The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Holiday Pain au Levain

blockkevin's picture

Holiday Pain au Levain

Holiday Pain au Levain


This is a formula shared with me by my friend, and one of the finest bakers I know. I made up a batch last night, and thought is was wonderful so I thought I would share as this seems to be a nice bread for this time of year.


Liquid Build

  • KAF AP Flour 70g 50%
  • Fairhaven Mills Whole Wheat Flour 70g 50%
  • Water 180g 128.5%
  • Ripe Culture(refreshed 8-10hour before) 30g 21%

Final Dough

  • KAF AP Flour 210g 50%
  • Fairhaven Mills Whole Wheat Flour 70g 17%
  • Bobs Red Mill White Whole Wheat Flour 140g 33%
  • Salt 13g 3%
  • Lightly Toasted Nuts(I used a combination of almonds, and pecans) 100g
  • Dried fruit(I used dried Cranberries)100g
  • Agave Syrup 30g 7%
  • Water 190g 45%
  • Liquid Build 350g(All) 83%


Mix: All ingredients except salt, and fruits&Nuts for 1-2 minutes just to hydrate flour

Rest: 20minutes

Mix: Add Salt and mix using any preferred method until moderate Gluten Development(I used my Kitchen Aid and it took 5 minutes on speed 4)

Mix: Add in dried fruits, and nuts and contunue to mix until incorperated(I threw it all in the Kitchen Aid, and it didn't all get mixed in, so I dumped the contents out onto my board, and placed all of the loose pieces into the middle and rolled it up like a jelly roll, and then kneaded for 30 seconds or so until all of the loose pieces got mixed in.

Bulk Ferment: 4 Hours in my kitchen which was 70deg. with folds at 40,80, and 120 minutes.

Divide: I divided into 2 600g Loaves

Round and Rest: Loosly round into 2 balls, and let relax 30 minutes

Shape: Boule or Batard

Retard: I placed my shaped loaves upsidown en couche directly into the refrigerator for 7 hours, where they rose by approx. 1.5x

Preheat Oven: about 1 hour before baking preheat oven with stone, and steam pan to 440degF.

Bake: Load directly from refrigerator onto parchment lined peel, slash, and place bread still on parchment onto stone

Steam: I place 5 Ice cubes into my cast iron steam pan and bake for 15 minutes

Rotate and Remove Steam pan: After 15 minutes I removed the parchment, and steam pan, and rotated the loaves back to front and side to side

Finish Baking: 20 minutes until internal temperature is 207degF.


Anyways I hope you guys try making this bread, and if you do please post the results, and your impressions.

Happy Holidays,





Eli's picture

are beautiful! Thanks for sharing, I have to add to my "to bake" list!

Thanks again,


SylviaH's picture

Thank you so much for sharing your recipe...these loaves turned out gorgeous and I be they taste wonderful.


dmsnyder's picture