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BBB ~ Pain Au Levain

Cathy has been a great Kitchen of the Month with a wonderful bread but any time a Babe starts a recipe with “I do have a few ground rules…” Well, that sounds suspicious, I mean we all know Babes are always going to break the rules. Yes, we all know that.  Thankfully, Cathy’s “rule” was one whose direction I’m always looking to push so her “at least 30% some type of whole wheat flour” was very easy to go with. In fact, my calling is always to use more whole grain than called for.
Did we like this bread?  I think considering I made this bread twice within 8 days should probably tell you we loved this bread.  I used rosemary and lemon zest. I’m pretty sure we’ll be baking this one again and I will be looking for ways to use that lemon zest and rosemary again.  Heavenly aroma baking and heady when eating, rosemary and lemon zest is a heavenly combo.

BBB ~ Pain au Levain

Recipe By: Cathy (breadexperience) Adapted from From the Wood-Fired Oven by Richard Miscovich

Yield: 1 large or 2 small loaves
LEVAIN *
227 grams all-purpose flour
227 grams water
45 grams liquid sourdough starter, Used my Rye starter
499 total grams **
FINAL DOUGH FORMULA
415 grams all-purpose flour, Used White Whole Wheat
275 grams whole wheat flour (used Whole Wheat)

15 grams ground flax
375 grams water + 25 grams (to mix with salt)
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1-2 tablespoon Citrus zest, use the full or even more 2 T
20 grams chopped herbs, I used 3 sprigs rosemary
150 grams seeds, used sunflower seeds rough chop

Cathy: If you don’t have or don’t want to use a sourdough starter, you can make an overnight poolish.  In that case, you will need to add a bit of yeast (about 2%) to the final dough.

Cathy: The total weight of the levain is 499.  You are supposed to remove 45 grams of sourdough to keep as your starter for future use which would leave 454 grams of levain.  If you choose to use all of the levain, just adjust the final dough accordingly.

Me: reading deficit here, missed that about keeping out 45 grams. I baked it all and both times used my rye sour dough starter as it was the only starter I had and it was ready to go.
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Day 1: Evening – Mix the Levain or Poolish
Mix the water and starter together in a large bowl. Add in the flour and mix until completely hydrated. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 8 – 10 hours.

Day 2: Mix the Final Dough/Shape Loaves:
Pour the water over the levain and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or whisk to disperse.
Whisk the flours together and add on top of the water/levain mixture. Hold the salt until after the autolyse.

Mix thoroughly using a Danish dough whisk or wooden spoon to begin developing the gluten.
Add the citrus zest, seeds and/or herbs. Mix thoroughly using your hands. Cover and let rest (autolyse) for 20 – 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the salt over the top and dissolve it with the 25 grams of water. Use your fingers to pinch the dough to incorporate the salt evenly throughout.
Cover and let the dough bulk ferment for 120 minutes. Stretch twice, every 40 minutes.

Divide the dough, pre-shape, and then allow it to rest (covered) for 20 minutes before final shaping to allow the dough structure to relax.
Shape the dough into an oval or round shape and place it seam-side up in a heavily floured, lined banneton basket or seam-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
My first bake: a loaf pan and the banneton. Second bake: used the banneton and a stainless steel bowl lined with T-towel. Proof for about 30 minutes at room temperature.  I won’t use the loaf pan again. Nothing really wrong, the round shape but seemed a better fit.
Cover the loaves and place in the refrigerator to cold ferment overnight, 8 – 10 hours.

Day 3: Bake the Loaves
Place a baking stone or steel on the bottom shelf of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. for at least 45 minutes. If you plan to use steam, place a steam pan on the top shelf.
If you shape the loaf round, you could bake this in a bread cloche, a Dutch oven or a Dutch oven combo baker instead of using a baking stone.
When the oven is sufficiently preheated, remove the loaves from the refrigerator. Carefully invert the loaves from the banneton proofing baskets (if used) onto parchment paper or a heavily dusted peel.  I’ve found that using a lined basket aids with this process.  You just carefully peel it off after flipping it over onto the parchment.
Score the loaves in the pattern of your choice. Slide them onto the preheated baking stone or steel and bake for 35 – 45 minutes. A larger loaf will take longer.
Since I only had one banneton I used a stainless steel bowl, lined it with a well dusted T-towel, stabilized the towel around the top of the bowl with a rubber band. That didn’t give me the indents from a banneton but it gave me the shape and it worked easily.
On my second bake, I baked the banneton first and stainless bowl second as I only had one cast iron baker.

Can't see it but you smell the rosemary and the lemon zest.
Remove to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving. Since I used extra whole grain, I allowed mine to cool overnight.

As the host kitchen this month Cathy and all the Babes would love for you to bake along with us!  

  • Just bake your version of this bread and post about it on your blog (by June 30th).
  • If you don’t have a blog, no worries, just post a photo in the Bread Baking Babes FB Group
  • Mention Bread Baking Babes with a link to the Kitchen of the Month, that’s  Cathy of Bread Experience.
  • Then send an email to breadexperience (at) gmail (dotcom) with BBB June Pain au Levain, and Cathy will send you your Buddy badge to display on your blog.
  • Cathy will also do a roundup with a list of all the Bread Baking Buddies and showcase your breads.
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