The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pain au Levain

CaptainBatard's picture

Pain au Levain

I have been getting my stiff starter ready to make Pandoro and Panettone....and decided to not throw out the extra starter and make  Pain au Levain. I started in the morning with coffee and  got every thing together and realized that I didn't have any heat in the house....burrrr.....threw my coat on...mixed and shaped the dough in record time and put the breads to proof in the warmest place in the oven. Believe it or not i just had a new gas heater installed and this is the second time this week they had to come over work on it...first it was a bad water they put in a new gas regulator....not much else can go wrong! That is what I thought...the heat went on and the repair guy left and I huddled around the radiator to get warm....and with minutes it cut off again....before to long the repair guy was back and the breads (which I thought were way overproofed) were in the oven. The good news is I have heat again...and from the way they look....I think I have a strong starter.

Pain Au Levain  (Hamelman) page 158



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Glad you got the heat back on!  The loaves took no wear.   Oh, the color!  And Ears!  I think they could set sail! 

That ear beckons to be broken off and crunched on! 


CaptainBatard's picture

you make me laugh....that is exactly what my tester did...she went straight for the ear...I wasn't expecting such an actually hit the heating coil....


arlo's picture

The most captivating part of the loaves are the ears, they are like Spock's ears from Star Trek - Sorry couldn't resist.


Can't wait to see your Pannetone and Pandoro.

ques2008's picture

those are impressive!  hope your heat stays on.  yes, can't wait to see your pannetonne!

M2's picture

The "ear" is something I want to achieve...what's the technique?  How to slash in order to get such a beautiful shape?

I've tried slashing it 90 degree, 45 degree, 1/2 inch deep (or deeper).  The loaf overspring well, but it just doesn't have the ear shape.


CaptainBatard's picture

I know I should not complain...sometimes it all falls in place. It helps not to overproof and have a bread that likes to opens up. I don't know if you saw the piece HERE by Giovanni....that is almost exactly the way I score and in conjunction with a good steam...a tight batard...your in business. You should give Hamelman's Vermont SD or Levain a try and see what happens...Let me know how you do...