The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Andy's Whole Meal Pain Au Levain

varda's picture
varda

Andy's Whole Meal Pain Au Levain

When I was complaining the other day that I couldn't catch up with Andy, I didn't mean that I would never be a professional baker and turn out staggering numbers of authentic, healthy, artisan loaves, because of course I will never do those things.   I meant that I can't even catch up with trying to bake some of his formulas.   And he just keeps making the situation worse.    Back in November he posted wholemeal pain au levain.     I have been meaning to make it, but got distracted with mixed levains and other things and didn't get to it.   After my January croissant waistline debacle I decided that I have got to start baking more lean wholegrain breads, so that brought me back to Andy's formula.   Frankly I never expected such loft and lightness out of a 60% wholegrain bread.   But then I've never made a bread out of starter and soaker before which is what this is.  

True I was unable to follow the formula 100%.   I was a bit short of whole wheat flour so substituted in some whole rye to the soaker, and I didn't do the overnight retard immediately after the mix because it didn't fit into my schedule.   Short of those (hopefully not critical) deviations, I followed directions, and I'm glad I did.   This has a delicious crunchy, nutty flavor, and the crumb isn't the least bit gummy (ok that's how I tend to think of high percentage whole grain breads - it's my problem.)

  

 

Some baking notes: 

1. Andy's instructions call for mixing the starter, soaker, and additional flour.   Then retarding overnight.   Then Bulk Ferment for 3 hours which of course includes some warm up time.   I did not do the retard and was concerned at 1.5 hours into the bulk ferment that the dough would overferment.   I decided to end  after 2 hours, which seemed to work out.  

2. There was no call for additional water to be added to the final dough.   However, I was unable to mix the raw flour into the soaker, starter combo without a little bit of water.    Thus my hydration is 73% rather than Andy's 70%.    For a 73% hydration dough, it wasn't even slightly wet which I assume is attributable to the high percentage of whole grains.  

3. When I realized that I was short of whole wheat flour, I was scratching my head about what to add to the overnight soaker.   My husband strolled into the kitchen just as I reached this conundrum and suggested whole rye.  Despite my surprise (he's not a baker and doesn't like rye) I had to agree with his suggestion, as I thought the key point was having something that could stand up to an overnight soak without turning into gum.   Should I have done something else like whole spelt?

4.  I used King Arthur All Purpose to substitute for Carr's Special CC Flour and King Arthur Whole Wheat to substitute for Allinson's Strong Wholemeal. 

Formula and Instructions as Modified

Whole Wheat Pain Au Levain

 

 

 

 

following Andy's Wholemeal PAL formula

 

 

 

2/1/2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prepare Starter day before - 2 feedings

 

 

 

1/31/2012

 

3:20 PM

9:00 PM

Total

Percent

 

Seed

50

 

 

 

 

 

KAAP

28

47

140

215

94%

 

Rye

2

3

8

13

6%

 

Water

20

34

83

137

60%

 

 

 

 

 

365

7.7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prepare soaker at 9:30 night before

 

 

 

KAWW

315

 

 

 

 

 

HM Rye

80

 

I added some whole rye to soaker since

Water

355

 

I ran out of whole wheat

 

Salt

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

762

 

 

 

 

 

dissolve salt in water, add ww flour, mix with paddle for 3 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final

Starter

Soaker

Total

Percent

 

KAAP

80

188

 

268

40%

 

Rye

 

11

80

91

14%

 

KAWW

 

 

315

315

47%

 

Water

17

120

355

492

73%

 

Salt

 

 

12

12

1.8%

 

Starter

320

 

 

 

 

 

Soaker

762

 

 

 

 

 

starter factor

0.88

 

 

 

 

 

prefermented flour

 

 

 

30%

 

Total

 

 

 

1179

 

 

Note: the 17g additional water was needed to incorporate the raw flour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mix all ingredients - first incorporate the new flour and water

 

Then mix for 7 minutes in Kitchenaid at low speed

 

 

with a couple pauses to scrape down

 

 

 

Note that dough is very strong at this point

 

 

 

Bulk ferment on counter for 1.5 hours

 

 

 

Stretch and Fold on counter very gently

 

 

 

Bulk ferment for 30 more minutes

 

 

 

Note that dough seems very fermented at this point and

 

starting to slacken

 

 

 

 

 

Cut in two and preshape

 

 

 

 

Rest 20 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

Shape into batards and place in couche seam side up

 

 

Proof for 2 hours until dough starts to soften

 

 

Flip onto peel dusted with coarse rye and slash

 

 

Bake for 20 minutes in 450F oven with steam

 

 

22 minutes without

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Andy's wholemeal formulas are spot on.

Glad your coming over to the 'darker' side ... the crumb looks as you have described it. Do you think you might start using more soakers in the future?

Fantastic bloom as well!

Cheers,
Phil

varda's picture
varda

Phil,  I'm definitely on my way over to the dark side.   I have been following Andy's blog for awhile now, so my knowledge is ahead of my experience.   Now I'm going to try to bring the two into line.   I really find it remarkable what an impact the soaker made, without increasing the difficulty in any way.  Thanks so much for your comments.  -Varda

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Varda,

I had to smile reading Phil's comment on our coming over to the dark side....isn't so dark after all :-)

Now that you have seen the results of using both a leaven and a soaker I imagine all sorts of new possibilities will pop up for you and I look forward to seeing the results!

The book that totally changed my way of baking with 100% whole grains is Peter Reinhart's 'Whole Grain Breads'.  I always take the opportunity to 'plug' it when I see someone dabbling into using whole grains because it is excellent.  Easy to follow as he is a great teacher and the loaves I have baked - most of them - have all turned out great.  Method is very conducive to busy schedules - lots of flexibility...

Thanks for the post and the photos.  Your loaves look delicious - you really got a wonderful oven spring out of this formula.

Take Care,

Janet

 

varda's picture
varda

I was wondering if you would check in as I know this is along the lines of the type of bread you make.   I don't have Reinhart, but of course you are giving me ideas.   I was happy just to get to 60% whole wheat/rye.   It's exciting to learn a new technique and so be able to make new kinds of bread.  Thanks so much for your kind words.   -Varda

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Not gummy at all : )  I gotta a smile about your gummy remark.  Your crumb looks delicious.  Janet's right about PR WGB book,  it's excellent..amazon.com...it's addictive!

Sylvia

 

varda's picture
varda

Sylvia,  I had a heart to heart chat with my husband who is a white bread lover about what I should bake both for taste and health.   He agreed to eat more whole grain bread as long as it wasn't dense or gummy.   He said he liked this bread (and he isn't the type to be polite if he doesn't like it) so I think I held my end of the bargain up.   Thank God for the help I get on TFL.   Thanks so much for your comments.  -Varda

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Varda,

My daughter likes the soft enriched loaves so that is one of the things I have really worked on this past year using my whole grains and wild yeast.  The favorite combo here is using hard white winter or spring wheat and Kamut combined.  100% Kamut does well when used in panned loaves but if you are doing free form it needs the added strength of the hard white whole wheat.

I know you don't have 'Whole Grain Breads' ....'yet'  :-)  (Libraries have it) but, if you get the urge, his Master loaf is a great base from which to work to create just about any type of enriched loaf you want with any type of flour you want.  You can make it with a leaven or a biga.  Quantities of enrichments can be played with to produce the flavor you want.  All through one simple procedure.

Have you checked out txfarmer's '100% shreddibley soft whole wheat loaves' ?  She has several and all the formulas are top notch. The favorites here are her bulgar loaf and the oatmeal loaf - both done with leaven and 100% whole wheat.  I bet you husband would love either one of those if made with the hard white whole wheat/kamut combo.  Her method stream lines the process into a very workable dough - most of which is rest time :-)  The yeast do the work while you sleep.

End of 'lecture'.....  :-)  I do not own interests of any kind in PR's work.....I simply love promoting him because he has done what most authors of baking books shy away from - there are very few books that present recipes using ONLY 100% whole grains.  His is the most straight forward one I have run across to date and he explains the science behind his 'epoxy' method.  His passion for bread and baking also shines forth from each page and I like that....

Take Care,

Janet

 

 

varda's picture
varda

Hi Janet,  I am feeling a bit behind in the cookbook department - having recently bought ITJB and having really not baked enough out of Maggie Glezer's book even though I've had it for a year (now there's a great book.)   As well as behind on baking some of the lovely things I see on this site.    I have tended to regard txfarmer's blog as more something to admire from afar rather than something I could glean practical info from, but I realized that view was incorrect after reading through her wealth of detail on croissant making.    So I think my program right now is to try a bunch of things from Andy's write-ups and try to learn these new to me techniques.   And yet, once the seed of an idea is planted, action is not so far behind.   Thank you for your detailed reviews.  -Varda

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I think they just need to try the ton's of varieties that are out there...it took me a while to start my husband on natural yeast, now he  it's his 'favorite bread' not sour, sourdough, and I do make plenty of whole grains, I think I've hit his sweet spot for whole grain breads and I'm working on some..he also let's me know when he doesn't care for a bread..it sit's there and I don't take that politely 'lol'.

Sylvia

varda's picture
varda

That's what I tell myself anyhow.   I am definitely not amused when I bake a beautiful bread and he turns his nose up at it.   But that's what communication is for.   And politeness is overrated I suppose.   -Varda

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Varda,

These look fabulous.   I remember I made these to take down to some really good friends just at the time I was setting up Bread and Roses.   The wholemeal is just great, especially with the autolyse.

Thank you for using my formula and for doing such a great job too.   Hydration difference will be down to variation in flour, and, probably in mixing process too.

Welcome to the Dark Side...high rye perhaps???

Very best wishes

Andy

varda's picture
varda

I wouldn't have posted so soon after my last post, but I wanted you to see that you were making a difference.   (You probably know that already.)   In the past I've looked at a lot of your posts and said Huh - what's he doing - didn't have a clue.   But I'm slowly getting acclimated.  I love high rye breads, but can't get anyone around here to eat them, so they have to be few and far between.  Ah well.  -Varda

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

The crumb looks soft as you described it. Maybe you could have used even a bit more water, as flours needs.

The salted soaker (especially when there's rye) is a winning decision.

varda's picture
varda

Thank you Nico.   You are probably right that this dough could have absorbed even more water - since it was on the dry side at 73%.   I'm very enthused about the soaker concept.   When I was fussing about dough strength (during my war with durum flour) I learned that bran cuts gluten strands which is why it's more difficult to bake light whole wheat breads, so I'm assuming the long overnight soak is at least in part to soften the bran - as well as giving the flour a chance to absorb the water.   And salt to prevent fermentation in the meantime.   -Varda

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Great stuff Varda!  It's not easy to make whole wheat look this good, but you certainly got these right.  Awesome!

Marcus

varda's picture
varda

I admit to being somewhat startled when my loaves sprang up in the oven.   I think it can be attributed to soaking the whole wheat flour overnight, the fact that of late I have finally stopped cutting corners on getting my starter ready to go, and of course, Andy's formula and instructions.  Thanks so much for your remarks.  -Varda

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Beautiful, Wholemeal sourdough, Varda!

True, Wholegrain bread in excess of 50% NEED a soaker..

You had excellent results, Varda. As Janet said, do consider  Peter Reinhart's Wholegrain breads book, you'll be surprised how well his wholegrain breads turn out.

varda's picture
varda

Khalid,  Thanks for the comments and the recommendation.   That makes three great bakers for Reinhart.   Now it has to go on the list.  -Varda