Rustic Wholemeal Levain Bread

Levain Bread

A slightly sour taste combined with a thick crust and a sharp fragrance…..wanna give it a bite?

Levain is a type of bread made with sourdough starter. Working with sourdough could be a rather daunting thought. With some practice and a proper time schedule, I have finally come to the conclusion that it is not that unfathomable as I initially thought.

If don’t have sourdough and you wish to make it at home, you might want to look at my related post Baking Bread: Sourdough vs Yeast with all the step-by-step instructions on how to make it and how to feed it.


As a side note, I could not have written this post without the help and encouragement of my friend and mentor Alessandra Sposetti, here some references of her amazing recipes: Alessandra Sposetti’s Instagram and Blog.

Rustic Wholemeal Levain Bread

  • Servings: 1 kg
  • Difficulty: middle
  • Print

Levain Bread

It is ALL about timing indeed. I prefer making this bread over the weekend, proofing the dough overnight in the fridge. Here below my bread schedule:
  • DAY 1:
    • In the morning, feed the sourdough and leave it in the fridge;
    • At night, knead the dough using the sourdough as explained in the recipe below;
    • Overnight, leave the dough in the fridge.
  • DAY 2:
    • In the next morning, take out the dough from the fridge, it should have doubled in size. If the dough hasn’t raised enough, leave it in a draft-free spot until it doubles.
    • Bake the bread, preferably with an oven safe pot.


  • 250 gr of Semolina Flour
  • 250 gr of Wholemeal Flour
  • 360 ml for warm water
  • 150 gr of fed sourdough
  • 5 gr of coconut sugar
  • 10 gr of salt




  • In a large bowl, mix the flours. Gently add water and let it rest for about 20 minutes, let the autolysis begin, as explain in my post Baking Bread with Wholemeal Flours
  • In a side bowl, pour the sourdough and add the coconut sugar. Stir together.
  • After 20 minutes, add-on the sourdough in to the batter and knead gently. Combine salt.
  • Transfer the dough into a large oiled bowl and cover with a cloth. Set in a draft-free warm spot for about 4 hours or, as suggested, let it rest overnight in the fridge. Resting the dough in the fridge slows the proofing. I usually put the bowl into a plastic bag to create a sort of chamber for the dough.
  • After the fist half an hour of proofing, you should roll the dough into a rectangle and fold it, as shown in related my post Baking Bread with Wholemeal Flours.



  • Heat your oven to 220°C and line a 2 baking tray: one for the bread and the second for the steam. The secret to ensure a perfect crust is to pour a glass of water in the second baking tray placed it on the lower grid of your oven.You will place your bread on the higher tray. The water steam ensures bread cooks slowly, resulting on a firm crust and moist center.
  • Gently place the dough in the prepared baking tray and bake for 45 minutes, or until the golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.


  • Turn an oven safe pan upside down, take a large piece of parchment and fold it in half. Once folded, continue to fold it into quarters, then eighths. Put the point of the parchment into the center point of the cake pan and cut it just inside the outer edge of the pan (this yields the perfect size parchment for your pot otherwise cut accordingly).
  • Preheat the oven to 220°C and place the oven-safe lidded pot to heat for 30 minutes.
  • Carefully take out the pot from the oven, fit the circled parchment to its base, dust with semolina and gently place the dough on it.
  • Place the lid on the pot and carefully place it in the oven to bake for 45 minutes, or until the golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the base.
  • Gently remove the bread from the pot and cool it on a wire rack.


Levain Bread


Happy baking!


2 thoughts on “Rustic Wholemeal Levain Bread

  1. […] Bread made with sourdough has a longer shelf life than bread baked with yeast, due to the different gluten wire structure resulting from the transformation of the starch, which hardens over time, raising the bread slowly. That’s why, unlike yeast, sourdough requires bread to be proofed for longer. The slightly sour taste, the thick crust and a denser structure are some of specific features of levain bread. Here follows the link to the recipe of the bread below: Rustic Wholemeal Levain Bread […]

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