Stormy Saturday: “Wholemeal” Pain au Levain.
Alison and I are going to stay over with some friends in County Durham this evening. We go back many years to when we were students in the early 1980s, and have kept in touch ever since, although I was away from the North East for several years from the mid 1990s.
Anyway, I was asked to take bread, and we needed a loaf for the house too. It’s really stormy outside, I only had a limited quantity of flour to bake with, so I’m not lighting the wood-fired oven.
I’ve made these 2 loaves with a stiff white levain which I built with 3 refreshments from Thursday evening. I made the dough yesterday evening and retarded overnight in the fridge. I pulled the dough out early for bulk proof, and stoked up the fire in our living room. It’s now toasty warm here as I type, and the first of the 2 loaves is midway through baking.
Here’s the formula:
Note that the figures don’t quite balance. I’ve bought a new calculator as my old one drowned. This one gives the answers to the calculations as a fraction. There is a function button which allows you then to see the answer using decimals, but I think this is what throws the formula slightly out. I’d better just go back to using the calculator on my pc!
Formula [% of flour]
1a. Wheat Levain
Carrs Special CC Flour
1b. Ambient Soaker
Allinson’s Strong Wholemeal
2. Final Dough
Wheat Levain [from 1a]
Soaker [from 1b]
Carrs Special CC Flour
% pre-fermented flour
% overall hydration
% wholegrain flour
- Build the levain as above. At the same time as refreshing the leaven for the final time, make the soaker as follows. Weigh the water into the mixing bowl. Weigh the salt and dissolve into the water. Add the wholemeal. Attach a paddle beater and mix for 3 minutes on first speed until cleared. Cover and leave until final mix.
- For the final mixing, add the levain and remaining flour to the soaker. Attach a dough hook and mix for 2 minutes on first speed and 7 minutes on second speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
- Put the mixed dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover and store overnight in the chiller.
- Bulk ferment for 3 hours to allow the dough to warm. Stretch and fold just once, after 2½ hours.
- Scale and divide; one piece @ 950g, the other being the remaining dough, just over 1350g. Mould both round, and rest, covered for 20 minutes. Re-mould and set into prepared bannetons.
- Final proof just over 2 hours.
- Bake in a pre-heated electric oven [250°C] on a baking stone with steam. Bake without convection for 10 minutes, then switch over to convection and drop heat to 235°C. After 30 minutes drop the heat to 210°C and bake out each loaf.
- Cool on wires.
Earlier this week I made 5 Pain de Campagne in the wood-fired oven. My business adviser came out to take me to look at some industrial units just a few miles up the road. Lots of potential here, but I’m moving more towards the idea of scaling up further in the late Summer, once my dissertation is complete. I gave one loaf to Neil, and then sold the others to some friends who had staked a claim the last time we saw them. Only later did I realise we had no fresh bread in our bread bin, so I had to go digging in the freezer!
Happy Baking Everyone!