The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pain au Levain

  • Pin It
amberartisan's picture
amberartisan

Pain au Levain

Lately I've been having inconsistencies with the Levain I bake. Sometimes the cell structure is too tight and the taste too acidic, sometimes I get a tight crumb with no acidity whatsoever, indicating a lack of micro-organism activity, and sometimes, I get a beautiful open crumb and just a hint of acidity, which is my ideal pain au levain. This week, I baked my levain (which is always 80% AP, 10% WW, and 10% Rye), with 12% Prefermented flour and using a stiff levain 84-16 (AP:WW) instead of a liquid 50-50 to generate the fermentation. 

Total Formula: AP 400g, WW 50g, Whole Rye 50g, Water 395g (79%), Salt 10g.

  1. Levain: 50g AP, 34g Water, 12g Seed (Liquid), 1g Salt. Mine ripened in 16 hours @ 72F or so.
  2. Autolyze: Mixed remaining flour and water less 25g. DDT 78F, mine read 77 after mixing. Let stand 1 hour.
  3. Mixing: Add remaining water and salt. Pinch together, then do slap and fold until tighter.
  4. Bulk: Mine was 4.5 hours, with 4 folds or so every 30 minutes.
  5. Preshaping; Shaping: I used Chad Robertson's shaping techniques to get a batard shape (see:http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/27143/chad-robertson-masterclass-video)
  6. Proofing: Mine was about 2.5-3 hours @ 76F or so.
  7. Baking: 480F with Sylvia's Steam first 15 minutes or so, then another 30 minutes to finish.

The bread's flavor was very close to my ideal: Sweet, with a hint of acidity, mostly lactic, and a memorable aftertaste. The cell strucutre was open on most of the batard, though not as amazing as what, say, PiPs does. The bread was probably a little underproofed, judging by a couple of minor blowouts that occured on the loaf's size.

Comments

amberartisan's picture
amberartisan

Usually, I do this bread @ 82% water. I might try going back to 82% once I master 80% (using the stiff levain, of course).

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

The stiff levain will favor yeast over LAB at room temperatures to 82 F and make for a less sour bread.  LAB love the wet and heat. Take the hydration to 120% at 93 F and the sour will really come out.  Well done and

Hapyy Baking

amberartisan's picture
amberartisan

I'm not looking for hardly any sour. This is supposed to be a French-Style levain. Oh yes, and I have seen your temperature chart ith yeast and LABs, its really cool!

 

Thanks,

Walker

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

most folks don't like sour bread and thus the popularity of Tartine and Forkish where the temperature, process and methods make for a less sour bread.

isand66's picture
isand66

Nice looking loaf.  Looks like you achieved an ideal crumb structure.

Regards,
Ian

amberartisan's picture
amberartisan

Check out his bread. Then you will know what is my ideal crumb structure!

But yeah, I like the results. I think I hit a nice strucutre, despite being less open than others (mine has 10% rye, also). I could probably push the hydration a little more, though.