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Toasted Flour - No-Knead Bread Failure

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Hmmm...a poster remarked on the technique of toasting flour to increase the depth of flavor in bread. So we toasted 3 cups of bread flour in the oven and used it to make the Bittman/Lahey/Sullivan Street No-Knead bread.

The flour was so dry that the recipe required more water than usual. Also, the consistency was extremely smooth - like playdoh, really.

The upshot is that the dough totally did NOT rise (no bubbles, nothing) so we chucked it out. Yes, we know our yeast is OK - we made a non-toasted batch at the same time and it's perfect.

Any ideas about working with toasted flour in bread? Where did we go wrong?

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  1. Assuming your dough wasn't so hot it killed the yeast at the start, I'll guess that you denatured the enzymes in the flour so there was no sugar available for the yeast. Making beer from an all-grain mash requires keeping the mixture < 150 degrees F to keep all the enzymes from denaturing that convert starch to sugar. If you get another 10 degrees higher, you denature pretty much all of them, and there's not much for the yeast to work with.

    I'm guessing the other poster that toasts flour for bread either
    1) uses a mix of toasted flour and normal flour
    2) uses a richer dough with milk or another source of sugar to feed the yeast
    3) doesn't toast his flour above 150

    Of course, this is all complete guesswork so take with the proverbial pinch of salt.

    1. I have browned flour to use in gravy, but didn't know it can/should be used in bread? This thread is almost 2 weeks old now but I'm reviving it because I'm curious--anyone else have any knowledge of this?

      2 Replies
      1. re: blue room

        I'm attempting to do this right now. I think you didn't get any rise because the heat has destroyed the gluten forming capacity of your flour. Rise is a function of gas formation = fermentation + the gas must be trapped by a strong protein network = gluten. thefreshloaf has a thread on roasted flour in bread and one contributor toasted 10% of the total flour. He ended up with a nice bread, lovely flavor, but he found it rather dense. My current experiment involves toasting 15% of my total flour and I've supplemented it with vital wheat gluten. After kneading, I noticed that the dough isn't as strong as it usually is for my recipe. I've had to knead much more and I still can't get a good gluten window. Does the toasting process create some kind of gluten destroying chemical? Not sure. We shall see what happens tomorrow on baking day!

        1. re: Simsters

          Good question. It doesn't create a gluten destroying chemical as much as it denatures the flour proteins. I found this below (on the technical side) that talks about both proteins in flour that produce gluten.

          http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/...

          "These data indicate that there are heat-induced alterations in gluten proteins at temperatures above 55°C, which appear to be involved in the loss of functionality (baking performance) on heating. It is postulated that the glutenin proteins are unfolded on heating up to 75°C and that this facilitates sulphydryl/disulphide interchange between exposed groups. The protein is then ‘locked’ into the denatured state on cooling due to this disulphide bond rearrangement. At temperatures above 75°C the gliadin proteins are also affected, involving similar mechanisms."