The Fresh Loaf

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Leader's Pain au Levain

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dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Leader's Pain au Levain

Daniel Leader's Pain au Levain formula in "Local Breads" is a mixed white, whole wheat and rye bread. I have made it once before with sunflower seeds, but I thought I should try the "straight" recipe at least once. It turns out, I like it better without the seeds. The whole wheat flavor comes through better, at least fresh out of the oven (cooled for 50 minutes).

 I followed Leader's instructions, except i didn't knead at Speed 4 for 8-10 minutes. I did run the KitchenAid at 4 for bursts of up to 2 minutes. After 9-10 minutes, I got my first window pane! Woo-Hoo!

 We had the bread with dungeness crab cakes, a green salad and a domestic pinot gris. I'll definitely make this bread again. My wife announced I'm having it tomorrow morning as French toast. I think I can stand it. ;-)

 Leader's Pain au Levain

Leader's Pain au Levain

Leader's Pain au Levain - Crumb

Leader's Pain au Levain - Crumb

Preview of coming attractions: I have another Pain au Levain, Hamelman's levain with 3 seeds, in the refrigerator to finish proofing and bake tomorrow.

 David

Comments

fleur-de-liz's picture
fleur-de-liz

David: Very nice Pain au Levain.

I am curious if you found any difference in the bread when you kneaded to the point of windowpane? When I got my first windowpane (it sounds like some strange cult ritual!), it was with either Leader's Pain au Levain or his Pain de Campagne, I was so thrilled -- but, more importantly, there was a noticeable improvement in the bread. Am wondering if you had a similar experience.

If you like Hamelman's Sourdough Seed Bread, you might also try his Five Grain Levain, which is a wonderful bread that I've made quite a few times. Looking forward to seeing the seeded bread.

Liz

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

Beautiful job David. Nice crust and crumb! I'm working on Leaders semolina but after seeing your pain au levain I want to try that...and Bill's 100% whole wheat and a half dozen others.   

Great job on this bread. I have to try it.            weavershouse

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi weavershouse, 

Thanks for the compliment. 

I have not been crazy about other Pains au Levain I've made to date, especially after the first day. I'm going to make this one again; it's a candidate for addition to my favorites list. It had a really nice aroma and taste this morning (the day after baking) and made good toast. I think the particular balance of bread flour (I used Guisto's Baker's Choice.), rye (Guisto's whole rye) and whole wheat (Hmmm .... also Guisto's.) was just right. Leader does write that he played with the proportions a lot before settling on the one in this formula. 

I made two 520 gram batards. I had a bit more dough than Leader's formula specified, actually, because I added 50 gms more levain. I think this would make a wonderful 1 kg batard. I may try that next time.

David

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Liz.

The biggest difference I noticed with this dough was the texture when I was folding it. It was very smooth and very extensible without tearing. I can't say there were other characteristics I can attribute to more complete gluten development.

What improvements did you find when you kneaded to window paning? Maybe I missed something.

We skipped the French toast this morning, BTW, and had the Pain au Levain toasted with just-made almond butter and jam. It made really good toast. It was just right with a cappucino.

I've looked at Hamelman's Five Grain Levain. I'm sure I'll make it. He makes it sound really tasty. I need to add more whole grain and multi-grain breads to my repetoire. I reallly like them but have little experience with them.

The Hamelman 3-seed Levain loaves are almost risen. The oven is ready.

David

fleur-de-liz's picture
fleur-de-liz

David:

When I finally kneaded to the point of windowpane, I noticed a definite improvement in the crumb, mostly its texture and the visible gluten strands. There was greater ovenspring. The bread was lighter. I also noticed greater extensibility which allowed for better shaping of the dough. All around, there was, to me, a great improvement. I think your breads are better than mine had been pre-windowpane, so perhaps the changes aren't as noticeable to you.

I do like the Hamelman Seeded Sourdough, but the Five Grain Levain is really special. Also has great keeping qualities. One of my favorites.

Hope you show us photos of the Seeded Sourdough.

Liz

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi Liz, 

Interesting points. On reflection, I believe I've generally come pretty close to the window pane point, just not quite there until now. So, the difference in crumb texture may not have impressed me. 

I think the Hamelman Sourdough Seed Bread is one of my top 5 all-time favorites. I love it! If the Five Grain Levain is even better, I clearly must bake it ASAP. 

"Hope you show us photos of the Seeded Sourdough." 

Ask and you shall receive! ;-)

David

SaraBClever's picture
SaraBClever

How funny--this must be a "breakthrough" bread for people--this is the first time I really got windowpane in my machine and I am hopefully that now that I've figured out how to do it I will get windowpane from now on.  My loaf is fermenting right now and I am so excited to see how it turns out!