The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole Wheat Pain au Levain

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varda's picture
varda

Whole Wheat Pain au Levain

It has been hot here, and doesn't always seem like the right time to make bread, but this morning it was almost chilly, and before long the kitchen warmed up to 76degF.   A perfect day for pain au levain.  I recently rediscovered King Arthur White Wheat flour and decided that should have a role, as well as having gained a fondness for Arrowhead Mills stone ground whole wheat.    Mixing flours always seems to bring out the best of both, so there's no need to choose.   I went back to my teacher, Mr. Hamelman,  and followed his procedures if not his formula.   They are so straightforward and powerful.   After banging my head against the yeast water wall, it was fun to step back and make a simple pain au levain.  

and also fun to photograph outside with plenty of light and color:

Hopefully next bake will be in my newly rebuilt wood fired oven, which is drying as we speak.

Formula:

7/14/2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final

Starter

Total

Percent

Bread Flour

250

140

390

60%

Rye

 

9

9

1%

Whole Wheat

125

 

125

19%

White WW

125

 

125

19%

Water

354

101

455

70%

Salt

12

 

12

1.8%

Starter  

250

 

 

23%

 

 

 

1116

 

 

Mix all but salt.   Autolyze 1 hour.  Add salt.  Ferment for 3 hours with 2 S&F.   Cut and preshape.   Rest for 20 minutes.  Shape and place in couche.  Proof for just over an hour.   Bake at 450F for 20 minutes with steam, 25 without.

 

Comments

asfolks's picture
asfolks

That's an awesome crumb!

lumos's picture
lumos

What asfolks said!  I wish I could come and actually watch how you handle your dough  one day.....

varda's picture
varda

Just a small amount of mixing and two gentle stretch outs on the counter.   It was nice to have a dough that didn't melt as I mixed it as have my last few attempts at dough with yeast water starter.   This one stayed nicely intact and behaved itself.   Thanks for your comments.  -Varda

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Varda,
1. Outstanding bread and crumb
2. New WFO
Very happy for you, on both counts.
:^) from breadsong

varda's picture
varda

Thanks breadsong.  I appreciate your comments.  -Varda

Syd's picture
Syd

Lovely crust and crumb, Varda.  And great oven spring, too, judging from the way the scoring opened.  I am envious of your wood fired oven.  I have wanted one for so long.  Now you will be baking large, Andy-esque batches!  Lovely bake!

Syd

varda's picture
varda

Syd,   Capacity is limited not so much by oven size as by desired belly size.   Last year's oven was extremely humble and crumbly.   The innovation this year is better materials and hopefully therefore lack of crumbliness.   But it's still a tiny little thing - good for a couple of loaves or perhaps a miche if an army company decides to bivouac here.  Thanks so much for your comments on my bread.  -Varda

lumos's picture
lumos

Thanks for the tip on how to handle dough. :) I'll try that next time and see if mine can turn out as beautiful as yours.

Re yeast water..... I'm Japanese, too, so I know a lot of home bakers there use yeast water quite often, many of them experimenting with various ingredients (all kinds of dried and fresh fruits, whole fruits, just peels or seeds/stones,  vegetables, grains, tea, coffee....you name it, they've done it! :p)  to enjoy the aroma in the resultant bread (There're actually a few books and blogs entirely dedicated to yeast water based bread),  but many of them mention how unpredictable the result is, maybe because it's more difficult to judge how active yeast is compared to flour based starter. Some professional baker pointed out there's good reason why pros rarely use yeast water to make bread. 

varda's picture
varda

remarks on yeast water.    I have made some delicious bread with yeast water, but have found it very unpredictable (as you say) and haven't figured out how to make a bread that looks good.    So I'm sure I'll be back to it soon.   But in the meantime it's nice to do something more dependable.   -Varda

holds99's picture
holds99

And beautiful, open crumb. 

varda's picture
varda

for your comments.  -Varda

ananda's picture
ananda

Outstanding baking varda,

loads of oven spring here; even more "take off" when you get the wood-fired oven stoked?

Best wishes

Andy 

varda's picture
varda

Andy,  I'm really looking forward to getting out of the metal box and into the stone and clay pod.   It just seems like better baking conditions.   And cooler in the house too.  Thanks for your comments.  -Varda

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

meeting your breads, Varda!

varda's picture
varda

Thanks for your remarks.   I hope you will post soon about what you've been doing.   -Varda

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Im looking forward to your future bakes in the wfo. 

Happy Baking, 

Sylvia

varda's picture
varda

for your remarks.   My WFO is like a canoe compared to your ocean liner, but I'll see what I can do with it.  -Varda

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

David

varda's picture
varda

Thanks David.    -Varda

Franko's picture
Franko

Great looking bread Varda!

Love the look of that crumb, so open and airy. I can just imagine the flavour this bread must have, as it's clear the fermentation was right on the mark. Nice baking Varda!

I hope you and your WFO will be very happy together when you make the switch, (touch of envy here on my part) and I'm looking forward to seeing your first bake from it.

All the best,

Franko

varda's picture
varda

for your comments Franko.   I think the perfect ambient temperature helped a lot, and probably for the last time this summer.   I have just been going through your two posts on the Altamura bread, plus David's and ogling Sylvia's wfo take on it, trying to figure out if I could make it.  I don't have the fancy durum flour, but perhaps Atta would make a good if inauthentic bread.   My oven has been drying slowly, so slowly.   I don't know when it will be ready.  I should post some pictures of it which should quickly dispel any envy generated by my little pod made with cinder blocks, recycled brick wall, etc.  -Varda

Franko's picture
Franko

Unless I'm able to source fancy durum flour locally when I eventually run out of what I have, I'll be using Atta flour. It may not be authentic or similar to but I can live with that to avoid paying the shipping charges. Besides, Atta flour has great flavour and will make a very tasty bread so why not?

Franko

lumos's picture
lumos

when I eventually run out of what I have, I'll be using Atta flour.

That's a great tip, Franko. I've only used Atta flour to make chapati or roti, but always been wondering whether it could make bread with it....more precisely, wondering what's a difference between Atta flour and regular WW flour, especially its strength.  

wally's picture
wally

A brief surfacing from my bakery to see your beautiful loaves of pain au levain.  Lovely bake Varda ... and awesome open crumb!

Larry

varda's picture
varda

are modeled on your pains au levain (sp?)   When I saw your thrill of victory post, I thought oh those look like an old pair of wooden shoes, and then vowed that I would learn to make bread that looked like old wooden shoes.    This is the closest I've come yet.   (But why should I want bread to look like old shoes?   And why ask why?)   Thanks so much for your comments.  -Varda

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Nicely made bread, Varda.  They look delicious.

Glenn

varda's picture
varda

I appreciate your comments.   -Varda

EdY MI's picture
EdY MI

Very nice loaves and beautiful photography. A visual feast.

Ed

varda's picture
varda

My other hobby is gardening and at this time of year, I can't resist putting some flowers in the pictures.   Hope to see what you are baking!  -Varda