The Fresh Loaf

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Stormy Saturday: “Wholemeal” Pain au Levain.

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ananda's picture
ananda

Stormy Saturday: “Wholemeal” Pain au Levain.

Stormy Saturday: “Wholemeal” Pain au Levain.

Alison and I are going to stay over with some friends in County Durham this evening.   We go back many years to when we were students in the early 1980s, and have kept in touch ever since, although I was away from the North East for several years from the mid 1990s.

Anyway, I was asked to take bread, and we needed a loaf for the house too.   It’s really stormy outside, I only had a limited quantity of flour to bake with, so I’m not lighting the wood-fired oven.

I’ve made these 2 loaves with a stiff white levain which I built with 3 refreshments from Thursday evening.   I made the dough yesterday evening and retarded overnight in the fridge.   I pulled the dough out early for bulk proof, and stoked up the fire in our living room.   It’s now toasty warm here as I type, and the first of the 2 loaves is midway through baking.

Here’s the formula:

Note that the figures don’t quite balance.   I’ve bought a new calculator as my old one drowned.   This one gives the answers to the calculations as a fraction.   There is a function button which allows you then to see the answer using decimals, but I think this is what throws the formula slightly out.   I’d better just go back to using the calculator on my pc!

Material/Stage

Formula [% of flour]

Recipe [grams]

1a. Wheat Levain

 

 

Carrs Special CC Flour

29.63

400

Water

17.7

240

TOTAL

47.37

640

 

 

 

1b. Ambient Soaker

 

 

Allinson’s Strong Wholemeal

58.52

790

Salt

1.7

24

Water

52.6

710

TOTAL

112.82

1524

 

 

 

2. Final Dough

 

 

Wheat Levain [from 1a]

47.37

640

Soaker [from 1b]

112.82

1524

Carrs Special CC Flour

11.85

160

TOTAL

172.04

2324

 

 

 

% pre-fermented flour

29.63

-

% overall hydration

70.3

-

% wholegrain flour

58.52

-

FACTOR

13.5

-

 

Method:

  • Build the levain as above.   At the same time as refreshing the leaven for the final time, make the soaker as follows.   Weigh the water into the mixing bowl.   Weigh the salt and dissolve into the water.   Add the wholemeal.   Attach a paddle beater and mix for 3 minutes on first speed until cleared.   Cover and leave until final mix.
  • For the final mixing, add the levain and remaining flour to the soaker.   Attach a dough hook and mix for 2 minutes on first speed and 7 minutes on second speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
  • Put the mixed dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover and store overnight in the chiller.
  • Bulk ferment for 3 hours to allow the dough to warm.   Stretch and fold just once, after 2½ hours.
  • Scale and divide; one piece @ 950g, the other being the remaining dough, just over 1350g.   Mould both round, and rest, covered for 20 minutes.   Re-mould and set into prepared bannetons.
  • Final proof just over 2 hours.
  • Bake in a pre-heated electric oven [250°C] on a baking stone with steam.   Bake without convection for 10 minutes, then switch over to convection and drop heat to 235°C.   After 30 minutes drop the heat to 210°C and bake out each loaf.
  • Cool on wires.

 

Earlier this week I made 5 Pain de Campagne in the wood-fired oven.   My business adviser came out to take me to look at some industrial units just a few miles up the road.   Lots of potential here, but I’m moving more towards the idea of scaling up further in the late Summer, once my dissertation is complete.   I gave one loaf to Neil, and then sold the others to some friends who had staked a claim the last time we saw them.   Only later did I realise we had no fresh bread in our bread bin, so I had to go digging in the freezer!

Happy Baking Everyone!

Andy

Comments

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Stormy weather is not the nicest for outside baking ... good plan staying in I say.

On my screen the wholemeal Pain au Levain has a golden hue to the crumb. We have a biodynamic mill in South Australia who sells a golden coloured wholemeal flour. I purchase grains from them and I wish I could mill my flour as well as they do. Has big flaky pieces of bran but is a soft flour.

Perfect bread for restocking your bread bin.

All the best, Phil

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Phil,

Both the white and wholemeal flours used in this formula are from industrial sources; both being excellent bread flours.

Our roller-milled wholemeal is actually milled all the way to white, then the by-products are added back.   The outer bran husk is first of all removed in one piece.   This is achieved through conditioning the grain by soaking, followed by drying.   Hence the lovely coarse pieces of bran which contrast nicely with the finely milled flour.   The germ oils are, sadly, removed, to prevent rancidity.   This is a real shame, from a nutritional point of view.

Just arrived back from our friends, with loads more wood for the oven too!   And a platform to stand my mixer on.

It seems like the bread in this post has passed others by.   That's a shame, as it's actually some of the best bread I've made and been able to post on TFL.   Ne'er mind!

All good wishes

Andy

varda's picture
varda

It's Thanksgiving weekend for many of us.   So very busy with family visiting and so forth.   Your bread looks terrific.   You have posted so much fabulous bread.   So far I have tried two of your formulas (short of correct flour) and they have both been among my best breads.   The hardest thing is deciding which to try next.   This one?  -Varda

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Varda,

I hope you all had a great holiday, and many thanks for posting your comment here; it is much appreciated.

Nico has it; the crumb of this loaf was so soft, yet the fermentation in the bread was just right for flavour too...not too strong.   The crust from my new oven is joyful.

You need good flour for this loaf; KA would fit the bill, I reckon.

Very best wishes

Andy

PiPs's picture
PiPs

I used to buy stone milled wholemeal flours. Its actually quite hard to find rollermilled wholemeal flour here for breadmaking unless you buy commercial quantities.

I contacted the mill in south Australia to see if they were tempering their grains or doing mutiple passes as they stone milled them but apparently they are not. However they have designed the stones to their own specification and dress them themselves. Its not a super strong flour but loads of flavour.

Hope the weather settles down for you so you can give the oven a good firing :)

Cheers,
Phil

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Phil,

How interesting that regular wholemeal flour is not widely available at retail level in Australia.

In terms of mainstream bread consumption [and we are talking c.85% of bread bought in the UK!], most of this is sliced and wrapped and made with Chorleywood Bread Process.   However, even at this level, much more wholemeal and brown flour is being used, and that has led to wholemeal flour being readily available as bread flour in the supermarkets...roller-milled.

Actually, I'm just having a major re-think here...if I'm not wrong?   Allinson wholemeal is milled at Castleford, in West Yorks, and it is stone-milled!!!   It's the biggest stone-milling operation in the world.   I'll have to look into this more.   That fits, as Dr Thomas Allinson was a famous health campaigner in the late 19th Century in the UK.

However, Allinson is now part of ABF [Associated British Foods], part of the giant Weston Empire.

Best wishes

Andy

 

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Sorry, roller-milled regular wholemeal is available in the groceries stores but it is not aimed at bread making and I would never think of using it for bread ... it is for cakes and pastries. It is really weird stuff ... smells strange and feels strange to me. It seems to have nothing in common with what I produce in my mill.

The Laucke Mill where I purchase my AP flour sells a roller-milled flour suitable for bread but is only available for commercial operations ... You can buy it by the pallette load.

We have to look in "health food/organic" shops to find the stone-milled flours ... or buy online which is what I have started to do with grains.

Cheers,
Phil

 

 

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Phil,

I e-mailed through to Allinson's "BakingMad.com" site to ask for clarification on their wholemeal flours.

They are all now roller-milled and have been for several decades.   This leaves me struggling to remember why I thought the Castleford mill was the biggest stoneground mill in the world.   It turns out the flour is milled at Bishop Stortford by the Silver Spoon Co, and the bread bearing the Allinson logo is baked in Castleford by Allied Mills.   All of it is part of the Weston empire, if I'm not wrong!

The advertising slogan used to be flour "with nowt taken out" [you need to imagine a good Yorkshire accent here for this to work!!]   However, I suspect, the germ oil will have been taken out in the roller-milled process?

Best wishes

Andy

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Hi Andy,

that 60% wholmeal combined with 40% strong flour  must yield something very tasty and soft, the closest thing I can think of to my everyday bread. Well done!

How deep do you score your bread? I regularly score my weekly durum, but I always have the feeling of having scored too little deep.

Best wishes,

  Nico

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Nico,

I have one of these:

http://bakerybits.co.uk/Bordelaise-Professional-Lame-or-Grignette-P465334.aspx

Mine isn't curved, and I tend to cut quickly, but about 40mm into the dough.   This type of blade doesn't really allow for cutting on an angle, and I think that is an important reason why I end up with plenty of oven spring, but not too much in the  way of "ears"   I wish the blades stayed sharper for longer!

Soft texture in the crumb, indeed; the flour quality here was so significant.

More baking tomorrow; I bought 7kg local organic flour and 3kg organic dark rye yesterday in the big bad city!

All good wishes

Andy