for June 2016’s Bread Baking Babes’ project. She wrote:

I choose a recipe for June with health benefits…. lots and lots of bran. It is a recipe by the Simili sisters (sorelle Simili), the famous cooking and baking twins from Italy, Margherita e Valeria Simili […]
In the book they say that a student urged strongly only to use the minor quantity, because it would become like chipboard if you were to use more.
So it might be daring to use more than the minimum amount, let us see what everybody chooses. It will also depend on your whole wheat flour, I know that fine milled WW makes a denser loaf than when the bran is left larger and added back later to the rest of the flour.
Also you have to add extra water (and time to let it absorb it) with the bran. You really have to use your baker’s experience and gut instinct to get the right consistency.

We know you’ll want to make bran bread too! To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make the conchas in the next couple of weeks and post about them (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 June 2016. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to email the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

Please note that it’s not enough to post about your bread in the Facebook group. Because of the ephemeral nature of Facebook’s posts, your FB post may be lost in the shuffle. Please make sure to directly contact the kitchen of the month if you want to be included in the BBBuddy roundup.


For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ June 2016 bread:

As Katie has so fittingly said in the past:

As always, we have some very busy Babes at the moment….. But just so you know: We’re all still BABES! (You can tell by the panties….)


    La crusca all’interno dell’impasto può essere utile per chi ha bisogno di aggiungerla alla dieta, però rende l’impasto più pesante. Quindi la quantità di crusca può variare a seconda dei gusti e delle necessità. Le Sorelle Simili, dalle quali ho preso spunto per questa ricetta, suggeriscono di aggiungerne da 50 a 100 grammi, ma io ho preferito metterne solo 20 g.
    La quantità di acqua da aggiungere dipende dalla quantità di crusca, perché questa assorbe molta acqua. Quindi nelle dosi tener conto che bisogna mettere la quantità maggiore di acqua indicata se si opta per la maggior quantità di crusca.
[    The bran in the mixture can be useful for those who need to add it to their diet, however, it makes the mixture heavier. So the quantity of bran can vary depending on the tastes and needs. The Simili Sisters, from whom I was inspired for this recipe, suggest adding 50 to 100 grams, but I preferred to put in only 20 g.
    The amount of water added depends on the amount of bran, because it absorbs a lot of water. So for the amounts, take into account that you need to put in the larger amount of water indicated, if you opt for the greatest amount of bran.]
– Karen, zucchero, lievito e farina: se ami cucinin | Pane con crusca e noci

Bran Bread (BBB)

We’re in the middle of reading “Cooked” by Michael Pollan, and yesterday, I peeked ahead at the appendix to read the bread recipe that is there. Now I wish I’d seen it BEFORE making the BBB Bran Bread! I would not have added even a few grains of yeast to the starter….

The night before baking the bread, “soak” the whole-grain […] mixing with a spatula or by hand until there are no lumps or patches of dry flour remaining. (A recommended extra step: In the case of the whole-grain flour and the rye flour, pass them through a flour sifter to remove the larger bits of bran; reserve the larger bits in a small bowl for use later.) […] [L]eave overnight in a draft-free spot. The reason for this step is to thoroughly moisten the whole-grain flours before the fermentation begins; this softens the bran (making for a more voluminous loaf) and begins the breakdown of the starches into sugars (deepening flavors and color). […]
Shaping the dough […] [R]oll [the dough] away from you until you have a short, taut cylinder, with the seams on the bottom.
  &nbsp:   If you sifted the whole-grain flour, spread the reserved bran on a plate or baking sheet and gently roll the dough in it to cover.
– Michael Pollan, Whole Wheat Country Loaf, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, p.431



This entry was posted in baking, BBBabes, bread - yeasted & unyeasted, bread recipe, food & drink, posts with recipes, whine on by . Bran Bread Toast and Jelly

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17 responses to “Where ARE our wool socks and Birkenstocks? (BBB June 2016)

  1. Kelly

    Oh! Oh! My sides hurt! Have you braided your hair yet? Ahh, sorry you ended up with a squat loaf. But wow, that there were positive comments from a professed white bread lover! I too had to go searching for my flour. I really prefer white whole wheat to red whole wheat and endeed up using a brand I hadn’t used before since the store didn’t have my favored brand in stock. I was pleased enough with it. That amount of dough did make for smaller loaves when divided between two pans for me.
    And I totally hear you on the freezer – we have a little chest freezer and I feel like I have to pull half the contents out every time I go searching for something! :D

    1. Elizabeth Post author

      No braids yet, Kelly. I’m letting my hair hang lankly so it neatly covers up my shamed face. I was so SURE that the bread I made was going to be a brilliant success! :stomp:

      White whole wheat? Red whole wheat?? I must really be from the sticks. I’ve only seen “whole wheat” – no colours mentioned – for sale. The bag says that the flour is 100% whole grain whole wheat milled from Canadian hard spring wheat and has “No Chemical Additives, No Bleaching Agents, No Conditioners, No Preservatives”. It’s always been fine in combination with all-purpose flour. And we’ve made brilliant 100% whole wheat pancakes with it. But it has been eons since I’ve made 100% whole grain bread. (I really think that there was too much water content)

      1. Kelly

        It may not be available in Canada still. There are a few brands here, King Arthur, Hodgson, Bob’s Red Mill, and Wheat Montana Prairie Gold, which is what I found last time I went looking. I had only used KA previously and loved it. This worked just fine though I’d be interested in a side by side to see if I really prefer KA as much as I think I do. I don’t tend to keep much whole wheat flour because it goes rancid so quickly. I have a really nice grain mill but not the expensive motor to make it feasible for good quantities of flour. Manual just takes too long and so it sits.
        Yes, I needed less water than I thought for my oat bran and had to add more flour as well. I would love to try this with my sourdough, but that is all purpose flour so it wouldn’t truly be 100% whole wheat then. Close enough that no one could tell though! :D

  2. Baking Soda

    Yes ! That is my kind of bread for sure! The one where you have to dress the part prior to slicing it! I envision a little house of the prairie dress brandishing my knife while hollering Maaaaaa!
    Still… when you are choking away mantra-ing this is healthy, and someone across the table beams it ‘s quite good you have a winner! (Either the bread of the husband I leave to your discretion) Well done Elizabeth. I’ll be baking today because yes, I have been putting off baking until well too late

    1. Elizabeth Post author

      Ha. Yes. It’s always good to put off for tomorrow what could easily be done today, isn’t it? I’m looking forward to seeing your perfectly formed 100% whole wheat and bran loaf, Karen.

  3. katiezel

    Hmmm Is it ‘The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men….’ or another quote I’m searching for? Cheese snacks sound good. And, I’ll have you know that both our new refrigerator and new freezer (as in 2 years old) require de-frosting. We’re not so fancy on this side of the pond…..

    1. Elizabeth Post author

      Who knew?! If we ever break down and buy a new fridge, we’ll make sure that it is self de-frosting. Not that it’s THAT hard to do, but I do have a bad habit of putting it off.

  4. tanna jones

    Not sure when I’ll be able to stop laughing! I’m with Karen though, when the guy who counts is smiling, I think you can relax and be happy. It is kind a squaty but then you don’t taste squaty. I’m glad I soaked it overnight.

        1. Elizabeth Post author

          It’s because of something I just read in Michael Pollan’s book “Cooked”:

          “[S]oak” the […] whole-grain flours before the fermentation begins; this softens the bran (making for a more voluminous loaf) and begins the breakdown of the starches into sugars (deepening flavors and color).

  5. Lien

    O dear your bread diary always shows so much struggle, stress and suspence, I almost feel sorry for making you bake this… especially when the Croc-trauma still hasn’t been dealt with properly. I’m sorry I gave the wrong measurements of my pullman tin. The water sure was a tricky thing here, the second time I baked, the dough was quite wet too (as I used another size of bran).. and I had already lowered the amount of water from the original recipe drasticly to begin with!
    I still think you loaf looks great, in a smaller bread tin the dough would have more support to climb higher. And some people (I know some here too) are just not that into WW (and sure don’t like WW 2.0), can really love this loaf a 100 %. I have that with rye. That’s just a taste thing.

    Hahaha braids, long and wide indian shirts and birckenstocks, remember those days…. My mom baked bread at times too… she made healthy bricks, in shape, taste and structure! Even the health shops in those days baked awfull organic whole wheat bread. That’s why I wanted to see how far it was able to go with all that bran I guess.
    (Sorry I forgot this was just supposed to be a comment, not a letter) Forza Elizabeth and stop questioning yourself, you can bake!!!

    1. Elizabeth Post author

      No, no. Don’t feel sorry for me at all. I’m really glad to have made the bread, Lien. And even though I said I wasn’t going to make it again, I am thinking of trying one more time and using Pollan’s advice to sift the whole wheat flour and add the lumps once the dough is kneaded. I’ll also make sure to add enough flour so that the dough is dough instead of batter.

      Thank you again for making us bake this bread.

      (And please don’t apologize for how many words you wrote; I LOVE long comments!)

  6. Shirley MC

    We are our worst critics. The bran bread is not really that bad. Just another loaf. There will be others we’ll be baking in the coming weeks and months. Love reading what’s going through your mind and your experience as you chronicle the bake. I can share the same doubts and trepidation. Shirley @ Flourishen

    1. Elizabeth Post author

      Thank you for the reality check, Shirley. Yes, it’s true. We ended up quite liking the bran bread.

      I’m planning on trying this one again soon. I’m going to try Michael Pollan’s idea of sifting the whole wheat flour and adding all the lumps and bran much later. Sort of the way that raisins are added after kneading is pretty much completed.


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