The Fresh Loaf

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Another "Real Bread:" Hamelman's Pain au Levain

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dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Another "Real Bread:" Hamelman's Pain au Levain

Today's bake was the Pain au Levain from Hamelman's Bread. It is the "whitest" bread I bake - the opposite end of a spectrum from the 80% rye I recently posted - yet I also characterize it as a "real bread." 

For some reason, this 3-cut scoring of a bâtard is more challenging to me than the 5 to 7-cut scoring of a baguette. This is my best attempt yet.

These loaves sang long and loudly during cooling. The crust had some nice crackles.

A nice, open crumb, too.

The 1-cut loaf was gifted to friends, along with a big hunk of the 80% rye. We enjoyed the other pain au levain with our dinner of chicken fricasee and Swiss chard. The crust was crunchy, and the crumb was chewy. The flavor was nice, sweet, wheaty pain au levain with no perceptible sourness.

David

Comments

Alpana's picture
Alpana

Hi David,

What else can a newbie like me say about a bread from one master, which is made by another? I have just received my Amazon delivery of 2nd edition of Bread and I will be very happy even if I can do a tenth of justice you have done to this bread.

On another note, I have to thank you for your scoring tutorials, which I have been going through for past few days, as scoring remains my Achille's heel. I am hopeful I will "slash" instead of "tear" one day. 

Alpana

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I'm glad you are finding the scoring tutorial helpful.

David

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

You're outpacing all of us these days, David... Wonderful specimens!

Describing the crumb by "a nice, open crumb, too" could perhaps be the understatement of the day. I'm dripping with envy!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Regarding the crumb: I usually proof this bread in bannetons, but this time I proofed en couche. I wonder if that contributed to the more open crumb than I generally get with this bread.

David

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

but it sure doen't look like it.  That caramelized crust is a killer had has to make the bread taste like 'real bread.'  The crumb is about as good as it gets if it's not one of Ying's baguettes :-) I try not to even talk about scoring......  Why it isn't more sour is surprising since white bread needs sour to give the crumb some taste? 

Nice baking David.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

This bread is meant to be not sour, to the French taste.

One thing I learned at the SFBI Sourdough workshop was how much complex flavor one could get in a plain pain au levain with a healthy starter, a good formula and good fermentation. There is a lot of flavor locked in white flour to be realized through proper technique. Those flavors are subtle but truly delicious. Excess sourness covers up those flavors. That's why Hamelman expressely discourages retardation of the loaves of this particular bread.

David

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

sense David.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

One thing I learned at the SFBI Sourdough workshop was how much complex flavor one could get in a plain pain au levain with a healthy starter, a good formula and good fermentation. There is a lot of flavor locked in white flour to be realized through proper technique. Those flavors are subtle but truly delicious. Excess sourness covers up those flavors.

Couldn't agree more, David - and the potentials of white flour are often overlooked, it seems to me. My current pain de campagne is 'whiter' than my previous version, simply because I have discovered through experimentation that we prefer the flavours that emerge in such a mix. But of course, unlimited variety is still one of the greatest aspects of home-baking...

Goes without saying, nice bread!

Cheers
Ross

Netvet007's picture
Netvet007

i just love the look of that bread.  Please send me two loaves.  I haven't had time to bake bread for  about three weeks.  I have also been procrastinating about getting Hammelmsn's Bread book.  I think you have convinced me to find time to bake some bread again and get my order in for the bread book.  

I too have enjoyed the scoring tutorial but have not done baguettes for awhile to practice technique.  Need to get baking!!

Lisa

BobS's picture
BobS

Especially the crumb.

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Nice bake David!  May sound naive, but is this one similar in flavour and texture to lets say a high hydration baguette?

John

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hmmm ... That's a bit of an "apple vs orange" question.

If you are talking about sourdough baguettes rather than traditional, yeasted baguettes sur poolish, and if you isolate flavor from the overall eating experience, yes. I have made SD baguettes with a very similar flavor. The crumb texture of the pain au levain is chewier than most baguette crumb. The crust is thicker and crunchier.

The biggest difference is the crust: crumb ratio which makes the two very different.

BTW, the overall dough hydration of the pain au levain is 65% - hardly "high hydration." 

David

Wingnut's picture
Wingnut

Another Brilliant Bake Mr. David! Those are some real beauties!

Cheers,

Wingnut

Bixmeister's picture
Bixmeister

Very nice looking bread, David.