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Pain au levain with einkorn wholegrain

This is an adaptation and slight re-scaling of a Hamelman recipe, from his Bread book, which I’ve come to love and trust. I wanted to see how einkorn flour tastes, and had heard mixed reports about using it in breads with higher wholegrain content, so I tried this 10% einkorn pain au levain first, and found it had a clean, slightly sweet crumb and lovely crust.

Makes two medium-large loaves, roughly 600g each.


For the liquid levain

30g storage starter
170g water, about 21 degrees centigrade, see notes below
135g bread flour (such as Untreated organic no. 4)

For dough

415g water
675g bread flour
90g organic einkorn wholemeal flour
17g salt


Prepare your levain the night before. Add warm water to storage starter, then mix flour in well. I’ve found it makes a big improvement to pay attention to the water temperature. If you warm water in a kettle for about 20 seconds, this should be about the right temperature. Leave to mature about 12-16 hours, and check for bubbles on the surface, which show it's ready.

Remove 30g of your overnight starter and replace in storage starter.

To begin the dough, add warm water first (see notes above), mix to dissolve levain, then all other ingredients except the salt, mix together and leave for about 40 minutes, give or take, to autolyze.
Add salt, mix together well, and work the dough for 5 minutes or so.

Leave in the bowl to rest for 1 hour 15 minutes.

Fold the dough inwards four times, and rest for another 1 hour 15 minutes.

Divide your dough into two equal parcels and leave to relax for about 20 minutes before forming loaves.

Form loaves (normally, either round boules or oblong — bannetons are useful here) and leave to prove about 2 hours (if your oven takes 15 minutes to preheat), then heat the oven to 235/gas mark 8.
Between 2 and 2 1/2 hours after forming the loaves, score them and bake for 40 minutes at 235, with steam for the first 15 minutes. Knock the bottoms to make sure loaves sound hollow.

Loaves can alternatively be retarded overnight in the fridge, 8-12 hours, then baked as above.

If I can help with any bread questions, please send me a message or leave a comment.