[Smashy the Hammer] [An Aspiring Luddite]
I carry no phone
An aspiring Luddite
In a wired world.
[Jeff Berry]
Jeff Berry is an early adopter of the Internet and the Web, a late adopter of Twitter, and declines to adopt Facebook. With the death of Google+, he's experimenting with federated platforms. He admins a medievalist Mastodon instance, and can found on the PlusPora diaspora pod. He hates cell-phones.

Bread, Compare and Contrast
25 August 2011

Sometimes the scientist in me rears its ugly head and forces me to subordinate my casual, artisanal cooking style to a solid, down-to-earth bout of regimented experimentation. Such was the case the other day, when I decided to see just what effect whey had on bread.

I usually have whey around, since I'm making cheese pretty regularly, and I don't want to waste it. I've been using it in bread for a while, but on a sort of ad-hoc basis and without getting a good baseline to work from. To change that, I decided to make two batches of bread, one using water and the other using whey. I would do this twice, once with a plain white bread and once with a rye bread.

[Bread Dough]

Round one
White Bread - Water versus Whey

The process was identical: mix the ingredients in the KitchenAid with the dough hook for four minutes. Let rise 80 minutes, then cook for 25 minutes at 375F. I had to add a bit of water to the whey batch during the kneading just to get the dough to hold together. A bit is perhaps a 1/2 tsp dripped in a few drops at a time. The one variable which was not controlled was temperature of liquid. The water was cool, while the whey was just out of the fridge. (I might try this again and correct for that.)

I expected the whey bread not to rise as quickly or as high as the water, and I was not dissappointed. My theory is that the acid from the whey is not as conducive to the yeast growth as the nuetral-pH water.

[Bread Dough]

The whey loaf texture was denser and chewier than the water loaf. My wife preferred the water-bread to the whey-bread, since the latter had a distinctive sour or tart note from the acid liquid. I kind of like that sour taste, but chacun a son gout.

Round two
Rye Bread - Water versus Whey

The process was the same as above, right down to having to add a few dribbles of water to the rye. Again, as expected the whey loaf didn't rise as much. The texture was chewier as well, although the difference was not as pronounced as it was in the white loaves - and both rye loaves were chewier than either white loaf. My wife preferred the whey loaf this time, I'm guessing because the natural sweetness of the rye offset the sourness of the whey to some extent.

Ultimately, the results didn't surprise me qualitatively, but the quantitative results were interesting. That is to say, I expected the water loaves to rise more, but was a little surprised by how much more they rose.

They were all good, though ...

© 2011 Jeff Berry
The Aspiring Luddite