Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Wheat-Rye 10%

This week's experiment:

- Extended levain fermentation. Just how far can we push it? And how do we achieve it?
- The question of raising bread. How much levain do we really need?
- High-extraction flour. What's accessible, and what does it mean for our breads?
- This week's grain grower: Bob's Red Mill hard red spring wheat and rye.

Can I just say this: never bake when you are tired. I baked six loaves yesterday with a full schedule of all kinds of other stuff. And man, I am exhausted! Alas, here I am with the next loaf of bread.

So, here's what happened. I was planning my bread day, right, with just three loaves, the wheat-rye 10% with two different levain types - one using a higher percentage of starter like I usually do, and one using a lesser amount, as Chad writes about (more on this in a sec) - and one other loaf just for kicks. So, just three loaves of bread. Doable. Certainly.

Well, I miscalculated the maturation time for my levain, so instead of, say, a 6 or 7-hour fermentation, I couldn't get to it for 11 hours. Mon Dieu! is right. My first reaction was to just pitch the levain and just start over again, but then I thought: wait a sec. This is a great experiment. Let's see just how yielding our levains are... but then, if it didn't work I would have no post for this week. So, I made another round of three levains, just in case, this time fermenting them in what I think is an 'ideal' timeframe, about 6 hours.

Six loaves. I ask you, dear reader. What was I thinking?

Alas, things came out smashingly! And I learned how to control the fermentation of my levain, a whole new level of skill to make baking conform to my schedule, and to keep my levains from fermenting too quickly when the weather starts to get warm.

Tartine's Wheat-Rye 10% with extended (11-hour) levain fermentation, and a more modest levain amount

Speaking of fermentation, I also wanted to try my hand at reducing the amount of starter I use to make my levains, and to decrease the amount of my levain.

You know, when I first started Tartine Bread Experiment, my starter was a sluggish thing. It took forever to get going. And when I finally started making bread, I was so new to the whole thing that, well, you know what kind of bread you turn out as a new baker with a new starter. Flat loaves and all that. I assumed that the way to rectify this was to increase the amount of starter and levain in my breads. Even though I knew the whole premise of Tartine Bread was a French-style loaf whose flavors were based on coaxing the sugars out of our grains rather than bread whose flavor came from a huge amount of sourdough (which I actually don't care for). My compromise was to increase the amount of starter without going too overboard.

Chad's formula uses about 15g of starter to make 400g of levain, 150g of which you use to make two loaves of bread, the rest becomes your starter for ensuing loaves. I will admit that my method was a happy accident. It worked swimmingly. Even though my breads have used 40-50g of starter to make a 240-250g levain, my bread is not unpleasantly sour at all. I think my modest hydrations have kept it in check, and I think because I increased the overall amount of flour/water to the seed starter amount, it somehow balanced out. The breads I have been making have indeed been really flavorful, totally balanced. But lately I have been thinking, now that I have this uber powerful starter, do I really need to keep up with this much larger levain? Which brings us to the next experiment today.

I decided to make a bread whose levain employs my usual ratios - 40g starter, 100g rye flour, 100g h2o, using the total levain amount, along with one whose levain employs 10g starter, 75g rye flour, 75g h2o. (Oddly, the result was 150g of levain, not 160g. Hm. Where did that 10g go?)

Both breads came out fabulously, and interestingly enough, not terribly different in terms of flavor. I milled my own grains for this, Bob's Red Mill hard red spring wheat and rye. The flavors of both loaves were clean, earthy and sweet, a little back note of honey. The crust was smoky, rich. Just enough acid, really balanced. The most obvious flavor difference was that the acid of the larger levain loaf lingered just a hair longer than the one using less. The lingering flavor of the lesser was more sweet. The loaf with the smaller levain got a bit better oven spring than the one that employed a larger levain. Both crumbs were exquisite - tender with glossy gas chambers.

While the loaf with the lesser levain was able to bulk ferment at room temp (ambient temp about 72 degrees), the one with the higher amount of levain was only able to do half of the bulk at room temp, then I had to put it in the refrigerator for the remaining two hours. The one with the lesser levain was able to be turned throughout the full 4-hour bulk fermentation, the refrigerated one was left unturned for the last two hours.

Tartine's Wheat-Rye 10% with extended (11-hour) levain fermentation, and a larger levain amount

Both of the loaves above used a levain that fermented for 11 hours, as you can see, with pleasing results.

Of course, I did a boat load of research at 5:30 in the morning to try to manage this levain so that it would have a chance of being viable. I discovered a few really useful things for all of us. The first is that if you are managing a stiff levain, then it will need to/can ferment longer than one more liquid. Since I am milling my own grains for both my starter and my levains, they are very, very stiff (you will undoubtedly find this to be true as you get into milling your own gains), almost to the point where I was tempted to add more water to it. Even at 100% hydration, both my starter and levains seem to be more like 70% hydration. So, this stiff starter turned out to be work to my advantage when I found myself faced with this long-fermented levain situation. Thank goodness I didn't add more water to it at the start, though I was awfully tempted to.

Oh, side note, lots of you have emailed me about when your levain is ready to be used, and some of you mentioned that you were not having success with the float test. That's one way of testing the readiness of your levain, but another way to determine it is that with a more liquid levain, you know that it's ready for use when it's all bubbly and sweet/sour smelling (click here for a picture of a more liquid levain). With a stiffer levain, it puffs up into a little dome like this:

very stiff levain just mixed looks like this

 fully fermented levain, puffs up like this

The next thing I discovered about extending the maturation time of your levain is that if you cool it down it will slow the fermentation, thus, extending its time of viability. This does not mean that you refrigerate it. You should not refrigerate a burgeoning levain. Since I forged mine early in the morning (seriously, 5:30 a.m.), I put them out on the porch where it was 58 degrees (it was 72 degrees in my house). Out on the porch, they got a good 4 hours of retardation before the thermometer registered 72 degrees, whereafter I brought them back inside. After this, I am only assuming that the ambient temp hovered around 72, because I left and would not come back for another 6 hours.

So, the finding for this experiment is that if you need to extend your levain, take it to a coolish spot, like the basement. And you are in good shape if you have a stiff levain to begin with because they take longer to ferment. I also read that you can add a pinch of salt, no more than .2% of what you would use in your final dough, to the levain to retard it. But that seemed like a drastic measure and another experiment for another day.

Onto the third loaf. Chad's wheat-rye 10%. Here I employed the same smaller levain as described above, and fermented it at an ambient temp of 70-72 degrees for 6 hours, the duration of time that I had originally thought would bring my levain to viability. I milled my own grains for this loaf too, Bob's Red Mill hard red spring wheat and rye. The resulting loaf was gorgeously developed. Fabulous oven spring. Beautiful tender crumb with floral(!) notes, good acid oddly a hair more than the two above, but only just, and a smoky crust.

All of the crusts were brittle and shattered when cut, by the way.

Tartine's Wheat-Rye 10% with 6-hour levain fermentation, and a more modest levain amount

Today, our experiments with both reducing the seed amount of starter in our levain and extending the fermentation time of it was a major success. I will keep experimenting with reducing the amount of seed starter and levain in subsequent loaves to see just how low we can go. Our goal as bakers is to coax the flavors out of the grains, and to skillfully ferment and strengthen dough, not to use our starters as a crutch to raise our breads.

About the flour for these breads. As I mentioned, I milled my own Bob's Red Mill grains for the whole-grain wheat and rye, for the bread flour I used King Arthur, and for the high-extraction, I used Jovial which is this fantastic golden cast and smells really earthy and minerally. The texture is really interesting too. It's almost clay-like.This is my first venture with purchased high-extraction flour and I am really pleased with it. I will be trying another brand with our next loaf. There are such a scarce few, right, so I got them and will be trying them all.

What does high-extraction mean anyway? Well, if you're confused, you are not alone. One would think the more bran you extract, the higher the number. But that is not the case. Commercial millers are able to obtain 72%-75% of white flour from 100 pounds of wheat berries. Thus the extraction rate of white flour is expressed as this percentage, so, all-purpose flour or bread flour would be called 72% extraction, or 75% extraction. From here, the higher the percentage, the more bran particles are present in the flour. Whole wheat flour, for example, is represented as 100% extraction, and when you purchase high-extraction flours, they are usually an 80% - 90% extraction rate. So, not quite a while wheat flour, but not a white flour either. Rather somewhere in between. With high-extraction flours you get the best of both worlds, a flour with the raising powers of white flour and the nutrition and flavor of whole grain flour. It also opens up the crumb a bit in breads that use a high percentage of whole grain flour. Just a recap, white breads rise higher than whole grain breads and have a more open crumb because there are no sharp bran particles to cut at the gluten structure thus tightening the crumb.

Speaking of. Let's talk grains.

All of the grains that I mention in my blog, whether whole or milled into flour, are grains that I have personally worked with and love. I realize that this is a huge sort of confusing area for new bakers. Perhaps you know what type of flour or grain to use now, but whose? The go-to flours are Bob's Red Mill, Bob's with the advantage of also supplying us with whole, organic grains, Arrowhead Mills and King Arthur. All three brands are highly accessible for consumers across the United States, so if you are baking from this blog in the middle of the country and have limited access to or awareness of 'boutique' grains, you have access to these giants. I have had success with all of them, and I have a special love for Bob's Red Mill. They offer a huge variety of organic grains and make quality organic flours. Their flours and grains are the foundation of my baking pantry.

The good thing about a larger company is the price point. Perhaps if you don't have huge stores of money to put into your breads and you are indeed baking near-daily, you can use the small boutique grain companies as special additions to your baking schedule, and rely on, say, Bob's Red Mill for regular baking. I don't have a lot of money and find myself juggling happily between the two.

And on that note, lets talk about the small growers who dedicate their companies to the revival of heritage grains. I am going to give you a nutshell view of which I have used here, but each subsequent post will be dedicated exclusively to a given company where I will go into detail about the attributes of the grains and/or flours that they offer.

Heritage grains take your baking to a precious level. I have a serious respect for the smaller producer who wants to bring something special to the table. They are the growers of the 'lost' grains, referred to as 'heritage', and despite being in the shadows of the giants, persevere in their continued growth and revival of 'new' grains. Because price really is a factor for me, and perhaps with many of you, I do treat them as special, having them when my budget allows, and also really paying attention to the varietals that I am working with, the practices of the grower and the mills, and the history of the grains and the farmers who are growing them. While I can't afford to bake them several times a week, they make regular and happy appearances in my baking schedule, at least once weekly, and I am always kept in the loop about what's out there in the grain world. I also do a fair amount of research about the flour and grains that I use. I figure that if I am going to pay a bit more money for them, I owe it to myself to know who I am supporting so I can feel completely educated about my baking.

Here are the companies whose grains and flours I use regularly, listed alphabetically:

Arrowhead Mills - A wide selection of flours available at whole foods. Great quality. I have used their all purpose, rye, and whole grain pastry flours with excellent result. I have also used their brown rice flour which I have found to be great for dusting loaves of bread, because the grind is rather coarse, to give my loaves a rustic look. (I have used it in pastries, but find it much too coarse, even sifted. You are better off using a superfine brown rice flour for pastries). A ubiquitous company with a quality product that can make several of the breads in Chad's Book Three.

Bluebird Grain Farms - One of my absolute favorite companies. Gorgeous grains. I have used their Emmer farro both in bread and whole and it's incredible. I will be experimenting with their hard red spring and hard white spring wheats as well as their very special heritage rye and 'Einka' farro - their Einkorn wheat - this next few weeks, and writing a dedicated post so that you can see for yourselves how special they are. They also mill their flour to order, which means the most fragrant and freshest flour you can find. They are also really nice over there, which always wins me over.

Bob's Red Mill - My mainstay. Bob's Red Mill has been my go-to since I began the blog, and I will continue to use their grains and flours. I have been feeding my starter Bob's organic dark rye flour for years with consistent results. It's available, and affordable, and every bread that I've made using their flour has been incredibly successful. I really like their light spelt flour, a product that I have only ever found on their website. It makes a fantastic bread. For such a large company, Bob's Red Mill offers an impressive array of whole grains and flours and adheres to milling practices that I respect. They are so nice, and extraordinarily attentive to their customers. If you have any questions, they respond immediately. I'm not surprised that Bob's Red Mill comes through with flying colors with their whole grains since I've had such good luck with their flour. Incidentally, I am really focusing on companies that use milling practices that benefit the consumer. That means cold stone milling of grains in their entirety. I think I talked about this before, but many companies mill their flour with metal, then sift out the bran and germ, only adding the germ back into the white flour (not necessarily from the same wheat berries that they extracted it from), and omitting the germ. The germ is where the majority of the fats of the berry live, and they remove it because it spoils quickly, thus shortening the shelf-life. It's advantageous for flour companies to produce flours with a long shelf life. For you and me that means stale flour and less nutrition. Companies like Bob's Red mill mill the whole berry in tact. An eye on the health of the consumer rather than their bottom line. I like that.

Community Grains - My very good friends. I don't even know where to begin. As you know from this and my other blog Farm To Table Geek, I am a faithful supporter of Community Grains. Their milling practices are non-pareil, which I talk about here. Bob Klein, who founded the company and who also owns Oliveto where I cut my teeth as a young chef, makes some of the most incredible whole wheat flour and pastas that you will ever have, and I must be honest, I use no other brand for my whole wheat flour. They also make a mind boggling Floriani red flint polenta and grow gorgeous beans. Indeed, I am making a pot of their chestnut beans as we speak, with plans to toss them with their whole wheat fusilli tonight for dinner. The post will be up on Farm to Table Geek soon. You can purchase their goodies online at Market Hall, a gorgeous little European-flavored market below Oliveto.

Heartland Mills - I finally used my HM high-extraction flour (called 'Golden Buffalo') and I could not be more pleased. The flour is indeed golden and the high mineral content is evident.   The extraction rate is 90% here. Love that.

Jovial - They grow and sell Einkorn, a non-hybridized wheat that some say people with gluten intolerance can happily eat. I will be doing several experiments with Jovial's Einkorn berries milled in the KoMo mill as well as their Einkorn high-extraction flour that I used in this post. So far I have found their high-extraction flour to work beautifully for Chad's bread, many of which call for it. Just a note, when you purchase Jovial high-extraction, it does say 'all-purpose' on the label. I confirmed with them that it is indeed a high-extraction flour at 80%, but it can also be used as an all-purpose flour in your other recipes.

Mendocino Grain Project - A gorgeous little organization that grows sustainable grains (and legumes), and supports Northern California grain growers by harvesting, cleaning and milling their crops. They are located in Ukiah, and their focus is on local distribution via 'Grain Share', a program set up so that a portion of their annual grains harvest can be purchased by harvest members. You must subscribe to partake in their program, and they give preference to people living in Mendocino County (their goal is to support local farmers, reduce carbon footprint, and support the local food economy). Each share offers about 110 pounds of grains, including hard red wheat, durum wheat, rye and several others. Members pick up their allotment at one to two month intervals or all at once at a determined location. They also offer half shares. I received some coveted Red Fife from them recently, which is unfortunately not offered this year, but which I have been dying to work with. So expect a post about it soon!

Timeless - I stumbled upon Timeless and had no idea what I was in for. They produce a gorgeous heritage barley like you have never seen called Purple Prairie, which is indeed purple. I will be working with it in the next month, as well as their farro and a very special Durum-Iraq wheat.  You can purchase the farro and barley online.

To Your Health - one of my absolute favorite companies that mills the most intensely fragrant sprouted flours you will ever find. Their spelt and rye flours will change your perception of fresh flour. I have been using them for about two years now, and when I received my first few bags from them, I never looked back. I opened the bag of spelt and it was like inhaling toasted hazelnuts, and the rye was equally nutty with notes of fresh hay. And when you bake with them, the resulting loaves taste like the hazelnuts and hay that you smell in the raw flour. Indeed the coolest thing about To Your Health is that they offer sprouted grains and sprouted grain flour, and I seriously thank the Universe that I stumbled across this company. Their sprouted spelt and rye meant weeks of gorgeous loaves using nothing but. A number of Chad's formulae call for sprouted grains, which you can sprout yourself, of course, and To Your Health is a good go-to source when I get to those loaves. They mill their flours to order, which accounts for their heady aroma, but you can also purchase it at Whole Foods now. If you can wait an extra few days to get your flour, do yourself a favor and buy it online.

As I experience more grain companies I will keep you in the loop with new posts. I have my eye on a couple more companies, but I do like to try the flours and grains before I recommend them. When I do, you will be the first to know. I will add to the list here, as well as any new posts that I use them in.

With all that said, here are the details of this weeks loaves!

Tartine's Wheat-Rye 10%

This formula makes one loaf


10g 100% hydration 100% dark rye starter (I use BRM home-milled dark rye to feed mine)
75 BRM home-milled dark rye flour
75 h2o, 71 degrees

Oh, just a note, I recently got a fabulous Thermoworks Thermopen so that I can keep track of my water temps. It's way more accurate than my dial-thermometer and reads temperatures within seconds. In the future I will be recording the temperature of my dough through its fermentation for you all.


Mix the levain ingredients together until you reach a paste. Ideally, you will plan to ferment your levain for 6 or 7 hours. If you must extend the fermentation, keep it in a cool place. Depending upon what type of rye flour you are using, and if you are able to keep it cool, you may be able to extend it up to 11 hours. This particular levain fermented for 6 hours.


50g BRM home-milled dark rye flour
50g BRM home-milled hard red spring wheat
200g Jovial Einkorn high-extraction flour
200g KA bread flour
402g h2o, divided into 377g and 25g quantities
35g Wheat germ
12g Diamond kosher salt

When your levain is properly fermented, mix together 150g of levain, all of the flours, the wheat germ and 377g of water until you reach a shaggy mass. Autolyse for one hour and ten minutes.

After the autolyse, squish the salt into the dough with the remaining 25g of water until you reach a smooth mass. Now it's time for the 4-hour bulk fermentation.

Every half hour, perform a series of turns throughout the entire bulk fermentation, taking care not to deflate the dough as you near the end of bulk.

When bulk fermentation is accomplished, turn the dough out onto a workspace dusted with brown rice flour, and shape into a loose round. Rest for 20 minutes. I cover mine with a damp paper towel to keep it from forming a skin.

After the bench, shape the dough into a taut boule and pop into a banneton or a bowl lined with linen that you have dusted with brown rice flour.

Pop in the fridge and ferment. Mine fermented for 17.5 hours, but I make a sort of demi-rye often, and have excellent results with 10, 12 and 15 hour ferments. Rye breads do not want to be pushed too far at final fermentation. The enzymatic activity in rye dough is really vigorous. Also know that the higher the amount of rye flour in the bread (i.e., if you are indeed using your 100% rye starter, and a 100% rye levain) the more enzymatic activity you will have, and the faster it will ferment. With this additional rye, you are pushing this loaf from 10% rye to just about 22.25% (Total flour for this loaf 578g, and of this the rye content is: 3.3g rye flour in the 100% starter, 75g rye flour in the levain, 50g rye flour in the final dough for a total of 128.3g of rye flour vs. 50g of rye called for in Chad's formula), so keep this in mind when you are doing your final fermentation. This loaf will also be a bit stickier than you may be accustomed to. This is the nature of rye (though with this particular loaf, the dough was not difficult to manage at all). If you want to cut down on the rye in this loaf and keep it closer to the 10% rye in the book, make your levain using a different flour. Some ideas are 100% whole wheat, 100% white flour, or a 50/50 blend of white/wheat.



Preheat the oven to 500 with a dutch oven and baking stone inside.

Dust the dough lightly with brown rice flour to get a cool dusty bottom like Chad's bread in the last post, then unearth by placing a sheet of parchment over the mouth of the dough bowl, then place a peel over this and quickly invert the bowl so that the dough ends up sitting on the paper and the peel, seam side down.

Slash the dough in some divine manner, then slide it into the shallow half of the hot dutchie. Cover with the fat half, slide it into the oven, and steam for 15 minutes at this temp, then turn the oven down to 475 and steam for another 15 minutes.

After the steam, remove the fat end of the dutchie, then stack the pan over its mouth to create a buffer between the hot stone and the bread. This will help keep the bottom of your bread from blackening.

Toggle the oven between 460 and 475 until the boule is baked to desired darkness. I find that it's almost impossible to go as dark as Chad's without drying out the loaf in a home oven. So I aim for chestnut-colored.

Cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing.


To the staff of life!


  1. I've so been looking forward to this post! It is definitely my intent to get to using more whole grains so I've been curious about your results. These loaves look stunning. Thanks for all of the info on sources as well, very helpful! Do you find you can substitute einkorn for "regular" wheat well? Oh, I recently tried Community Grains pasta. You are right, it is fantastic.

    1. Hi Josh. Thanks for loving the bread. My friends loved this round (as did the UPS man. Hey, how could I say no when the first thing he said when I opened the door was 'wow, all I can smell in the courtyard is the fantastic smell of baking bread) :)

      I have only ever used Einkorn as an adjunct grain. I think that it bakes up to a rather flat loaf if not used in conjunction with wheat. There is a high percentage of protein in Einkorn, but the quality is not as strong as wheat flour. It also, interestingly, creates a yellow crumb. Much more so than even a semolina bread, because of the high levels of carotenoids.

      I plan to do some serious experimenting with Einkorn, so keep checking back.

      Cool. I'm doing a post next week about their pasta. I made a lovely bean/pasta/kale thing the other day. Also, have a look at my blog post where I make pasta by hand using their flour: http://mangiatuttadimaiale.blogspot.com/2012/12/community-grains-100-hard-red-winter.html

    2. Too funny. I have definitely found we have more bread around the house than we need as of late. I had thought of passing a loaf to the butcher but I hadn't thought of the UPS guy yet :).

      I will definitely check out the post. I have made a good bit of pasta at home though I have not yet tried whole grains. I used to actively keep a blog (http://joshuafagans.wordpress.com) but life got a bit too busy which is definitely part of why I am so impressed with your blog(s). Keep up the great work!

    3. thanks for sharing your blog! i love it. it's hard for me to do the second blog too. it's the neglected stepchild :)

  2. Thanks so much for your site. You should sanity check Chad's next book to make it more understandable.

    What is the main difference between the levain and the starter? Book #3 says you can maintain a levain with 200g flour and to use it after 4-6 hours fermentation. To feed a starter it's 150g flour…but how long should you ferment the starter before making the levain from it? If I'm not baking too often should I just maintain a starter to save 50g flour each day, or is there something I'm missing?

    (P.S. I think the comment form on your site is broken in Google Chrome. I had to use Safari after losing three attempted comments.)

    1. Well. Chad and I do things a little differently here. I keep my starter as sort of a 'separate entity' on the counter, feeding it every day. i keep 60g of starter, and when i'm about to make bread, i just build it up to the amount that i need to make a levain, then i scoop it out, make my levain, and keep feeding what's left in my starter's jar. Chad's way is to keep a starter, and when it's time to make bread, you build a larger levain than the formula calls for from one tablespoon (about 15g) and toss the rest. When the levain matures, you use a portion to make you bread, and save a portion as your new starter. Both ways are perfectly fine.

      You can use your starter to build a levain after 6 hours of feeding it (a starter that has been fed twice a day for at least 3 days so that it's enzymatic activity is most powerful), and I have build a levain from a starter that was fed up to10 hours before. It will work. Though I do try to make a levain from my starter that has been fed no more than 8 hours prior.

      The older your starter gets, the more powerful it is. Mine happens to be a serious work horse, and it will show activity within a half hour of feeding. If you are not going to bake too often you can keep it in the fridge. Say you want to bake twice a month. Well, pop the starter in the fridge and four full days before you are about to bake bread, pull it out and begin feeding it twice a day. On the fifth day, make your levain. Now I am talking about a starter that is fully mature. Refrigerating a young starter can hamper its power, so be sure that your starter is mature, that means at least three months old, right, has been feed consistently and is raising good loaves of bread. All you need to save is about 30g of starter in the fridge. If you only bake a loaf a month, be sure to feed the starter at least once a month to keep its enzymatic activity going *in addition to* the 4 day feed that you will accomplish for that one loaf of bread you are going to make.

      For the record, I maintain just 60g of starter. It's on my counter. I feed it twice a day because I bake a lot. But when I was only baking 3 loaves a month, I fed it once a day, and started my 4-day build when I wanted to make bread. When I feed my starter, I only need to feed it 20g of flour.

      Have a look at this post. It will save you some flour and money, and clear up any questions you may have about maintaining a starter. It's a guaranteed way to make and keep a starter going. I promise!


  3. Great blog. Thanks for sharing all your hard-earned knowledge.

    Concerning the milling of your own flours: can you recommend your grain mill? Would you choose a different brand/model if you were to do it again, or would you get another komo?


  4. Hi France,

    Great looking loaves as always! That's really interesting experimentation with the different amounts of starter and levain -- I too would have thought more levain = more volume... On other note have you ever baked tartine 3 loaves without the germ? I too use a komo to mill my own organic grains and can't bring myself to buy germ separately because all I kind find it Bob's Red conventional. In the book he barely mentions it but to say its added for nutrition. Left me thinking, wouldn't it be most healthy just to add the same amount in whole grain flour? Do you think there might be some other reason he calls for it in every formula?

    1. Thank you! And good questions!

      Yes, I have baked the Tartine 3 loaves without the germ. You just need to reduce hydration. I got some germ at whole foods and it adds a nuttiness to bread. It's different than just adding more whole grain flour, because then you are also adding bran and endosperm. Wheat germ is pure fat/nutrition, it's the heart of the wheat berry. It definitely adds some fat to the bread and I personally think that it makes the crumb more sumptuous :)

      Oh you may not be, but to clarify, don't confuse wheat germ with wheat bran. Two different things. Bob's carries both. And Bob's wheat germ is actually really tasty! It's super moist and nutty. Give it a try. But there are a couple of other brands at Whole foods too.

      Here's to club KoMo!



    2. Thanks for the explanation! No worries, I am not confusing wheat germ/bran. I was just making reference to that the only wheat germ I can find in stores is non-organic i.e., conventional http://www.bobsredmill.com/wheat-germ.html

      I will now look for others at Whole Foods, cheers.

    3. I figured you would know :) But I wanted to be sure. It's in the cereal aisle (vs. the aisle with the flour etc.), near the Irish oatmeal etc. in case you want to look for it. I thought they had none, because my Whole Foods breaks up grains in one aisle, flour in another, and 'cereal grains' in another. Go figure! Happy baking!



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