The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pain au Levain de Seigle Challenge Bread

isand66's picture

Pain au Levain de Seigle Challenge Bread

   One of my good baking friends from "Brot & Bread" and The Fresh Loaf posted her version of the Plotziade challenge which is to use the same exact %'s of flour and salt to build a bread.  The kicker is you can use yeast, a starter, biga, etc. and any hydration you would like.  You can see Karin's amazing bread here,  Below is some more information I borrowed form Karin's post (I hope she won't sue me for plagiarism :))

Plötzblog is one of Germany's best bread baking blogs.  Lutz Geißler (author of "Brot backen") invited all to his blog-experiment: "Wir bauen uns ein Brot" (Let's build a bread).

Each participant has to bake a loaf, roll or small bread with these ingredients and these amounts:

  • 450 g (90%) wheat flour Typ 550 (or bread flour)
  • 50 g (10%) whole rye flour
  • 10 g (2%) salt
  • sourdough and/or yeast
  • water

And that's it: nothing else should be added.

But there are no restrictions on how to make your bread - method, level of hydration and leaven are entirely up to you.

I decided to do a pretty high percentage hydration loaf with a starter using both bread flour and rye flour.

The final loaf came out great.  It's a nice soft bread with a perfect crust and a crumb that has enough holes in it to make you wear a bib when eating a slice with just about anything!  The small amount of rye really adds a nice nutty flavor along with the moderate sour tang from the starter and overnight bulk retardation.

I built the starter up in 2 stages starting off with my AP 66% hydration mother starter.


Plotziade Challenge Bread (%)

Plotziade Challenge Bread (weights)


Levain Directions

Step 1

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 used my proofer set at 83 degrees and it took about 4 hours.

Step 2

Mix the flour and water with all of the levain from step 1 and let it sit at room temperature again until it is doubled.  At this point you can either use it right away or put it in the refrigerator and use it the next 1 to 2 days.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours with the main dough water for about 1 minute.  Let the rough dough sit for about 20 minutes to an hour.  Next add the levain and salt and mix on low for 4 minutes and speed #2 for another 2 minutes or by hand for about 6 minutes.   You should end up with a cohesive dough that is slightly tacky but very manageable.  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.  (Since I used my proofer I only let the dough sit out for 1.5 hours before refrigerating).

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.

The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature and will only rise about 1/3 it's size at most.  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 5 minute lower the temperature to 450 degrees.  Bake for 35-50 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 205 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.





Darwin's picture

Looks like another great bake, nice crust & crumb. 

isand66's picture

Thank you Darwin!

I was very happy with how this one came out.  This one makes great grilled bread and sandwich bread if you don't mind a little filling leaking out of the holes :).

dabrownman's picture

 challenge contender Ian.  Perfect inside and out for sure - love the scoring.  Well done.  Lucy has some Ideas for her entry and speaking German she will figure out how to enter these Bread Olympics - I don't have a clue so she better come up with a recipe, get it baked off and entered in time -it isn't happening this week since she is doing a 105% whole grain bread at 97% hydration

I know it sounds weird to have more than 100% whole grain, but you know her!   She has way with fudging the figures to have them do what ever she wants :-)   From what I can tell she needs some more time to figure out how to get her 100% hydration Olympic bread poured into a real German Olympic Gold Medalist' glass slipper for proofing and baking -  for what she calls proper Olympic Olympic baking.  I know she wasn'tt at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, heck she is only 8, but she does claim her great, great, great, great grandmother was  - even though she fled the country before the final ceremony - when no one was paying attention that Jewish Doxie Dogs were fleeing the country en mass.  It was a miracle.....

At any rate, we love your Olympic Challenge Bread an, from what I and my Baking Apprentice 2nd Class can  see, Karin is in deep  Doo Doo :-)

Happy baking 

isand66's picture

Thanks DA.  I love the way this one came out.  I basted some slices with olive oil and topped it with some fresh Mozz and heated it up in the oven to go along with the pork chops from last night....I could have eaten just the bread.

I can't wait to see Lucy's 105% whole grain bread.  Sounds like it's going to be an interesting one and I look forward to your entry into this contest as well.

Happy Baking to you and Lucy!

trailrunner's picture

Very nice bread. I can just hear the crisp crust. That is definitely a bread for sopping up sauce. Great job. I have too much in my freezer so all is in rest mode here. Have to live vicariously:) c

isand66's picture


look forward to your next bake.


David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

That really looks amazing. Nicely done. 

isand66's picture

Thanks David

Janetcook's picture

First  - Amazing loaf.  What a beauty.

Second - I am shocked that you would participate in a challenge that only limited you to a mere 5 ingredients!  Weren't you tempted to toss at least a few other goodies into the mix?   Bad me…sorry, I just couldn't resist.  *^)

Take Care,



isand66's picture

Thanks Janet.  You're was torturous trying to keep myself from throwing in like 3 other flours!  Anyway this did turn out real good and was worth the restraint....a version with Caramelized onions would be great too :)



Janetcook's picture

Means we can look forward to permutations of this loaf in the future.


CeciC's picture

Lovely Loaf,

Im gonna work on this challenge too. its gonna be so much fun taking part in this bread olympics


isand66's picture

Thanks Cecilia. I look forward to seeing your entry.


hanseata's picture

I had to resist the temptation of throwing in some seeds or nuts, too, but then we would have been disqualified, as some hapless baker was who tainted the loaf with buttermilk ;)

Ian's version is wonderful, and sometimes a more purist formula is plain goodness.


By the way, I made an error: Lutz Geissler's book title is "Das Brotbackbuch" (not "Brot backen").

isand66's picture

Thanks Karin.  I shudder at the thought of adding buttermilk.....maybe with some roasted garlic and cheese...then it would be worth it ;).