Bread Baking Babes (BBB) September 2010
And after the bread came out of the oven, I was SO glad I persevered. (Not that it was really such an arduous task.)
Graham flour is not available in all countries. A fully correct substitute for it would be a mix of white flour, wheat bran, and wheat germ in the ratio found in whole wheat.
– Görel, recipe for Brunkans Långa
Graham and Granula In the middle third of the 19th century a vegetarian craze arose in opposition to the diet of salt beef and pork, hominy, condiments, and alkali-raised white bread that was prevalent at the time. [hmmm, sound somewhat familiar?] A pure, plain diet for America was the object. […] The movement’s first chief spokesman was Sylvester Graham (1794-1851), a Presbyterian minister from Philadelphia who denounced white bread as pernicious and extolled whole grain flour, soon to be known as Graham flour, for its nutritiousness.
– Harold McGee, “On Food and Cooking”, p. 246
Graham flour is the name given in America, and in France, to flour which contains finely ground bran, and is another term for wholemeal flour. It was so-called after the American from Northampton, Massachusetts, Dr. Sylvester Graham, a Protestant clergyman of the early nineteenth century, who urged its use.
– Adrian Bailey, “The Blessings of Bread”, p. 147
In spite of the other Babes reporting where they had found “Graham flour”, initially, I was just going to use whole wheat flour and not even bother looking for it. And then the day before I started, when we were at our favourite Polish deli buying sausages, I saw a sign for “graham pieczywo/ whole wheat bread”. That clinched it. I wasn’t going to buy special flour.
But I thought I should maybe use better whole wheat flour than the Weston whole wheat flour we have on hand (bought as an experiment – I’m very suspicious of it – it’s almost blonde).
I went to the health food store and lo and behold, there was “graham flour” for $.69/lb, as opposed to the whole wheat flour at $.99/lb. (WHY WHY WHY is our health food store selling flour by the pound rather than the kilo??) Being a skinflint, I bought the graham flour rather than the whole wheat flour. A note on the bin said it was a mix of “hard whole wheat and whole rye”.
It’s quite smooth looking – no bran flakes at all. I was sure it would work just fine but hmmmmm, it turns out that not only is Graham flour not available in all countries but in Canada, we play fast and loose with the definition of what Graham flour is.
Diary of yet another mad housewife:
Day 1: Okay, you guys. Hold onto your hats. I’m starting the September bread. So… wish me luck! With some trepidation, I’m going into the kitchen now to mix some flour with water. (I really really hope that our kitchen doesn’t cause this starter to become majorly sour like the last wild yeast starter.) I made an executive decision and chose to make half the recipe just in case it is awful.
Day 2 early morning: Bubbles!! Tiny bubbles!!! It looks like I won’t have to add any honey or apples or yoghurt.
I really do love how quiet it is so early. While I was in the kitchen, I baked caraway rye bread (from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Bread Bible) that I shaped last night and put into the fridge overnight. I must say that I’m beginning to see the attraction of getting up ridiculously early (I think that 6:00 is ridiculously early anyway) to bake bread in order to have the oven on before it gets too hot outside. It’s so quiet! I love being able to hear the clock ticking and birds singing.
I once again congratulated myself for managing to read the recipe in time last night when I stopped myself from feeding the starter in the evening because I just happened to notice that there was only supposed to be one feeding on Day 2. (Look Mother, look. See Elizabeth read. See Elizabeth stir. Funny bubbles. Funny Elizabeth. )
Just a few moments after stirring more flour, it started bubbling again. (bubble… pflop… bubble… pfflop… bubble…) I was mesmerized for a few moments and then into the fridge it went.
Before tiptoeing out of the kitchen, I stopped to listen to a dog barking in the distance. I really do love the early morning! Too bad it comes so close after a late night….
Day 4 morning: Hmmm, not really very active starter… good thing I’m adding yeast.
I weighed the amount I had: 250gm – how handy that it’s such a nice round number (actually, I’ve lied; it was really 257gm). I was a little surprised. I was expecting it to be closer to exactly half of the amount called for in Görel’s recipe so I’d be able to just cut everything in half. But no matter.
I sat down with paper, pencil and a calculator (I love playing with my calculator!!) and worked out just how much of the other ingredients I should use. Wow. Lots of sugar and honey! No wonder everyone loves this bread!
- Moscovado Sugar: Oh oh. Moscovado?? I completely forgot to look that up. But I guessed it was like the dark brown sugar (demerara) we have. So I used that. By my calculations, I should have added 100gm brown sugar. But I used the tablespoons to take it out of the jar. It turns out that 8 packed Tbsp of demerrara sugar is 84gm. Wow that’s half a cup of sugar. I made another executive decision to stop at 84gm. That’s PLENTY of brown sugar!
- Bread Flour: I worked out that I should add 750gm flour. But I was a little displeased that the graham flour I bought had no visible pieces of bran and made yet another executive decision to use some whole wheat flour. Whole wheat flour with visible pieces of bran floating around in it.
Good thing I made this decision. We didn’t have enough bread flour left in the bag. We only had about 650gm left….
- Salt: I measured the salt and put it into the lid of the mixing bowl so I wouldn’t forget to knead it in.
And I stirred everything together (except the salt, as per Görel’s instructions), dumped the mess onto the board and tried kneading in the flour that refused to be encorporated.
Whoa!!! Stiff dough! Really stiff. I made one more executive decision (do I get a raise now because of all these executive decisions?) and added 60gm more water. Much better. I also decided to add the salt at the same time. Why not?
I loathe kneading in salt after the dough has been kneaded. I’ve done it that way lots of times. It’s not hard to do. I just don’t like doing it. (I know. All the serious bread bakers say we’re SUPPOSED to put the salt in afterward because it hampers the yeast from developing. Or something like that.)
But my thinking is that we’re not sophisticated enough to notice a difference in flavour or texture between bread that has had the salt kneaded in later and bread that has had the salt put in right away.
I happily kneaded this now really beautiful dough and put it into the bowl to rest for 30 minutes before putting it into an “oiled, plastic [lidded] box” (tupperware, is my guess). Oh oh.
- We don’t have any tupperware that big!! Not even close. Unless our brilliant neighbours have such a thing, I’ll have to improvise.
- Oiled? I don’t think so. I haven’t oiled a rising bowl for years. Having already strayed so far, I’ll stray further.
A little later: I was rummaging through the upstairs closet and found the perfect size box (I think) holding one of T’s sweaters to protect it from moths. So I stole the box for a day. The sweater will survive out of its box for 24 hours….
I lined the box with parchment paper because I wasn’t sure about the box’s quality of plastic. Then I looked at the size of the box and freaked out that maybe it wasn’t large enough. So I took the dough out (having a little difficulty getting it off of the paper). And then decided the box was fine after all.
I folded the dough. I hope I added enough yeast… It doesn’t appear to have moved that much since I kneaded it. It smells good though.
If the worst happens and it DOESN’T rise, I’ll make chapatis with it….
I lined the box with another larger piece of parchment just to make sure the dough wouldn’t hit the plastic. I didn’t oil the parchment paper. The lid fit on nicely and into the fridge it went.
Day 5 morning: It turned out that the box was exactly the right size. The dough had risen nicely in the fridge and easily popped away from the parchment paper. (I knew it was unnecessary to oil the paper!)
I sliced the lump of dough in half and in the short time that the oven was heating, I was very happy to see bubbles forming as the bread continued to rise.
Rather than go through the ice cube tray dance that Görel recommended, I liberally sprayed the loaves with water and popped them into the oven, putting them on the second to top shelf because there is so much sugar in the bread. (No burned bottoms, please!)
At the 15 minute mark, I turned the bread around and turned the oven down to 375F at the same time. The bread required 20 more minutes of baking.
It smells fabulous!! And what a beautiful colour. I can’t wait for it to cool so we can try it.
Day 5 afternoon: Wow!! We LOVE this bread. I particularly like the caramelized flavour of the crust. This is really fabulous. But of course, anyone who has made this bread already knows that.
In spite of my misgivings about putting together a sourdough, I’ll definitely be making this again and again. Many thanks for this really wonderful bread recipe, Görel.
Here’s the recipe we were to have followed.
And here is what I did to it:
Brunkeberg’s Bakery Long Brown Bread
based on Görel’s recipe for Brunkans Långa
- Day 1: morning
- Day 1: evening
- 30gm graham flour
- 30gm water
- Day 2: morning
- 30gm graham flour
- 30gm water
- Day 3: morning
- 30gm graham flour
- 30gm water
Day 4: morning – dough
- 411gm water
- 7gm active dry yeast ³
- 84gm demerara sugar 4
- 17gm honey
- 250gm starter (all of the starter from above)
- 571gm unbleached bread flour ¹
- 200gm whole wheat flour
- 20gm salt
- 60gm more water
- 16gm even more water
- Starter; Day 1, morning: In a smallish bowl, stir 30g Graham flour (or 100% whole wheat flour) into 60g water. Cover with a plate and leave to sit at room temperature
- Day 1, evening: Stir 30g Graham flour and 30g water into the starter bowl. Note that this is unlike other sourdoughs. There is NO discarding of the old mixture. Cover with a plate and leave to sit at room temperature.
- Day 2, morning: Add 30g Graham flour and 30g water to the starter bowl. Stir well to mix. There should be some bubbles. (If not, Görel suggests adding a teaspoon of honey, some freshly grated apple or a teaspoon of plain yoghurt.) Cover with a plate and leave to sit at room temperature.
- Day 3, morning: Stir 30g Graham flour and 30g water into the bubbling starter. Cover with a plate and put in the refrigerator.
- Dough: Day 4, morning: Pour the water into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the yeast until it is dissolved. Using a wooden spoon, stir in sugar and honey. Add the starter and stir. Add the flour and salt, stirring until the flour is encorporated. Stir in more water if it seems insanely dry and there is lots of flour left in the bottom of the bowl that refuses to mix in. Cover and let to sit for about 20 minutes.
- Kneading Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Let it rest as you wash and dry your mixing bowl to turn it into your proofing bowl. At the same time, line a large rectangular “tupperware” (I actually have no idea what brand of plastic box ours is) box with parchment paper.
- Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and silky and there are no lumps. Use a dough scraper to help you knead. Avoid adding any more flour.
- Proofing: Put the dough into the parchment paper and put the lid on. Leave the dough for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes: Remove the dough from the box onto a lightly floured board. Struggle to scrape the dough off the parchment paper and realize that it would have been better to let the dough rest on the board covered with a clean tea towel. Fold the dough in thirds like a business letter. Place it seam side down in the parchment papered box. Put the lid on and put it in the fridge and let it rise over night.
- Day 5, morning: Preparing the Oven and Shaping Remove the box from the fridge (put it on the counter) and turn the oven to 400F with the baking stone on the second to top shelf of the oven. Gently plop the dough out onto a floured board. Cut the dough in half lengthwise. (Use the dough scraper or a sharp knife.) Put the dough halves on a peel covered with parchment paper (use the parchment paper that was lining the box). Dust the tops of the loaves with flour. Cover with a clean tea towel until the oven is ready.
- Baking Just before baking the bread, liberally spray the tops of the loaves with water (I use a hand pump sprayer from the hardware store).
- Place the loaves (along with the parchment paper) onto the stone on the second to top shelf of the oven. Immediately turn the oven down to 400F. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Half way through the baking, turn oven down to 375F and turn the bread around to account for uneven heat in the oven. The finished loaves should be a lovely brown, light to lift and sound hollow when tapped on the bottoms, with an internal temperature of 200-210F.
- When the bread is done, remove to cool onto a footed rack. Wait until the bread is completely cool before cutting it (it’s still baking when it’s hot out of the oven). 5
1. Flour Once we’ve used up the healthfood store “Graham” mix of rye and whole wheat, I’ll probably just use 100% whole wheat flour. Although… the bread was awfully good. I may just get more ersatz Graham flour. Because we’re going to have to go to the healthfood store anyway to get vital wheat gluten to add to our unbleached all-purpose flour. This is because unbleached bread flour is no longer easily obtainable (stupid demographic studies, profit margins and share holders wanting ever higher returns).
Flour--Bread 1 cup 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 teaspoon wheat gluten (available at health food stores & some supermarkets)
– allrecipes.com, Common Ingredient Substitutions
I have [a] book that says 5% for vital wheat gluten, about 2.5 tsp per cup. To tell you the truth, I eyeball it.
– Natashya, BBB email, 8 September 2010
2. Water Tap water is fine to use – just make sure that it has stood for at least 12 hours so that the chlorine has dissipated. Under no circumstances should you use water from the hot water tap. Of course, saying that it is unsafe to use water from the hot water tap might be an urban myth, but why tempt fate? Heat the water in a kettle or microwave and add cold water until it is the correct temperature, (use the baby bottle test on the back of your wrist – your fingers have no idea of temperature!) Or you can use a thermometer. The temperature should be BELOW 120F because yeast begins to die when the temperature is higher than 120F.
3. Yeast I probably used more yeast than was necessary. Next time, I’ll use half the amount (3.5gm).
4. Sugar The brown sugar we have on hand is demerara sugar.
5. Do you want warm bread? If you wish to serve warm bread, reheat it after the loaf has cooled completely. To reheat UNsliced bread, turn the oven to 500F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread in the hot oven for ten minutes.
I’m so pleased with myself!! I actually made the September bread early! Before the BBB deadline!!! And I’ve been anxiously waiting until today to post about this really fabulous bread.
It’s all gone already and I’m going to have to make more. It’s DELICIOUS. There is just the barest hint of sourness. This really is the most fabulous bread!
I’ll still make the same amount though. Our proofing box is exactly the right size for the half recipe.
Görel (Grain Doe) is the host of the September 2010’s Bread Baking Babes’ task. She wrote:
in re: Brunkans Långa for September
Brunkan is a nick name for Brunkebergs bageri (the bakery of Brunkeberg, situated in Stockholm), and “långa” means “the long one”. When they bake this bread at the Brunkeberg bakery, it is more than two feet long – hence the name. The owner of this bakery is Heléne Johansson, an IT consultant who decided she needed a career change and thus started her own bakery in 2002. […] This bread is from the book “Bröd” (Bread) that Heléne published last year and which contains the most popular breads in her line.
The length of our “long brown bread” was 41 cm (16in) – not quite the length of the Bakery bread – but still, that’s pretty long. Long enough that we had to cut one of the loaves in half to fit it into the freezer.
If you’d like to bake along (of course you do!!) and receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site, bake the Brunkans Långa and post it before the 29 September 2010.
For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBB, please read:
- BBB Kitchen of the month: Görel (Grain Doe): Brunkans Långa September 2010
- BBBuddy guidelines
- about the BBBabes
Please take a look at the other Babes’ results:
- Astrid, PaulChen’s FoodBlog: Brunkans långa (archived on web.archive.org)
- Elizabeth, blog from OUR kitchen: Brunkans Långa – Brunkeberg’s Bakery Long Brown Bread (BBB September 2010)
- Görel, Grain Doe (kitchen of the month): BBB – Brunkans Långa
- Ilva, Lucullian Delights: Babe or Buddy? Whatever works with Brunkans Långa Bread
- Karen, Bake My Day: Bread Baking Babes: a Swedish saga (Brunkans Laga)
- Katie, Thyme for Cooking: Bread Baking Babes do Sweden! Brunkans Långa!
- Lien, Notitie van Lien: Bread Baking Babes in Sweden
- Lynn, Cookie Baker Lynn
- Natashya, Living In The Kitchen With Puppies: Brunkans Långa!
- Pat (aka Elle), Feeding My Enthusiasms: BBBs Go Long
- Sara, I Like to Cook: Bread Baking Babes – Brunkans Langa
- Tanna, My Kitchen in Half Cups: BBB Brunkans långa: the tall loaf [was at http://www.mykitcheninhalfcups.com/My_Kitchen_In_Half_Cups...Second_Helping/My_Kitchen_in_Half_Cups...Second_Helping/Entries/2010/9/17_BBB_Brunkans_l%C3%A5nga__the_tall_loaf.html]
- Susan, WildYeast: Brunkans Långa (The Wet Version)
Please remember that the BBBabes’ anniversary is coming up in February. We’d like you to pick the Anniversary Bread recipe for February 2011. You have until November to think about it.
- What’s your favorite bread?
- What bread haven’t you ever been able to get to turn out the way you want?
- What bread scares you the most?
- What’s the bread recipe you’ve baked the most?
- What bread do you dream about baking?
- What bread do you…?
Scour your bread-baking cookbooks, recipe boxes and bread-baking sites to make your choice. We’ll ask you to submit your desired recipe in November. And in December, after we’ve narrowed the list down to a manageable number of choices, we’ll ask you to vote on one for us to bake and post for our anniversary in February.
Each week, Susan (Wild Yeast) compiles a list of many bread-specific recipes from across the web. For complete details on how to be included in the YeastSpotting round up, please read the following:
Have you noticed that whenever you learn a new word, it suddenly starts appearing? T was leafing through a back issue of SAVEUR magazine and saw the following:
[M]uscovado sugar (sugar from which molasses is not removed) adds an intense, earthy flavor to gingerbread chocolate brownies and even barbecue sauce.
– SAVEUR #117 “pantry essentials” p. 35 Jan/Feb 2009
edit 5 November 2010: I was looking for information about durum flour and came across the following note about Graham flour:
Graham flour originally was simply coarsely milled whole wheat flour, but today it can also contain extra bran or even a certain percentage of rye flour.
– Rose Levy Beranbaum, “The Bread Bible”, p. 553