Pain au Levain (Sourdough Bread) Recipe

Last spring, we had a few friends over for dinner who were visiting from the US. One of them works for the excellent magazine The Art of Eating, and kindly thought to bring us the latest issue*.

It would have been a lovely hostess gift under any circumstances, but as I sat down to read it the next day, I was jump-on-the-couch ecstatic to discover that it contained no fewer than fourteen pages (fourteen! pages!) on the subject of pain au levain (a.k.a. sourdough bread), which has been my number-one kitchen obsession for the past year and a half — probably the longest-standing ever, too. (See my initial post on natural starter bread and ensuing starter-based recipes.)

This fourteen-page (fourteen! pages!) article is written by James MacGuire, an esteemed American chef and baker who, as I learned from the contributors’ section, acted as the technical editor in the English translation of Raymond Calvel’s fundamental boulangerie book The Taste of Bread.

Following a discussion on the history and technique of pain au levain, MacGuire shares a recipe I eagerly tried a few days later. It was such a success it has become our go-to bread, and I’ve baked a weekly loaf of it ever since.

The originality of the process is that it requires no kneading (but not that kind of no-kneading). Instead, the dough is simply folded over itself as it ferments in the mixing bowl, a few times every hour over a period of four hours. This develops the gluten and the flavor, yielding a wonderfully tasty loaf with minimal effort.

To be clear, it’s not that I mind the kneading, especially since I generally just use my stand mixer, but it is a noisy animal, and this method allows me to get a loaf started in the blissful silence of weekend mornings, without awaking the entire household. (And yes, I realize I could also knead the dough by hand, but I’ve never really gotten into the zen of kneading high-hydration doughs. I just get annoyed by the goo.)

Another departure from my previous routine is that MacGuire recommends keeping a 66%-hydration starter, i.e. a starter that’s fed 2 parts water and 3 parts flour (in weight) at every feeding, as opposed to the half-and-half rule I’d been following up until now. I’ve made the transition without any problem and frankly my starter seems no less or more active than it was before, but I’m sticking to it out of habit now.

I make the recipe with French T80 flour (farine bise, a partially whole wheat flour), which is the type of flour MacGuire would use while baking in France, and often mix it with some T110 as well (farine intégrale, for which a little more of the grain husk is kept) for a greyer crumb. Because the recipe is written with American bakers in mind, MacGuire suggests emulating T80 or T110 flour by using some all-purpose flour and some whole wheat flour, which you’ll sift first to remove part of the bran it contains.

I’ve scaled down the recipe — almost halving it — to make the amount of bread we’ll eat within eight days or so, and I’ve rounded the gram amounts after the scaling, to make the recipe easier to memorize (though I admit I keep a cheat sheet on the fridge).

The overall timeline has you prepare the starter in two successive builds the day before baking (one in the afternoon, one before bed), then prepare the dough in the morning and bake it in the afternoon. This works out smoothly for those who work from home, naturally, but if you don’t, you can perhaps fit this into your weekend schedule, building the starter on Saturday and baking the bread on Sunday. I’ve indicated specific times for clarity, but you can shift the whole process according to your needs.

I still feel I have room for improvement in my understanding and use of this recipe: the oven spring is not always consistent (I got less than usual when I took the photo above) and I’d like to try and get a thicker crust, but the flavor is excellent and the crumb well aerated, so I’m already very pleased with it.

I admit I am not very diligent about the temperature at which I keep my starter and proofing dough (nevertheless I’ve indicated MacGuire’s recommendation below), nor about the temperature of the water I use in the dough, and those are factors I plan to work on.

I would like to note again that there is a lot more to the article that this recipe (did I mention the number of pages it spans?) and you’ll get more insight into the recipe by reading about it in MacGuire’s words, so I encourage you to get a copy of the magazine if you can. (And you don’t need me telling you that this sort of independent, subscriber-funded, ad-free publication needs the support of people like you.)

* Issue #83 can be back-ordered on the Art of Eating website.

Pain au Levain: Crumb

Update: After receiving the following note from Edward Behr, editor and publisher of the Art of Eating, I am reposting the recipe below.

James MacGuire, author of the pain au levain article and recipe, and I, who published it in The Art of Eating, a print magazine without advertising, have asked Clotilde to please, with our blessing, repost her version of James’s pain au levain recipe. I apologize to anyone who was offended by my concerns, expressed to Clotilde only in a private email. When I saw that so much of his effort had been borrowed, albeit adapted, I merely wrote her to say that “I’d be grateful if you were able to retreat from giving away quite so much of James’s and our work.” I was perhaps oversensitive, because our articles are sometimes taken verbatim and posted online in their entirety, including photos, without permission. I was trying to protect both the magazine and the writer. Many people may not realize that a careful piece of writing, such as James’s, has undergone two dozen or more drafts and represents lengthy back and forth with editors and copy editors. (Current online publishing exists almost entirely without copy editors.) The pain au levain article, including the recipe, represents 25 years of James’s learning and experience, and, just for this piece, two research trips to France. He hopes this and other writing from AoE will have a second life as the basis of a bread book, and too much circulation of this work online will discourage a publisher from taking on such a book. Even as print appears to be dying, online publishing relies almost entirely on information paid for by traditional media, mainly print. The issues of how high-quality information is to be paid for, as it must be in some way, in a digital age are complicated, far too much to address in a short space, and no one really understands what will take place. Certainly, I have no special knowledge. In any case, I once again apologize for offending any reader of this blog.

Pain au Levain (Sourdough Bread) Recipe

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 24 hours

Makes one loaf, about 1 kilo (2.2 pounds).

Pain au Levain (Sourdough Bread) Recipe

Ingredients

    For the refresher build:
  • 20 grams (0.8 ounce) 66%-hydration starter (see note)
  • 20 grams (0.7 ounce) water
  • 30 grams (1 ounce) all-purpose flour
  • For the levain build:
  • 70 grams (2.5 ounces) starter from the refresher build
  • 55 grams (2 ounces) water
  • 85 grams (3 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • For the dough:
  • 360 grams (12.5 ounces) T80 or all-purpose flour
  • 210 grams (7.5 ounces) starter from the levain build
  • 12 grams (0.4 ounces) salt
  • 410 grams (14.5 ounces) water
  • 230 grams (8 ounces) T80 or T110 or sifted whole-wheat flour (see post for an explanation of the sifting)

Instructions

    Refresher build (at 4pm the day before)
  1. Place the 20 grams starter in a bowl. Add the 20 grams water and stir with a wooden spoon until diluted. Add the 30 grams flour and stir until thoroughly combined. Cover and set aside at warm room temperature; optimal temperature is 24.5-26.5°C (76-78°F).
  2. Levain build (at midnight the day before)
  3. Eight hours later: add the 55 grams water to the bowl, and stir until diluted. Add the 85 grams flour and stir until thoroughly combined. Cover and set aside at warm room temperature.
  4. Making the dough (at 8am on the day of baking)
  5. Eight hours later: in a large mixing bowl, place the 360 grams flour, the starter from the bowl, the salt, and the water. Using a dough whisk or your hand (James MacGuire recommends "using both stirring and grasping movements" then), stir the ingredients until you get a smooth batter with no lumps.
  6. Add the remaining flour and stir it in until entirely absorbed. The dough will be rough. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
  7. Using a flexible dough scraper, fold the dough over itself 8 to 10 times in the bowl, as demonstrated in this video. (If you don't have a suitable scraper, you can use your hand to grab, pull and fold the dough -- this is actually what James MacGuire instructs.) This folding replaces the kneading. Cover and let stand for another 5 minutes.
  8. Fold the dough again 8 to 10 times. (It should be about 8:30am now.) Cover and let stand 1 hour.
  9. Fermentation + folding (from 9:30am to 12:30pm)
  10. After 1 hour, fold the dough again 8 to 10 times.
  11. After 2 hours, fold the dough again 5 to 6 times.
  12. After 3 hours, fold the dough again 5 to 6 times.
  13. After 4 hours, fold the dough again 5 to 6 times. Notice that the combined folds form a sort of knot at the top of the dough.
  14. Transferring to basket + final rise (from 12:30pm to 2-3:30pm)
  15. Have ready a round basket or salad bowl, about 25 cm (10") in diameter. Line it with a clean kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and dust it with flour, lightly but evenly.
  16. Using the scraper to loosen the dough from the bowl, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface (I use an old silicon baking mat) so that the "knot" faces down. Flip the dough again into the prepared basket so that the "knot" faces up again. Work gently to avoid deflating the dough.
  17. Cover and let stand for 1 1/2 to 3 hours, until the dough is well risen. To test whether the dough is ready to bake, poke it gently with your finger to make a 1-cm (1/2") indentation: if it springs right back, it needs more proofing. If it springs back within 2-3 seconds, it's ready. If it doesn't spring back at all, it's overproofed and should be baked asap; it won't rise in the oven as much as it could have, but you'll live.
  18. Baking the loaf (from 2-3:30pm to 3-4:30pm)
  19. At least 30 minutes before the rise is complete -- that's hard to tell of course, but over time you'll develop a sense of how long your dough needs to rise -- place a baking stone in the lower part of your oven and preheat it to 230°C (450°F).
  20. Five minutes before the rise is complete, place a rimmed baking sheet in the lowest rack of the oven, underneath the pizza stone. Bring about 240 ml (1 cup) water to the boil in the kettle.
  21. When the rise is complete, lightly dust a pizza peel with flour. Turn the dough out onto the peel as you would a crème caramel (MacGuire's simile, not mine); work gently to avoid deflating.
  22. Using a baker's blade or a sharp knife, score the top of the loaf with shallow marks in a tic-tac-toe pattern, or the pattern of your choice. The scores should not be too deep -- just about 5 mm (1/8").
  23. Insert the loaf in the oven and onto the preheated stone, working quickly and closing the oven door again as soon as you can to avoid losing too much heat.
  24. Reopen the oven door as briefly as possible to pour the boiling water into the rimmed baking sheet: wear long sleeves and an oven mitt, and use a vessel with a pouring spout, such as a measuring jug, so as not to burn yourself. Close the oven door right away.
  25. After 25 minutes, rotate the loaf by a half-turn to ensure even baking. Lower the heat to 175°C (350°F).
  26. The loaf should be done after 50 minutes of baking; you can leave it in a little longer if you prefer a darker crust.
  27. Transfer to a rack and let rest for at least 4, and preferably 6 hours or overnight, before slicing.

Notes

  • Adapted from James MacGuire's recipe as published in issue #83 of the Art of Eating magazine.
  • The ounce conversions have been slightly rounded for ease of use; I go by the metric measurements in my own kitchen.
  • A 66%-hydration starter is fed 2 parts water and 3 parts flour (in weight) at each feeding. If you maintain a 100%-hydration starter (fed equal weights water and flour), use 24 grams of your starter and only 16 grams water for the refresher build, then proceed as written.

Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://chocolateandzucchini.com/recipes/bread-brioche/pain-au-levain-recipe/

  • http://www.cookanddishwasher.blogspot.com newlywed

    Thank you so much for sharing. I’ve always wanted to try making sourdough bread, and I find your recipes so well written and easy to follow.

  • http://operagirlcooks.com Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks

    Yet another beautiful loaf, Clotilde! Congratulations on all the gorgeous bread you’re turning out these days!

  • Anne

    bonjour ! Quel beau pain: belle crôute dorée et mie joliment aérée! miam . J’observe qu’il s’agit presque d’un 1-2-3 comme Flo pourtant avec un levain 60%? Trop tentant: j’essaie demain. Merci. Anne

  • http://www.crispytarts.blogspot.com the French

    Wow, can’t wait to try this! I’m going to have fun figuring out what to eat with it:)

  • http://republicmonetaryexchange.net/ Republic Monetary

    I absolutely love sourdough bread and am always looking for a great new recipe! Thanks for sharing this! Is there any particular American flour brand you recommend?

  • http://www.breadcetera.com SteveB

    Great post, Clotilde! I’ve been on the fence about it, but your post has finally convinced me to purchase the back issue.

    I had the pleasure and privilege of taking a 2-day sourdough class taught by James MacGuire a number of years ago. Not only is he an excellent baker and teacher, but he is also a genuinely kind person.

    • http://www.breadcetera.com SteveB

      P.S. – I ordered my back copy of The Art of Eating before Clotilde was asked to remove the recipe. If I’d have known The Art of Eating would employ such strong-arm tactics, I would not have ordered it.

  • http://willowbirdbaking.wordpress.com Julie @ Willow Bird Baking

    Mmm, oh, that cross-section has me hankerin’ for a sandwich encased in this bread!!

  • Sharon

    I was a little reluctant to order a back issue because I think excerpting a single recipe is more than “fair use.” Then I find they want to charge $87 (plus postage) for their bread “collection”?

    I’m afraid no recipe is worth that price. And I’d certainly never subscribe to a publication with such an inflated view of itself.

  • ATL Cook

    I always use King Arthur flour for bread. Works wonderful every time. The high protein is always consistent.

  • Pat

    Poor form from Edward. How does he imagine that James came by his recipe. I’d imagine the publicity you’ve just given his publication more than warrants your ability to re-publish. A shame as the future of print lies in working and collaboration with excellent online journalists and writers like yourself.

    On the topic of bread I heartily recommend Dan Lepard.

  • http://www.remedialeating.com molly

    We’ve also been playing around with the no-knead artisan breads, and loving the ease (and quiet!) of the process. And the surprisingly delicious results. Will incorporate your dedicated tips into our efforts!

  • Arturo

    Wow.

    That’s a bummer.

  • http://thelovelyemily.blogspot.com Emily S.

    I just ordered a few back issues of Art of Eating. It looks like a wonderful publication. I noted that I found out about it from you, so who knows – maybe they’ll give you a free subscription! :) Anyway, thanks for the recommendation.

  • http://tellou.canalblog.com Tellou

    These days I was looking for some inspiration to make a sourdough bread. I think I just found it. Your bread looks gorgeous and really mouth-watering. Bon sang, j’y mettrai bien dessus une bonne tranche de St Nectaire et accompagne d’un verre de vin.

  • http://theperfectpastry.blogspot.com margie

    Clothilde – might I ask how you store your bread? I noticed that you mentioned baking enough for eight days, and my main stumbling block with home baked bread is that I find myself gorging myself on bread for two days, then using the leftovers for croutons or breadcrumbs. I currently don’t bake bread very often, because I don’t want to have to do it three times a week to keep us in bread!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      What I do is halve the bread (after the necessary resting period) and keep half around to eat over the next 3-4 days (tightly wrapped in a paper bag and a tea towel), while I freeze the rest to take out when we’re done with the first piece. The bread does lose a bit of its magic after freezing, but it’s still better than 4-day-old bread, to my taste at least.

  • http://aehrelichgesagt.blogspot.com/ Daniel

    I, too, ordered two back issues of The Art of Eating before you were asked to take down the recipe, and mentioned I found them through you, though I had encountered them before. Like SteveB above, I would now be far more reluctant to order after the recipe takedown. The other one was a surprise find- No.57: Real Beer in Belgium, the Greatest Brewing Country.

    I do think it’s an absolute shame that you had to take down the recipe, especially since it was an absolutely wonderful manual for making bread, and would have sprouted much more interest in both the magazine and sourdough baking. But, in truth, I probably would have done the same thing.

    On your specific pictured bread- it’s lovely, and, yes, a little flat, it does have a very open crumb that most people would give their left spatulas for. Even myself.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for the compliment Daniel, and I hope you enjoy the AoE issues you’ve ordered!

  • http://www.breadcetera.com SteveB

    Kudos to Mr. Behr for reconsidering his position and allowing Clotilde to post her version of James MacGuire’s pain au levain recipe! As all true artisan bread bakers understand, the quality of a bread has less to do with its recipe and everything to do with the baker’s savoir faire. Indeed, it was for the opportunity to tap into “25 years of James’s learning and experience”, and not simply for a recipe, that I ordered the back issue in the first place. All passionate bread bakers looking to improve their skills would be well-served by supporting Mr. Behr’s and Mr. MacGuire’s efforts and purchasing a back issue of their own.

    • http://aehrelichgesagt.blogspot.com Daniel Rios

      Hear, Hear! For me, ordering the back issue was mostly an issue of- if this recipe is this awesome, I wonder what the other 13 pages are about. Glad to see it back up!

    • Stuart

      Very well done that they’ve allowed you to repost. I hope that ultimately this will bring good things for both parties. Clotilde hope this hasn’t discouraged you from posting your inspirations from published material.

  • http://parisbymouth.com Meg

    Wow – look at the crumb in that photo!

    Thanks for such a wonderful post, Clotilde, and for reminding me about The Art of Eating.

  • http://www.makanaibio.com Flo Makanai

    Oh, il y a eu du mouvement ici…
    Je suis soulagée que tu aies été autorisée à (re)publier la recette, Clotilde car elle est très intéressante. Et je suis complètement d’accord avec Steve : réussir un très bon pain est avant tout question de savoir-faire, plus que de recette. Et le savoir-faire ne se vole pas mais s’acquière lentement, à force de travail et d’attention.
    Je comprends pourtant la réaction à chaud de l’auteur et de l’éditeur, pourtant.
    Ce serait chouette que ce qui vient de se passer pour ce billet soit l’occasion pour tous de se remémorer qu’il est impératif de toujours citer ses sources et de “rendre à César” ce qui lui appartient, comme tu le fais du reste scrupuleusement, Clotilde.

    Je me permets aussi de répondre à Anne : le pain dont Clotilde donne la recette ici n’est pas un “1.2.3” (il contient plus de levain, un peu moins d’eau et surtout moins de farine). Mais pour ceux qui n’ont pas trop l’habitude de boulanger et qui sont adeptes du 1.2.3, il est possible de suivre toutes les étapes du pain que publie Clotilde avec une base de pâte 1.2.3.
    Après tout, le 1.2.3 n’est qu’une formule, pas une recette.
    Bonne journée à tous!

  • Maxwell

    Why such a long wait after the bread comes out of the oven? I very much enjoy eating warm homemade bread.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      It needs a resting period for the moisture in the crumb to “settle”. If you slice it too soon, it will be a bit gummy — but some people don’t mind.

  • http://kitchen-notebook.blogspot.com/ L Vanel

    It’s such a fascinating subject and fun. Your bread looks excellent. I think this fall is the perfect time to hunker down and expand my understanding of this subject, I am only beginning to scratch the surface. I am very inspired.

  • http://blog.verte-adelie.com Adélie

    I’m speechless when I see how beautiful your bread is, and glad things ended well with the magazine…

    Just one thing though: I was surprised to see you speak about the T110 flour as “intégrale”? In my mind only the T150 could be called that (ok, wikipedia seems to agree with me :), T110 is “semi-complète”, T130 “complète”, and T150 “intégrale”).

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      You’re absolutely right, Adélie, thanks for catching that! For some reason I find these alternate names very confusing, especially since they’re not used consistently by all producers — the T110 flour I buy is labeled as “grise”, for instance.

      Thanks, also, for the compliment and well wishes!

  • http://www.knifesetandcutlery.com JillS

    I’m so glad this is back up. I have never been brave enough to try to make sourdough myself – it scares me, but I think I’ll finally take the leap. It may be a complete disaster (my skills, not the recipe) but if I come anywhere remotely close to the beautiful photos I’ll be happy!

  • http://www.bouquetofspoons.com Cara Mae

    This Art of Eating/Clotilde exchange is so interesting – highlights the complicated relationships in the food publishing world.

    On the subject of publications…there is (of course) so much amazing food writing out there. I’m interested to hear how other people pick and choose – right now I’m trying to hone a list of websites and books to keep up with that’s diverse, manageable, etc. One of the issues (as highlighted here) is depth vs width – i.e., short blog posts vs in-depth articles.

    Dunno. Just interested to see how other people address information overload in the food world in particular.

  • http://www.berryhaute.com Paolita

    Hi Clotilde, your post was just heaven sent (to me).
    I am on the last day of establishing my sourdough starter and was in need of a little direction. I can’t wait to try your recipe.

  • Neil

    AoE is one the more interesting food magazines around as it’s theme is decided by its publisher each issue. And the time timing of each issue is irregular as based on this time schedule. The articles, though, are superb. Why is it that some much good American food writing come from New England?

  • Janet U

    As a subscriber for many years to The Art of Eating, I must state how different this publication is from other culinary publications that rely on advertisers to support them.Edward Behr and his contributing writers,such as the esteemed James MacGuire, are truly the real heros in the gastronomic arena of authentic food writing and reporting. Their combined background of experience, exposure, education, and relentless pursuit of food history and culture is peerless.I implore anyone who is truly interested in gastronomy to subscribe to The Art of Eating. This publication is in a class by itself. Each issue is an educational exploration of food and culture. It is not about just another recipe. James MacGuire is in my opinion, the greatest teacher of classical french breads that is alive today. Please respect how much technical research and years of baking he has put into his formulas. These two guys are the real deal-they are the ones who are preserving our food culture.

  • http://www.theinternetchef.biz Bridget Davis (@bridget_cooks)

    Thank you for the wonderful tips!!

    Will give this a try.

    Bridget
    [Sydney, Australia]

  • http://www.moonstruckinmontana.com MoonstruckinMontana

    Many thanks to Clotilde, Mr. Behr, and Mr. MacGuire for providing such wonderful, inspiring and useful information. I can’t wait to dive in and give this a try. I’ve been hesitant to try a starter bread but with the info and tips provided, I’m sure I’ll be successfully eating my pain au levain by next weekend.

  • http://www.the-clever-pup.blogspot.com Hazel

    Completely unrelated.

    I bought your book Chocolate and Zucchini but held off buying Clothilde’s Edible Adventures because I couldn’t foresee myself requiring such hands-on information in the near future. Things change and I’m headed to Paris in October. Alone. So I picked up Edible Adventures and I’ve hardly put it down.

    I’ve been poring over all your chapters avidly. The tips you provide answer questions I’ve always had. Thanks for making it less scary. Hazel

  • http://www.extremehomeworkout.com Jessica

    Thank you (and James) so much for sharing this very valuable recipe!

  • Sarah

    Hello, I’m just about to start my own sourdough and I want some of these beautiful proving baskets. I can’t find them on ebay.fr though, do you know what they would be called?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Proofing baskets are called bannetons in French, but the one you link to is the German kind, also called brotform. In France, the traditional banneton is a wicker basket lined with fabric, such as these, but Mora also sells the wooden ones. I would not recommend buying either second-hand on an auction site, though, because they’re not really washable, so you’d want to be sure it’s been handled with perfect care and good hygiene. Hope that helps!

  • http://www.caribbeanrecipekits.com Sophie @ Caribbean Recipe Kits

    Your sour dough bread looks so delicious, and you can see the full extent of how soft and fluffy the inside is from the picture. The outside of the bread reminds me of bulla cake.

  • Marie

    I purchased the copy of the magazine with the full article and am very VERY glad I did. Small price to pay for such wonderful writing, and the priceless experience that went into sharing the information it contained.

    As a web developer, and writer, myself, I have no issue with the Editor wishing to protect the ‘future value’ of his writer’s ‘product’. I view copyright issues regarding content ‘adaptations’ in the same way I do recording an acoustic version of an ‘electric’ song and calling it your own. You just can’t do that without paying a royalty.

    So, even though the intent was good, the action was not really ethical. And I don’t believe there was any harm meant. Most people don’t think about copyright issues/legalities.

    That said, I LOVE this blog and have purchased many books and ‘tools’ because of what I’ve read here!

  • http://www.cabbagetreesolutions.com WILLIE

    Thanks for such a wonderful post,I very much enjoy eating warm homemade bread.

  • http://www.chilebomb.com Matt Kay

    I envy those who bake. I must admit that I simply don’t do it enough to become any good at it. Just the same, it’s one of the more intimidating aspects of cooking.

    I MUST change this. Your photo of the cut loaf is inspiring. The air spaces and the thickness of the crust are beautiful. I could make a meal out of warm homemade bread and cheese.

    Thank you for sharing this. I’ll also be sure to check out the magazine. Although print may be a dying art, it is still an art that I appreciate very much.

    Matt Kay

  • Jo

    Thank you so much for posting recipes. My husband seems to have developed an intolerance to shop bread / yeast, and he hasn’t eaten bread for over two years. I’ve now started my own starter, and he was able to eat bread last weekend on his birthday without feeling ill! Thank you from us both!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      That’s great to hear, Jo!

  • http://www.joyful-garden.com Katherine

    Clotilde, what is the amount of starter that you use when feeding your 66% hydration starter? Is it the same as the water, so starter to water to flour is 2:2:3? What am I missing?

    Thanks!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I generally just eyeball it myself, but yes, a 2:2:3 ratio of starter:water:flour is a good rule of thumb.

  • Janet

    Not another one to try!! Yesterday I made this bread and ordered number 83 AoE and am hoping I love it as much as the way the bread turned out. I used our local bakers premium Eden Valley flour from West Australia and whole meal without sifting. Loved the process and then the bread. Wish I could send a photo as it is truly beautiful.
    I find all your sips and links the absolute best.
    Thank you so much for sharing. So many people don’t.
    Janet

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thank you very much, Janet, I’m so glad you had good success with this recipe. I, too, wish I could see (and taste!) the loaf you made. I hope you enjoy the issue of the magazine!

  • Mezzogiorno

    Dear Clotilde, I’ve been enjoying your recipes for many years and today I’m finally making this bread! But I’m wondering if I can use the bake-in-a-pot technique, as with Lahey’s no-knead bread and your other natural starter bread recipe. I seem to have much better success getting a nice crust that way than with the pizza stone and pouring water into a baking sheet. What do you think? I’m also wondering how you store your bread after baking. You’ve mentioned that it keeps for a few days if “well wrapped.” I find if I wrap bread in plastic, the crust gets tough, but if I put the bread in a paper bag, it becomes too dry even to slice after about a day and a half. Should I use foil? Wax paper and foil? Many thanks for your beautiful site and all your guidance. Salut!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Yes, you can definitely bake this bread in a covered pot. I hope you report back when you try it!

      As for my technique to wrap bread, I actually use three all at one: I place the loaf in a thin paper bag, wrap that with a kitchen towel, and place the whole bundle in a plastic bag. I have found that’s the best way to preserve freshness, though day-old (and older) bread is always toasted in my house.

      Happy bread-baking!

      • Mezzogiorno

        It came out PERFECTLY! Merci beaucoup for your prompt reply, it was much appreciated as I was baking today. I put it in my usual baking pot and it was a great success. My husband is from Germany and I have been trying for ages to replicate the slightly sour German-type loaf. This was a big hit. I used half rye and half white whole wheat for the whole-grain flour, and AP for the rest as you suggest. Half is now in my freezer for the future, and half well wrapped per your instructions.

        I did notice, though, that you seem to have a typo in the time for the directions. I am a copyeditor and old habits die hard. :-) Shouldn’t it say “It should be about 9:30am now” just above “Fermentation + folding”? Because you start at 8, work for 15 or so minutes, let stand twice for 5 min, and then let rest one hour?

        And finally, on a personal note, may I congratulate you on your baby? I had a baby myself and didn’t keep up with blog-reading (this was just before smartphones), and when I finally checked back in with you, you too had joined the club! I hope you are enjoying this wonderful and crazy world of motherhood.

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

          That is great to hear, thank you for reporting back. And thanks, also, for pointing out the timestamp issue. What I meant was that it should be about 8:30 when you cover and leave the dough to rise for an hour, but I see how it could be confusing. I’ve switched the order of the two sentences, which should make it clearer.

          And thanks for the baby thoughts! My son is almost two, and it’s definitely been a wild and fabulous ride. :) Best wishes to your family too!

Get the newsletter

Receive a free monthly email with a digest of recent entries, plus exclusive inspiration and special announcements. You can also choose to be notified of every new post.