Sunflower Seed Levain

I made Daniel Leader’s Sunflower Seed Levain today. It is a pain au levain (70% white flour, 24% whole wheat flour, 6% rye flour, 25% stiff levain, 60% hydration & 2% salt) with 14% sunflower seeds (soaked in 35% water overnight and then drained). The bread is too moist and sour for me. It also hasn’t got the taste of sunflower seeds. I wonder if it is because of my skills or the recipe. I’ll try some more sunflower seed recipes later to find out what’s wrong.

*** Today (the 2nd day) I ate the levain again. Surprisingly it was good and tasted different. It’s less sour and moist and has a nice balance of the tang, wheat and seeds flavors. Now I think it may because the bread was still a bit warm when I ate it yesterday, which enhanced the sourness and moisture. How important “cool down completely” is. Now the bread is much better. I like it.

Kamut Levain

Though both spelt & kamut are acient grains, the flavor of kamut is light instead of being as strong as spelt. It also has a unique flavor that many resources describe as buttery. I cannot think of the best description to the flavor now, but I think there is another flavor besides buttery. Anyway, Kamut’s light flavor is good for summer.

This bread is made of starter, and I think the sour taste has overwhelmed Kamut’s light flavor, even though I did not retard the dough overnight. Hence I would prefer to prepare a less sour levain next time or try baking with pate ferment.

Also, I sprinkled the dough with Kamut instead of plain flour. However the taste is just similar to plain flour even after baking.

Recipe: “Local Breads” by Daniel Leader

Olive Levain

Never thought about it, olives and tangy flavor of the levain are greeeeeeat match! This bread tastes good! (though the crumb of my bread is not as airy as that in the pic of the recipe :P)

Recipe: “Bread” by Jeffrey Hamelman

Cheese Bread


I like Parmesan cheese, and this bread has a strong flavor of the cheese with 20% of it to the flour. The crumb is moist and delicate with 60% total hydration, 5% olive oil and 18% stiff levain pre-ferment. I didn’t retard the dough but I’m satisfied with the results. Definitely appetizing in this humid and cloudy weather. :)

Recipe: “Bread” by Jeffrey Hamelman

Five-Grain Levain

Even though this bread contains a high percentage of whole grains (35%), its crumb is not substantial but is very light and moist. I believe the key is the extremely high hydration (98%), of which 40% is to soak the grains thoroughly.

I used rye meal instead of cracked ryes as I could not find them. Luckily the crumb is still nice.

The bread first gives a taste of the mildly toasted sunflower seeds, then it comes the subtle rye meal and sourdough flavors. A good combination of grains. My new favourite.

Recipe from: “Bread” by Jeffrey Hamelman

White Chocolate Chip Bread

This is the milkiest loaf I ever had. The interesting thing is the dough itself doesn’t contain any milk or milk powder, and is in fact a lean dough instead of an enriched one, making it different from regular loaves. It’s the white chocolate chips which give the strong milk flavor, and I like them not sweet eating with the crumb together at all.

The bread makes great toasts. You could see the chocolate chips have formed little holes inside the bread, and when toasted, the little holes would be caramelized outside but lacy inside, producing two different textures and tastes. The fact is I had three pieces in one time. Yum!

Recipe: Real Baking with Rose Levy Beranbaum

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