The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

French style sweet levain boule

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Skibum's picture

French style sweet levain boule

Well after 2 disastrous bakes in a row, it was nice to get a good result. I have borrowed tips and techniques from Ken Forkish, Chad Robertson and Peter Reinhart. I prefer a sweet rather than sour loaf so use the levain when is quite your, like CR.

I autolysed for 30 minutes usiong 100F water, then added the levain, mixed, added salt and yeast and rested for 20. After a lengthy bulk on the counter and overnight in the fridge, I shaped and proofed in a wire mesh collander lined with  2 layers of rice floured linen  for 45 minutes and baked this @ 75% hydration in a hot cast DO for @ 500F for 12 minutes, then uncovered for another 10, turning. I am getting better at both pre-shaping and shaping and I proofed this seam side down, so it would bake seam side up ala KF. I was worried the seams wouldn't open so I scored a single crescent shaped slash. It also looks like the seams did burst as well.

I like the boule format for sandwiches and although this is only 300 grams of flour, a small loaf I am going to need a longer bread knife!

Final formula:

300 g bread flour, total

225 g water, total

Levain @ 100% 50 g

Coarse sea salt 7 g

instant yeast scant 1/4 tsp

So fresh baked bread, home smoked pastrami, smoked tomato and corn salsa and smoked carrot and squash soup. Rats, out of creme fraiche . . . but still mighty fine eating!

Happy baking folks! Brian



Casey_Powers's picture

I absolutely love the shape ceust and crumb!  You have such a nice rise.  This is perfect!  So happy it worked well!  

warm Regards,


Janetcook's picture

Such wonderful colors on the crust of this loaf.  Love the shape.  It is beautiful.

Nice to hear it was as tasty as it was pleasing to the eye :)


dabrownman's picture

Ski.  It really rose well and the color is gorgeous.  If you prefer sweet to sour bread then we need to get you going on.yeast water - never sour always sweet.

Well done and happy baking Ski

Skibum's picture

. . . definitely on the list and I have tried twice now without success. I will find some organic raisins tomorrow and start again and blog the effort, so I can get some coaching from the YW experts here. I have been having a lot of fun with the smoker and the Charcuterie book and have duck breast proscuitto curing. Between these two things my bus just rolled into flavourtown and I am in foodie heaven!

Happy baking!  Brian

Skibum's picture

I always appreciate your kind comments! I was very pleased with the rise I got on this one. I like the boule shape for this sized loaf for sandwiches and toast. I had been lining my plastic mixing bowls with rice floured linen and they were sticking badly to the linen. The last couple of loaves, I have lined a wire mesh colander with linen and viola, no sticking! I do want to get a proper banneton at some point but can't find anything local and wants $40 or so. The banneton or brotform really gives your loaves an attractive appearance.

Happy baking folks!


yeasty-loaf's picture

A gorgeous (as us english would say) Cob. It's looks fantastic with an amazing crumb. 

All I can say is wow!


Skibum's picture

. . . it is! Many thanks Kris!

ldavis47's picture

beautiful looking bread. Congrats. For less expensive bannetons try


Skibum's picture

. . . GREAT site for cheap bannetons if you live in the USA. I was going to order 3 @ six bucks or so, but the $54 Fedex shipping charge cratered that deal and there was no way to change shipping options. Still for TFLer's in the USA check this out:

Anyhow Lloyd, thanks for the reply, Brian

isand66's picture

Beautiful loaf!  I love the crust and shape oft his one.



breadsong's picture

Hi Brian,
What a beautiful boule - such great color and a fabulous pattern on that crust!
:^) breadsong


isand66's picture

Oh and that pastrami....killing me!

bakingbadly's picture

My goodness, that's one nifty looking loaf. Just gorgeous. 


Skibum's picture

Thanks guys I was pretty happy with this bake. Now I have to see if I can do it again.

Anyhow, I awoke early this morning to find this fine looking fellow bedded down in my back yard:

Three hours later, he is still resting here, head down and sleeping. He has been a regular visitor for the 4 years I have lived here and grown from a slender yearling buck with single spike antlers into an impressive specimen!

I speak to him softly when I encounter him and he is apparently tolerating my presence. He didn't even get up to challenge me when I stepped outside this morning in the near dark. He is resting about 14 feet from my back door. Pinned down by a mule deer buck! Time to make bread. Anyhow, I thought my tfl friends might like to see my old friend Spike!

Happy baking!  Brian


dabrownman's picture

mule deer were drawn to bread wine and smoked meats even before the bread and smoked meats were on the plate? Gorgeous buck you have there.  He is very comfortable in you back yard and with you.  Well done!

isand66's picture

What a beautiful friend you have there!  He looks like a garden statue :).

Skibum's picture

It is always a thrill to see him in the yard. I watched him out the window for about 3 hours this morning. Pretty neat! :-)

Darwin's picture

The bread and buck are both very nice.