This is a slightly altered version from Mr. Leader’s “Local Breads” recipe called “pain au levain” but with flax seeds. Coincidence or not, after preparing the preferment, I saw I was out of plain bread flour or high gluten flour! So I had to adapt the formula (or I could of course put the fermented piece back into the fridge but hey, what’s baking bread without a little bit of experimenting?)
Make this 12 hours before you plan on mixing the final dough. I used more wholewheat flour than suggested (only 5 grams) and I like the result.
Make the same time as you mix the preferment. The seeds will stick and absorb everything, it looks kind of gross!
I did not divert from the baking instructions much – autolyse for about 30 minutes, kneaded using the french fold technique for a minute or 5-6 and folded once after 1 hour of bulk fermenting. The total fermentation time took up to 3 hours because the kitchen temperature was only 20°C and I wanted to make sure they were well risen. After shaping them into bâtards, proofed on the couche for 1,5 hour and baked at 250°C with steam (reduced the heat to 230°C after 10 minutes).
I did not scale the salt and should have added a bit more but apart from that, the bread tasted amazing. We wolfed down a whole bâtard with a baked egg and some salad this evening. Lovely!