The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pain de Campagne au Levain

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DonD's picture
DonD

Pain de Campagne au Levain

Because of the snowstorm, I have been housebound since last Friday so what's  better than playing with flour. I have made Pain de Campagne au Levain in many incarnations using different kind of flour mixes, different types of levain, different dough hydrations, so this time I decided to try another variation using basically all high extraction wheat flour.


Having some T80 high extraction flour from La Milanaise on hand, I mixed it with 5% Dark Rye from Bob's Red Mill and used it for both my Levain build and final dough. I wanted to try using a semi-stiff Levain at approximately the same hydration as the final dough for ease of incorporation after autolyse so I did a 2-step Levain build at 70% hydration. I decided to go with 1/3 proportion of levain to flour.


Formulation:


1st Levain Build:


- 15 gms White Liquid Levain (100% hydration)


- 30 gms Flour Mix


- 20 gms Water


This build took 12 hours


2nd Levain Build:


- 50 gms 1st Build Levain


- 80 gms Flour Mix


- 56 gms Water


This build took 4 hours


Final Dough:


- 500 gms Flour Mix


- 167 gms 2nd Build Levain


- 375 gms Water


- 13 gms Grey Sea Salt


I mixed the flour and water and autolysed for 30 minutes. I set out to use 70% hydration but during mixing, I added more water to get the right dough consistency and upped it to 75%. I performed S&F in the bowl 5 times at 45 minutes interval. Total bulk fermentation was 5 hours. I refrigerated the dough overnight. Next morning, I divided the dough in two, preshaped, rested for 60 minutes, shaped in 2 batards, proofed 45 minutes and baked at 450 degrees with steam for 12 minutes, then without steam on convection at 420 degrees for 20 minutes.


    


The oven spring was good and the crust came out crunchy with nice dark color. There was an enticing nutty fragrance when it came out of the oven.


   


The crumb was fairly soft with irregular holes. It has the gelatinous quality that I always look for.


The crumb had good mouthfeel, soft and slightly chewy. The toasted wheat flavor came through mixed with sweetness and a pronounced tang, a little more than I wanted.


This is the first time that I have made a Pain de Campagne using all Levain. I normally use around 20% levain and added 1/4 tsp of instant yeast to boost the leavening power. I tend to prefer a less tangy and less dense Levain bread so the lower levain percentage and the addition of Instant Yeast made the bread taste creamier and sweeter than an all levain bread. Otherwise, I did not detect a lot of difference in terms of oven spring, appearance and fragrance.


Happy Baking!


Don

Comments

CaptainBatard's picture
CaptainBatard

Just came in from shoveling and saw your beautiful Pain de Campagne au Levain. I can see you got  really nice oven spring and crumb looks real nice...and without yeast. Real nice. Do you usually retard in bulk?


Judd

DonD's picture
DonD

The snow has eased up in DC, FINALLY...


I know that cold retardation in Levain Breads increases the acidity level but because of schedule, I usually retard my dough halfway through bulk fermentation when it has increased in volume by 50%. By using less levain and a touch of instant yeast, I find that I can control the acidity level even with cold retardation.


Don

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

They are pure eye candy. And good eating, too? 


David

DonD's picture
DonD

I was pleased with the results except that I wish it was less tangy. I suspect that the long levain build along with the overnight retardation contributed to the elevated acidity. That was the only minus, otherwise the smell, mouthfeel and overall taste were excellent.


ps. For your sourdough, do you always rely exclusively on the starter for leavening?


Don

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

If I'm making a sourdough bread, I usually rely on the starter for leavening. There are exceptions: Mostly rye breads.


David

arlo's picture
arlo

Gosh, I wish one day to be able to create such great formulas too!


Absolutely delicious!

DonD's picture
DonD

From what I have seen, you are well on your way. I have been baking on and off for over 20 years but it was just last year, after I discovered TFL that the light bulb finally came on.


Don

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Hi Don, saw your notation of one-third levain and immediately that MacGuire article you referred us to came to mind (which I successfully received at no cost through my local library - thanks for posting about it).


When I read that Poilâne's levain is one-third of the total flour, I thought that would be interesting to try.


You've certainly shown the way with those lovely loaves.


Well, since the snow hammer continues to fall in your neighborhood, will look forward to reading about tomorrow's bake!  


Almost makes me wish for a similar storm here, but probably wouldn't do much good since we've got lots of big, winged snowplows and snow tires are pretty much standard winter equipment.

DonD's picture
DonD

I am glad you were able to get that James MacGuire article on-line.


I have found that the 1/3 levain formula is pretty common. My quest is for a perfect Levain Country Loaf that is dark, crusty with a deep almost burnt caramel fragrance, open, soft, creamy (but not cottony) crumb and a rich toasty essence of wheat taste. I have tasted it in France and I am just absorbing all the info, advices and tips here so that I can come close.


Don

JoeVa's picture
JoeVa

1/3 of the total (not 1/3 of the total flour).


Giovanni

flourwateryeast's picture
flourwateryeast

Don, just a question on your process, at what stage are the levain and salt added?

DonD's picture
DonD

Sorry, I should have been clearer. I added the levain and salt after the autolyse.


Don

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Thanks to you I also got my copy of the magazine.  It must be a photo bloop..but the bottom photo, top left and in about an inch..I thought you had seeds in your loaf.  Great looking crust and crumb.


Sylvia

DonD's picture
DonD

Thanks Sylvia and you are very observant but no seeds in my bread. The shot was a close-up of a slice of the bread so one of the holes was open all the way through and you are seeing the background of the cutting board. 


Don