The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pain au Levain with Shallots

isand66's picture

Pain au Levain with Shallots

      This is another version of the bread I made last week but I subbed out the white rye with durum flour and I added some dried Shallots reconstituted in the liquid first.

All I can say is the smell of the shallots baking in this bread was amazing and filled the entire house with its oniony aroma.  The substitution of the durum changed the flavor profile slightly, and it was hard to really tell the difference without doing a side by side comparison.

This has become one of my favorites and is perfect for the cold days ahead.  I've been eating it all week for breakfast and for lunch with left over pork cutlets and baked ham with some cheese of course!

Here's Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Max getting into the Holiday Spirit!





Levain Directions

Mix all the Levain ingredients together for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled.  I usually do this the night before.

Either use in the main dough immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day before using.

 Main Dough Procedure

Add the dried shallots to your water and let it re-hydrate for about 10 minutes.  Next, mix the flour, barley flakes, and 275 grams of the water together in your mixer or by hand until it just starts to come together, maybe about 1 minute.  Let it rest in your work bowl covered for 20-30 minutes.  Next add the salt, starter (cut into about 7-8 pieces) and mix on low for a minute.  Add the rest of the water unless the dough is way too wet.   Mix on low-speed for another 5 minutes.  Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds.  Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold.  Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold.  After a total of 2 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.

When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Remove the dough and shape as desired.  I made 1 large boule shape.   Place your dough into your proofing basket(s) and cover with a moist tea towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature.  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 550 degrees F. and prepare it for steam.  I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf.  I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.

Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.


After 1 minute lower the temperature to 500 degrees and after another 3 minutes lower it to 450 degrees.  Bake for 35-50 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 210 degrees.

Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.





dabrownman's picture

loaf of bread Ian and it has that yellow color only durum can put in bread! The bold bake has to help the flavor and Lucy loves the barley flakes as an add in.  Max looks to be in full Holiday mode and Lucy approves.  I think Lucy has the hots for Max.

Happy Holidays ian1

isand66's picture

Thanks DA...I'm not sure if she has the hots for Max or she was taken over by the Borg :).

I'm glad you like the bake...I know it's rather simple by both of our standards, but it is a good stick to your ribs type of bread with a nice chewy crust and plenty of flavor.

Enjoy the wife is about to start baking her holiday cookies...I will try to get some photos this year to post about it.

Look forward to your next post.


annie the chef's picture
annie the chef

Your loaf is beautiful as always!

The barley flakes, is that the barley's bran or ground whole barley? I could find only barley flour over here.


isand66's picture

Thanks Annie.  It's the barley bran as far as I know.  Thanks for kind words.



varda's picture

Yummy shallot bread. And Max is looking very festive.   -Varda

isand66's picture

Thanks Varda.

Mebake's picture

Lovely heart-warming loaf, Ian! Just the right accompaniment to a winter meal.


Merry X mas!


isand66's picture

Thanks Khalid.  Appreciate the kind words.  After being in the 20's and 30's F the last few weeks today it's supposed to be close to 60 degrees.  Crazy weather lately.

Look forward to your next bake.


golgi70's picture

Nice Bake Ian.  Sure looks like a nice toasting bread that will beg for butter among other toppings.  

I'll have to try shallots as onions are so good in bread and I love shallots.  Caramelized Shallot Levain???

Happy Eating


isand66's picture

Thanks Josh...anything in the onion family works for me!  I look forward to seeing your version.