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Zeno's bag of six-seeded bread flour - News from Nowhere [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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Zeno's bag of six-seeded bread flour [Aug. 11th, 2017|01:02 pm]

As we drove away from Lindisfarne at midsummer, we called in at the farm shop in Belford. In past years this has been a favourite stop, and a good place to buy supplies, but this time there wasn't much that appealed. Blame it on the circumstances: we didn't need food to cook on the island, and I suspect we caught the shop before they were really awake. So I bought a bag of bread flour with added seeds - I'm sceptical about bread-flour-with-added-whatever, as I am about cheese-with-added-whatever, but this seemed worth a try.

The first batch I baked with it, I used it neat. Which is to say, not quite neat, as my process uses white flour for the sourdough starter, and three times the same quantity of various flours for the loaf itself. So, 1:3 white flour: seeded flour, and it made a soft, sticky dough which rose spectacularly. I'd been thinking of making rolls for dinner anyway, and was quite glad I had, because it felt too fragile to bake in a tin (and there was a slick, almost putty-like feel to the dough which was not entirely agreeable). The rolls were fine, and very light, if not as full of flavour as my usual bread (I had also been cautious with the salt, which was a mistake).

So I added buckwheat flour to the next batch. Counting the starter, that's 1:1:2 white flour: buckwheat: seeded flour. This, too, rose like mad, both in the bowl and in the oven, and it tasted more interesting, but still not as good as my usual loaf - though I did enjoy the more open texture, especially toasted (who am I kidding? I ate it all toasted).

You'll think me pretty slow on the uptake, but around this point it occurred to me that maybe these features were not some magical property of this particular brand of flour, but a result of using a higher than usual proportion of white flour. So the next loaf was, still counting the starter, 2:1:1 white flour: spelt flour: wholemeal, and it, too rose better than my usual loaf (in which the starter provides the only white flour). I added walnuts and used the last of the walnut oil, and it was fine, but still not as good as the more wholemeal mix. Which doesn't prove anything, but does support the hypothesis.

The loaf I made yesterday, and sliced into this morning, was 1:1:1:1 white flour (starter): seeded flour: buckwheat: wholemeal, and I was surprised how good it is. The more open texture toasts well, and the combination of buckwheat and wholemeal emphasises the nutty flavour. If the seeds in the flour contribute anything, it's subliminal, which isn't to say that they don't contribute. But when this bag runs out, I'll try these proportions with white flour before I try to hunt down another bag of the seeded.

Of course, if I continue to reduce the proportion of seeded flour each time, the bag will never run out.

This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.