The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Max's 100% Triple Levain Bread with Onions

isand66's picture

Max's 100% Triple Levain Bread with Onions

  It's been a few weeks since my last post.  I've been very busy, traveling to Costa Rica on vacation which was amazing and upon my return we added another family member to our pack.  I am happy to introduce Max who is our new 9 month mixed breed puppy.


We had a great time in Costa Rica trekking through the rain forest and hanging out in the pool and in the ocean.  It's a beautiful country and worth visiting if you get the chance. 
Rain Forest in Costa Rica

To welcome Max into our lives I decided to name my latest experiment in his honor.  I have been wanting to try making a sourdough where all the flour comes from the levain so I decided to build 3 different starters and incorporate all of the flour and most of the water for the dough as part of the preferment's.I used mostly whole grain type flours and tried using a combination I though would create a nice nutty flavor.  I also couldn't help but add some barbecued onions in the mix since I love the flavor of onions in bread.

I let the dough over-proof slightly before placing the loaves in the oven which lead to a more flat loaf than I wanted, but the taste was fantastic with a nice moist open crumb full of flavor and more than enough sour to go around.






Mix ingredients in a bowl for each starter until thoroughly combined.  Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for around 8 hours.  The starter should almost double when ready to proceed.  (I used my proofing box set at 83 degrees and the starter were ready to use after about 5 hours.)

 Main Dough

Mix the starter together in your bowl along with the salt, oil and water for 2 minutes.  Next mix the onions in and mix for another 4-5 minutes.  Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover.  Let it sit at room temperature or in my case at 80 degrees in my proofer for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Do a total of 3 stretch and folds or more if you like until the dough starts to come together and develop sufficient gluten strength.

Next place it in your bowl covered in your refrigerator over night for at least 12 hours.  Since this dough has so much levain you don't want to keep it in the refrigerator too long so I suggest no more than 12 hours.


The next day, take the bowl out of your refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for around 1.5 to 2 hours.  Form the dough into loaves or your preferred shape and let it rise for about 1.5 hours or more depending on your ambient temperature.


When the dough is ready to bake, score as desired and prepare your oven for baking with steam.



Set your oven for 500 degrees F. at least 45 minutes before ready to bake.  When ready to bake place the loaves into your on  your oven stone with steam and lower the temperature immediately to 450 degrees.   When the loaves are nice and brown and reached an internal temperature of 200 degrees F. you can remove it from the oven.

Let the loaves cool down for at least an 3 hours or so before eating as desired.


Max's Fortress of Solitude




Amazing Pool at Westin Resort
Swim-up Bar at Resort....Life is Good!
Costa Rican Lake Leading up to Volcano
It's Nice Being Green


Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Hi Ian.  Thanks for sharing both your nice looking bread and your trip experience.  Love that combination of photos.

Never did think of visiting Costa Rica, but now I am thinking it might be on my list of places to see.  Can't beat a resort hotel like that one.

That bread screams healthy.  Yum.


isand66's picture

Thanks John.  You would love Costa Rica.  So much to do and it's so beautiful.

Glad you liked the bread.  This was an interesting experiment and aside from some flatness it came out great.

Look forward to seeing how your Tartine WW came out.


Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker


Catastrophe.  That is one word to describe the WW Tartine this morning.  I may have a silver lining to the story though.  Will know in an hour.


dabrownman's picture

have plenty of cat apprentices to keep poor max under paw:-)  He doesn't look too scratched up so all is well. Glad you like CR too.  A fine place so different from Long Island

What a strange recipe - even for you!  You got some bloom but I'm guessing the 3 levains ate away at the gluten some causing a flattish rise - if a rise can be flat.  Nice open crumb none the less and it has to be tasty with all the multigrains and add ins

Lucy says hi to Max and she wishes she was there to help him out.

Happy baking

isand66's picture

Max could really use Lucy's help...that's for sure :).

On the bread side, I think if I had let this rise a little less it would have gotten better oven spring and been less flat.  The flavor development was certainly excellent and the open and moist crumb was excellent.

Thanks for your comments as always.


bakingbadly's picture

What an adorable puppy! If only I could reach through screen and pet him. Costa Rica also looks gorgeous... You are truly living the life, Ian. Relaxing by the beach and trekking through the rain forest? Colour me green with envy. :)

How was the flavour of your bread? Judging solely from its looks, seems healthy and nutritious.


isand66's picture

It's great to hear from you Zita.  I hope all is going well with you.

If only I could spend more time relaxing in Costa Rica....that would be the life!

The taste was excellent if I do say so myself.  It made some great grilled bread with some olive oil and parmesan cheese spread on top.  It has a nice fully developed nutty flavor from the whole grains and prefermented dough.

I hope to see some of your posts in the future.

Thanks for your kind words.  Max has quickly become a member or our family and I'm so glad we adopted him.  He's a great doggie so far.


Mebake's picture

Wow! beautiful scenery, and a cute puppy. I'm glad you enjoyed you summer vacation.

For a bread with 100% prefermented flour, this is a winner. Good job, Ian.


isand66's picture

Thanks Khalid.  Appreciate your comments.  I have your date bread on my list to bake real soon.  Look forward to your next post.


trailrunner's picture

wouldn't have thought of  using all the flour in preferment/levain...great idea and so healthy with the fermentation making the food value available in all of it. Sweet puppy !  My daughter spent a week with 3 friends in CR in the late Spring. They had a fantastic time and she did some amazing deep sea fishing too. Caught a 160# marlin ...dwarfed her :)  She loved the jungle and the 2 hr zip line. All in all a great place. We still have coffee that she brought us...Britt. Do you bring it back  ? It has amazing flavor. c

isand66's picture

Thanks for your comment.  That's awesome that your daughter caught such a huge fish.  Maybe next time I will give fishing a shot.  We brought back a bunch of coffee to give as gifts and our friends lived it.

the bread is tasty and I was happy with the results.