The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pain au Levain (Tartine Style)

amberartisan's picture

Pain au Levain (Tartine Style)

I was going to make Pain au Levain in the tartine style, 12% Prefermented flour, warm water in the levain, fermented for 8 hours, 1 hour autolyze. My target hydration was 81%. I poured the (warm) water for the autolyze and realized it felt... runny, not just wet (I routinely do bread in the 80-85% hydration range, but really wet. I looked at my paper where I had made the scaling calculations to make 3 boules and I found, upon double checking, that my dough was 100 percent hydration! 

That was never going to work. I added enough flour to bring the hydration down to 86%, the may I thought was workable (add too much and the levain is too dilute...), and I added salt as well. I fermented it, giving me a super-loose dough, almost as loose as the same dough with 83% hydration and 25% einkorn flour. I decided to make 1 large almost miche-size loaf to compensate for the extra flour and I baked it long and bold. Lo an behold, though, the crumb! That got me thinking, what hydration does Chad really use in his bakes?? I also baked the Barley-Flaxseed bread from his book, using 12% Prefermented flour instead of his 7%. I tasted phenomenal. The poor scoring may be responsible for the slightly dense crumb. Also, Chad's hydrations seem off with the Porridges, I do 80% in the total dough (keeping his %s in the proodige itself).



lepainSamidien's picture

Kudos to you on the great save, though I was almost hoping you would just go through with the 100% hydration, just to find out how it would turn out (I have a few guesses, but . . . ya never know).

Both of your breads look fantastic; I'm particularly attracted to the one on the bottom -- I tend to prefer a slightly denser loaf, and that looks right up my alley.

Thanks for posting !