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bread baking: more info on wheatgerm, please

Gooseberry Feb 6, 2008 07:30 AM

Hi, fellow bread-baking hounds,

Can anyone tell me more about adding wheatgerm to bread recipes?

I see Nancy Silverton adds it to retarded breads as additional fuel for the yeast, and that Jeffrey Hamelman adds it, toasted, for flavour to a ciabatta variation. Both add about 5%, measured using baker's percentages (i.e. all ingredients measured as a ratio of flour by weight, flour equalling 100%).

Now, I'm not sure I can taste (or see) a difference. Anyone tried adding more than 5%, or have any other advice about it? I really like how it tastes raw (nutty, sweet, wheaty), but I'm not sure if baking denatures its health-giving properties, and whether it's possible to add too much to bread.

Thanks...

  1. Non Cognomina Feb 6, 2008 12:31 PM

    For a hearty whole grain yeast bread, I've added as much as 20% (baker's) of a combo of wheat germ and flax seed meal, but have had to play around with additional liquid ingredients to get the right texture. Milk or oil improves texture (making it less gritty and dry from the additional ingredients).

    I'm not familiar with the recipes you referenced, but would guess that a ciabatta woldn't hold up to much more than 5% and maintain textural integrity.

    And yes, it is possible to add too much to bread. But for most people there is a lot of leeway between what tastes good and too much.

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