The Fresh Loaf

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Pain au Levain wins first prize at Harvest Fair

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joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

Pain au Levain wins first prize at Harvest Fair

This wonderful bread, pain au levain with mixed sourdough starters, from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread, brought me a first prize at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair.  This was the first time I ever entered anything in the fair.  I love this bread, and it has become a regular around our house.  It can't be beat for flavor.  My only tweak is to add a mix of seeds on the dough exterior before baking and to borrow 1 oz from the bread flour and give it to the whole wheat flour.  Here are some pictures, the first being the levain, then the first place exhibit tag (blurry, sorry), then yours truly, pretty excited.  Thank you, Jeffrey Hamelman, for this wonderful bread! 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

on such a wonderful bake and Harvest Award.  Just fantastic!

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

I didn't realize how important this would be to me, and at my age too!  And there's even a modest cash award to boot.  Goes to show how important it is to love what you do, which I'm sure you know very well.

Joy

gmabaking's picture
gmabaking

What a fun thing to do, and then to win too! Great looking bread and I think your bread is quite an accomplishment anywhere--land of good bread or a desert oasis.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

That's just terrific! 

That Sonoma County is such an artisinal bread Mecca (or Jerusalem) makes your win all the more special.

David

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

I appreciate your comments so very much, especially from such an artisanal baker as yourself.  As you indicated, in this "holy"--er "holey" (pun intended) land of bread, people can find fabulous loaves at any number of bakeries and markets.  So, for the amateur baker, it's both inspiring and challenging to come up with the really good stuff.  As I said before, when you love what you're doing, that makes all the difference!

Joy

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

What a wonderful experience for you and on your very first try!!!!  I am really impressed especially knowing what you were up against there in Sonoma....

Thanks for posting and the photos too!

Take Care,

Janet

hanseata's picture
hanseata

It's a really beautiful loaf, and I bet it tastes very good.

I haven't tried that one, yet, my favorite is the 5-grain Sourdough with Rye Sourdough.

Karin

isand66's picture
isand66

Congrats!  Beautiful looking bread.

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Well done ...

You totally deserved it by the looks of that loaf :)

Cheers,
Phil

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

gmabaking, Janetcook, hanseata, isand66, PiPs:

What an inspiring (and overwhelming) response!  I so appreciate these kind words coming from such an accomplished group of bakers.  

I will look at that 5-grain, hanseata.  The thing that's so amazing about the pain au levain with mixed starters is that, as Hamelman writes in his "sidebar," there is such a small percentage of preferment in this formula.  Apparently the chemistry (assuredly not my forte!) in the combination of the "white" liquid starter and the very dense rye starter gives the bread that incredible flavor--and its great keeping quality.  I also realized (AHA moment!), after maintaining the two starters for over a year, that I can, with planning ahead, take an ounce from the "white" starter and feed it with rye flour (I use whole-grain rye) for a couple of days and have a lively rye starter (-: . 

Joy

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Joy,

I had to smile when I read about your  'ah - ha' moment.  I have had many while baking these past couple of years.  Things that 'should' have been so obvious but simply were not for soooo long....although I did figure out the starter trick early on simply because maintaining 2 was just too much work.  I love those moments and look forward to many more which is probably one of the reasons I continue to bake.....the mystery keeps revealing itself if I but pay attention :-)

Take Care,

Janet

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

for sharing.  You are right, the permutations seem endless, and that's why this "craft" is so enticing and so rewarding.   My tendency is to repeat "tried and true" (OK, I'm a bit of a scaredy-cat), but, when I look at what I've baked over the past 6-7 years, even I am amazed.  And that's just bread, not pastries.  And this virtual baking community is so encouraging, isn't it!

Joy

Elagins's picture
Elagins

I'm thrilled for you.

Stan

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

Todah rabah!

Joy

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

What a thrill !  

Celebrating with you :)

Anna

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

Thank you Anna for your kind words.  (Apologies for tardy reply but glad to be back on TFL.)

Joy