Pain au Levain with Whole-Wheat Flour

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Dough Yield: About

    22

    loaves at 1.5 lb each

Appears in

Bread

By Jeffrey Hamelman

Published 2004

  • About

The Addition of Whole-Wheat Flour to this pain au levain brings the percentage of whole-wheat and rye flours up to 25 percent, and this has quite a perceptible effect on the bread’s flavor. The volume may be slightly smaller, and cell structure slightly less open, yet the bread has a clean flavor and a balanced acidity that will make it compatible with a wide range of foods.

Pre-Fermented Flour: 15.5%

Ingredients

Overall Formula

U.S. Metric Home Baker’s %
Bread Flour 15 lb 7.5 kg 1 lb, 8 oz 75 %
Whole-Wheat Flour 4 lb 2 kg 6.4 oz 20 %
Medium Rye Flour 1 lb .5 kg 1.6 oz 5 %
Water 13.6 lb 6.8 kg 1 lb, 5.8 oz 68 %
Salt .36 lb .18 kg .6 oz 1.8 %
Total Yield 33.96 lb 16.98 kg 3 lb, 6.4 oz 169.8 %

Levain Build

Bread Flour 2.9 lb 1.45 kg 4.6 oz (1 cup) 93.5 %
Medium Rye Flour .2 lb .1 kg .3 oz ( cup) 6.5 %
Water 1.86 lb .93 kg 3 oz ( cup) 60 %
Mature Culture (Stiff) .62 lb .31 kg 1 oz (2 T) 20 %
Total 5.58 lb 2.79 kg 8.9 oz

Final Dough

Bread Flour 12.1 lb 6.05 kg 1 lb, 3.4 oz ( cups)
Medium Rye Flour .8 lb .4 kg 1.3 oz ( cup)
Whole-Wheat Flour 4 lb 2 kg 6.4 oz ( cups)
Water 11.74 lb 5.87 kg 1 lb, 2.8 oz (2⅜ cups)
Salt .36 lb .18 kg .6 oz (1 T)
Levain 4.96 lb 2.48 kg 7.9 oz (all less 2 T)
Total 33.96 lb 16.98 kg 3 lb, 6.4 oz

Method

  1. Stiff-Textured Levain: Make the final build approximately 12 hours before the final mix. During hot weather, or if the levain will ripen for longer than 12 hours, the flour in the levain build can be salted at 1.8 percent to slow its activity.
  2. Mixing: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl except the salt and levain. In a spiral mixer, mix on first speed just until the ingredients are incorporated into a shaggy mass. Correct the hydration as necessary; the addition of a bit more water may be necessary depending on the absorption of the whole-wheat and rye flours. The consistency of the dough should be medium—neither dry nor overly moist. Cover the bowl with plastic and let stand for an autolyse phase of 20 to 60 minutes. At the end of the autolyse, sprinkle the salt over the surface of the dough, cut the levain into fist-sized chunks and place on top of the dough, and finish mixing on second speed for 1½ to 2 minutes. Desired dough temperature: 76°F.
  3. Bulk Fermentation: 2½ hours.
  4. Folding: Fold the dough twice, at 50-minute intervals.
  5. Dividing and Shaping: Divide the dough into 1.5-pound pieces; shape round or oblong.
  6. Final Fermentation: Approximately 2 to 2½ hours at 76°F (alternatively, retard for up to 8 hours at 50°F, or up to 18 hours at about 42°F).
  7. Baking: With normal steam, 440°F for 40 to 45 minutes.