- Recently local grains have become an area of economic growth. Local grain products, including whole-wheat and sourdough products, are increasingly in demand for their health benefits, unique flavor profiles, and association with local food movements. These local grain economies are beginning to boom, but they lack the technical aid that already exists in the commodity grain systems. This project aims to address the technical needs of local grain economies by exploring potential test bake methods using formulas including whole-wheat and sourdough. The key findings in the project were as follows:
• Screen size (inferring flour particle size) did not affect baking performance.
• My baking skills allowed me to repeat test bakes across independent baking days without significant differences in aspect ratio and loaf volume (strengthening the validity of the data throughout the project).
• There was no systematic influence on loaf quality (aspect ratio or loaf volume) when the duration of starter fermentation was ± 1 hour from the targeted optimum duration.
• To test a flour for a sourdough product, sourdough leavening must be used, and yeast is not an appropriate substitute in the formula (arguably the most important finding from the entire project).
• Any bake method that separated the Red Fife and Espresso flours free-standing loaf aspect ratio by 10% or more was a potential candidate for an optimal method. As such, the optimized method that showed the most promise was the optimized mix-time, no-yeast methods, 25%, method because it met the aspect ratio parameters noted above and showed the largest difference in loaf volume between the samples.
• While there is no current test bake method universally used in the local grain community, a test method of this nature is very much wanted and needed.
Key Words: whole-wheat, sourdough, test-baking, local grain economies