The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My first pain au levain

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joeg214's picture
joeg214

My first pain au levain

I went with Reinhart's "purist" version of the pain au levain.  I actually managed to handle the higher hydration dough without becoming a sticky mess.  I calculate that I ended up with a 75% hydration.  Everything went pretty well and my only concern was that I over proofed the dough after forming.  Once I t'ferred the dough from the basket to a peel, it immediately flattened out (quite a bit).  I thought I was going to end up with an inedible pancake.  While there was more oven spring than I anticipated, I think it's still a bit on the flat side...

The end result is a crumb that's more open than any of my previous attempts at an artisan bread.  It's chewy but not too firm and melts in the mouth nicely.  The flavor is really wonderful.  While I was concerned with how sour it might be, it was just to my liking.  

I was about to give up but now I'm feeling just a little better :)

 

FaithHope's picture
FaithHope

I think it's beautiful and amazing!!  Great job!!

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Looks great!

-Floyd

varda's picture
varda

Nice baking!  -Varda

joeg214's picture
joeg214

I really appreciate the kind words...  As I'm sure you know,  bread making can be a bit difficult (at best) for the beginner.  It's nice to get some encouragement along the way :)  I've definitely gleened much valuable information from this site and learned quite a lot in a short amount of time.

Thanks again!

Joe

 

lumos's picture
lumos

Is this your FIRST pain au levain?  Gosh....  Must say it's really impressive!

Look forward to seeing your second and third and many, many more. :)

best wishes,

lumos

joeg214's picture
joeg214

Thanks so much :)

Maverick's picture
Maverick

That is an amazing start. I would be happy with that anyday. Do you have any pictures of the bottom?

joeg214's picture
joeg214

Thanks!  

Gee, I never thought to take a pic of the bottom :)  Here it is...  I use a baking stone on the middle rack.  On the very bottom I have my tray for steaming.  I've found that if I don't use a tray at the bottom, or place it on the lower racks, the direct heat tends to over-do the bottom of anything I'm baking.  Fortunately, my oven has very even heat so it's not even necessary to rotate through the bake.  

I'm just pleased that my starter actually worked LOL.  

Tomorrow, I've got something different planned...  a nice genoise cake for my brother (topped with whipped cream and fresh strawberries) :)  No one in the family has been able to re-create my 94 year old mother's "birthday sponge cake", but my first try last week was pretty darn good; I think I should have all the "kinks" out tomorrow :)

Take care,

Joe

 

Maverick's picture
Maverick

First... looks good. I wonder if it could use a little more heat on the bottom (or just more time). But I am not an expert.

Second... if you get the genoise cake going, you have to share the recipe. Is it a white or yellow genoise cake? I can't seem to find a good white genoise recipe. There was a bakery here that used to make it (with whipped cream and strawberries like your grandmother's). But they moved back to China and closed the bakery several years ago. There are other bakeries that make good ones, but it just isn't the same.

lumos's picture
lumos

Your strawberry cake sounds very much like what we call 'Strawberry short cake' in Japan, made of soft, fluffy Genoise with lots of whipped cream and strawberries. Not 'short' at all..... Yet another case of 'lost in translation.' :p