Saturday, August 22, 2009

100% White Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I found new bread blog via Rose's web site--it's called, and the owner, SteveB, describes it as "an obsessive's quest for for professional quality baked goods from a home kitchen." I would say that's a pretty accurate description. He blogs only about once a month, but when he does, he shows a bread that he's worked up to perfection. I was more attracted to other breads on his site, but I opted to try the white whole wheat sandwich bread because I realized that, although I'd tried other whole wheat breads, I hadn't yet tried one made with white whole wheat. I've been disappointed with other breads made with white whole wheat, but I was willing to give it a try. I'm sorry to report that I was disappointed with this one too, but the friend I gave the other loaf to liked it quite a lot, so I may just have an errant taste bud that makes me taste bitter when I taste whole wheat.

I was excited about this recipe because it started out with a poolish, and I know how much flavor that overnight fermentation usually adds to bread. Also, it had honey, butter, and dried milk--all of which should amp up both the flavor and the texture.

Another thing that made this recipe different from most other bread recipes is that the initial mixing was done with the whisk attachment. I was curious to see what, if any, difference this might make in the final outcome--maybe it would make the dough a little fluffier, the texture a little lighter? Or maybe not. I couldn't tell any difference in the outcome. Finally, this bread uses the double flour addition method, which is pretty much what it sounds like--the flour mixture is added in two separate installments. I was psyched! I was sure this was going to be the best whole wheat bread ever--better even than Chris in R.I.'s whole wheat bread, my (so far) all-time whole-wheat favorite.

It was a lovely dough to handle, with enough butter to give it a very rich feel. It rose nicely (although the color is a little sludgy), making easily enough dough for two standard-sized loaf pans.

SteveB writes his own recipes, and even includes helpful videos for trickier parts of the process, like braiding or shaping. His recipes are all written in the passive voice, which seems somewhat odd and disembodied, and also a little irritating to a former English major. (Instead of saying, "Place the dough in a covered container," for example, he writes, "The dough is placed in a covered container.") Maybe he just doesn't want to sound bossy.

The bread came out of the oven looking brown and beautiful--not sludgy at all--and I anticipated the first slice. It was supposed to have a "satisfying deep wheaty flavor," according to SteveB. But it just tasted bitter to me. Jim liked it (although when I pressed him, he admitted he didn't love it), and my friend who got the second loaf said she liked it.
I intend to try more breads from Breadcetera, but they won't be made with white whole wheat flour. In fact, in a fit of pique, I threw out the rest of the bag. Although I'm not exactly giving this a rave review, I wish someone else would try it and let me know what they think because I'd like to know if it's just me.


Doughadear said...

The loaves and the crumb look good Marie. I am sorry that this wasn't a winner for you. I know how disappointing it is when you are all gung ho about a bread you think should turn out amazing and then it doesn't taste at all how you expected it to. I've just recently baked Rose's Whole Wheat for Wimps, a 26 persent whole wheat sandwich bread that was really really good. I think you would like this one.

breadbasketcase said...

I saw that recipe, and after I tasted the one that I ended up baking, I had to ask myself why I hadn't just gone with the "wimp" recipe. But you just have to keep trying new things because there's always the possibility that it WILL turn out amazing.

jini said...

although i was unaware of the english major background, this explains the great writing skills. :)
i'm sorry the bread didn't make you jump for joy. when i am home again i will try it and report. i love whole wheat breads, but i know i am not in the majority on that.
i am enjoying some baby time....she is smiling. sigh.

breadbasketcase said...

I'd love to get your take on this bread. I thought there was enough honey in it to counteract the bitterness that I taste, but I guess not.
Maybe if I'd tasted it while watching a smiling granddaughter, I would have loved it.

SteveB said...

Marie, if the white whole wheat flour isn't fresh, it's quite possible that the oils present in the flour turned rancid, possibly contributing to the bitterness you experienced.

While the passive voice might seem somewhat odd to a former English major, it is quite natural for a former chemist. :)

breadbasketcase said...

After I tossed the flour, it did occur to me that there might be a better reason than a fit of pique for doing that. I usually date a bag of flour when I open it, and throw it out if I haven't used it all in, say, a year, but I didn't this time, and it probably had been sitting in my pantry for longer than that.
I'm not surprised to learn that you're a chemist--there's a lot of scientific method going on in your blog.
Thanks for writing.

Anonymous said...


I too tried KA's white whole wheat flour and was disappointed with the results. It was awhile ago, but I seem to remember the bread tasting "off" and not having the usual nice "baking bread" smell while in the oven. I hate to say it, because I think KA has lots of great products, but I tossed my bag too.

We actually have a mill not too far up the road from us (Kenyon's Grist Mill...Rose highlighted their corn meal in her Bread Bible, I believe). Your post is reminding me to experiment more with other flour sources and types (plus they're local!)

Chris is RI

breadbasketcase said...

The grist mill sounds wonderfully old-fashioned. We grow a lot of corn and wheat around these parts, but I don't know about any quaint mills. I was convinced that my flour was rancid until I got your comment--now I'm back to thinking I just didn't like it. Your recommended version had an egg in it--supposedly to counteract bitterness. If I were a scientist, I'd try this again, adding an egg and using fresh flour. But I'm not, so I probably won't.

Melinda said...

So sad your bread was not right.
You really must not have liked it if you threw out the flour. I know you don't like to waste things.

breadbasketcase said...

I threw out the flour, but I ate all the bread, so I didn't completely go against the grain.

June said...

Any chance you are a genetic supertaster? That might explain your unusual sensitivity to bitter flavors.

If you can, try with fresh-ground whole wheat. A friend who has made to-die-for great whole wheat bread grinds her own flour and uses it while it is still warm from grinding.