Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Shepherd's Grain flours

Tried 2 new flours today; Shepherd's Grain high- and low-gluten. Shepherd's Grain are, in their words, "an alliance of progressive family farms dedicated to practicing sustainable agriculture".

These folks are regional if not exactly local. A BBGA member told me she really liked the hi-gluten version for her sourdough business. Because we do variety development on hard-grained breadmaking wheats for Oregon and the Pacific Northwest [in addition to our soft-white wheat variety development], I thought it might be prudent to see what commercial hard-wheat flours from the region were like.

To do this I made Jeffrey Hamelman's Vermont sourdough with whole wheat, of course it was my PNW and Oregon version. It is all levain risen, no commercial yeast. Mixed to a shaggy lump, 25 minute autolyse, 2 hr bulk with one fold, pre-shaped to boules, shaped to boules and blunt batards, final fermentation 12 hours at 10 deg C, 1 hour at roon temperature, baked 25 min @ 460 deg F with steam, vented 8 minutes. I forgot to turn the oven down a little after 10 minutes or so into the bake and got a little too dark a crust, but it was crispy !.
It turned out just fine, but the high-gluten [behind] did not have ears that opened up as nicely as the low-gluten version. The low-gluten flour also had a little stiff levain in the formulation to top up the liquid levain when I ran out of liquid levain, so the stiff levain seemed to build a little more strength.
Crumby [pardon the pun] picture of the interiors, both fairly nice and open, the high-gluten [left] had a much much chewier texture, maybe too chewy. Unfortunately I gave away the prettier ones before remembering to take the picture, so the low-gluten one was the mishapen one the stuck to the stone during the oven-spring.

These are mixograms of the high [upper] and low-gluten SG flours at 63% and 61% hydration respectively. The low-gluten could have used maybe 2% less water again. The low-gluten version takes a little less water for optimum handling and would take less time to get to the intensive mix stage; its peak happened earlier than for the high-gluten version.

SG high gluten 63% water
SG low-gluten 61% waterSG Low-gluten at 1.5% less waterGeneral Mills' Harvest King at 58.5% water.This is the machine that made the graphs - a mixograph; a recording dough mixer.

1 comment:

Josh Dorf said...

Consumers can buy the low-gluten version in Stone-Buhr All-Purpose flour - ask for it at your local supermarket!