The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

This weekend's baking: SFBI Miche & Hamelman's Pain au Levain

dmsnyder's picture

This weekend's baking: SFBI Miche & Hamelman's Pain au Levain

We've been traveling a lot the past few months, and I haven't had many weekends at home to bake. Now, we'll be home for a few weeks, and I can bake more regularly. This weekend, I baked two of my current favorites – the SFBI Miche and Hamelman's Pain au Levain. (See: Miche from SFBI Artisan II - 2 kg. The formula for the Pain au Levain is found in Hamelman's "Bread.")

After a long, cool Spring, we're starting to get some Summer weather. It's been in the low 90's. Temperatures of 105ºF are predicted for the middle of the coming week. Frankly, I could do without the 105º days, but my starter and doughs are enjoying the warmer kitchen temperature. My old dictum - “Watch the dough, not the clock” - was applied. For example, the pain au levain, which Hamelman says to proof for 2 1/2 hours was ready to bake in 90 minutes after shaping. I feared the bâtards were a bit over-proofed, but the oven spring and bloom I got suggest proofing was pretty much on target.

SFBI Miche

Miche crust

Miche crumb

Pain au Levain

Pain au Levain, up close

One thing I learned and applied for this bake of the pain au levain: The last few bakes of this bread have had many excessively large holes. I suspected this was due to insufficient de-gassing before pre-shaping. So, this time, I de-gassed a bit more vigorously. I like the results.


Pain au Levain crumb

Happy Baking! And Happy Father's Day to all you fathers!




arlo's picture

Gosh the crumb on the pain au levain looks creamy. I'd say you did get the fermentation right and am glad to see you felt your degree of degassing was correct. Its always nice to learn from our past bakes!

I also adore the picture of the pain au levains leaning on the miche.

Nicely done David.

dmsnyder's picture

I think I learn something from every bake.  Keeps me chasing the receding goal of perfection.


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Amazing breads!


dmsnyder's picture


ananda's picture

Hi David,

I've decided I'll give up baking when I stop learning.

So, I have no expectations of reaching retirement, and don't want it any other way.

Beautiful bread, as always

Best wishes


varda's picture

on the Pain Au Levain.   And the scoring.   And the crumb.   And the crackly crust.    -Varda

Syd's picture

I love the shaping of the pain au levain: very attractive.  We had a discussion about this some time back and, I think, you mentioned you favoured three methods for batard shaping.  Which method did you use for the pain au levains? But that miche... I love the flavour of that loaf...and I know how good it tastes, but describe it for us anyway so that we can be vicariously sustained until the next bake. :)



dmsnyder's picture

I used "method 3" for shaping the bâtards - my current favorite. The instructional video is Hamelman technique videos. It's the 4th video. The bâtard section starts at about 7:00 minutes.

I think I've described the taste of the miche a couple times before, as have others. Actually, I haven't even cut the one baked yesterday yet. I may add a crumb shot and tasting notes when I do cut it.


Addendum: Crumb photo of the miche has been added.

longhorn's picture

Lovely breads, as always, David! Your proofing and shaping are inspirational. Great crust on the miche!

Glad to have you baking again. Travel and other commitments have been slowing my baking also!