The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Leader's Pain au Levain Complet (a la Poilane)

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Leader's Pain au Levain Complet (a la Poilane)

I have made Peter Reinhart's Poilane-style miche many times, but this was my first attempt at Daniel Leader's version. The formulas are different in a number of ways. Leader uses autolyse, which Reinhart does not, and does not use cold retardation of either the starter or the formed miche, which Reinhart does. Leader uses a higher hydration dough and folding an hour into bulk fermentation.

Leader's instructions for this formula contain at least one error, in the secion on making the whole wheat starter. His instructions for adding the starter to the dough are confusion in this formula as in others. 

Rather than using a mixture of bread flour and whole wheat in the final dough, I used 400 grams of first clear flour and 100 grams of whole wheat. (I used to prefer all first clear flour for Reinhart's miche, but KA's first clear flour seems to be somewhat lower extraction recently.) The miche was proofed in a linen-lined wicker banneton, which I am loving.

Two hours out of the oven, the flavor was lovely. I like the flour mix I used - just enough whole wheat flavor. It was somewhat  less sour than Reinhart's version in my hands, presumably due to the lack of cold fermentation, I assume.

Photos to follow ... 

David

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Leader's Pain au Levain Complete (a la Poilane)
Miche crumb


Miche crumb
David

cdnDough's picture
cdnDough

I have yet to try the version from the BBA but just tried Leader's version yesterday.  I agree there is a discrepancy in the table/written instructions.  The table states one should use 225 g (i.e. all the levain) while the instructions state using 125 g.  I compromised and used 175 g which left me enough levain to inocculate my next starter.  I might try 125 g next time.  Overall, I found the dough to be wet and probably could have added less water initially.  It was definitely more sticky than tacky.  The boule was difficult to form and didn't want to hold its shape (flattening in about 1 min).  I would have preferred a bit more of a rise and a less flat shape, but the taste is great.

Pain au Levain Complet

Pain au Levain Complet

NB: I should add that my camera flash has made the loaf appear lighter than it actually is...

rubato456's picture
rubato456

i made this a few days ago and it didn't last until the next day.....i didn't take a pix as it didn't look anything extrordinary on the outside, but once we cracked it open it didn't last long at all......

i used 100 g unbleached white bread flour and 400 coarsley ground whole wheat (arrow head mills)...i noticed the inconsistancy in the directions but i used the 125 g starter, if i had used the entire thing i would not have part to put back in fridge as he indicates.

i am making this miche again as i loved the taste so much! funny, i found the dough to be dry at his measures of water/flour, so i added a few extra handfuls of water and a tablespoon of oil while i kneaded as well as he suggests. i kneaded the dough a good 30 minutes or so to get the degree of window paning that i like. (of course i'm still doing the one handed knead which isn't as efficent as a two handed) 

i'll be ad libbing his instructions and adding my own overnight cold ferment in as i sort of didn't plan this too well and don't feel like baking at 3 am. i did the first ferment of 1 hour at room temp; kneaded and now i'm doing an overnight cold ferment. i'll bring it out tomorrow morning and let it go a few hours at room temp. then i'll shape and give it the final proof.

what i did with the part of the remaining miche starter was to use it in maggie glezer's essential columbian....i've never made that bread and thought it looked good. 

nice looking miche's both of you! very timely post as i've had miche's on my mind lately! 

deborah

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

You are discovering what happens when you fiddle with a formula's ingredients. The difference in how your dough turned out is almost certainly due to your whole wheat flour absorbing more water, leading to a drier feeling dough.

If your desire is to replicate a cookbook author's results, you must stick as close as possible to the prescribed ingredients. Once you know how it is "meant to be," you can change it to your liking. That's my approach, anyway.


David

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Looks nice! That is always the problem when replicating French recipes, trying to find the right flours. Did you see my post about the Poilâne bread on my blog? It is 100% T80 flour, How could that be done in the US? First of all, T80 has NO large bran particles. It gives grey bread. Is first clear like High Extraction? That is probably the closest. This said, and as I said in my blog, it's impossible to do the Poilâne authentically at home, but a miche like what you've produced has all the advantages in flavor and texture of the Poilâne and the ww adds wonderful favor. My feeling is that though the authentic Poilâne is very good bread, the bread we make can be as good, even better!

Jane 

cdnDough's picture
cdnDough

Below are photos of my second attempt.  As described in the instructions, fermentation time was 3hrs and I kneaded again after 1hr of fermentation.  I added an additional folding at 2hrs.  I proofed in a cheap 10'' basket this time for 2 hours this time and didn't have time to leave it for another hour so it wasn't double in volume.  Oven kick was better this time and I seemed to rise more (as opposed to spreading).  I'm still having a bit of an issue with my baking stone being a bit too hot.

Pain au Levain Complet (2nd)

Pain au Levain Complet (2nd)

Pain au Levain Complet (2nd) Crumb

Pain au Levain Complet (2nd) Crumb 

rubato456's picture
rubato456

love the pattern and rise you got! i assume the pattern was from the basket....did you score this bread? very nice looking! per david's comment, i try to do a recipe at least once per instructions, but i've been finding that when there isn't much ww flour i'm not liking the taste.....for iinstance w/ glezer's miche. as nice as it looked i much prefer bread w/ at least 50% ww for the taste factor. i'm going to do her essential w/ 50% ww and i'll be sure to report my results. 

deborah

cdnDough's picture
cdnDough

I must say that I'm pretty happy with this one.  In comparison with other books I've read, Leader's instructions are somewhat flexible... knead for 10-20 minutes or until you pass a windowpane test, fermentation is 3-4hrs, proofing is 2-3hrs or until the dough passes a finger-poke test, etc.  I do try to keep the ingredients in the correct proportion but I too am guilty of baking around life as opposed to baking for life.  If it gets too late, I retard loafs in the fridge or under ferment/proof a little to speed the process along.   I do agree that it is worth doing it 'by the instructions' once or twice ;)  

I added the 2nd fold as I've been having issues working/shaping Leader's 70% hydration sourdoughs... I find them to be quite slack and tend to spread more than I'd like when proofing.  My $2 proofing basket is a recent acquisition and was lined with a floured linen towel.  The pattern is from scoring the loaf with crisscross slashes (again, trying to promote a better rise).

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, deborah.

My main point was that, if you use a lot of WW flour in this recipe, you might want to increase the water in order to achieve the dough consistancy and the kind of crumb Leader meant this miche to have.


David

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, cdnDough.

Nice work!

You got great bloom and the crumb is wonderful.


David

rubato456's picture
rubato456

about adding extra water with an increase in proportion of ww. i do this as a matter of course and i find things usually come out well....

cndough that scoring pattern is amazing....i'm totally in awe. i went ahead and got the tomato knife that ppl on tfl have raved about and i do find it to be marvelously sharp. however i still tend to err on the side of not slashing deep enough. 

deborah

rubato456's picture
rubato456

i'm not sure if i should start another thread, but since this is leader's miche (i did follow his proportions exactly) i guess it should be ok (it was glezer's i took poetic license with....)

as i mentioned above, i didn't slash this deep enough, i felt like it was proof pretty well and so i slashed as deep as i could stand as i've read that if a loaf is under proofed you should slash shallow to allow it to open up better and if its' proofed about right you should slash deeper...i think that's what i read....any way i feel like this loaf would have opened up more if i had slashed better.....

here's the loaf....we'll see the crumb in about 2 hours time or more (hard to wait!) i also flouired the banneton too heavily and i can't see the pattern very well.

leader's ww sourdough miche

leader's ww sourdough miche 

deborah

cdnDough's picture
cdnDough

Looks great Deborah!  Your scoring looks fine to me... exactly as the book describes.  The colour on your loaf is fantastic. I cannot seem to get my oven warm enough without my stone scorching the bottom of my loafs (I'll be moving higher in the oven for the next bake). I decided to get creative with scoring after watching a few videos at Le Petit Boulanger (click on Vidéos on the left and scroll down to 'La scarification'). I fashioned a lame using a safety razor blade, two small screws and a wooden chopstick.  I too tend to be shallow with the first cut, but I just go back over it until I'm 1/4'' to 1/2'' into the loaf.

Of the breads I've tried from Leader's book, I'd say the pain complet is among my favorites. In Bread Alone, there is a variation of pain au levain with cherries and pecans that is another favorite. I think I'll try the walnut variation of pain complet next.

rubato456's picture
rubato456

baking at 470 degrees as leader directs. i decided to do 20 minutes at 470 and drop it down to 450 for the duration of the bake. this seems to take care of the scorching prob at least in my oven. i'm in utter amazment of your slashing pattern. thanks for the heads up on the video. i have watched bolanger quite a few times (brushing up my rusty french) but i have not seen the other one you refer to. will check it out. here's the crumb pix of my loaf. i barely waited the two hours.....it is still a tad warm but mostly cooled off. it's delicious. i love this bread. it's so tasty and statisfying. not too sour at all for my tastes even after the over night ferment. i can't wait to see how the essential columbian turns out (glezer). i'll be shaping my first batard ever...should be a trip!

ww sourdough miche (leader) crumb

ww sourdough miche (leader) crumb 

deborah

rubato456's picture
rubato456

cndough for pointing me to those videos....unbelievable!!! i watched them over and over......they make it look so easy but i guess it is if you move w/ assurance and grace as these men do. still a pix is worth a thousand words and a thousand thanks to you for this resource! the internet is truely a wonderful thing!! 

deborah