Marathon milling and formula tweaking
I have a confession …
I built a new levain …
… but why?
For a few reasons … We are only a couple of weeks into summer and my wholewheat desem starter is not coping. After trying many methods of slowing the fermentation I am still ending up with overly sour builds … they are out of my control and smell unpleasant and it is starting to show in the resulting bread.
I have built a stiff levain following Gerard Rubaud's methods using fresh milled flours and AP flour. With a large proportion of AP flour (70%) and smaller feed amount I feel like I can control the fermentation again. Yes, I could have just converted my old starter to this new schedule but creating a new levain was another goal of mine when purchasing the grain mill … I love to tinker.
The new levain smells very different to my previous starter. It’s sweet, almost nutty. A find myself smelling it twice to try and place the scent … I can’t, but I know I really like it.
The levain is a week old and the breads in this posting have been leavened with this little powerhouse.
It was time to mill again.
The night before I bake, I mill … and to make things interesting this week … I was going to mix a batch of dough as well … another set of “Pain de Traitions” which I would retard in the fridge overnight. One for our landlord (we need some things fixed around the house) and the other for my first regular customer :)
I find the weighing, milling, sifting, soaking and levain feedings the night before busier than the following days bake. I milled and sifted flours for the "3 Grain Country Bread". I prepared the soaker for a batch of “Any Grain Sourdough”. I milled and sifted rye and wheat flours for the “Any Grain Sourdough”. I milled flours and mixed the levain and built the rye sour. The levain, rye sour, flours and container of water were placed on the patio outside at night to be at roughly the correct mixing temperature for the the morning.
I am tweaking the formulas slightly. For the “Any Grain Sourdough” I am using fresh milled flour throughout (previous versions used a small amount of bakers flour) and I increased the amount of dough to better fill the bread pans. For the 3 Grain Country Bread” I have reduced the amount of wholegrain spelt and the amount of salt.
Any Grain Sourdough in tins (grains included in total flour)
Total dough weight
Desired dough temperature 29°C
Starter build – 12 hrs 23°C
Starter (Not used in final dough)
Fresh milled rye flour
Soaker– 12 hrs 23°C
Altus (100% rye sourdough)
Final dough 29°C
Fresh milled rye flour sifted
Fresh milled wheat flour sifted
- Night before prepare soaker and rye starter.
- Next day autolyse sifted wheat flour and water for one hour, then stir with wooden spoon for 5 minutes.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and mix 5-10mins. I use a scraper in my right hand to pick up and turn the dough and keep my left hand wet enough to avoid excessive sticking.
- Allow bulk ferment for 15-30mins.
- Shape and roll in rolled oats. Place into greased tins (mine were Pullman) seam side down.
- I proved these for one hour before placing into oven with lids on for 10 minutes at 250°C then a further 1.5 hours at 200°C
3 Grain Country Bread mkII
Total dough weight
Desired dough temperature 24°C
Rye starter @ 100% hydration
Levain @ 50%
Built with 70% AP flour, 18% fresh milled wheat, 9% fresh milled spelt and 3% fresh milled rye + 1% Salt)
Freshly milled wheat flour sifted
Freshly milled wholemeal spelt flour
- Autolyse flour and water for one hour. (hold back 50 grams of water)
- Add levain and rye starter then knead (French fold) 5-10 mins. Return the dough to a bowl and add salt and 50 grams of water and squeeze through bread to incorporate (dough will separate then come back together smoothly) then knead a further 5-10 mins.
- Bulk ferment three hours (mine was in a cooler bag with icebricks to control rising temps) with three stretch and folds 30min apart in the first 1.5hrs.
- Preshape. Bench rest 20 mins. Shape.
- Final proof was roughly one and a quarter hours at room temperature (27°).
- Bake in steamed oven for 10 mins at 250°C then 30 mins at 200°C
The kitchen buzzed with activity early this morning. The "Pain de Tradition’s" were taken from the fridge and left at room temperature for an hour before being baked in a dutch oven. Amazing oven spring again with a lot more colour in the crust this time. No crumb shots as these are not for us :)
The "Any Grain Sourdoughs” are always a hit for us and this bake is no different. I am very pleased with the result using entirely fresh milled flour. The flavour is as good if not better than ever (thanks to the altus, rye starter and fresh milled flours) with the crumb being softer than my previous efforts. I love the contrast between the rolled oats and dark caramel crust. These will sustain us during our working week for breakfasts.
Last into the oven today were the “3 Grain Country Breads” These proved extremely quickly as the temperatures rose today. This is my favourite bread. The new levain was evident in the first bite. The bread tasted sweet and I could detect the scent of the new levain. It tasted fresh. A thin crust leads to a crumb that is lighter and softer with the reduced spelt … perfect for kids who enjoyed banana sandwiches on it (they were awesome apparently)
It has rained for the first time this month and as the rain continues softly tonight my new little levain is feeding happily.
All the best,