This is part two of a short series of experimental baking with the grain grown in Harvest 2020 at Green Acres Farm, Kemberton, Shifnal by Mark and Liz Lea. Part one covers Siskin and Crusoe.
The purpose of these experiments is to test the grain’s baking performance. Each grain is treated the same, with small adjustments for water at the first stretch and fold if necessary. These adjustments are noted below and tell their own story about the grain and how it performs in bread making. The tests use freshly milled flour which will perform differently to aged flour (see Notes on Freshly Milled Flour for more information on this).
How the grains are milled
The grains are all milled in my Komo Fidibus XL tabletop mill. They are all double milled. This means I mill them first at the coarsest setting and then again at the finest setting. Double milling means that it is less effort for the mill to grind the grain on the fine setting and results in a slightly finer grain and a lower grinding temperature.
The grains are tested as wholemeal and as an extraction flour.
Both wheats were milled on an equal setting.
70-72% extraction is the equivalent of a white flour and to achieve this I sieve first through a larger mesh sieve and then a second time through a finer mesh sieve. I then work out the percentage of bran that has been extracted and therefore the extraction rate of the remaining flour.
The Yeoman grain was developed in 1916 by Is Rowland Biffen when he crossed an English landrace, Browick, with Red Fife, a Canadian spring wheat. It has the heritage of having the National Mark for Breadmaking in 1930 ( Ed Dickin)
The data for the 2020 harvest at Green Acres Farm shows Yeoman to have a Hagberg Falling Number (HFN) of 306 and a protein content of 13.69%
The Yeoman extracted 40g bran through a coarse seive and 125g bran through a fine sieve, leaving 375g flour, so 75% extraction. This extraction rate is higher than the Siskin and Crusoe achieved at 72%. This suggests that the grain is soft with a lower bran content than the other grains. The flour when milled was a light colour and the finished breads are also pale coloured.
The above photo shows Yeoman extraction (white) on the left and wholemeal on the right. The extraction flour weighed 375g, the wholemeal flour weighed 500g. You can see the additional rise gained from using extraction flour when using this grain.
The Yeoman performed well as a bread making wheat. It absorbed water as expected, taking 70% hydration for both the wholemeal and the extraction flour (NB. freshly milled flour absorbs water differently to aged flour, see Notes on Freshly Milled Flour for more information on this). The gluten development was as expected with a freshly milled wheat. It rose as expected during fermentation (freshly milled will always be more active in fermentation than aged flour and the gluten is always weaker as it has not yet had time to stabilise so the finished loaf will always be more dense).
Yeoman Taste Test
The Yeoman grain tastes creamy and sweet. It is, in comparison with some of the other grains, quite neutral tasting and makes a good loaf that will be accepted universally. It will make a good blending flour with some of the stronger tasting but weaker performing grains. It also deserves to be showcased as a fine example of an English bread wheat.
The Rivet at Green Acres Farm was grown primarily as a wheat for making pasta and this is traditionally what Rivet has been used for, however, it is interesting to understand how it performs as a bread making wheat. Rivet’s history as a grain is a long one, dating back to the Neolithic era. There is an interesting factsheet on recent Rivet trials.
The data for the 2020 harvest for Rivet shows a HFN of 280 (in the ideal range for bread making) and a protein of 13.18%, again ideal for bread making. However, as is always the case these numbers don’t always tell the whole story. It is only when you bake with the grain that you begin to understand its tolerances when making bread.
The Rivet extracted 20g through a coarse sieve and 150g bran through a fine sieve, leaving 350g flour, so 70% extraction.
The above photo shows the Rivet extraction flour on the left and the wholemeal on the right. The extraction loaf used 350g extraction flour and the wholemeal used 500g flour. You can see from the photo that the extraction flour achieved a less dense crumb, which is to be expected.
The Rivet milled coarser then the Yeoman (and coarser than the Siskin and Crusoe), feeling more gritty (or sandy) than the other flours. The lower extraction rate shows that it has milled coarser than these three other grains with less bran separation from the endosperm. It is a harder wheat than the other three flours tested to date with the separation of the bran from the endosperm being more difficult when milling.
The high bran content contributes to poor gluten development when the grain is freshly milled. The gluten is weak as it not yet stable and this is further exacerbated by the harder, gritty bran shearing through any gluten development. The extraction flour, fared better at gluten development as most of the coarse bran had been removed with sifting.
The flour worked well with 70% hydration for wholemeal and extraction flour. The resulting loaf is quite dense and flat, which was to be expected with the weak gluten development. However, the Rivet has an exceptional taste.
Rivet Taste Test
The Rivet is delicious. It has a complex taste that is malty and sweet. There is a real depth of complex flavours that make is hard to believe that additional flavours hadn’t been added to the loaf. This more than made up for its slightly denser crumb. The Rivet makes exceptional tasting bread.