The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.


Abelbreadgallery's picture


Now that the trend in Europe is baking with very small % of levain (1% levain I've seen), let's go against fashion. I made this 200% levain bread.

This was 2 kilo of mild levain (100% hydration) + 1 kilo of AP flour Guadalupe Optima from Mexico (11.5 protein) + 500 ml water + 45 grams salt. 

Bulk fermentation was around 3 hours with one fold at 1h30m.

Before shaping I left 1h30m resting. So it`s a good system to make quite fast levain bread, it only took me around 5-6 hours.




pul's picture

This looks good quite good and I will try it for sure because it can fit my schedule well.

I have noticed that you bake mainly using white flour. I guess this is the preference in Mexico as it is in other Latin American countries?




Abelbreadgallery's picture

I have worked as a baker in Europe all my life, since last year I moved to Mexico. One of the things I really miss is the variety and quality of european flours. Mexican flours are a real drama. Lots of additives. Flour companies are more focused on quantity than in quality. There are not many sourdough bakeries in Mexico. 

I usully use the regular flour I find here. I also have a small stoneground mill, in which I mill my own grains. There's no spelt, kamut, etc. I mean you can find it but absolutely overprized. So this is the real life for a Barcelona born baker in Mexico.

pul's picture

I can imagine how many flour varieties one can get in Europe at a reasonable price and excellent quality. You actually have good opportunities in Mexico, since there are not many bakeries offering sourdough. You can make a change and come out with some benefits.


leslieruf's picture

must try something like this next time I want a quicker bake. would be lovely  just with butter!


Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Wow, that's quite lovely! I wonder how the hydration and timing might need to change to incorporate some whole grain flour into this, and if it would turn out as nice.

I wondered about the flour in Mexico. When we were down there a year or two ago I bought some 'artisan' bread at a market. It looked good (nice crusty boule), but the crumb was terrible - dry and crumbly. I assumed it was because of the flour. Yours looks good though!

albacore's picture

Just wondering if the loaves had pronounced sour notes with using the high levain percent?

As an aside, there has just been a very interesting and informative Mexico culinary tour TV series on BBC TV in the UK. It was fronted by well-known (at least in the UK) chef Rick Stein. I recall he does visit a bakery in Mexico - as well as calling in at Tartine in SF on the way down.

The Road To Mexico in 6 episodes - well worth a watch if it ever comes your way.


Abelbreadgallery's picture

Thanks. I will check.

alfanso's picture

Hi Abel,

Not just for the quality of the breads that you post, but also because it demonstrates how there is a seemingly endless number of ways to conceive bread with just the few basic ingredients.  And it expands my understanding, appreciation  and practice of what I can do.  

I was another TFLer so intrigued by your 90% biga bread and therefore I was another who made it soon after you posted it here..  So I will try this formula soon.  If for no other reason than to satisfy my interest and curiosity.

But I do have a few questions.

  •  If this is a 100% hydration levain bread, I don't understand what you mean when you write "I made this 200% levain bread.".  Can you please explain that to me.
  •  I also will guess that this bakes at ~480dF (250dC).  
  • Do you autolyse with just the flour and water or incorporate the levain during the initial phase?  (I do understand that it then is no longer "officially" an autolyse).  
  • Are you looking for the dough to ~double in volume during the bulk rise?  
  • Is your bakery called "Generacion Panarra"?  
  • And where is it located in Mexico.

thank you, alan  

Abelbreadgallery's picture

Hi Alan. The formula I made was:

2 kilo of levain (1 kilo of flour + 1 lt water) + 1 kilo flour + 500 ml water + 45 salt. The hydration of the loaf was 75%, but the content of levain x kilo of remaining flour was 200% (2 kilos of levain x 1 kilo of flour). I like baking at 250ºC with steam the first minutes, and then release the steam and reduce to 230ºC.

About mixing technique, depends on every bread that I make but lately I am using "fermentolyse", which is mixing 1 minute at slow speed flours + water + sourdough and then leave 30 minutes. Then, add salt (and sometimes yeast) and mix as required. This works quite well for moderate hydration bread.

About bulk rise, depends a lot of which crumb I wanna get, and also the volume I want to achieve. Stretching and folding is also a good technique of delaying the fermentation, appart of giving strenght to the dough. If I wanna get a nice volume in bread, I make short bulk rise and then long final rise. In the other hand, if I am more focused on flavour and aroma than in volume, I make a longer bulk rise and a shorter final proof.

I don't still have my own bakery. I am in Mexico since 1year and half. I am working as a bakery instructor. I also advise some bread companies (artisan bakeries, supermarket chains, bakery machinery companies, etc). I travel a lot, not only in Mexico but also in Central America.

I share you one video of one course I made in Mexico City about bread with alternative flours (rice flour, corn flour, oatflour, buckwheat flour, pulses flours, etc).



Abelbreadgallery's picture
Flour.ish.en's picture

and couldn't wait to give this super levain a try.