Sourdough artisan bread is nutritious and delicious, but getting it right takes practice and patience. In this article, we give some tips on getting an open crumb in a sourdough recipe. Refined flours tend to produce airy and open bread. In comparison, whole grain flour generally makes denser bread.
Tight-crumb bread can be great; however, it can be challenging and exciting to learn how to make the perfect open crumb sourdough. Most people feel if getting a great open crumb is too much of a hassle with whole grain bread, why not just use refined flours? But there are some distinct benefits to baking with whole grain flour.
#1 Nutrition and flavouring
- Wheat germ and bran are packed with nutrients that get removed in white or roller milled flour.
- Whole grain flour has far more protein fibre and minerals than refined flours.
- Research indicates that high dietary fibre helps lower incidence cancer, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.
- As far as flavour goes, whole grain flour adds significant complexity to the bread’s flavours such as sweetness, nuttiness, and even a little bitterness, all of which add character to the bread.
- In this context, wheat doesn’t just become a medium for various other foods such as cheeses, tomatoes, meat, jam and butter, but brings its own distinct flavouring into play as well.
#2 Flours you can use
It’s a good idea to keep the wheat ratios and varieties relatively constant. While making whole grain flour you can use any of these:
- Home-milled wheat
- Hard white
- Hard red wheat berries
- Hard white wheat flour
- Turkey red wheat flour
- Hard red wheat bread flour
#3 Aspects to keep in view while baking whole grain flour sourdough
- The main contributors to crumb openness are spot-on fermentation, high hydration, and wheat with high protein content.
- More water results in a more open crumb. However, this also means you have to deal with things like weaker score and bloom and more difficult handling, except in higher protein flours.
- Less fermentation means a tighter crumb and flatter loaf.
- Excessive fermentation results in a honeycomb-open crumb and flat loaves.
- The protein content of the wheat impacts the dough’s ability to be more cohesive instead of batter-like at higher hydration levels.
- If you do some/or all of the final proofing at room temperature it helps improve the crumb’s openness at the loaf’s centre.
- In comparison, all-cold final proofs will have more open edges and tighter loaf centres.
- Gluten development via stretching and folding does not contribute to crumb openness, but they make for easier dough handling during the shaping process and you get a better score and bloom during the bake.
- Using more hydration works well for whole grain bread (the higher protein allows the bread to hold its shape); home-milled wheat allows for better absorption.
- If you are using any other types whole grain flours, using a less water will make the dough easier to handle.
#4 Use the best ingredients
Sourdough prep and baking isn’t very complex, but the key lies in using the right ingredients in the right quantities and in timing the fermentation well. Different flours react differently to stretching and kneading and it’s why getting your sourdough recipe right involves some practice and patience. Using good quality ingredients in your baking is the other aspect that helps you get the best results when you’re baking whole grain flour sourdough.
At Ganache Patisserie you will find fantastic breads and delicious croissants, french cakes, sculpted cakes, cupcakes, savoury treats and other baked goods for everyday consumption as well as for special occasions. We also have a wide variety of cupcakes for you to indulge in. Come; explore our scrumptious world of goodies.
Thanks for reading,
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