This bran-encrusted levain bread brings together the whole grain, but reconstructed. This is a hybrid leavened dough, with a combination of sourdough starter (levain) and a small amount of yeast in the final dough.
Reconstructed you ask? This is an almost white sourdough with added wheat germ and encrusted with wheat bran. The bran on the crust tastes so toasty and nutty after baking, and it keeps the crust fairly thin and crispy. You can purchase wheat bran, or you can sift it out of whole wheat flour like I did with the bread in this post.
Using the wheat germ brought back memories of my dad. He had been a college football player and all around athlete stuck with four daughters in the pre Title IX days. At the time, the only opportunities for women in sports were individual events such as swimming and track and field. Rarely were these sports offered in high school.
My dad got us all involved in swimming, and at some point, we joined an AAU team, and were pretty seriously into it. I remember practicing daily, both in the morning before school, and then again for a couple of hours after school. My local hero was Sharon Stouder. I wanted to be her (this was before I wanted to be That Girl! Marlo Thomas).
While I was a decent swimmer, I was never even close to Olympics material. However, I did own the South HIlls Country Club 12 and under breast stroke record for several years (take that, Amanda Beard!), and I have great memories of racing and sensing my dad walking along the side of pool and cheering me on. I knew he was there.
So what does this have to do with this bread you ask? Wheat germ. We had to add wheat germ on a daily basis to our cereal to give us "energy for swimming." At the time it was considered a "health food," and there was always a jar of Kretschmer Wheat Germ in the refrigerator.
Guess what brand of wheat germ is sitting in my fridge right now? Love you dad, thank you for seeing your daughters as athletes, and thank you for cheering us on. I miss you so much.
Bran Encrusted Levain Bread
To make this bread, plan on starting first thing in the morning to bake the loaves the following morning.
100 g 80% hydration active levain that is 80% white flour and 20% whole wheat flour
400 g white flour
100 g whole wheat flour
400 g lukewarm (85 to 90 degrees F) water
800 g white flour
30 g wheat germ
620 g lukewarm water
21 g fine sea salt or salt
2 g/ 1/2 tsp instant yeast
360 g of the levain
20 g wheat bran for coating the crust