Author Topic: Peter Reinhart's WHOLE GRAIN BAKING  (Read 3550 times)

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Offline charbo

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« on: September 30, 2007, 02:21:03 PM »
Peter Reinhartís WHOLE GRAIN BREADS was published a month ago. 

Reinhartís stated purpose for the book is to show how great flavor can be wrought from whole grain.  However, his purpose is undermined somewhat by his use of oil and sweeteners in virtually every recipe.  In my opinion, the only flavor issues in whole grain are getting fresh flour and deciding whether one wants red or white wheat.  Aside from hydration, I think the main issue in whole grain baking is gluten development, which Reinhart mentions only in passing.  His recipes donít use much kneading, and the stretch-and-fold technique is not discussed.

The main dough development technique in the book is what he calls delayed fermentation, or the epoxy method, which is used in the pizza recipe and many others.  It may be unique to Reinhart.  In this method, the recipe is broken down into three parts:  (1) a large, 12-24 hour, flour and salt soaker or, sometimes, a hot water mash, (2) a large preferment or sourdough starter, and (3) the final dough elements, including a significant amount of yeast.  The flour soaker is new to me.  Its purpose is to allow enzymes to release sugar and other flavors, to soften the bran, and to strengthen gluten via an autolyse effect.  It does seem to generate a little more flavor in my recipe. 

Mash recipes, for certain styles of bread with a dense crumb, are quite hard to find; these reflect his adaptation of barm-bread and scalded flour.  There are a wide variety of other recipes, including sprouted grain and a lot of ryes.

The book is a more systematic treatment of whole grain than Iíve previously seen, and it is fairly thorough.  However, the book is verbose and duplicative.  Information on a given subject may be found scattered over several chapters.  Overall, the book is a good reference for those new to whole grain and who want a collection of whole grain recipes. 

Offline youonlylivetwice

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Re: Peter Reinhart's WHOLE GRAIN BAKING
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2007, 02:19:13 PM »
thanks for the review charbo.  your comments are very interesting.  I do intend to get the book, maybe even more so as I probably fit your description of a good customer in the last sentence.  It is very interesting to go into it with some perspective though~