The Fresh Loaf

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About FWSY Pain de Campagne, beginner question.

zombie127's picture

About FWSY Pain de Campagne, beginner question.

Hello, Im abou to make my first starter for making the Pain de Campagne, but I'm confused about the recipe.

First, I've decided to not make the full recipe for the starter since I'm not a bakery and I can't bake every week, let alone everyday. I think I'll do a third and keep it in the fridge as the book recommends. Checking the ingredients for the Pain de Campagne: it first states that I need 100 g of mature active levain, but later on in the recipe it says that I need 360 g of levain. Do I need to add more levain from the starter that I already have or do I add those 360 g from the mix that I made at the beginning of the recipe?. Also, neglecting evaporation, the ingredients total 1kg of levain, so why would I make 1kg of levain if I were just gonna use 360 g at the end and waste the rest? I realize its kind of a noob question, but I do not wish to carelesly waste ingredients.

That is all. Thanks.

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

Welcome to the wild and wasteful world of FWSY.  You'll find many similar posts here from bakers perplexed with Ken Forkish's profligate over-prescription of levain volumes.  Perhaps it comes from his previous life in Silicon Valley, where too much of everything is just enough.

Grow only as much as you need for the day's bake, plus enough to maintain your refrigerator stock of starter.  There is theoretically a flavor benefit to growing levain in larger volumes than needed, but it is so barely detectible that few pursue it.  I experimented with it but couldn't justify continuing to do so based on outcomes.

Happy Baking,


zombie127's picture

Thanks a lot, I didn't realized that it was a well known thing that the book is wasteful. I will begin this week to fortunately have a beautiful bread next week.

WatertownNewbie's picture

For example, I typically use 40 g starter, 160 g of AP flour, 40 g of whole wheat flour, and 160 g of water (which totals 400g) for the levain and then use 360 g of that for the mix.  (It is helpful to have a little extra, because some is going to stick to your container.  I use a quart Pyrex container and pour the levain into the mixing tub, which sits on a scale, until I reach 360 g.)

While on the topic of FWSY peculiarities, be alert that some of Forkish's time estimates for bulk fermentation and proofing also seem high.  Before you bake one of his recipes, spend at least ten minutes on TFL searching for posts on the particular bread.

Having said all of this, I will add that his Field Blend #2 is one of my favorite breads to bake, and his discussions in the book regarding technique are excellent.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

How old is the sourdough starter culture?