Recently however I have been feeding my liquid levain (not the one I made with Gérard) some high-extraction organic flour from Québec I received as a present and the levain started producing such aromas that the impulse to just bake it became irresistible. That’s when I remembered the pavés au levain we made last spring at SFBI in Didier Rosada‘s Whole Grains workshop. So, yes, you can have your levain and eat it too. And I cannot even begin to describe how delectable the result is. Pure heaven!
Didier said hazelnuts and/or fruit can be added to the dough. But I don’t see how it is possible to improve on the flavor.
Ingredients (for 4 smallish free-form pavés):
295 g white starter @95% hydration, fed three times with high-extraction flour (if no high-extraction flour is available, use 80 % organic all-purpose flour and 20 % organic whole wheat flour after sifting out the coarser bran particles)
736 g high-extraction flour
573 g water (I started with 442 g and added more water on the go until the dough reached medium soft consistency)
18 g salt
7 g diastatic malt powder (if no malt had been added to the flour at the mill, which was the case for this Quebec flour)
- Mix flour and water (at the required temperature to get a final dough temperature of 70-73ºF/21-23ºC) and let rest (autolyse) for about 45 minutes
- Add the levain and more water as needed, mix until very soft
- Add the salt (I love the way watching the dough tighten up once the salt is added and I now always add the salt towards the end of the mixing as I find it makes it easier to get the right consistency)
- Add water if needed after incorporating the salt
- Transfer dough (which will be rather slack) into an oiled bin, cover tightly and let ferment at warm room temperature for two hours with one fold after the first hour (since the room was cool, I let the dough ferment three hours with one fold after two hours)
- Invert the dough onto a table dusted with flour, then cut squares or other shapes free-form using a sharp dough-scraper
- Transfer to a baking sheet covered with flour-dusted parchment paper, dust with more flour and let rise, covered, for an hour and a half
- Pre-heat the oven at 450ºF/232ºC after putting into it a baking stone and a heavy-duty metal pan (for steaming)
- Gently slide the breads onto the hot baking stone, add one cup of water to the metal pan and quickly close the oven door
- Bake for 35 minutes (a bit longer if you made big loaves, a bit less if you made individual ones). Check at mid-point to see whether or not you need to rotate the loaves (Didier advises keeping the oven door ajar for the last 10 minutes of baking but I think that mostly apply to professional ovens. If there is one thing that my home oven does well, it is exhaling steam full-speed the minute it detects any. So I didn’t open the door)
- When done, let cool on a wire rack and prepare your taste buds for rapture!