The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

pain au levain

  • Pin It
varda's picture
varda

I continue to bake in my mud oven - in fact I haven't baked any bread at all in my "indoor" oven so far this summer.   It is a steep learning curve.   Since I last posted, I have added a thermometer and a door (essential) a peel (helpful) and have started to use parchment paper to keep things cleaner.   I continue to make my slow progress through Hamelman's Bread.   Today I tried Semolina with a levain.  (page 171)   I split it into three small loaves which are a bit more manageable.    Here they are. 



and the crumb



When I finished baking, I put tonight's dinner (chicken and vegetables) in a dutch oven into the oven and let it cook with the "leftover" heat for several hours.   And served with bread of course.

wally's picture
wally

With a new baking job I've been overwhelmed to the point of hardly having time to enjoy posts on TFL let alone contribute.  But as the 4th has approached I found a day off to recharge my batteries, revisit some breads I love to bake, and try an experiment in dinner rolls involving ciabatta dough.


First, revisiting old friends - in this case Hamelman's mixed starter pain au levain, and, fougasse. 


Over time I've found that the subtle flavors that are imparted by a mixed starter of my everyday levain and rye levain, combined with a small introduction of whole wheat flour to the final dough, make this pain au levain my go-to bread of choice.  There is noticeable sourness in the baked loaf, yet not so overwhelming that it obscures the other flavors imparted by the mixture of grains and starters.


   


(A little crackly crust for David S here)


.          


Plus, I have to admit, it's just plain fun to be able to use both starters simultaneously in constructing one dough.  Usually I find myself grabbing one or the other starters out of the fridge (now that it's unbearable summer here in D.C.) and staring somewhat ruefully at the one which goes unused.  So Hamelman's mixed starter sourdough not only satisfies my taste buds, but assuages any sense of guilt over favoring one levain over the other.


The fougasse I haven't baked in some time, but I had promised compatriots at my favorite pub that on Saturday I would appear with snacks in hand.  And what better way to share than with a niçoise olive and sea salt fougasse! 


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The beautiful leaf shape was shortly admired and much more rapidly dismantled by my fellow pub mates!  I've tried these with a variety of additions - roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and traditional anchovies.  In any incarnation, I find them quickly devoured.  And let's face it, they are a 'fun' bread because of their distinctive shape.


My third bake on Saturday was with a traditional ciabatta dough of 72% hydration.  But instead of creating the usual 1 lb. loaves I decided to cut the dough into 1.5 oz increments and bake dinner rolls with them - ciabattinis as I like to call them. 



The dough makes for a quick and easy dinner roll that can be bagged and frozen once cooled, ready to be pulled out and thawed as needed.  Most of my dinner rolls contain healthy doses of butter, so I find this very simple roll - just flour, water, salt and yeast - to be a nice change and a wonderful sop for any dish that contains oils or juices.


      


The other eventful recent occurrence was a delightful 2-day workshop at King Arthur Flour in mid-June on wood-fired oven baking, taught by Dan Wing who, with Alan Scott, wrote the 'bible' on wfo's - The Bread Builders.  It was an eye-opener for me in that my conceptions of wfo's as mainly pizza makers were thrown out the window as we not only baked wonderful breads, but cooked equally wonderful meals on them. Those who are interested in reading more about my second 'excellent adventure at KAF' can find my recounting here.


Happy baking and Happy 4th of July to all!


Larry

emily_mb's picture

Is leftover a starter or a sponge?

June 17, 2010 - 6:35am -- emily_mb

I am a newbie trying to follow Eckhardt and Butts' recipe for pain au levain.  In step 1 you create a sourdough starter.  In step 2 the starter is used to create a sponge.  In step 3 the sponge is used to create a dough.  The recipe suggests that you set aside a cup of the dough for future breads.  However, I am not clear whether, for the new bread, this leftover cup is the starter for the sponge (step 1) or the sponge for the dough (step 2).  Also, do you use it all or do you use the amount that is indicated for the starter (or for the sponge).

emily_mb's picture

Which of the 2 dough cycles?

June 17, 2010 - 6:28am -- emily_mb

I am trying to follow a recipe (Eckhardt & Butts' pain au levain) that call for proccessing the ingredients "in the dough cycle" but my Zo mini has 2 dough cycles. One rests, kneads and proofs.  The whole process takes almost 2 hours.  Then there is another dough cycle that just kneads.  Which one should I use? 


 

Wild-Yeast's picture

Pain Au Levain

May 18, 2010 - 4:01pm -- Wild-Yeast

Hello Everyone,


In "between times" I've been slowly improving a version of Pain Au Levain ala Poilane.  Quite a journey considering where it began several years ago and is due in no small part to this site and the persistent bakers who populate it. Thanks to you all!

inlovewbread's picture
inlovewbread

My last few bakes haven't been so successful. Formulae that usually turned out well were coming out of the oven looking sad. I can't figure out if I was over or under-proofing. I kept trying at it to get the timing right on Glezer's Colombia. Incidentally I posted about it on my blog because it's the family's favorite bread, but lately the scoring just doesn't open up. The flavor is great, but I can't get it to look the way I want it to anymore! Ugh! Then I made a few other breads that just turned out so-so. How is it that my bread could be getting worse?


But alas, a little baking redemption:



Today's bake was dmsnyder's San Joaquin Sourdough (finally tried it) and my favorite Pain au Levain with whole wheat. 


The San Joaquin Sourdough- or "Idaho Sourdough" as I guess it should be called:




I took a risk and did not stick to the 21 hour cold bulk ferment as specified in dmsnyder's formula. I pulled out the dough for final proofing at about 14 hours. It looks like it woke up fine! The grigne looks a little jagged, I confidently scored these batards but I may not have gone deep enough. It turned out a pretty interesting look though.


The crumb:




Outstanding flavor, a little more sour than I have been getting- which is good!


The Pain au Levains:



It's good to see a grigne...



the crumb:



I really don't like doing math- so here is the *formula* for the Pain au Levain with whole wheat, and a little rye:


75% white flour (I used like 75% ap and 25% bread flour)


15% white whole wheat flour (WM Prairie Gold, freshly ground)


10% rye flour (whole rye)


40% of the flour was prefermented 


2% salt (I used french grey salt, and I think it really makes a difference)


roughly 70% hydration


 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

What with having dinner guests on Saturday and more coming on Monday, it was a wonderful excuse for puttering around in the kitchen this weekend.  I started with Pain au Levain from Leader's Local Breads Saturday morning and followed with Rich and Tender Dinner Rolls from The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cook Book and finished up with a Chocolate / Chocolate Chip cake, source unknown.  


Having posted about the Pain au Levain previously, I won't go into detail about the process here.  This bread is consistenly good, in both outcome and flavor.  This bake resulted in lovely oven spring and big ears, in spite of some rather deficient scoring.  It hasn't been cut yet, so I don't know about the crumb but the exterior suggests that the interior ought to be good.


The dinner rolls were a typical enriched roll, with butter, eggs, sugar and milk.  The two differences that set it apart from most such rolls was the addition of some whole wheat, maybe 20%, and no refrigeration.  The former was a pleasant addition in flavor and the latter was a real convenience since I was a bit pressed for time.  I just shaped them as simple pan rolls.  As the name suggested, they were rich and tender and a good accompaniment with dinner.


The cake was a bit over the top (which won't stop us from making it again!), what with a cup of butter, 4 ounces of melted chocolate, 5 eggs and buttermilk in the batter.  Oh, and chocolate chips, too.  My wife halved the frosting recipe (it called for 5-1/2 cups of confectioners/icing sugar), since we baked it in a 9x13 pan instead of in 3, 9-inch round cake pans.  This is not a light and airy cake.  It is moist, it is heavy, and it is sweet!  Good stuff, in other words.  Best of all, with others to help eat it, the danger of too much snacking on the leftovers is reduced.


Before going to bed Saturday night, I mixed a biga for Portugese Sweet Bread.  Today I finished the bread, shaped it as hamburger buns and baked it.  Now we have the base for some barbecue sandwiches for our guests Monday evening.  I've learned that the store-bought buns just don't stand up well to the sauce that comes along with the barbecue, so something like PSB is less likely to go all floppy in mid-bite while still being tender.


No pics of anything described here.  Just lots of enjoyment in both the baking and the eating.


Paul

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

This weekend I made a miche with Gérard Rubaud's flour mix for the first time. It's nowhere near as beautiful as the ones with which Shiao-Ping introduced Rubaud's formula to TFL, but it is delicious. The miche does seem to have a more mellow flavor than the other breads I've made with this flour mix, but then I didn't slice and taste it for a good 15 hours after it was baked.


The flour mix and formula I used was ...



Gérard Rubaud Pain au Levain

Ingredients

Baker's %

Total Dough

Flour 1 – AP

70

583.33

Flour 2 – WW

18

150

Flour 3 – Spelt

9

75

Flour 4 – Rye

3

25

 

Total Dough: 

Baker's %

Weight

Flour

100

833.33

Water

78

650

Salt

2

16.67

Conversion factor

8.33

1500

 

Pre-Ferment:

Baker's %

Weight

Flour

100

183.33

Water

56

102.67

Starter

47

86.17

Total

372.17

 

Final Dough: 

Baker's %

Weight

Flour

100

650

Water

84.21

547.33

Salt

2

16.67

Pre-Ferment

44

286

Total

1500

 

 

I also made a couple 1 lb boules of the San Francisco Sourdough from "Advanced Bread & Pastry" by Michel Suas. It was an extremely extensible dough, made this time with WFM AP Flour (non-organic. They were out of the organic). I retarded the loaves overnight but wanted to give them an early start, so I took them out of the fridge and turned on my oven when I first got to the kitchen this morning.

 

I trust you correctly inferred this was done before my first cup of coffee. Always risky. 

 

Well, I did have my baking stone in the oven when I turned it on but not my steaming setup. I discovered this when the loaves were ready to load, of course. I did give the oven a series of spritzes with a spray bottle, but my result was a nice illustration of why we bake with steam. So, for your interest ...

 

Note the dull crust and the modest bloom and spring.

 

I haven't cut it yet. I'm sure it's fine eating, but beautiful it ain't.

 

David

 

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


 


 


The "San Joaquin Sourdough" evolved from Anis Bouabsa's formula for baguettes. Most of my deviations developed in discussion on TheFreshLoaf.com with Janedo, who first suggested adding sourdough starter and rye, and, then, leaving out the baker's yeast and making it as a "pure" pain au levain.


I have been using that formula – a 70-75% hydration dough with 90% white flour and 10% whole rye, raised with wild yeast – for the past 18 months, and it has been my favorite bread. However, I have recently begun using the mix of flours employed by Gérard Rubaud, as reported on Farine.com. The result is a bread with a wonderful aroma and flavor that can be easily made in two three to four hour blocks of time on two consecutive days.


San Joaquin Sourdough made with Gérard Rubaud's flour mix (Scaled for 1000 gms of dough)


Gérard Rubaud's flour mix

Flour

Baker's %

Levain

Final dough

Total dough

 

 

All Purpose

70

98

295

393

 

 

Whole Wheat

18

25

76

101

 

 

Spelt

9

13

38

51

 

 

Whole Rye

3

4

13

17

 

 

 

 

 

Total Flour

562

 

 

 

Total Dough

Baker's %

Weight

Flour

100

562

Water

76

427

Salt

2

11

 

Total

1000

 

Levain

Baker's %

Weight

Flour

100

140

Water

75

105

Active starter

20

28

 

Total

273

 

Final Dough

Baker's %

Weight

Flour

100

421

Water

76

322

Salt

2

11

Levain

58

246

 

Total

1000

 

Procedures

Mix the flours

Because the levain and the final dough use the same mix of four flours, it is most convenient to weigh them out and mix them ahead of time and use the mix, as called for in the formula.

Prepare the levain

Two days before baking, feed the starter in the evening and let it ferment at room temperature overnight.

Mixing

In a large bowl, mix the levain with the water to dissolve it. Add the flours and salt and stir to form a shaggy mass. Cover tightly and let rest (autolyse) for 20 minutes.

Using a rubber spatula or a plastic scraper, stretch and fold the dough 30 times, rotating the bowl 1/5 turn between each stroke. Cover tightly. Repeat this stretch and fold procedure 3 times more at 20 minute intervals.

 After the last series of stretches and folds, scape the dough into a lightly oiled 2 quart/2 liter container and cover tightly. (I use a 2 quart glass measuring pitcher with a tightly fitting plastic lid manufactured by Anchor Glass.)

After 45 minutes, transfer the dough to a lightly floured board and do a stretch and fold. Return the dough to the bowl. Let it rest 45 minutes and repeat the stretch and fold on the board. Return the dough to the bowl.

Fermentation

Ferment at room temperature for an hour or until it has expanded 25% or so. If you are using a glass bowl or pitcher, you should see small bubbles forming in the dough. Then place in the refrigerator and leave it there for 21 hours.

Dividing and Shaping

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and scrape it gently onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently pat it into a rectangle. Divide as desired or leave in one piece. To pre-shape for a bâtard, fold the near edge up just past the center of the dough and seal the edge by gently pressing the two layers together with the ulnar (little finger) edge of your hand or the heel of your hand, whichever works best for you. Then, bring the far edge of the dough gently just over the sealed edge and seal the new seam as described.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and/or a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30-60 minutes, with the seams facing up. (The time will depend on ambient temperature and how active your starter is. The dough should have risen slightly, but not much.)

To shape a bâtard, fold the near edge of the dough and seal the edge, as before. Now, take the far edge of the dough and bring it towards you all the way to the work surface and seal the seam with the heel of your hand. Rotate the loaf gently toward you 1/4 turn so the last seam you formed is against the work surface and roll the loaf back and forth, with minimal downward pressure, to further seal the seam. Then, with the palms of both hands resting softly on the loaf, roll it back and forth to shape a bâtard. Start with both hands in the middle of the loaf and move them outward as you roll the loaf, slightly increasing the pressure as you move outward, so the bâtard ends up with the middle highest and the ends pointed .

 

Preheating the oven

One hour before baking, place a baking stone on the middle rack and prepare to steam the oven. Heat the oven to 500F.

 

Proofing

After shaping the loaf, transfer it to parchment paper liberally dusted with semolina or a linen couche, liberally dusted with flour. Cover the loaf with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel or a fold of the linen. Proof until the loaf has expanded to about 1-1/2 times it's original size. (30-45 minutes) Do not over-proof, if you want good oven-spring and bloom!

 

Baking

Pre-steam the oven.

Slip a peel or cookie sheet under the parchment paper holding the loaf or transfer to a peel, if you used a couche. Score the loaf.

Transfer the loaf (and parchment paper, if used) to the baking stone, Steam the oven and turn the oven down to 460F.

After 12-15 minutes, remove your steam source from the oven. Rotate the loaf 180 degrees, if it is br

owning unevenly. Close the oven door.

Bake for another 12-15 minutes, then remove the loaf and place on a cooling rack. Check for doneness. (Nice crust color. Internal temperature of at least 205F. Hollow sound when you thump the bottom of the loaf.) If necessary, return to loaf to the oven to bake longer.


When the loaf is done, leave it on the baking stone with the oven turned off and the door ajar for 5-10 minutes to dry and crisp up the crust.


 


Cooling


Cool on a rack for two hours before slicing.




David


 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

In another thread a few days ago, Andy (ananda) was discussing what a true artisan bread looked like and clipped a photo of this white bread in with a beautiful crumb structure. I asked him if he would share the details, which he was kind enough to oblige me.


The more proper name for this would be a Pain au Levain with mixed formula starters. It is made entirely with bread flour in my case and is truly a wonderful bread, even though I had a little trouble at the end. Here is the post with the formula I used.


This mix makes 3760+ grams of dough which I divided equally into 4-940g loaves. You could make half the batch easily enough but I needed some bread for friends I hadn't gifted in a while so I made the 8 Lbs.


The first build of a starter is done using a 100% feeding which gets it going on a fast pace. The second elaboration is done at 50% with the over all hydration thus far at 60%. The final dough mix is a 65% hydration mix so it is much easier to handle than the 80% Rubaud dough I have been playing with recently.


Another interesting aspect of this formula is that it calls for an overnight retarding of the starter after the second build. This is unusual for me as a step in the process but the flavor development is certainly noticeable.


I had a little trouble getting the levain incorporated evenly and eventually ended up using my DLX with the hook installed to mix the dis-similar masses. I also mis read the proofing and after 45 minutes baked the first pair of loaves while the remaining pair waited in the cool garage.


As you see, I proofed the first two using a couche and the second pair were proofed in a plastic banetton. And one of the loaves in a banetton was sprayed with water to see if I could encourage cracks. It's hard to see in these images but the crumb is translucent and very nice mouth feel.


I highly recommend that you try this bread. The flavor is outstanding, nutty, great after taste. My neighbor just called to tell me it was their favorite so far and they get a loaf of many many different breads.


Thank you Andy, this is truly a Wonderful White bread. Next time I'll let it proof longer, and there will be a next time.


Eric







Is that a Fish?



Pages

Subscribe to RSS - pain au levain