Pain de Mie au Levain Variation
When I made this rye bread a couple of days ago I ended up with a lot of excess rye starter which was the result of several refreshes well over 30 hours. If you knew me I never threw away any excess starter, ever. What I usually do is save it in a container, put it back in the fridge and somehow some way manage to use it up to flavor other baked goods such as my favorite old-fashion sourdough waffles (very occasionally pancakes), sourdough bagels, crepes, etc but most likely it is excess white starter I am talking about. But for this I haven’t gotten any idea how I was going to use up this much excess rye starter.
Then several days later, while still being half asleep in early morning I opened the fridge and so barely made out what this off-white colored blob was doing on the shelf; I stepped back and told myself what the heck… then I leaned forward slowly and carefully moved my fingers over it to find a hard cement-like feel. Still haven’t figured out what was going on until I noticed a yogurt container with its lid already half-opened sitting on top of the blob and it appeared that its content had been climbing out over its mouth roaming freely around the base. It took me a few minutes until I remembered I had put the excess in that recycled yogurt container. That plastic yogurt tub has a snap-on lid, however, the excess –the culprit– was so strong even in cold storage that it pushed the lid open and exploded.
Wow, here it was a very vigorous starter excess; my brain started working scanning over what I should do to give this crying-out-loud yeast, which seemed quite anxious to go somewhere, a chance to shine before it missed its window of opportunity. Then I remembered recently wrote a comment on Sally’s Bewitching Kitchen on her gorgeous pain de mie au levain, which had rye flour in it, leavened with sourdough starter –two pluses in my book– and how I had always wanted to make pain de mie but never did. It was a snap decision so off I went with mixer and loaf pan.
I basically used Sally’s recipe with a few minor changes to adapt to what I had in my kitchen. I used 100- percent-hydration whole rye starter excess and adjusted the amount of rye flour called for in the recipe. I also pumped up the seeds to 10 percent because I preferred lots of seeds in my bread and used a little bit more water to arrive at the total dough hydration of 72 percent to just experiment a little bit.
Sally was right when she said the bread was fun to make. I mixed the dough up in the early evening, applied a long autolyse, did several folds and let it rise at room temperature for one hour before placing it in the fridge for a cold overnight fermentation The following early evening I took the dough out and allowed it to get to room temperature by putting it in the oven with the light on for several hours, then shaped it into a large bâtard loaf and a small sandwich loaf. It was a breeze, as I was working and doing gazillion other things in the meantime, next thing I knew it was already time to prepare the loaves for a bake. I should mention that the second rise took over 3 hours at between 72 – 75 degrees F; the loaves rose strongly, full of air bubbles and well expanded.
So here is my adaptation of Sally’s recipe, which she got from Flo’s, and I called mine pain de mie au levain variation.
Pain de Mie au Levain [Slight] Variation
(adapted from Sally’s blog)
Yield one 540-gram sandwich-type loaf & one 825-gram bâtard loaf
Equipment: 8½ x 4½ x 2-inch loaf pan
|Rye Starter 100% hydration||210 g||33% **|
|Unbleached bread flour||617 g||96%|
|Rye Flour||25 g||4%|
|Sea Salt||13 g||2%|
|Sunflower & Flax Seeds||65 g||10%|
|Total weight: 1363 gram; total Dough Hydration: 72%|
** I used a vigorous rye starter excess
I baked the loaves at 435 degrees F with initial burst of steam so both loaves got a thick crust. In the past I’d only baked a few sandwich-type bread like this one, and that one, so I was excited to have another go at it. Since I was using an, albeit strong, starter excess to raise the bread I did not set my expectation too high and would be happy if the bread turned out. Turned out it did as I was surprised to behold at how deep a mahogany color the loaves got. A bite into a slice of the sandwich loaf surprised me even more of how sweet it was even though not a gram of sweetener of any form was added. And I adored the pronounced rye flavor.
This bread was so very easy to make, the dough with medium gluten development — even with a few percentage increase in dough hydration (read: wetter and stickier)– it was a joy to shape. It’s not only beautiful to look at –the rye-color shading studded with golden flax & white sunflower seeds– it also tastes absolutely delicious. I hope you’ll give it a try, like I did here with starter excess.
I am happy to send this bread over to join the weekly party over at Susan’s Yeast Spotting where you’ll find many ideas and delicious recipes for anything yeasty created by amateur bakers and bread enthusiasts around the world.