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Bean Flour


Enzian
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I'm reading Cookwise and trying a number of Mrs. Corriher's recipes.

In her Crusty French bread, she uses 2T of Lima bean flour, which "improves dough performance, and enhances flavor, nutriton, and probably yeast growth."

I don't grind my own coffee beans, so I used my food processor ( :shock: ) to grind my Lima beans. The blades still seem fine, thanks for asking. ;)

Flavor and nutrition are obvious results of using the bean flour. Makes sense. There are probably a ton of simple sugars in the beans for yeasts to divide and conquer, so that's probable, too. But how does 2T of bean flour improve dough performance - and just what is "dough performance"?

I imagine that "dough performance" is a matter of gluten, which is glutenin and gliadin, which are only found in large quantities in wheat flour. So, my idea of "dough performance" must be wrong.

What is Mrs. Corriher speaking of when she says bean flour improves dough performance?

========

This is one of the greatest forums I've ever seen.

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Primarily the bean flour, like Vitamin C, oxidises an enzyme present in fresh flour that degrades the gluten; bean flour also contains some gum to increase dough stability, extra protein and possibly assorted yeast nutrients. It may also change the taste and colour some.

2T is about 4% - a significant amount.

From http://www.faqs.org/faqs/food/sourdough/faq/section-4.html

Several dough improvers including the so called natural conditioners

like ascorbic acid (Vitamin C, you will see that it is added to

nearly all commercial flour) are oxidants that facilitate the

reaction.  Similarly, the french add fava bean or soy bean flour

which has a lipoxygenase which oxidizes flour i.e. takes SH groups

and make them S-S i.e. forms linkages and also bleaches the

carotenoid pigments for a whiter crumb.  These conditioners have a

dramatic effect on the rate of the reaction and the extent to which

the reaction occurs.  I learnt this very dramatically, when I bought

my grain mill:  Flour that you buy has been aged or brominated (to

oxidize the flour which as explained above forms gluten strengthening

cross links & bleaches the carotenoid pigments).  Freshly  milled

flour does not have the benefit of these "improving" i.e. gluten

strengthening actions.  I noticed that my dough would "fall apart"

when kneading very very quickly.  This was because the flour was not

sufficiently oxidized when freshly milled.  This was fixed by adding

vitamin C and  freshly milled soy bean flour (I simply added back

oxidants! It is still not as strong as the strongest flour I worked

with.  No additions will allow you to turn out a decent loaf too -

you just need to know how to handle it).

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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No. The bean flour makes the gluten link more, and degrades an enzyme that attacks the linkages. Effectively it makes it stronger.

Gluten development is mostly by hydration, governed by time in the presence of water. Other than stirring, kneading has little extra effect,

Gosselin, for example makes his baguette a la ancienne by mixing just the flour and the water, and leaving them cool overnight.

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I'm reading Cookwise and trying a number of Mrs. Corriher's recipes.

In her Crusty French bread, she uses 2T of Lima bean flour, which "improves dough performance, and enhances flavor, nutriton, and probably yeast growth."

I use that bread recipe a lot. It's my wife's favorite, so whenever I feel like baking bread, that's generally her request.

I don't use the bean flour, mainly because I don't keep any on hand. I can attest, however, that the addition of the semolina and the balsamic vinegar make a huge difference in the taste of the loaf. I've made mine with and without each, and it's vastly improved with both.

The other trick she mentions, misting the loaf, makes a big difference in the way the crust develops.

Have fun,

Chad

Chad Ward

An Edge in the Kitchen

William Morrow Cookbooks

www.chadwrites.com

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Is there any reason that I, who does not keep any bean flour around, cannot simply add about 1/4 cup mashed cooked beans to a bread dough for the same benefits as bean flour, adjusting the amount water, of course?

I'm going to try it this week.

Edited by browniebaker (log)
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I baked two loaves, yesterday, but my experimentation is far from over.

Mistakes:

Too much oil coating dough in the first rise.

Poor punching down.

Abysmal shaping.

Too much butter on top of loaves prior to baking.

My wife actually did the baking part, but she did not mist them during the last 10 min.

Results I wish to change:

Ultra-buttery, rubbery crust - would've been great on a brioche. :blink: I would like to have a harder, crunchier crust.

Flat loaves like deflated footballs. Perhaps my wife slashed too deep? I would like to see sleek baguettes.

Results I liked:

Crumb flavor was very good. Since this is the majority of the bread, it's not a waste by any stretch.

Overall:

A great product, but not Crusty French Bread.

Questions:

What does "proper kneading" looks like in a KitchenAid stand mixer? At times, the dough looked like it was just hanging onto the hook for a planetary twirl around the bowl. It was hard to make out any action, so I could be wrong.

And, um... :blush: How do you shape a baguette? I can't quite understand what Mrs. Corriher is getting at with her description. I feel I'm close - but not there.

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I have done it. I have created wonderful Crusty French Bread. Flaky and crusty on the outside; tender, soft and wonderful on the inside.

I am happy.

Side Note: When I told my Mom what I was trying to accomplish she said that she makes the best French Bread in her food processor. I just couldn't believe some recipe she pulled from Better Homes and Gardens is gonna perform as well as something by Shirley Corriher, so I started talkin' a little smack. Competition: Bread Battle!

I brought over half a loaf of the "good stuff" I made today and made her some toast.

"You win," she said with one bite.

So anti-climactic.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Hi,

Has anybody here added bean flour to pizza dough to improve its elasticity and dough performance? Thanks!

Bottombracket, you took that question right out of my mouth. :smile:

Hey, welcome to eGullet!

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Hey thanks for the warm welcome :biggrin: I have known of Egullet for a long time (some Google searches lead me to very interesting Egullet threads) but the recent Alton Brown Q & A has finally encouraged me to sign up. There sure is a lot of useful stuff in here, more than those in the FN forums.

I love to cook and bake and I am continually seeking ways to improve my breads and pizzas. The addition of bean flour looks like something that might be good for pizzas so that they will stretch easier without tearing. Speaking of pizza additives, has anyone here used Dough Easy? I have read about it once, it is stated as a natural by-product of milk processing and consists of whey and L-cycteine. It is said that a small amount will improve the doughs handling. I'd love to try it as soon as I know where to buy some.

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I think you all ought to read The Taste of Bread by Raymond Calvel, which was translated by James MacGuire who was a guest in a q&a forum this week. Calvel basically slams the use of bean flour. Why would anyone even go there? For what?

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Well, Shirley says that bean flour "improves dough performance, and enhances flavor, nutriton, and probably yeast growth."

Why does Raymond Calvel slam it? Does it not do these things, or does it hinder other beneficial properties of the dough.

Mr. McGuire just answered a question I asked, and he said that the French use bean flour in their pain ancien. I don't have a problem questioning authority or tradition, but I'm just asking for further info.

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I think you all ought to read The Taste of Bread by Raymond Calvel, which was translated by James MacGuire who was a guest in a q&a forum this week. Calvel basically slams the use of bean flour. Why would anyone even go there? For what?

Thanks for the recommendation, I will read it as soon as I have time. In the meantime, can you enlighten us on why Calvel is adamant against the use of bean flour?

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Briefly, bean flour has lipoxygenase in it and it catalyzes oxidation during intensive mixing, because there is more air incorporated and more dough surfaces are formed. Peroxides are formed, which decompose and release volatile products which alter the balance of the substances which make up the aroma of bread.

That's paraphrased from page 35 of The Taste of Bread.

To quote from the same page "Lipoxygenase is situated at the very "crossroads" of chemical reactions in dough, and can exercise an influence not only on the taste appeal of bread, but also on its nutritional value through the loss of carotenoids and of vitamin A...."

It does indicate all through this book that these effects are exacerbated by the intensive mixing process, which Calvel disdains. But after reading the descriptions of some of the breads people have produced in this thread, I repeat, why go there? Work with good flour, salt, yeast and water and learn how to make a great loaf from the simplest of ingredients before y'all start freelancing.

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Thanks for the information. I wonder though how 2 tbls of bean flour can have such a disastrous effect on the end product, especially whenm Shirley Corriher recommends it. Have you tried making it? How does the taste and aroma differ? Does it indeed improve the dough's handling? Do you think it will work for pizza (by making the dough easier to stretch without inadvertently tearing) Sorry for the numerous questions :smile:

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As McDuff says, oxidizing in general makes the dough whiter and also blander. A common source of excessive oxidation is overworking. That's much easier to do, deliberately or accidentally, with industrial machines than at home, but this is why a lot of artisan bakers like to use methods that involve a relatively short initial kneading followed by strategies like turning the dough to firm it up and finish developing the gluten with less opportunity for oxidation, at least according to the authors of Artisan Cooking Across America (a secondary or even tertiary source, but the one I own).

Since fava-bean flour is an oxidant, you have some of the same risks here. If two tablespoons of bean flour is enough to make a significant chemical difference for the purposes of workability, then it's enough to make a significant chemical difference for the purposes of bleaching. There's a tradeoff between increased workability and gluten development and loss of the earthy, wheaty flavor of the flour. That's not to say that you can't flirt with oxidation and still get good flavor! It just makes it riskier. I'm a little skeptical about all these little additives, though -- it seems like you're being encouraged to take bread flavor out and then put a different flavor back in?

The cottony, super-white and tasteless "french bread" you've encountered at inferior bakeries is produced by hyperoxidation. (Probably they start out with bleached flour, too, but not necessarily.) Wasn't I just reading somewhere on eGullet itself about the role of oxidation in the history of the mid-century decline of the French baguette? It seems to me that I was, though I can't remember where.

Edited by redfox (log)

"went together easy, but I did not like the taste of the bacon and orange tang together"

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i hope you'll excuse my previous attempt at making a joke.

i don't understand why any home baker would go through the trouble of making and using bean flour to "improve" their bread. one can make excellent bread without it. same for pizza dough. i think it's better to spend one's time understanding and making good bread than to bother with such things.

regarding oxydation: some oxydation is desirable. too much oxydation will create a lighter/airy product at the expense of taste. that said, with a yeast roll you *want* to obtain such a lightness, but this is achieved through appropriate mixing.

i would suggest understanding the autolyse method before getting into bean flours. this can greatly benefit almost all doughs, and requires no special ingredients. and to top it off, it reduces the total oxydation while acheiving the same development.

happy baking

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i don't understand why any home baker would go through the trouble of making and using bean flour to "improve" their bread. one can make excellent bread without it. same for pizza dough. i think it's better to spend one's time understanding and making good bread than to bother with such things.

regarding oxydation: some oxydation is desirable. too much oxydation will create a lighter/airy product at the expense of taste. that said, with a yeast roll you *want* to obtain such a lightness, but this is achieved through appropriate mixing.

i would suggest understanding the autolyse method before getting into bean flours. this can greatly benefit almost all doughs, and requires no special ingredients. and to top it off, it reduces the total oxydation while acheiving the same development.

happy baking

Thank you, brother

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Thanks, I guess, for putting me in my place. I didn't know bean flour can evoke such passionate reponses! :biggrin: Like I said before, I love to bake (among other stuff) and I am continually trying to improve on it. The bread that I make isn't bad at all but I'll continue to experiment new techniques and ingredients. I'll try bean flour once, see how it is for myself, and chalk it up to experience. Thanks guys.

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