Plötzblog is one of Germany’s best bread baking blogs. When Lutz Geißler (author of “Das Brotbackbuch”) invited us to his
blog event blog-experiment: “Wir bauen uns ein Brot” (Let’s build a bread), I was intrigued.
Of course I wanted to attend the very first “Bread Olympics”
Each participant has to bake a loaf, roll or small bread with these ingredients and these amounts:
- 450 g (90%) wheat flour Typ 550 (or bread flour)
- 50 g (10%) whole rye flour
- 10 g (2%) salt
- sourdough and/or yeast
And that’s it: nothing else should be added.
But there are no restrictions on how to make your bread – method, level of hydration and leaven are entirely up to you.
This challenge was hard to resist, especially since the best of all husbands was still traveling all over Vietnam, and, after sanding and re-oiling all my kitchen counter tops, I could do with some entertainment.
|My husband, indulging in imperial dreams in Vietnam|
I knew at once what kind of loaf I wanted to create – a French bread, made with Forkish’s minimalistic method, and baked in a Dutch oven. I’m really enthusiastic about how you can bake a fabulous bread that is “pinched instead of kneaded.”
So I opened my BreadStorm program, entered the ingredients, and started to play around with hydration levels and percentages of pre-fermented flour.
I also had to take into account the amounts of flour in my refreshed levain – 5 g bread flour and 2 g whole rye flour – and deduct them from the total.
Whether my Pain au Levain de Seigle will win at the Plötziade, or not – it definitely was a winner for me. I enjoyed its aromatic taste, crackling crust and open crumb so much that it went straight into Karin’s Bread Hall of Fame!
|Still a bit warm – I couldn’t wait any longer!|
PAIN AU LEVAIN DE SEIGLE – MY PLÖTZIADE-BREAD
1. Step-Levain (Refreshing – you will use only part of it for step 2)
10 g mature starter (what you have at hand)
40 g water (90ºF/32ºC)
40 g bread flour
10 g whole rye flour
2. Step-Levain (after 24 hours)
12 g refreshed levain (keep remainder as mother starter in the fridge)
47 g water (90ºF/32ºC)
47 g bread flour
12 g whole rye flour
338 g water (90ºF/32ºC)
398 g bread flour
36 g whole rye flour
10 g sea salt
118 g levain (2. step)
7:00 – 9:00 a.m. Feed your mature starter (step 1) (With such a small amount the hydration level of your starter doesn’t really matter.) Cover and leave for 24 hours at room temperature.
|Ripe levain, showing the typical sponge structure under the surface|
7:00 – 9:00 a.m. (24 hours after refreshing the starter)
Mix 2. step-levain, cover, and leave for 7-9 hours at room temperature.
|Mixing flour and water until all flour is hydrated|
2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
In large bowl, mix flours and water by hand, until all flour is hydrated. Cover, and let rest for 30 minutes.
|Add salt and levain to flour mixture|
|First pinching the dough…|
|…then folding it. (The last 2 photos are from other, similar breads)|
Prepare bowl with water (to make your hands wet). Sprinkle salt over flour mixture and add levain.
With (wet) hands, fold dough from sides over to the center, then, working like a pincer, pinch dough several times, alternating with folding, until dough is smooth, about 5-6 times. (DDT: 77º-78ºF/25º-26ºC.)
|After folding place dough ball back into bowl|
Fold dough 3 times more, twice at 20 minute intervals, the last time before going to bed. Leave, well covered, at room temperature overnight.
|The dough has tripled overnight|
After 12-15 hours the dough should have tripled. Prepare a very generously floured rising basket.
Transfer dough to a floured area on an (otherwise unfloured) work surface. With floured hands, gently fold sides towards the middle to make a round. (The flour “skin” on the underside prevents sticking.)
|Folding the dough from the sides to the middle|
Then flip the round gently over, seam side down, onto the unfloured area. With floured hands, pull dough ball towards you, until you have a medium-tight boule.
Place dough round, seam side down, in proofing basket, sprinkle generously with flour, cover well, and proof for about 3-4 hours.
3/4 hours before baking, place Dutch oven (with lid) on the middle rack, and preheat oven to 475ºF/245ºC. Place a piece of parchment paper on the counter (for the bread transport).
|Finger poke test: a dimple that doesn’t fill up again|
The dough should at least double in size, use the finger poke test to decide whether it is ready to be baked.
Finger poke test:
Gently press a dimple with your finger in the dough – it should still be a bit elastic, but not fill up again, and stay visible.
|Cutting parchment paper to make a sling for the bread|
Place bread on prepared parchment paper, smacking the banneton energetically on the counter! Cut paper around the bread, leaving 2 long pieces as handles, to make a sling. (Clipping the paper prevents creases from cutting into the bread.)
|Using a paper sling makes transferring the bread to the hot pot easy|
Remove hot Dutch oven from oven, and put bread (with paper) into it. Replace the lid.
Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid, and bake it for 20-25 minutes more, or until bread is medium to dark brown (internal temperature 210ºF/99ºC).
Tilt Dutch oven to slide bread out (the paper might now be too brittle to serve as sling), and let the loaf cool on a wire rack. Let the bread rest for at least 20 minutes before slicing – even if you, like me, have a hard time to wait!
|A very tasty bread!|