When people write to tell us that their dough seems “too wet,” the first question I ask is: how are you measuring? Because we measured with the “scoop-and-sweep” method, not the “spoon-and-sweep” method.–view the video to see exactly how we do it.
American recipes usually are based on volumes, measured with standardized measuring cups. If you press down into the flour bin (use a flour bin, not the flour’s bag), you’ll compress and get too much flour. If you use the “spoon-and-sweep” method, where a spoon is used to gently fill the measuring cup before sweeping, you’ll get too little flour into the cup. Likewise, don’t “aerate” the flour by mixing it or whisking before measuring; that will lighten the cup.
If you do it the way we tested it (and use flours like the standard ones we tested with), you’ll get results like you see in our photos and videos. You can also consider weighing flour, using the weight equivalents in “Healthy Bread in Five…” We go through the use of the digital scales (we like the Escali or the Salter) in this post from last year.
The flour on the left (the browner, coarser one) is an organic fresh-ground whole wheat. On the right, the commercial whole wheat flour is obviously finer-ground and lighter in color (it’s the Dakota Maid brand, a very consistent and tasty product). So many of you have asked about grinding your own wheat to make whole grain breads, that I decided to try it myself.
OK, I didn’t really grind it myself, I sourced fresh-ground wheat from Sunrise Flour Mill at the Mill City Farmer’s Market, next to the Guthrie Theater in downtown Minneapolis. After Zoe and I did an event and booksigning there, Marty Glanville of Sunrise Flour came by to say hello. She gave me a great home made whole grain bread to try, made from her fresh-ground whole wheat, and I was sold. The flavor is, well, very fresh.
It’s not an absolute requirement for whole wheat bread, but here’s a little on my first experiments with this great flour. Considering how different the fresh-ground product looked compared with commercial whole wheat, I was surprised at how easily this stuff was able to be used in our Master Recipe– with no changes. After some whole wheat talk, a little about the West Coast leg of our book tour (Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco). Continue reading →