What do you add?
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  1. #1

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    Default What do you add?

    We've been experimenting with a "standard" bread recipe that's half regular bread flour and half whole wheat. We usually add flax meal (2 tbsp) and sometimes wheat germ, though the latter tends to make the bread more "fragile" and it breaks easily.

    I'm considering experimenting with corn meal and oat bran. I'm concerned we may need to add more liquid for these. Anyone have experience with making these kinds of changes? Does it have a noticable effect on the bread? Thanks for your help!

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    Add-ins I commonly use....

    1. Kefir (homemade) - I use this as a substitute for buttermilk, plain yogurt, cream cheese, or sour cream.
    2. Chia seed goop (water and chia seeds) -adds fiber/nutrition and helps keep homemade bread moister longer. Looks like large poppy seeds in the bread.
    3. High-maize resistant starch - increases fiber and lowers glycemic impact.
    4. Flaxmeal
    5. Multi-grain cereal blends (you may find it as 5-grain, 7-grain, etc.). I mill my own blends, but these large chunks of grains/seeds/beans lower the glycemic impact, increase fiber, and gives the bread a nice "tooth". Many of these will contain a coarse grind of cornmeal. You can find recipes that include cornmeal. I never use it separately as an add-in. Some recipes call for these cereal blends to be soaked in hot water or liquid, others add them (raw) towards the end of kneading. The sharp edges of these cereal blends can cut the gluten strands, so I add them the last minute of kneading.
    6. Coconut oil. Once again, an ingredient that aids in keeping breads fresher longer.
    7. Agave nectar. A low-glycemic, honey-like sweetener. Aids in preventing mold and helps keep the bread fresher longer. Both agave nectar and honey will aid in keeping the moisture in the crumb of breads you freeze.
    8. Bean flour. Flour milled from small white beans has the least amount of bean flavor. Bean flour adds fiber and protein. I've made breads that used mashed pinto beans, refried beans, and even a recipe that called for a can of pork 'n beans...
    9. Ascorbic acid. Wheat germ (alone or in whole wheat flour) has a substance in it called Glutathione. This substance breaks down gluten bonds. You can counteract the gluten damage by adding ascorbic acid. I add 1/8 t. per loaf when using wheat germ or whole wheat flour. Don't add ascorbic acid to naturally-leavened breads (aka sourdough) because it's already acid enough and doesn't require the ascorbic acid.
    10. Whole grains, such as: cooked or sprouted wheat or other grains, whole buckwheat, amaranth (high in protein/nutrition and looks like golden poppy seeds in breads - especially nice in quick breads), a coarse-grind of durum wheat that is similar to semolina (high in protein). I use a wide variety of grains/seeds/beans in bread.
    11. Sunflower seeds and other seeds.
    12. Potatoes, potato products, potato water...
    13. Sauerkraut - adds moisture


    --Caution adding too much oat bran. Oat flour, oat bran, and oatmeal can cause the loaf to be gummy.

  3. #3

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    Thank you so much Grainlady! Excellent information, very helpful! I always wondered what was happening with the wheat germ. It looks like we have a lot of experimenting to do

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    I didn't address the issue of hydration when adding ingredients. The more dry ingredients you add, in conjunction with those already in the recipe, you may find you also need to adjust the liquid. It may be worth your while to find recipes that are designed with the ingredients you want to incorporate in your breads. That takes some of the guess-work out of them, and reduces the potential for baked "bricks", instead of loaves. It's better to err on the side of a wet dough than a dry one.

    You will probably need to either add hydration, or reduce some of the flour - depending on how much add-ins you use. Only add enough flour to the liquid ingredients until it forms a nice soft dough - no matter how much the recipe calls for. With ALL bread recipes, the amounts are just good guesses because it's all about the "feel" of the dough. I'd also suggest only adding one thing at a time, or making one major adjustment to the recipe at a time, so you can see how it works.

    If you add a lot of low-gluten ingredients, you may find you need to add some vital wheat gluten in order to maintain the loft of the bread. Keep low-gluten flour or low-gluten ingredients to no more than 10- 20% of the total flour in the recipe. CAUTION adding too much vital wheat gluten. You will get tough bread from too much gluten, and it will take longer to knead and develop the gluten in the dough.

    Several years ago I made a recipe for Sourdough Cornmeal Bread from the book, "Bread Machine Baking with the post script "PERFECT EVERY TIME" (yeah, RIGHT!!!) - by Lora Brody and Millie Apter. I made this recipe twice, which takes ALL DAY to rise, and both times it ended up a failure. I suspect the coarse grind I mill my cornmeal was the cause of the failures, but never had the nerve to make this bread again using a finer grind of cornmeal.

    There are all kinds of ingredients that will affect bread. Such as:

    -Milk/dairy: If you add too much milk or dried milk products (including whey powder), it will affect the volume, symmetry, cellular structure, and texture of bread. There is a protein in the whey portion of dairy that causes this. You can "treat" this problem by scalding milk used for bread, or keep additions of nonfat dry milk powder to less than 1/2 c. powder per loaf. King Arthur has a dry milk powder that is designed to combat this problem.

    Baker's Special Dry Milk Powder - http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/...dry-milk-16-oz

    I tried to develop a high-protein bread years ago, using whey protein powder, and ended up with squatty loaves with tops that looked like a roller coaster. Now I know why - the whey.... My old favorite recipe for Dill Bread that has a large amount of cottage cheese in it and also suffers from a less-than-perfect crust because of too much dairy.

    WHEN you add the fat to your dough - will also affect the bread. Add fat early in the process (commonly found in the more modern bread-making method called Straight or Direct Method) and it will have a "shortening" effect on the gluten (it will shorten the gluten strands), so your bread will be more compact with a close, almost cake-like, crumb. Add the fat after the gluten is developed (towards the end of the kneading) and you will have a loaf that is higher-rising and a more open crumb.

    Neither method is right or wrong, it's just about what kind of crumb you desire. A close crumb for sandwich bread - so it holds together when slathered with mayo and is held in-hand; and an open crumb for toast (all that butter and jelly has a nice place to hide).

    Bread is as much a science as it is a simple recipe with only a few ingredients in it.

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    Your whole wheat flour, wheat germ, whole grain rye, etc. contain the bran of the grain - it is sharp and cuts through the gluten strands. That limits the amount of rise. It's good to add 1 tsp of vital wheat gluten for every cup of low-gluten or whole grain flour. You can find it at the grocery store with baking supplies, or at bulk food or health food stores. It is a bit expensive, but you don't use a lot and, if you put it in a sealed container and refrigerate it, it will last a very long time.

    A little bit of ground ginger or lemon juice will also strengthen the gluten, without changing the basic flavor of your bread.

    I use many of the same things that grainlady uses. I also like to use pumpkin seeds in particular, they really are nice with whole wheat breads. Adding 1/3 cup or so of instant potatoes - the cheapest ones you can find are fine - will improve the moistness and keeping qualities of your bread. (Mashed potatoes are good, but I think the flakes are easier to use, and I rarely have mashed potatoes left). If I have any cheese that is getting close to questionable, I throw that in too. I use a bread machine, so the added ingredients really incorporate well, although both the sunflower and pumpkin seeds stay identifiable.

    If you have time, try letting the dough rest overnight before baking. This permits the grains to fullly hydrate and I think it improves the flavor of the final bread.

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