Friday, April 5, 2013

Pain au Levain (2nd batch with new starter)

This is the Pain au Levain recipe off the "Fresh Loaf" website.  Same as the previous bake but this time I'm doubling it:

White flour 106 grams
Rye Flour       8 grams
Water            62 grams
Culture         28 grams

Note: I actually added a little more water to this.  When I mixed all of the above together, it was a bit too dry.  I think this is because my sourdough culture was a lower hydration.  

Day One:  Mix all the ingredients and place in a bowl (tightly covered and unrefrigerated) for 8 to 12 hours. 

After 13 hours it was basically doubled in size and bubbly.   

Final Dough
Pre-ferment              204 grams
White Bread Flour  666 grams (King Arthur)
Rye Flour                   34 grams
Water                       480 grams
Salt                             16 grams

Day Two:
Blend the rye flour and the white flour in a large bowl.  In another bowl, dissolve all of the pre-ferment into the warm water.  Add the water / pre-ferment to the flour and mix until the flour is well hydrated.  Cover and autolyse [awe-toh-lees] for 45-50 minutes. 

During this process, enzymes (amylase and protease) begin to break down the starch and protein in the flour.  The starch gets converted to sugar, and proteins (glutenin and gliadin) get reformed as gluten.  So, in a short period of time, you can get great gluten development without a lot of work.  This also prevents oxidation (from over-mixing) which can result in loss of bread flavor and color.  

After the autolyse, add the salt (slowly in a mixer for 2 to 4 minutes or by hand 5 to 10), cover dough and let rest for 50 minutes.

After the 50 minutes, perform a stretch and fold.  Here's a good video that shows the technique:
Cover dough, let rest for another 50 minutes and then perform another stretch and fold.
After the 2nd stretch and fold, allow the dough to rest, once again, for another 50 minutes.

After the last rest, divide the dough in half (I do this by weight), form them into boules and place them in well-floured bannetons.  Flour the tops and place the baskets into plastic bags and proof them for 2.5 hours.  Here is the "before" pic:

At the two hour mark, pre-heat the baking stone to 480F.  

Here's the "after" pic when the 2.5 hour proofing was done.  Not a tremendous amount of growth, but the a "proof check" indicated it was ready.  

Now, into the oven.  I emptied a very large cup of ice cubes into a tray on the bottom rack for steaming.  For the first 5 minutes, I spayed the walls of the oven with water, every minute.  After the 5 minutes, I lowered the oven temp to 430F.

I was a little worried because there wasn't much oven spring in the first 5 minutes. However, after 25 minutes (halfway through the bake), they looked pretty good.  I rotated the loaves.

 Here's the final bread.  Nice :)

Here's the crumb.  Not great distribution, but it came out fine.  Chewy crust and creamy / chewy crumb with nice flavor.


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