The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pain Au Levain With Wholewheat (Take2)

Mebake's picture

Pain Au Levain With Wholewheat (Take2)


This is my second attempt at this recipe, my first attempt is HERE. I'am very content, as this is the best Pain Au levain i've baked so far. I've made changes to the Recipe and procedures as compared to the earlier attempt. The changes were:

1 - I increased the % of prefermented flour from 15% to around 20% (THANK YOU ANDY!)

2 - I was meticulous about the last 3 refreshments of the starter prior to building my levain (THANK YOU LARRY!)

3 - I used an all white starter, instead of the Mixed flour starter i used earlier.

4 - I stretched and folded (letter-wise) on a bench instead of in the bowl, twice.

5 - I milled the sea salt to a fine powder.

6 - I did not include a freshly milled WW flour, instead, i used a strong WW flour.

7 - I made sure the final dough temperature was 76F or 25C, by means of immersing my hands to mix the dough, which gave warmth to the dough.

8 - I patted down the dough to redistribute the fermentation bubbles after initial fermentation.

9 - I steamed the oven for 10 minutes, as the bread started taking color quickly.

10 - The doughs fermented exactly as per the book instructions, i.e. 5 hours Total fermentation.

11 - I divided the dough into two 1.5 lb pieces.

And this is how the breads turned out!

The flavor was Superb, with subltle acidity, and wheaty aroma from the wholewheat. This is a keeper.



breadsong's picture

Hello Khalid,
I missed Take 1 but sure am happy to see your wonderful result in Take 2.
Your attention to detail has produced some spectacular loaves.
I love your sunlit photographs and that crumb is one of the nicest I've ever seen.
from breadsong


Mebake's picture

Thank you Breadsong (AKA breadart)! Artisan bread is a craft, and like any craft paying attention to details is what matters.

Thank you!

MadAboutB8's picture

Great job. I, too, have been paying more attention to the DDT in the past couple of weeks. I was more vigilant on measuring temperature for my starter and final dough to achieve the DDT and the breads were better as a result.

Thank you for sharing.


Anjali's picture

This looks beautiful. The crumb looks great (more holes as compared to your 1st attempt). I can only imagine the yummy taste because my breads do not turn out even half as good as your 1st one.

When I see pictures of lovely loaves on this web-site I am inspired to keep practising. So thank you everybody!


wally's picture

Just superb looking pains au levain, with that lovely irregular crumb structure.

Nice bake!

Mebake's picture

Thnks you, Sue...! I, too, was less vigilant on the DDT, and my loaves fermentation speed suffered as a result.

Thanks, Anjali, it was really yummy, but for the 1/2 T of sea salt i chose not to add.

Thank you, Larry!

Franko's picture

Like breadsong I missed take 1 as well. Take 2 is excellent Khalid, very nice crumb and crust on both loaves. I wonder how this bread would do given an overnight retarded rise, if there would any further benefit to the crumb and flavour. Then again why mess with success! Lovely baking as always Khalid.


Mebake's picture

Thank you, Franko! I would say, the only benefits i'd get out of retarding this loaf is increased sourness, and a slightly taller loaf.

SylviaH's picture

What a beautiful crumb!


kim's picture

Hi Khalid,

I think DDT is very important in my opinions; you will hit the right time length for the proofing (I never missed that so far). I love your last photos so sunny.


varda's picture

Khalid,   These are beautiful and inspiring loaves.  And a great checklist as well.  -Varda

Syd's picture

Great volume, great oven spring and great crumb.  It doesn't get much better than that, Khalid.  DDT is something I pay lipservice to, but never really attempt to control.  Our winter temp here has been perfect for breadmaking (25, 26, 27 C) but the weather is warming up quickly now and soon I am going to have to start chilling my water and flour again if I want my results to stay consistent. Maybe I will even be tempted now to take out my probe thermometer and start taking the dough's temperature. :)


Crider's picture

Looks very yummy!

rossnroller's picture

Doesn't get much better than that. If a matter transfer app was available, I'd be begging you to email me a slice!

Like your acknowedgement of the people who contributed recommendations, too. I've had a recent reminder on another forum that not everyone is so diligent. In your case, generosity of spirit has been passed on and reciprocated, and the quality of your bread reflects this. Well done.


Mebake's picture

Thank you, Sylvia!

Thanks Kim, I never really paid much atention to the significance of DDt in Sourdoughs, but now i do.

Thank you Varda!

Thank you Syd. As Airconditioning is an imperative thing to have here in the Desert climate of Dubai, so i find little difficulty controlling my DDT. Without A/C you'd be sitting in a sizzling temperature and your dough will become a mass of Goo in no time.

Thanks, Crider!

Thank you Ross, that is so kind of you. I'd love to share a slice with you, and with All TFL Memebers. Wouldn't it be great if we all meet in certain place and share slices of our freshly baked goods? I have become what i'am now due to the generous contributions of other TFL members, whom without their talent and devotion, i would not have learned what i leraned so far.

teketeke's picture

Hi Khalid,

Sylvia's recent post saved me to check out your best looking Pain Au Levain, crumb as well.  Your last crumb shot is beautiful, Khalid.  It is really looking good! Thank you for sharing, Khalid.  I will study.

Best wishes,


Mebake's picture

Thank you Akiko!

Best wishes,