Friday, June 24, 2011

I did say that multitasking doesn't always work well...

As I rolled out my wheat bin on Monday, I took the opportunity to straighten the pantry a bit.  I noticed 2 partial bags of  Prairie Gold hard white wheat, so I poured the last of the older one into the bin.  I was surprised to see that it had debris in it. What, again?!  I made note of the number on the bag and took photos to send Montana Wheat.  I also measured out 8 cups for making bread.  I thought the wheat looked a little odd, too, but figured I was just remembering wrong and shrugged it off.  1st hunch ignored.                                                                                                     
I didn't make bread until Wednesday, and still thought the wheat looked puffier than usual, but proceeded to mill it in my WhisperMill/Wondermill and start the sponge.  2nd red flag waving in my gut...ignored.                                                                                                                                                                                                      
Later I went to check the sponge, which was not as high as I'd expected for a 4-hour rise, and strangely bubbly.  Warning sign #3... but I mixed in the rest of the ingredients.                                                                                                                                                        
As I added the last of the freshly milled flour, I thought it looked unusually white and fine.  I wondered if I milled it at a finer setting than usual, and went on with the kneading.  NUMBER FOUR...Hello?!!!                                                                                                                                                               
At the end of kneading, the dough seemed stretchy, but limper and just a bit sticky.  I'd label this a more subtle sign, but being #5, it should have been taken more seriously.                                                                             
What I didn't notice the
other day... 2 colors?!
So the bread was rising, the oven was heating.  I was cleaning up my supplies and tools, but before I put the mixer away, decided I'd roll the oats for Prince Steadfast's granola.  The pantry was disheveled, and I straightened again.  Now I had room for that other small portion of hard wheat, so started to pour it in the bin...  Ack!  It didn't look the same at all!  But it looked like I thought hard wheat should look, so what had I poured in there yesterday?!  Oats?  No... I looked in that bin, and the oat groats looked more like hard wheat than the puffy and lighter stuff I'd added yesterday.  It slowly began to dawn on me what had happened.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Finally...The clue I noticed
Several weeks ago when I'd gotten new bags of both soft and hard wheat, Hubby and I had taken out the bad, debris-filled soft white wheat I'd gotten from a different source, poured it out of the bin, and into an empty grain bag.  Unfortunately, instead of getting thrown away or put aside for possible use as bird feed or seed for a cover crop, it got tucked back into the
A close-up of the difference.
It's not a shadow.
 pantry by a well-meaning helper...and yesterday I blindly dumped it into the hard wheat bin, and ignored every indication that should have stirred this memory and formed this realization.                                                                                                                   
I learned that I did know more about wheat appearance and behavior within the bread making process than I realized... Enough to notice the warning signs, but not be actually warned.                                                                                                                                     
So now, here I was with fully formed and raising loaves of bread, likely to turn out low and crumbly.  I thought about dumping them back in the bowl and adding some high protein ingredients.  But overworking lower protein bread can cause problems, also, and I knew it had already been worked to or past that maximum recommended point.  Still, I decided to 
All's well that ends well
let it have another full rise, then work in a little more vital wheat gluten, with some yogurt to get it from getting too dry, and rise again.                                                                              
Meanwhile, Hubby and I sorted through the wheat, taking out the soft, dirty wheat, and this time, Hubby went straight to the garbage can with it.

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