Baking bread with levain leavened dough needs time. During this essential fermentation time flavors develop and deepen and your patience will be rewarded with an excellent artisan bread that is well structured and complex in flavour. This levain wheatgerm bread contains enough wheatgerm to boost the nutritional content but not so much to weigh down the formation of a nice light, open crumb.
Its easy to schedule the long fermentation and different stages of making this levain wheat germ bread. For example;
Weekend (or non work day) schedule; at 7.00 feed your levain, at 12.30 Autolyse the pre-dough. At 13.00 mix the final dough. At 15.30 shape the dough. At 17.00 bake.
Recipe for levain wheat germ bread
Ingredients and method for 2 loaves
100g active levain (ideally 24 hours after a previous feeding of your levain)
400g strong bread flour (german 550 flour)
100g whole wheat flour
400g water at 30-32 degrees
Mix all the ingredients for the levain by hand until incorporated, cover and leave to ferment at room temperature for 6-8 hours.
800g strong bread flour (german 550 flour)
30g wheat germ
600g water at 30-32 degrees
Mix the flour, water and wheat germ, cover and rest for 20-30 minutes.
360g Levain (above)
3g Instant yeast.
Mix all the ingredients and knead using either the dough hook of your electric mixer, or by hand for 10 minutes until the dough has developed nice elasticity. After the kneading the dough needs 3 rounds of stretching and folding during the first 1.5 hours of resting. So just place you dough into a large bowl and cover, after 10-15 minutes turn the dough out onto a floured surface, flatten it out and fold it over a few times. Return the folded dough to its bowl, cover and rest again. repeat this 2 more times at 15 or so minute intervals. Then let your dough rest un-interupted for 2-3 hours or until tripled in size.
After the long fermentation shape your dough into 2 equally sized balls and place in baskets to proof. Either refrigerate your dough for a long overnight proof, or leave at room temperature for 1-1.5 hours. Bake in a pre-heated over at 250 degrees with steam (place a baking tray of water on the floor of your oven) for the first 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 200 degrees and bake for a further 50-60 minutes, until nice and dark brown.