Saturday, January 4, 2014

Pain Au Levain (69% Hydrated)

This is the first naturally leavened bread found in Miscovich's new book From the Wood Fired Oven. And its a really nice one. I nice open crumb, chewy crust and his levain method is fail proof. Since it is 100% hydrated it is very easy to adjust if a stiff levain is needed, simply providing 30% less water in the feeding will yield a starter that is very close to 70% hydrated. But as I have said many times before I am a huge fan of the liquid levain as opposed to the stiff levain, the flavor and aroma is more to my liking. I id run into a little trouble with this bread, but that is only because the breads that I have been baking for the past few years have been wholesome, heavy and filled with whole grains and I have had little practice with the softer, lighter more supple doughs. But I am excited for the new challenge. I know the next bread I bake, the pain au levain 75% hydrated is going to be difficult, but I am eager. I might have to bake it a few times, and I promise to post all my results, with the lessons that I learned. It is just a lot of fun to have my mentors book in my hands, The pages are all ready dirty, and that makes me proud. A well used cook book is a very dirty cook book. 

This bread contains 25% prefermented flour, meaning 25% of the total flour weight is included in the sourdough build, which is allowed the mingle for about 8 hours. The build is also 100% hydrated. Miscovich goes on to explain that it is possible to let the starter ferment for five hours and then refrigerate, but he states, I quote: "Activation Before Refrigeration". To exemplify this point I let one starter go for five hours and chilled it prior to bubbles forming and I let the other go at room temp until bubbles were seen and look at the difference in this picture. 

Can you tell which one is ready to go?
This bread also contains an autolyse. This means all the bread ingredients except for the salt are placed in the mixing bowl and are mixed until a shaggy mass is formed. The bowl is then covered for 30 minutes. The salt is then added and the dough is mixed on first speed for three minutes and then second speed for three minutes. Miscovich explains to pour some of the water into the contained in which the levain was built, in order to help loosen the sourdough build which makes it easier to mix into the other ingredients in the mixing bowl. I always did something similar pouring the preferment in the mixing bowl with the water and mixing to help combine then adding the rest of the dried ingredients.



The bread is then placed in a lightly greased bowl for 2 1/4 hours with a fold every 45 minutes. The dough is then divided in two and pre shaped into boules or batards. I did one of each,



I have to be honest, my shaping of these lighter loaves needs some help and fine tuning. The dough is then proofed in lined or unlined brotforms for two hours and is baked at 450 degrees, with normal steam for 45 minutes or until dark and fully baked. 


It appears as though I did not score these loaves deep enough as the dough resealed and the bottom of the loaf rounded out a little bit, which is due to steam being trapped inside the loaf. But none the less the crumb is fairly open and the taste and texture was spot on. A great bread, with the perfect amount of whole grain and acidity! A keep for sure! 

Stay tuned for the 75% hydrated Pain Au Levain and the Rosemary Pain Levain and Rye and Olive Pain au Levain, Roasted Onion pain au levain all three to come following the new year!

Bake On

-DW, The Rye King

1 comment :

  1. A great bread this. Inspired me to do some wet dough with folds... similar but mine has a little whole rye (15%, I couldn't resist, it was just sitting there on the counter, tempting me) and some millet for texture. I tried proofing in a janked together couche/brotform, that is a dish towel with flour on it lining a loaf pan. Worked great, baked on my awesome granite stone. It had a lot of oven spring, which I attribute to the folding and gentle shaping. Loving the all sourdough breads!

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