Four New (Old) Heirloom Wheat Berries. And a Boule.

In April I purchased four varieties of heirloom wheat berries from Breadtopia: Turkey Red, Rouge de Bordeaux, Sonora White, and Red Fife. UPS caused a bit of a hang-up when they delivered to the wrong address, but the customer service at Breadtopia was top-notch in sorting it out. I’m a happy customer.

I’ve read through both of the books I purchased (Leonti’s Bread Lab and Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads), and I’ve baked a little bit out of both. I’m at the point now that I want to try things that aren’t huge departures from how I’ve been baking to see how the finished products compare. With that in mind, a boule with 50% fresh milled Rouge de Bordeaux and 50% King Arthur Bread Flour:

Another added variable is the new Le Crueset Bread Oven. I’ll likely do a review after a few more bakes but so far I think it’s going to get a lot of use in the future. It was a very thoughtful gift.

The Recipe:

  1. Ingredients — 200 grams fresh milled Rogue de Bordeaux, 200 grams King Arthur Bread Flour (400 grams total, 100% baker’s percentage), 274 grams cool water (68.5% hydration), 8 grams sea salt, 1/2 tsp instant yeast.
  2. Combine the flours with the water and mix to combine. Let rest (autolyze) for 45 minutes.
  3. Add the sea salt and yeast and mix for 8 minutes on low speed.
  4. Cover and refrigerate overnight in the mixing bowl.
  5. The next day – shape (I did four stretch and folds, then rolled the dough into a ball) and transfer to a well floured banneton. I used rice flour.
  6. Let rise until 1.5x to doubled, about 2-3 hours, or longer.
  7. Preheat oven and pot to 460F.
  8. Either: Unmold the banneton to a parchment sling, then transfer to the bread oven. OR transfer directly from the banneton to the bread oven. This time I went for transferring to a sling first to reduce the excitement. Cover with the lid.
  9. Bake covered for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake another 25 minutes.
  10. Let cool on a rack.

The 68.5% hydration was derived this way: To keep it manageable I assumed a 60% hydration for the King Arthur bread flour = 120 grams water. Then (assuming again) the Rouge de Bordeaux should be thirstier, I added another 154 grams water, which is 77% of the weight of the Rouge de Bordeaux. Total is (120+154)/400 = 68.5% hydration. I figured at that reasonably moderate hydration I’d be able to get the dough out of the banneton without incident, which turned out to be true.

The Rogue de Bordeaux is interesting. It’s by far the most aromatic of the four grains that I purchased. It’s definitely got a little “baking spice”, or cinnamon to it — I’m guessing it would be terrific french toast. From Breadtopia:

Rouge de Bordeaux quickly topped the Breadtopia favorites list for its smooth, mellow flavor, aroma of spices, and excellent bread baking qualities. Its high (15%) protein content lends itself to an excellent rise and open crumb even when used as an all whole grain flour.


That seems like a fair summation.

The bread itself had a lot of nice qualities — lightly crunchy crust, creamy and slightly spicy crumb, and moderately open crumb structure. Relatively speaking, it didn’t taste especially strongly of “hard red wheat”. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of the crumb.

The recipe itself is pretty simple. I think it’d “take” anything from 10% – 50% fresh milled flour and the behavior would be largely the same. (Except rye, which can be very sticky.) The Rouge de Bordeaux seems pretty forgiving. All in all it’s a decent “starter” recipe that can be used and tweaked to build other things. It’s a good start.

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