The Fresh Loaf

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WW Baguettes w/75% mixed flour hydr. Levain

alfanso's picture

WW Baguettes w/75% mixed flour hydr. Levain

I'm infrequently in the habit of reposting breads from the past without a change of something or other.  However I can't seem to find any prior reference of mine on TFL of having posted this one here before.

The background: My initial levain, true and trusted friend all these years, was this 75% mixed flour affair, and from that grandpa sprouted all subsequents.  These past two years I seem to always bake with the 100% hydration AP levain, and occasionally work some other levain requirement off that.  

I've been ignoring my old friend, which my notes say was criminally last refreshed in Sept. 2020, and even then only as a recurring courtesy.  I didn't wish to take the minimal risk of refreshing that ancient and waylaid levain, so I did the unconscionable and sadly relegated it to its final resting place it, making a new two stage levain from my trusty 100% AP.

Looking to get the new gal off to a start, I found this WW Levain Baguette formula quietly sitting in my ever thickening looseleaf binder bursting with those compatriots I've made in the past.

I make it my duty to always post who was the original author or inspiration for all my breads, but I could find no reference to anyone other than me, so I guess this is the rare "original" alfanso.

A third build was in store to create my levain for this bread.  As there was no method associated with the formula, I just followed rote.  

  • Autolyse all ingredients for 20 minutes,
  • 50 French Folds, 5 minute rest, 50 FFs.  
  • Oiled covered container for 2 hours with bench top Letter Folds at 40 & 80 minutes.   This dough was incredibly extensible.
  • Retard for ~12-16 hours with shaping, then onto couche sometime around the halfway point.
  • Bake in 460dF oven with steam for 13 minutes, remove steam, rotate loaves, bake 12 minutes more, 2 minutes venting at end.

The taste is hearty with 25% whole grains there is a slight tang and nose to the levain, something that infrequently comes through in my other bakes. 

310g x 4 baguettes/long batards


gavinc's picture

They look like beauties. I must give them a go. Thanks for sharing your formula and process. Up to your usual great standard.



alfanso's picture

Funny how this was "lost" in my looseleaf book for a few years, and no evidence I had ever made them before.  And only rediscovered when I was leafing through the pages looking for a formula employing this specific levain.  At 30% whole grain, this is close to my limits on the "wheaty" flavor I can enjoy.


Benito's picture

Good looking quadruplets Alan, nicely done.  They have your typical amazing ears the Alfanso signature.

I can’t believe you haven’t fed your starter since Sept 2020!!  How much starter do you keep?


alfanso's picture

I've been busy lately between toying around with ciabatta and a bunch of batards, add the out of town stint to that, and it was a "while" since I last traversed the Baguette Trail, and it felt like "home".  At 310g each, they are on the slimmer end of the spectrum for me, any lower would be ficelles.  And after numerous prior bakes, I broke out a new corner of my double edged razor blade for the occasion.  Whoopee.

This levain goes back my original pineapple juice starter in probably 2014, when I first decided to move away from IDYs and step into the world of levains.  Ol' 75 was faithful till the end, regardless of turning my back on it.  I had never once cleaned out the container, always believing that the bugs were valued contributors over time.  Since this sad fella had been so purposefully neglected, I felt it was time to start afresh.  And so I used his great-great grandkids as the seed.  And was quite pleased at how the levain reacted in the mix after the third build - the first two were the re-creation of the levain.

There are seemingly always a few hundred grams of levain in my refrigerator.  And for about a year or two after becoming enamored with the Hamelman 125% hydrations, and for fun you understand, I maintained a diverse lineup.  60% hydration rye, this 75% mixed, 100% AP, 125% AP & 125% rye.  Totally unnecessary of course.  But hey, what the heck, I'm retired!  Now it's just the 75% and 100%, and anything, as you well know, can be built off them in one or two builds.

thanks, Alan

Abelbreadgallery's picture

Looks so good. Congratulations.