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Ingredients for Rustic Artisan Bread

What Flour?

Research by America’s Test Kitchen revealed that hard red wheat produces stronger gluten networks and is therefore a good choice for sourdough-leavened baked goods like bread. I will not use unbleached white flour for the sourdough starter and final dough as I try to avoid highly processed flour.

Softening The Bran

I am not certain yet as to what type of flour works best. Many say that high protein flour rises best, while others say that the sharp bran in whole wheat flour cuts the gluten network in an adverse effect. I have seen an online video in which the baker first sifted out the bran from the whole wheat flour and soaked the bran for some 24 hours in hot water before incorporating the now softer bran back into the flour.

No Sprouted Flour

The quality of the wheat itself matters as well. If a wheat berry is allowed to germinate (or sprout), it produces an enzyme that makes dough sticky and less prone to rising. So, sprouted flour is not what I am looking for as I wish for the bread to rise high.

Fine Ground VS. Coarsely Ground Flour

The finer the flour is milled, the more it will rise. Stone-ground flour is usually more coarse than roller-milled flour. This is handy to know especially when looking at whole wheat varieties, because finely ground whole wheat will give you a lighter loaf than a coarsely ground one.

As a baker, I will need to find my balance regarding ingredients.

The Whole Wheat Flour I Have Worked With

Be forewarned, while these recommended flour producers are easily found in better markets or online, their whole wheat flours are not gluten-free:

  • Bob’s Red Mill
  • King Arthur Baking
  • Farmer Direct Foods
  • Central Milling

Bob’s Red Mill
Whole Red Wheat Flour

whole wheat flour

Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Flour is 100% whole grain hard red wheat stone ground on their cool, slow-turning quartz millstones. The high protein content of this whole wheat flour makes it especially great for whole grain loaves, rolls, pretzels, buns, and flatbreads. It’s an excellent source of dietary fiber and contains 6g protein per serving.
Gluten-forming Protein: high at 13-15%
Store: most any supermarket

King Arthur Baking
Whole Red Wheat Flour

Whole red wheat flour adds fiber, vitamins, and nutrients to recipes, and also tastes good. Milled from 100% hard red wheat, King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour has a classic robust whole wheat flavor that elevates bread. With all the nutritional benefits of whole grains, this flour is a pantry all-star: dark in color, rich in flavor, and healthy to eat.
Gluten-forming Protein: high at 13.2%
Store: most any supermarket

Farmer Direct Foods
Whole White Wheat Flour

Farmer Direct Foods’ Whole White Wheat Flour is 100% whole grain and stone-ground to provide the natural nutrition of traditional whole wheat with the taste and texture of flour from hard white whole wheat. It has a sweeter and milder flavor than red whole wheat flour.
Gluten-forming Protein: medium at >10%
Store: Smart & Final

Central Milling *
Whole Red Wheat Flour

Central Milling’s Organic Whole Wheat Hi-Pro Fine is finely milled on a short-flow roller mill where the bran and germ are not separated during the milling process. Short-flow roller mills are more gentle on the wheat kernel and the milling process generates much less heat. The fine granulation of this flour makes for a super smooth dough while the high-protein content will yield bread with tons of volume.
Gluten-forming Protein: high at 13.5%
Store: Nuggets

Bob’s Red Mill
Dark Rye Flour

Organic Dark Rye Flour is a flavorful, 100% whole grain flour complete with all the nutritious bran and germ. At Bob’s Red Mill, it is freshly ground on quartz-stone mills from organic dark, plump rye berries. Mixing rye flour with other flours adds its delicious and unmistakable flavor. However, rye flour’s proteins do not aid in the formation of a gluten network.
Gluten-forming Protein: very low
Store: most any supermarket

King Arthur Baking
Whole White Wheat Flour

King Arthur’s unbleached Whole White Wheat Flour is milled from hard white spring wheat — a lighter-colored grain than traditional red wheat which yields lighter, milder-tasting baked goods. Substituting this flour for up to a third of the white flour in your favorite recipes gives you all of the nutrition and fiber of whole grains without compromising flavor.
Gluten-forming Protein: medium to high at 12.2%
Store: Target

In any case…

Much more can be said about sourdough, and others have said it well already:

What Water, Yeast, & Salt?

Crystal Geyser Spring Water

Definitely no tap water. Reverse osmosis water, or otherwise filtered or purified water? Perhaps, I do not want chlorine. Preferred is spring water, which is supposedly clean water.

SAF-Instant Yeast

Yeast is a living organism that is naturally present in nature. Because it contains minerals, vitamins, and amino acids, yeast has many benefits. I may use it a little for added insurance.

Morton Fine Sea Salt

Sea salt is a general term for salt produced by the evaporation of ocean water or saltwater lakes. It is less processed than table salt and retains trace minerals, adding flavor and color.


Always curious...

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