The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Ananda's Pain au Levain using both a Wheat Levain and a Rye Sourdough

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BarbaraK's picture
BarbaraK

Ananda's Pain au Levain using both a Wheat Levain and a Rye Sourdough

I have just come across Ananda's wonderful recipe  (based on Hamelmann's) and photographs. Thank you so much Ananda - those loaves are an inspiration. 

I should like to know if it's possible to halve the recipe without drastically changing the outcome. Does anyone know or has anyone tried to do this as I would love to try it?  Thank you.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Barbara,

Thank you for your very kind words; this is some time ago now.   Do you mean this post:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/21684/rye-and-wheat-breads-january-2011-not-changing

There is no reason you cannot make half the recipe.

What flours do you use to bake this loaf?

All good wishes

Andy

BarbaraK's picture
BarbaraK

Hi Andy

Andy thanks for your reply, I can't find the post now but it was referring to

Pain au Levain using both a Wheat Levain and a Rye Sourdough and I think you said it was your version of a  Hamelman recipe.

I have been using 150 g. Prior's organic stone-ground whole rye with 700 g. Redbournebury Mill unbleached stoneground organic white (I am in the UK).   I've previously only baked with fresh yeast but I have my first batch

of  whole rye sourdough starter starting to bubble and I'm very excited about  it. I wondered if the above bread would

be a bit advanced for a first sourdough attempt but your loaves are so seductive that I'm going ahead - nothing ventured...

Do you think I can halve this recipe ? Many thanks for your help. .

ananda's picture
ananda

Using local flours should make it great Barbara.,

You may not be able to develop the dough to the same extent, as I used quite a strong industrial white flour in that particular recipe.    Using just the rye sourdough as leaven should be ok too, if you do this try pre-fermented flour % of c.20-25%.   Yes, as I noted, you can cut the recipe in half

Best wishes

Andy

BarbaraK's picture
BarbaraK

Thanks again Andy for your sage advice about the pre-ferment.  I have contacted Bakery Bits - from whom I buy my flour -to try to find the protein and ash content figures for the Redbournbury white flour so hope to hear from them soon but I know that will not give me the gluten content which, I see from your blog, is pretty important.

There was no data on  the Redbournbury website.  There does seem to be a lack of essential information on the British mill sites but to be fair, having lived in Ontario and England, I do wonder if the instability of the British climate makes it rather more difficult for them to predict, or even estimate,  the figures  compared with the Canadian Continental climate.  However, considering the upsurge in the numbers of amateur home bread-bakers, it would be good for them to give some indication of essential points to help and  encourage us.

I've also been using Mulino Marino flour (from Bakery Bits) (naughty I know because of the transportation - but very  nice) and their information is pretty substantial.  I have some of the Farino Tipo 2 de Grano Tenero "Buratto" given as gluten 12.8 - Protein 15.1 - falling no. 300 Assorbimento (? don't know what this is but I'm sure others do) 58.3..

  Do you think I might try this on my first attempt at this loaf in place of the white Redbournebury bread flour, then sticking to your original recipe without changing anything?

I'm sorry to bother you again and thank you so much for your advice and time Andy. It's great to have so much encouragement for my baby-steps into sourdough baking.

Cheers, Barbara

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Barbara,

First off, and easy but important to point out.   I would anticipate the figures quoted for the Italian flour are given for dry weight.   Given your average flour has a moisture content of 14%, you can probably now understand why those figures for gluten and protein are so high.   The falling number is measured in seconds, and is a standard test used by millers to determine the amylase content in the flour.   It measures the number of seconds it takes a plunger to drop to the bottom of a test tube containing a slurry of the flour sample mixed with boiling water.   The other figure relates to water absorption.   Please do not relate this to the dizzy heights of hydration often seen on TFL for fabulous artisan loaves; the 2 are not so connected, and again that figure is arrived at through the use of a standard test.

You are not too far off being completely correct about UK flour being subject to lack of consistency on account of our climate.   It's not quite as simple as that, however.   The Allinsons flour I used in the formula you have been riffing on is largely milled from UK grown wheat...produced to consistent and appropriate standards which mean it fares well when compared with Canadian hard wheat!   But, it's grown praerie-style in East Anglia using lots of chemicals, particularly nitrogen-based fertiliser; and its yield is prodigious at the side of Canadian-grown equivalents.

Still don't think there is any excuse for it.   The miller has to get their wheat tested before milling.   There is no excuse for not passing that information on to the baker....whether large-scale or home-producer.   That's my opinion anyway.

By the way, how do you know that the Redbournbury flour is milled from British wheat?

I've considered buying some of the Mulino Marino flour....but have to say the price put me off.   And anyway, I would have to buy a lot of this flour if it turned out to be good.   I don't like paying more than £1 per kilo of flour, and really want to pay 70p.   That way I can actually make some money and make my business viable for the future.   How much is he wanting for the fancy Italian flour???   I am sure you could sub it if you wanted, the analysis indicates good bread flour.

Best wishes

Andy

BarbaraK's picture
BarbaraK

Again very many thanks for all the technical information and points to look out for.  Without the enormous help from the many experienced bakers on TFL, including yourself, it would be so difficult to get things anywhere close to right.

The Marino flour is mostly about 1 pd.30p per kilo.

Regarding your question on the Redbournbury flour, you are right of course and I don't know if it is British wheat other than their statement that their "range is principally from locally grown grains". Foster's Mill, which I have also used and like, state categorically "our wheat is English".  Shipton Mill, which I haven't yet tried but I know others like it, specifies where they use Canadian wheat and also that their flour is "principally from locally-grown grains".So I choose as best as I can and mostly go for organic and stoneground.  I do agree with you that we should be given more data on the flours since otherwise it tends to be trial and error (of course there's lots of that in any case) which is discouraging for new home-bakers.

Regarding the cost of flour I absolutely understand your need to make your business viable for the future and I do wish you all the best for that.  Home-bakers, on the other hand, are in a much more fortunate position.  However expensive the flour I can still make a far superior loaf cheaper than any "artisan-style" bread I can buy locally and that includes delivery, electricity and not to mention all the fun.

Once I get going with the starter I will definitely try the Marino flour as well as my usual.

Best regards

Barbara