Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pain au Levain

Next in the Hamelman Challenge were there Pain au Levains or sourdough breads: Pain au Levain, Pain au Levain with Whole-Wheat Flour, and Pain au Levain with Mixed Sourdough Starters. The first is a straight forward sourdough bread with a stiff preferment (60% hydration). The second adds 20% whole-wheat and 5% rye flour but is otherwise quite similar. The latter used two starters, a liquid levain (125% hydration) and a stiffer rye flour starter. (The final hydration is about the same for all the breads.)

In each case I followed the recipe closely except that I used cloche rather than a steam pan, baked at a slightly lower temperature for slightly less time, and proofed the loaves slightly longer. These are all pretty standard adaptations I'm making with most of Hamelman's recipes these days.

Overall, all three breads were quite similar. They are shown above (in reverse order in both pictures). All were quite good and well worth making again. Of the three I had a slight preference for the first, but I doubt I could tell the difference if I weren't tasting them side-by-side. Another set of winners.

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