The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pain au levain a la Poilâne

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Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Pain au levain a la Poilâne

An interesting journey shown below. Five years for the levain to teach the baker what the flour wanted..., 

'Que sais-je?'

Wild-Yeast

 ~ 1 kg loaves...,

Costas's picture
Costas

what do you mean saying "a la poilane"?

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

As a way of explanation:

Engilsh Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lionel_Poil%C3%A2ne

French Wiki: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lionel_Poil%C3%A2ne

Bien Cordialment, Wild-Yeast

suave's picture
suave

I think what he was trying to say was "I never heard of Poilane selling pain au levain".

varda's picture
varda

But can you share details?  -Varda

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Hi Varda,

This is a synopsis of the process:

1.) 62% hydration dough using a 10% pate fermetee starter  [Central Milling Organic Flour].

2.) Initial hydration followed by 30 minute rest after which 12 grams of sea salt are added and mixed in with a dough hook.

3.) Separate into loaves, in this case two.

3.) Three times - Stretch and fold followed by loaf forming and then covered and placed in a 90 dF [32 dC] oven to proof. Each successive stretch and fold / forming is performed so as to not deflate the dough entirely.  

4.) Final loaves are then formed, placed into plastic bag covered bannetons and proofed for 1 hour 50 minutes at 90 dF [32 dC].

5.) Loaves are placed under refrigeration and held at 38 degrees dF [3.3 dC] for 16 hours [retard period].

6.) Cold loaves are placed on parchment, slashed and baked at 500 dF [260 dC] for 20 minutes under a water spritzed cloche pan. After 20 minutes the cloche and parchment paper are removed and the bread left to finish baking for an additional 14 minutes.  

I've been taking photographs sporadically over time and I've found them to be a great review and critique of my baking progress.  Looking back I now realize that most all improvement came from those who share with others on TFL so in a way it's a tribute to you all.  My undying thanks for all your help...,

Wild-Yeast

varda's picture
varda

Thanks for sharing details.   Your process is interesting.   By 10% pate fermentee starter do you mean that 10% of total flour is prefermented?   I have hardly used pate fermentee.   Is this equivalent to a firm starter?   Or should I just cut a chunk off of some fermented dough to use as the starter?     

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

It's 10% of the total flour weight, about 200 grams and equivalent to a firm starter. The starter is technically a biga [unsalted] - in this case unsalted dough that has been kept under refrigeration between builds [~7 days] so it's on the overfermented side.

Wild-Yeast

varda's picture
varda

to get started with.   Thanks so much.  -Varda

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

The most beatiful looking loaves failed miserably when cut..., 

This is embarrassing to say least.  The taste was also not where it should be. This story ends badly.

Do not try this recipe - it is still a work in progress.

I am very disappointed...,

 

Wild-Yeast

varda's picture
varda

I love the look of it.   What was the problem?   In any case, you've got me thinking about pate fermentee.   I was a little perplexed by your numbers.   If you meant 10% of prefermented flour with 200g of pate fermentee, that is around 120g of flour in the preferment and so 1080g of flour in the final dough.    If on the other hand you mean (as I think you do) the 200g of pate fermentee are 10% of total flour, that means you have 1880g of flour in the final dough, or prefermented flour is 120/2000 or 6% of total flour.   To me at least, both of these seem too little and the second one seems way too little.  

I think next time I make bread, I will cut off a hunk of dough and save it.    You say without salt.    I am thinking you could do it with salt, so you could cut it off just before shaping and then store it cold and then use it.   If you did it at that point, it would be quite fermented and yeasty by then.   Whereas without salt, it would have to be after the autolyse and I would think wouldn't be fermented enough.  

In any case, you shouldn't be embarrassed.   It's just bread.   -Varda

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

The only embarrassment is having to eat the bread with others mentioning within earshot the facts of this most recent misadventure and about how they hope you're going back to the old recipe. A perrenial and painful reminder of bread gone all wrong by my own hand..., Arggghhhhh! The ignominy of it all...,

I'll be starting another build in a few days.  I think the amount of starter was far too small to obtain the depth of taste I've become accustomed to.  An over fermented starter [without salt] seems to be key in obtaining this depth in taste. What I'm after is to capture this taste along with an overn spring that bathes the eye with that come hither appeal of an artisan loaf.  This may be one of those mutually opposed conundrums of bread baking but I will try, try again. And as usual I've entered the wonderful field of guessing where all the pieces of the puzzle go to make it all come together.

Wild-Yeast 

varda's picture
varda

I applaud your enthusiasm and zeal and hope to hear more about how this goes.   I had just come to the conclusion based on an extremely unsuccessful bake the other day that an over-fermented starter is just the precursor to discarded bread.   But I like the idea of cutting off a hunk of dough and I will trust you that the way to go is without salt when I do my own tests.   -Varda

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

The tale of this bread has taken a strange but welcome twist. The taste, for reasons unknown, returned to normal three days after the bake [and no, it's not just me -it was noticed by all without prompting].  This taste change usually occurs on the day after the bake and sometimes on the second but never on the third...,  

A regular Go-Figure State of Consternation...,

Wild-Yeast

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Ok, TaDah! is a bit premature - Proof of the augmented recipe will have to wait till tomorrow...,

Wild-Yeast

 

varda's picture
varda

the funky score openings, which is what I thought was so cool in the first place.   Please details of what you did this time.   I'm going to bake bread tomorrow, and save some of the dough for pate fementee.   -Varda

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Hi Varda,

Mostly the same recipe with the following differences:

  • Increased the amount of fermented dough to 600 grams [372 grams flour in the levain - total flour 1400 grams] 
  • Upped the amount of salt to 15 grams - dissolved in hot water before mixing it with the autolyzed dough for improved distribution
  • Proofing after the three stretch and fold cycles was extended to 2 hours from the 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Retard refrigeration cycle extended to 18 hours. 

Good luck with your bake.

Wild-Yeast 

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Happy to say the bake is back to its normal.  The more even distribution of the salt by disolving it in warm water seems to have also improved the "chewiness" of the crust which was somewhat lacking in the problem bake. Extending the proofing period to 2 hours and the retard to 18 hours improved the crumb, its taste and overall mouthfeel qualities - might extend the proofing period a bit to 2 hours 30 minutes as a final tweak.

Wild-Yeast