BOB’S RED MILL WHEAT FLOUR: WHOLE IN ONE

Bob’s Red Mill 100% Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour – 5 lb. – Without Additives

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Pros: Contains nothing but Hard Red American Whole Grain Wheat – and it’s Stone Ground, to boot.  Unfortified – no added iron or folic acid.  Bakes-up into a tasty and attractive Whole Wheat Potato Bread.

Cons: Bob’s online “Where to Find” update required – two of three closest stores listed at their website didn’t actually carry Bob’s products.

It was great to finally find a truly hypoallergenic multivitamin whose ingredients I can tolerate.  Many feature an absence of iron, copper and nickel – metals whose side-effects outweigh their benefits when over-ingested.  In fact, supplemental iron is contraindicated in men as a potential kidney threat.

Natural Folates [found in green leafy vegetables] are preferable to synthetics found in fortified flours.
Natural Folates [found in green leafy vegetables] are preferable to synthetics found in fortified flours.

My new daily supplement cans these metals – and it also replaces synthetic folate (folic acid) with a patented, natural version known as Metafolin.  The problem now became a matter of overload – due to the ubiquitous presence of folic acid in a variety of carb-heavy foods – from pasta to most leading brands of flour.

Bob’s Dogma

An internet search of additive-free flour led me to the Bob’s Red Mill website.  Their 100% Whole Wheat offering “contains all the precious oil from the wheat germ, fiber from the wheat bran and protein from the inner endosperm – nothing added or removed”.  From seventy listed flours and corn meals, I sought their Unbleached White All Purpose and Whole Wheat Pastry Flour.

Caution - unsupervised kitchen help can often run amok.
Caution – unsupervised kitchen help can often run amok.

Oops…

I settled for the Whole Wheat Flour because it was all I could find.  The local Shop & Save and Shaw’s supermarkets were listed as vendors, but Hannaford’s was the only store of the closest three that carried any of Bob’s products.  Namely, only one of Bob’s products.

Hodgson Mill also markets unbleached flour containing no bromides, iron or folic acid.
Hodgson Mill also markets unbleached flour containing no bromides, iron or folic acid.

His lonely 100% Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour is front-panel listed as appropriate for use in a number of baked goods – including brownies, cakes and bagels.  My experience with whole wheat flour not cut to 50% in a recipe was one of leaden heaviness.  For a while now I’ve had a-hankerin’ for a loaf of traditional fluffy potato bread.  Let’s see how this trusty standard bakes-up with Bob’s.

My Old Fashioned Ways

Red potatoes are currently in stock here due to their great home-fry potential, but will also do nicely for our purpose.  Peel, boil and mash three medium-sized examples and allow to cool.  Reserve one cup of the potato water when draining.

A trio of red spuds on the bread line.
A trio of red spuds on the bread line.

In a mixer with dough hook attached, place a half-teaspoon sea salt and a tablespoon of sugar in the bowl.  Add 1-1/2 cups of Bob’s 100% Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour and two teaspoons of active dry yeast.  Start the mixer and add the potatoes.  Add one tablespoon of olive oil and gradually add a half-cup of the reserved spud water.  As the mixture comes together, add small amounts of flour until the dough is elastic and pulls-away from the bowl cleanly.

Resting dough as it awaits a first rise.
Resting dough as it awaits a first rise.

Knead for 6-8 minutes and transfer to a buttered bowl whose size is sufficient to accommodate a first-rise.  At this point, some cooks cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  This simple method of fine-tuning the dough dates back to the days before recipes were chronicled and measurements were standardized.

On a warm day the first rise can sneak-up on the best of bakers - better let a friend or three keep an eye on things.
On a warm day, the first rise can sneak-up on the best of bakers – better let a friend or three keep an eye on things!

Kneadful Things

An hour is all it takes to complete the first rise.  Roll the dough out onto a floured board and knead for a couple of minutes – long enough to exhaust any large air pockets.  Form into a pan-appropriate ball and allow to rise an additional 30-minutes @ 85 degrees.  Eyeball the second rise to your liking and brush-on an egg wash just before tossing it in.

A simple egg-wash before baking will encourage a crunchy, golden brown crust.
A simple egg-wash applied before baking will encourage a crunchy, golden brown crust.
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After the first rise, dough should be soft. Only a short knead will be needed – as it shall rise again…

How Long A Wait?

In the Pyrex pan shown, 48-minutes @ 375 degrees (Fahrenheit) will produce an internal temperature of 200 degrees – which equals perfection in the world of bread.  The use of an instant-read thermometer is the best method – my Epica Pen-Shaped example is accurate and lists for less than $20 (US).

The smell of bread fresh from the oven will always attract a crowd.
The smell of bread fresh from the oven will always attract a crowd.

Where and How Much?

Until Bob and crew update the local vendor feature at their website, there are several online flourists who can provide and ship a reliable cross-section of Bob’s product – the first of which is Bob’s.  His format is quite user-friendly.  Amazon.com and Swanson Health Products also emerged during my initial search.

Quality flour provides a fine texture and delicate crumb not usually characteristic of whole wheat flour.
Good quality flour provides a fine texture and delicate crumb uncharacteristic of the whole wheat variety.

Research reveals that Bob’s is one of two American companies that don’t enrich their flours (the other is Hodgson Mill out of Illinois).  Pasta is a different story – the Italian import Pastificio Di Martino is a lone option, if you can find their unconventional shapes locally.

Using a 1-3/4 quart Pyrex dish makes the resulting square loaf simple to store.
Using a 1-3/4 quart Pyrex dish makes the resulting square loaf simple to store.

I paid $4.99 (US) for a 5-pound bag of Bob’s Red Mill 100% Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour – a price that is competitive with premium brands such as King Arthur (a company that does fortify their flours).  As of this posting, the Bob’s website features a printable coupon good for $1 off any one of their products.  I kinda like the only one I found.

Thanks to Bob, today there is Toasted Cheese on Whole Wheat as part of a tasty lunch!
Thanks to Bob, today there is Toasted Cheese on Whole Wheat as part of a tasty lunch!

Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods, Inc.
13521 SE Pheasant Court
Milwaukie, Oregon

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