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Cannabis Infused Bread

20 October 2020
An unbaked loaf of bread on a tray with flour and butter

Cannabis Infused Bread

The baker’s guide to getting high.

Can you conquer cannabis infused bread? If there’s one thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, its that a lot of people secretly wanted to make bread, if only they had the time. Social distancing and economic shutdowns have an unfortunate way of forcing us all to have that extra time.

Making Bread

Maybe the home bread-making craze that caught on early in 2020 is news to you. That’s ok. Bread is still delicious, even if your social media posts aren’t the freshest. What we’re going to talk about in this article will refresh your posts about fresh bread. Cannabis (THC) infused bread. Is it possible? Is it easy? Will it ruin the flavour or texture of my bread?

Basic bread has very simple ingredients: flour, water, yeast and salt. The skill that separates your bread from a wheat-based brick is in the yeast activation and kneading. From what we know of cannabinoids like THC, they are lipophilic, they dissolve in oils and fats. In those four bread ingredients we listed, none of them stand out as being an oil or fat. This brings us to the first question we must examine, will adding oil or fat to our bread recipe ruin the dough? Certain types of bread, like sourdough, always have oil added to the recipe, so adding cannabis either in oil or butter form isn’t out of the question.

Sourdough is a bit more complicated than basic bread because you need a wild yeast starter. Making a starter yeast consists of letting a bunch of flour and water sit around your house to pick up the ambient bacteria (wild yeast), then letting it ferment. It has to be fed and kept alive if you plan on making more than one batch of bread.  You can either do it yourself, or get it from someone who has already done it. We’ve found a very simple procedure with thorough details if you need to know more. We like it because it warns you not to use chlorinated water. (p.s. you can boil water to get ride of chlorine)

 

picture of hand holding bread from Instagram
Slices of homemade bread from Pinterest
Face looking over loaf of sandwich bread from Youtube
Making bread has four main steps:

  1. Mix all the ingredients to make the dough <- add oil here
  2. Let the dough rise (ferment)
  3. Knead the dough
  4. Shape into loaves and bake

Adding oil or butter at the beginning of the bulk fermentation stage can be used to get softer bread flesh. 

We also know that cannabinoids are particular about temperature. THCA turns into THC at 218°F and that THC starts degrading into other things, like CBN, at similar temperatures. So at what temperature is bread baked at? (Please don’t all shout into your screen at once.) The specific temperature will depend on which recipe you are following, but generally, bread is baked at high temperature, between 400°F and 500°F.

That sounds a little hot for cannabis, but maybe its only being baked at that temperature for a short time. Again, recipes all vary, but it appears to us that most recipes call for between 20 and 60 minutes. This brings us to our second question to examine, will the cannabis survive the baking time and temperature required for a crusty bread with a soft, airy crumb? If you’re going to treat your bread like a meat roast, then we’ve seen it suggested to bake bread to an internal temp of 205-210°F, which isn’t that terrible for the THC that was hanging out in the center of your bread. We can’t say any of it would survive closer to the crust though.

Experiment

We’re going to test out making cannabis infused bread while also experimenting with the amount of total oil that is added to the recipe. Less fats in the dough supposedly make a crusty and chewie bread, while more fat makes the bread softer. We will be testing the effect of adding oil to the bread recipe before the first rising (fermentation). We’re making some mini-loaves with four variations of oil.

  1. No oil
  2. 1 tsp oil (5 mL)
  3. 3 tsp oil (15 mL)
  4. 2 tbsp oil (30 mL)

We started with active dry yeast (1 package + 1 tsp sugar and ¼ cup warm water) and let it sit for 15 minutes to activate. Bread recipes call for flour to water ratios between 2:1 and 3:1. The higher the flour ratio, the more yeast and salt is called for. We extrapolated the following recipe from several recipes we’ve seen:

Recipe used for the test:

1 cup all purpose flour
107.5 mL room temp water
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
10 mg THC

flour, salt and oil in four different ratios
mixed bread dough left to rise

Salt, flour, canola oil and THC is mixed together, then water and yeast (mixed) are added. The dough was left to rise on counter for 3 hours covered with plastic wrap so it did not dry out. Then the loaves were kneaded to get consistent textures and shaped into boules before being left to rise in the refrigerator for 2 days. Key thing to note here, you should let your loaves finish rising on the baking dish that you want to use. The loaves were then all baked at the same time, at 475°F for 25 minutes. Some of our observations about the loaves with the different amount of oil were:

  1. The loaves with the most oil left an oily residue after the first rising
  2. The oilier loaves were slightly easier to knead, but also flattened out a bit more
  3. All of the loaves made a nice crispy golden crust

To us, the texture of the bread crumb was indistinguishable between the four loaves of bread. The loaf with the most oil wasn’t any more or less soft than the loaf without any oil. As far as we’re concerned, that tells us that adding oil is unlikely to affect your bread in any significant way, as long as you aren’t the bread equivalent of a sommelier. Alright, great news, but what about the THC, did it survive? If we check out our THC decarboxylation chart, 475°F (246°C) puts us off the scale on the high end. Without having to taste test all the bread, I can be confident that very little of our THC survived.

Baked bread on a wooden board

Is that it then? You can’t make THC infused bread, just go home!?

We don’t want to leave you hanging, so we tried out the same bread recipe with 3 tsp (15mL) of oil at a lower baking temperature. We did 15 minutes at 450°F to develop a crust and then 350°F for 15 minutes to finish it off. This method bakes the bread for 5 minutes longer, but at a 40% lower average temperature. We also increased the THC dose to 20 mg. Something we discussed in a previous post, THC degradation is a function of both time and temperature. Baking at high temperature isn’t the end of the world if its for a short time. The THC doesn’t all vaporize instantly. As far as we can tell, you need a high temperature to get a deliciously crunchy bread crust. That can’t be avoided. To ensure your THC survives, you can shorten the time at high temperature, but you can also increase the starting amount of THC. While this is terrible for precise dosing, only so much THC will disappear per minute. We want to be sure we can deliver what we promised.

The change in baking temperature still achieved the ideal crust for our bread and it wasn’t undercooked. Even though we started with 20 mg THC for the loaf, each slice ended up feeling like a microdose, confirming that we did lose a bit to the heat. Mission completed, THC infused bread. This wasn’t a rousing success, and I would still recommend just spreading infused butter onto a fresh slice, but I do see an advantage to having infused bread. Your bread is infused, now you don’t have to put a thin layer of some other infused spread on it before you make a sandwich or top it with cheese.

Sliced load of bread showing inside

Loaf 1: No Oil

Sliced load of bread showing inside

Loaf 2: One teaspoon of oil

Sliced load of bread showing inside

Loaf 3: Three teaspoons of oil

Sliced load of bread showing inside

Loaf 4: Two tablespoons of oil

Conclusion

Being able to infuse homemade bread with THC opens more possibilities than before for a delicious meal or snack with relaxing effects. Bread making is an ancient art, full of tricks and secret family methods. There are infinite combinations, ratios and temperatures to play around with to achieve the perfect bread. Our goal was to show you that infusing bread with THC not only works, but it doesn’t change anything about the quality of the bread.

A loaf of bread in a napkin. The bread is infused with cannabis oil

copyright Friendibles 2020

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