Saturday, February 6, 2010

Product Review: Hi-maize Natural Fiber

I seldom bake a straight loaf of white bread. I'm always looking for new types of flour, new grains, and interesting add ins. Sometimes it's just a random mad addition when I look into the fridge and pull out some leftover item and toss it into the bread.

And sometimes there's an actual plan. Like when I find a new ingredient, and that's all I add to my basic recipe to see what the result will be.

King Arthur Flour is one of my favorite places to order baking supplies. The service is good, the selections are interesting, and customer service is great. And I'm always finding new things to try.

When I saw Hi-maize Natural Fiber on the King Arthur website, I had to try it. After all, fiber is a good thing, and although whole wheat bread can be tasty, sometimes you just want a nice loaf of white. And according to the King Arthur website, a loaf of bread baked with this stuff can have more fiber than a loaf of whole wheat.

Hi-maize, according to King Arthur Flour, is made from corn, it's actually a corn starch, but it's made from a different strain of corn, so the starch isn't digestible the way regular corn is, and it behaves like the fiber in whole wheat. So, okay, it's good for you. Now what?

The Hi-maize fiber looks a lot like cornstarch. Same color and texture. Not something that I normally toss into bread, even on my craziest day. But it's made for baking, so in it went. When I first added it into the bread dough, the texture of the dough changed. It got sort of spongy and marshmallowy and fluffy. Which is quite odd in a bread dough where you're looking for a shiny, stretchy dough.

After some kneading, though, the fluffiness disappeared, and the dough looked like any normal bread dough. The rising and the punching and the shaping and the baking was pretty unremarkable, as well. I added some sesame seeds to the top of the loaf, and slashed and got a nice oven spring. All still pretty unremarkable.

The bread itself was, well, it was bread. The Hi-maize didn't seem to change anything at all in terms of taste or texture. Which in this case is probably the most desired result. I ended up with a nice loaf of white bread with all the fiber of a loaf of whole wheat. Not bad at all.

I'm curious to see what Hi-maize will do in other baking recipes. That fluffiness that I noticed might be an asset when making cakes or cookies or muffins, or it could be a disaster up here at high altitude. More experiments await.


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Ellie said...

Great blog! I was looking for information on Hi-Maize fiber and your post helped. I used to bake a lot of bread by hand and prefer it to using the machine(although the machine fills a niche). My son recently moved to Denver and I will share your blog with him. When he gets more settled, he will enjoy doing some creative cooking and baking.

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