I recently found out that the Laucke Golden Wholemeal Bread Mix I've used for the farmstay here at Struan Farm since we opened, as well as for our personal use, has been discontinued. DISCONTINUED! It disappeared from Countdown about a year ago, but the distributor assured me it would be available from either Bin Inn or directly from them. Well, guess what? Not enough sales volume was being sold without Countdown. I learned this past week it's now gone burger entirely from NZ.
I'm seriously disappointed by this news. One problem with the product marketing in my view was that the standard loaf recipe was quite heavy. When I tried it originally I wasn't all that crazy about it, and had guests who reported the same issue. However, once I tried the lighter style loaf suggested at the bottom of the carton, I was sold. As were many, many farmstay guests here at Struan Farm who have RAVED about my freshly baked wholemeal bread! No preservatives, healthy stuff.
I have a stash of boxes in the pantry that will last me awhile, and in the meantime I've contacted Laucke to see if I can get it shipped in directly from Australia. Out of necessity I am also trialling other bread mixes, since freshly baked bread is an important component in our breakfast provisions on offer.
A few days ago it rained so I cracked into my testing programme. I use the bread machine for kneading, then proof and bake the kneaded dough in tins in the oven so it looks like, well, freshly baked bread.
The mixes I bought to test were: 1. Bin Inn Wholemeal Bread Mix, 2. Laucke Multigrain Soy & Linseed (making the lighter style loaf), 3. Edmonds Multigrain Bread Mix, and 4. Bin Inn Multigrain Bread Mix by Laucke. I discovered there really isn't that much choice out there. The last three mixes all looked the same, but called for different quantities of yeast and water. If push comes to shove I may need to devise my own recipe, but I'm trying to avoid that at the moment. I may also need to explore other organic markets around the traps.
Bin Inn Wholemeal Bread Mix. This was a complete disaster! It didn't mix properly in the machine at all. I used the yeast they recommended for purchase, which was powdered and weird. It also didn't have much water for 500 grams of mix. It went from the bread machine directly into the rubbish, 1 1/2 hours wasted.
Laucke Multigrain Soy & Linseed (lighter style loaf). I'd tried this mix originally when I was testing breads for the farmstay, made the basic version they recommend and found that too dense. This time I tried the "lighter style loaf." The dough was quite wet out of the machine. The amount of water called for was 360 mls, my liquid measuring cup goes from 350 to 400, so it's conceivable I used too much water given the consistency of the dough. This one was okay. I'm realising that the challenge will be to find a brown bread that's as flavourful as the Golden Wholemeal. I'm starting to think these multigrain breads are just white breads with wholegrain "bits."
Edmonds Multigrain Bread Mix. This dough came out of the mixer in a tight ball, very cleanly. The bread came out of the oven with a smooth, crisp crust. This bread also tastes okay, I just don't like the hard chewy bits of grain. So as I'm going through this trial I'm deciding I need to find another "wholemeal" bread rather than "multigrain."
Bin Inn Multigrain Bread (Laucke). My main issue with the Bin Inn bread mixes is that they assume everything is done in the bread maker/machine, no information is provided on oven temperature or cooking time if you're not using a bread maker. So one must "wing it," using the other brand mixes as a guide, 220 degrees for 25 minutes or thereabout. I had been so hopeful that Bin Inn mixes would be the answer to my problem, but alas, they are not. This one was gloopy and hadn't mixed entirely in the bread machine, there was a fair amount of unmixed flour. I pulled out what I could, proofed that, and popped it into the oven to see the result. It didn't crisp on the top and hadn't seemed to bake properly.
For this round the choice was between Edmonds and the Laucke mix. John and I sampled both and decided Laucke had the better taste, while Edmonds looked better. Now to try to find some wholemeal mixes rather than multigrain given the radically different style of bread (the wholemeal one from Bin Inn isn't an option, although I may test that with more water and a different yeast...). Or better yet, to convince Laucke to sell my tried and true Golden Wholemeal Bread Mix directly to Struan Farm. These are my immediate challenges!