Traditional Homemade Levain Bread

by Antoine Cantarel on March 02, 2014

Traditional Pain Au Levain

A great bread to bake in a wood fired oven is Levain bread.

We use a well established Levain starter made with whole wheat flour with the following recipe:

800 g of Unbleached Bread Flour

200 g of Unbleached Whole Wheat Flour

650 g of Filtered Water

20 g of Salt

150 g of Levain Starter

The night before:

In large bowl, mix the water, salt and starter. Mix well until the starter and salt is fully dissolved.

Add the bread and whole wheat flour and mix well by hand or with a dough hook if using a mixer.

Mix by hand for 10 minutes, or 5 minutes with a mixer on low speed.

Cover the mixing bowl with a damp towel and let it ferment overnight on the kitchen counter.

The next morning:

Cut the dough into 3 pieces, weighing about 600 g.

Shape the dough by gently stretching the dough and folding over 6 times.

If making small 80 g individual boules, fold over gently 8 times.

Place in a well-floured banneton or in a basket with a couche.

Let it rise for 3 to 5 hours until doubled in size.

Right before baking, place the dough on a wooden bread peel and score the bread.

Bake the bread at 400° F in a conventional oven, or 450° F in a wood fired oven, for 30 to 40 minutes. 

When the bread is finished baking it should sound hollow when you knock on it and have a dark brown color on top.

Very important! Let it rest for at least 45 minutes before cutting into it.

Your Levain bread should taste even better the next day as it had time to relax and fully develop its flavors.

 Bonne apetit,

 Antoine Cantarel

Proofing Dough for Pain Au Levain

Pain Au Levain Baked in a Wood-Fired Oven


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