When I started milling my own flour last fall I suddenly had a windfall of wheat bran. Many of the breads I made would use 100% whole wheat flour, but others might call for 80% or 90% extraction flour. This means that you turn the total weight of wheat berries into a certain smaller percentage of flour. When I mill 100 grams of wheat berries I get almost exactly 100 grams of flour to start. But I can choose to sift out some of the bran, say 10 grams worth, to leave me with 90 grams total of flour, or a 90% extraction rate.
Using slightly less bran can help create a smoother dough and one that rises better. Over the past few months though I have built up a formidable store of bran in the freezer. Pain au son is a French bran bread that serves as a delicious and easy way to use up this accumulated wheat bran. I’ve made it twice in the last few weeks and have found it to be a fantastic sandwich bread that holds its shape well without being overly dense.
The French take their bread very seriously, and the bread must actually be at least 25% bran to be referred to as pain au son. My fiancée and I are heading to France in June for 2.5 weeks on our honeymoon, and I look forward to trying any bread I can get my hands on.
Don’t expect this bread to get a great (or any) oven spring, so be patient when it is proofing to make sure it can fully rise. The second time I make this I wasn’t as willing to wait, and ended up with a flatter, denser, loaf. Still tasty, but not ideal.
I think what I really like about this loaf is that it doesn’t taste like it has almost 2 cups of wheat bran in it. The honey helps counteract the potentially overwhelming earthy-ness of the bran and it ends up tasting just like any other light wheat loaf. Enjoy!
Pain au Son – Makes 1 loaf
|AP Flour||320 g (2 ½ C)||63%|
|Whole Wheat Flour||190 g (1 ½ C)||37%|
|Wheat Bran||130 g (1 ¾ C)||25%|
|Water||450 g (2 C)||88%|
|Honey||60 g (3 T)||12%|
|Yeast||5 g (1 ½ t)||1%|
|Salt||10 g (2 t)||2%|
Combine flour, water, and wheat bran in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low speed for 2 minutes, until there are no dry bits of flour. Let rest for 30 minutes.
Following the rest add in the honey, salt, and yeast and knead for 5-7 minutes, until a smooth dough has formed that clears the sides of the bowl. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and let rise until doubled, about 1.5 to 2 hours. Butter and flour a loaf pan and set aside.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat out to 6×8 inches. Form the loaf by rolling up the length of the dough (working from the short side). With each full rotation pinch the creases to create a bit of surface tension. As you roll it will get a bit longer as well, just make sure that when you place it in the pan it touches each edge. Place in the loaf pan and cover; let rise for 1.5 hours, or until the dough crests the top of the pan. After 1 hour preheat the oven to 375 F.
Bake in a 375 F oven for 45 minutes, turning halfway through. Let cool for 2 hours before slicing.
Recipe adapted from Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Traditions from Around the World.