Friday, 18 March 2011

Einkorn Levain: Mellow Bakers

The next bread on the Mellow Bakers’ list is made with a whole-wheat levain. The pre-ferment for this bread is considered a poolish because it utilizes a liquid-style culture. However, this poolish is a little bit different. Rather than using baker’s yeast to jump start the enzyme activity, it uses a natural sourdough starter.

The recommended flour for levain builds is winter-wheat bread flour made from hard red winter wheat with a medium protein strength of 11.5 to 12.  It is also recommended that high-gluten flours be avoided in building levains. I decided to try the build with Einkorn flour instead of the winter-wheat bread flour. Although Einkorn flour has a higher protein count than modern wheat, it does not have the gluten content so I thought it might work. 

einkorn-levain 024


Whole Grain Einkorn Levain

Adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman’s Whole-Wheat Levain in Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes

Makes: 1 large loaf

The original formula made two loaves and I only wanted one so I also adjusted the formula to make one loaf.



Liquid-Levain Build

  • 2.4 oz Einkorn flour
  • 2.4 oz water
  • 1 oz (2 tablespoons) mature culture (If you don’t have a sourdough starter, you might enjoy this Apple Starter or try this Einkorn Levain)


Final Dough:

  • 5.6 oz Einkorn flour
  • 1/2 lb bread flour
  • 1/2 lb water plus a little extra if necessary
  • .3 oz salt
  • 4.8 oz mature culture



Making the Einkorn Poolish:

Approximately 12 to 14 hours before the final mix, make the poolish by dispersing the mature culture in the water and mixing in the Einkorn flour.  Let stand in a covered container at about 70 degrees F.  I thought the Einkorn flour worked great in the pre-ferment.  It wasn’t quite as active as a regular wheat starter but it still worked well.  If I had left it on the counter longer than 14 hours, I think it would’ve been more active.

 einkorn-levain 003


Mixing the Dough:

Add all of the ingredients to the mixing bowl. 

einkorn-levain 006


In a spiral mixer, mix on first speed for 3 minutes to incorporate all the ingredients.  Correct the hydration if necessary.  The dough should be of medium looseness.  Finish the mix on second speed for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.  The gluten network should be only moderately developed. 

 einkorn-levain 007


Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it bulk ferment for 2 1/2 hours.  Fold the dough twice, at 50-minute intervals during the bulk fermentation. 

einkorn-levain 008


Shape the dough round or oblong and place it on parchment paper.  Let the dough proof for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

einkorn-levain 009


Score the loaf using a serrated knife or lame.  I get tired of scoring loaves the same way so I made up my own pattern.

einkorn-levain 011


Bake the loaf on in a preheated 450 degrees F. oven with a baking stone on the middle rack and a steam pan underneath.  I forgot to add the steam pan so I just sprayed the walls with water 3 times during the first 15 minutes of baking. Bake the bread for 40 to 45 minutes. Then remove to a wire rack to cool.

einkorn-levain 012


The dough rose really well during the bulk fermentation, but it didn’t rise very much during the final proofing.  It was kind of flat when I placed it in the oven, but then came the oven spring.  The scoring kind of made it rise lopsided, but I was pleased for the most part with the way the bread rose in the oven.

einkorn-levain 022


This dough has good volume, and a light texture as well as great flavor. I really like the way the crumb turned out.  Look at all of the holes.


einkorn-levain 030


Thanks for joining me in the Bread Experience bread-baking blog.  I hope you’ll join me again soon.

Happy Baking!


The Mellow Bakers group was started by Paul at Yumarama. We’re baking breads from Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman.

No comments:

Post a Comment