Hmm What if I try substituting some semolina flour for bread flour

Discussion in 'Bread' started by Debbborra, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. Debbborra

    Debbborra Active Member

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    I woke up ready to bake. I'd started a sour dough starter and was going to try it out, but got intimidated and decided that I'd wait until I'm braver.
    So, I've been baking a lot, and every recipe has a nice flavor. They're all soft and my last try (french bread as per the recipe on the bag of flour, with a substitution of whole wheat flour for one of the three cups). But they're not quite right. The crumb is kind of small and cakey. I mean not like, oh this bread is bad, let's throw it away. But I am searching for a way to make the bread a little chewier. (I think the answer here is that I'm over-proofing. Even an hour in my kitchen in summer is a bit too long. I think. Maybe it's something else.)

    I decided to try some semolina flour. Not all semolina. One of the three cups. And I thought, I'll go to the baking forum and ask if I can do this.

    Then I thought. Of course I can do this. I can do this all day. I want to bake now. What if no one has an answer for hours or days?
    What's the worst thing that could happen? I suppose there could be a chemical interaction that causes my entire house to explode in a cataclysmic inferno. I'm pretty sure that's an outlier though. I'm going to just be brave and try this.

    If anyone is wondering if you can switch out some semolina flour for bread flour, stay tuned. I'll be back with the answer. You know, unless something really bad happens.
     
    Debbborra, Sep 10, 2017
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  2. Debbborra

    Debbborra Active Member

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    Turns out it's perfectly safe. Best bread I've produced so far.
     

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    Debbborra, Sep 10, 2017
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  3. Debbborra

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    That's a very lovely loaf of bread! Many congratulations!

    Yes, semolina is very suited to bread. It is the strongest of flours, with a high protein content since it's ground from the high protein and starchy endosperm. While most commonly used in pasta, semolina is also used for bread, pizza, and couscous.

    If you want a chewier bread consider adding 1 1/2 teaspoons of vital gluten per cup of flour.

    Vital gluten is pure gluten. It is used commercially to make a stronger dough, which in turns ensures higher rise and lighter crumb as the dough is able to hold more gas bubbles. It also give bread that crispy crust and nice chewy texture.

    Bob's Red Mill markets vital gluten for the home baker.

    Regarding your comment about over-proofing your loaf made from a blend of whole wheat and bread flour...

    Lack of oven spring and a tight crumb are characteristics of the low protein content in whole wheat flour.

    Flours are categorized by the extraction rate. The extraction refers to the percentage of the bran, germ and endosperm that is removed from the flour during the milling process. The higher the extraction rate, the more bran, germ and endosperm included in the flour. So a 100% extraction flour, such as whole wheat, has 100% of the bran, germ and endosperm left in the flour.

    There's very little protein in the bran and germ. So leaving it in lowers the overall protein content. Consequently, high extraction flour does not rise well as the protein content is diluted due to the inclusion of all the bran and germ.

    Performance of whole wheat flour can be improved with hydration and proofing time. An often overlooked issue in using whole wheat flour is hydration. While most flours only require about 60% hydration, whole wheat flour requires a whopping 100% hydration. Some of the most noted bread bakers even use above 100% hydration. Dave Miller uses a 105% hydration for whole wheat!

    Whole-wheat flour also requires additional rise time. Where an all purpose flour may take 1 hour to rise, whole wheat flour requires about three hours.

    Blending whole wheat with other flours and adding vital gluten are ways to improve the performance of whole wheat flour. When blending whole wheat flour with bread or all purpose, you'll need to increase the hydration and proofing time accordingly to account for the whole wheat.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Sep 10, 2017
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  4. Debbborra

    Debbborra Active Member

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    Thanks! Vital gluten sounds scary, but I'm willing to try. It's such a relief to understand what the problem has been.
    I had that same crumb issue with white bread too. (Amish white bread, in a loaf pan.) The free form (not sure if that term is technically correct) loaves have a slightly better texture.
    The semolina is actually amazing! Like seriously, amazing!
     
    Debbborra, Sep 11, 2017
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  5. Debbborra

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    I have to say you made a very nice loaf. Bread is darn hard. I always pray to the Goddess of Flour when I bake bread. Even the most well laid bread plans can go wrong. It's interesting that bread, from an ingredients perspective is about as simple as it gets. Yet so many variables affects what comes out of the oven.

    The texture from bread in a loaf pan can be effected if the volume of dough isn't right for the pan. As a general rule, if the recipe for a single loaf calls for 3 1/2 cups of flour or less, then a loaf pan 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2" works best.

    If the recipe has 3 1/2 cups to 3 3/4 cup of flour, then a 9" loaf pan works best. The support on the sides then the full oven spring above the rim of the pan really helps to open up the crump. If there's too little dough for the pan, then the rise is low and the crumb compacts.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Sep 11, 2017
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  6. Debbborra

    Debbborra Active Member

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    Even with the vital gluten I seem to be doing something wrong. I wonder what.
     

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    Debbborra, Oct 5, 2017
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  7. Debbborra

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Are you using direct mixing method, meaning mixing the dry, then adding in the wet. Knead and going straight to bulk rise, punch down. Then proof and bake.

    Or are you using a preferment method?

    Also what is the protein content of your flour?
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
    Norcalbaker59, Oct 6, 2017
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  8. Debbborra

    Debbborra Active Member

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    In this recipe I disolved the yeast in milk. The yeast seemed a bit cranky about that, to be honest, but it did rise so I figured it was ok. I added the dry ingredients to the went. They rise, punch shape rise.
    I used 1 cup of Gold Medal bread flour and 1 cup of semolina. (It was a small loaf.)
     
    Debbborra, Oct 7, 2017
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  9. Debbborra

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    I think it's the direct mixing method and the milk. While a considerable open crumb isn't possible with an enriched dough and a direct mix, you can open up the crumb by using a poolish (preferment).

    I'm just heading to bed after a really long day, so I'll explain tomorrow how you can change any recipe to use a preferment.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Oct 8, 2017
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  10. Debbborra

    Debbborra Active Member

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    I must be a bread nerd because this feels like a really good cliffhanger. I'm excited to find out what happens with a preferment and enjoying the suspense! Rest well. I hope tomorrow is more relaxing and as always, thank you.
     
    Debbborra, Oct 8, 2017
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  11. Debbborra

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry this is really loooong!o_O

    There are three main factors to an open crumb:
    • Hydration of 65% or greater
    • dough strength (extensibility & elasticity)
    • high protein (gluten) content.
    Hydration: a minimum of 65% hydration is required to open up the crumb. A stiff dough (low hydration dough) slows yeast development and autolyse. Less CO2 and extensibility means a tighter crumb. Loaves with giant holes have about 80% hydration.


    Extensibility is ability to stretch.

    Elasticity is ability to spring back

    There has to be the right balance between extensibility and elasticity.
    • A dough that is weak (too much extensibility) can't hold its shape and cannot trap air bubbles very well. So it has a tighter crumb and little oven spring. A weak dough is caused by over-fermentation
    • A dough that is too strong (too much elasticity), is difficult to shape as it springs back into a tight ball. It will bake up tough.


    Other factors that effect an open crumb are enriched doughs and mixing method.

    An enriched dough is any dough made with milk, butter, egg, AND/OR sugar. Fat and sugar inhibit gluten development as they are tenderizers. Gluten development is key to an open crumb as it provides the required dough strength both trap air bubbles, and expand with the air bubbles.

    Mixing method: mixing everything all together, then kneading also inhibits an open crumb. The direct mixing doesn't allow the flour time to absorb the water. When flour is given time to hydrate, an enzymatic process called autolyse happens. This is the break down of of the protein (gluten) cells. The result is a more extensibility.dough. Have you notice when you mix water to flour, the dough is very stiff. Then you let the dough sit undistributed, and it becomes a lot softer. That's autolyse at work.

    A preferment is a form of autolyse. There are four types:

    • Poolish: 100% hydration (equal parts water and flour by weight). The amount of yeast depends on the fermentation time. Use less yeast if fermenting overnight (12 hr); more yeast if needed in 8 hrs. Given the high hydration and yeast, a poolish cannot ferment more than 16 hrs. An a 16 hr poolish would contain the tiniest pinch of salt. Poolish is used more for dough extensibility, but it does add flavor.
    • Biga: 50% - 60% hydration of water to flour by weight. And has less yeast than a poolish. The lower hydration and yeast allows for longer fermentation. The long fermentation means more robust flavor. Biga is what gives ciabatta its flavor.
    • Pâte fermentée: this is the use of day old dough in a fresh dough. The French invented the technique of reserving 1/3 of a fresh batch of dough to use in the levin for the following day's bake. The dough is taken after the bulk rise. So it's contains yeast and is developed dough. I've never used one, so I can't tell you how well they work.
    =====

    A preferment is usually 25% to 50% of the final dough.
    For a crusty bread, use 50%. For a loaf baked in a pan use less.

    A poolish must be made by weight since all ingredients weigh differently. For example, a cup of water is 8 ounces, but a cup of flour only weighs 4.25 to 5 ounces.

    Mix an equal amount of water by weight and 1/8 tsp - 1/2 tsp of active dry yeast. Let sit to dissolve. It's not a sponge, so you don't have to let it bubble up. You just dissolve it in water for better distribution give the tiny amount.

    Mix the yeast water into the flour until all the flour is moistened. You aren't developing gluten so just mix until all the flour is moistened. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and place in a draft free place. I place my in my oven.

    Let it ferment overnight (I use a 12 hr poolish). If you want to use it in 8 hrs, increase the yeast. If you want to ferment 16 hrs, use a tiny pinch of yeast. Below is a table for times and yeast amounts.

    If you use too much yeast, it will eat through its food supply and start to die off.

    Example of adapting a recipe for a poolish. Say a loaf of bread is made with

    500g flour

    300g milk

    2 teaspoon yeast

    You decide to convert 35% of the dough to a poolish.


    Calculate 35% on the total weight of the flour.


    Flour: 500 x .35 = 175
    Use 175g flour in the poolish. Reserve the remaining 325g flour for the final dough.

    Since the weight of the flour needed is 175g, subtract that amount from the total milk

    Milk: 300 - 175 = 125
    Use 175g milk in poolish, reserve 125g milk for the final dough

    Yeast is a bit tricky. You only need a tiny amount for a poolish given the hours of fermentation. Since it's easier to make the poolish the night before. I like to use a 12 hr poolish

    Yeast: 1/2 tsp. See table on yeast below

    So it would look like this

    Poolish
    175g flour
    175g milk
    1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast (see table below)

    Final dough: remainder of ingredients
    325g flour
    125g milk
    1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
    salt & any other ingredients

    Made the final dough and add the poolish.

    Mix the remaining flour, yeast, and liquid to just moisten. Cover and let rest 30 minutes. Add the salt and any other ingredients to the final dough. Then add the poolish to the dough. Knead and rise per recipe instructions.

    A high hydration dough cannot be kneaded. Various techniques are used in place of kneading. I find the stretch and fold technique during the bulk fermentation the easiest and most straight forward. With stretch and fold, fewer air bubbles are popped, so there's a lot more holes. After bringing my dough together, I let it sit about 50 mins before I start stretch and fold. Google stretch and fold--there's a ton of videos online.

    Creating big holes in bread involves a lot of factors and practice. I think many bakers have gone off the deep in regards to the open crumb. They think more and bigger is better. There's nothing to bite and chew.

    NOTE on milk: Milk is used for flavor and dough strength. Milk protein aids gluten development. I've never made a poolish with milk, so I don't know if it will work. I've used a combination of water and evaporated milk. Evaporated milk is concentrated, so it has twice the protein of whole milk. I replace 10% of the water with evaporated milk. But you can try milk and see if it works.

    Yeast weights and amounts
    • 1 packet dry active yeast 7g = 2 1/4 tsp
    • 1 tsp active dry yeast = 3g
    • 3/4 tsp active dry yeast = 2.25g
    • 1/2 tsp active dry yeast = 1.5g
    • 1/4 tsp active dry yeast = 0.75g
    • 1/8 tsp active dry yeast = 0.375g

    Amount of yeast to use depends of fermentation time:
    • Poolish up to 8 hours in advance: .02 - .03
    • Poolish up to 12 hours in advance: .01 - 0.2
    • Poolish up to 16 hours in advance: .005 - .01
    In the example, the 12 hr poolish was made with 175g flour.

    175 x .01 = 1.75g. So that's roughly 1/2 teaspoon of yeast.

    I actually use a lot less than the standards. I use 1/8 tsp for up to 200g flour.


     
    Norcalbaker59, Oct 9, 2017
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  12. Debbborra

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    oh, one other thing...its best to use active dry yeast for long fermentation. Active dry yeast develops slowly. So there's less risk of it depleting its food supply during a long fermentation.

    Instant yeast is manufactured to activate quickly. So it will run through its food. I've made poolish with instant dry yeast that looked fine when I was ready to use it. But my dough ended up flaccid and dense. So I only use active dry yeast now.

    I know a lot of websites with poolish recipes use instant yeast, but I haven't had any luck with it.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Oct 9, 2017
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  13. Debbborra

    Debbborra Active Member

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    A lot to take in. I need to reread a few times to internalize. Thank you again!
     
    Debbborra, Oct 9, 2017
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  14. Debbborra

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    I completely understand. It looks complicated. But after doing it a couple times it makes sense. And it becomes second nature.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Oct 9, 2017
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