The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Heavy Levain

SacTownBaker's picture

Heavy Levain

Hey everyone!  I'm new to this site, but I've been baking bread for about a year and a half now.  I was inspired to start baking at home when my mother gifted me a copy of Daniel Leader's 'Bread Alone'.  I've created a levain starter that I am maintaining at home, and I love the flavor that I am getting out of my pan levain; however, I am having a textural issue with the bread.  I seem to be consistently baking a heavy, chewy bread with a very fine crumb.  Is this due to adding an excess of flour and thus reducing my hydration level, or is it in part due to over-kneading the dough and developing too much gluten?

dabrownman's picture

is add in excess flour and reduce the hydration.   I'm not sure how you develop the gluten in this bread but proper gluten development is one thing you need to do with any bread.  Proper amount is the key.  I like to do it first and as fast as I can without a machine by doing  2 sets of slap and folds of'  6 minutes and 4 minutes -  12 minutes apart.  This is a more gentle way of developing gluten than a  machine or the traditional kneading method.  Then you can do some S&F's as the dough ferments to keep the gluten where it needs to be and still be gentle with it and not work all the air out of the dough.

Being gentle while shaping is important too.  You want a taunt skin with the large air bubbles gently removed but still keeping all those bubbles you worked so had to get.

Learning to work gently with wet dough is usually the way to  a more open crumb.

You will get there  and- happy baking