FWSY Country Brown Levain

FWSY Country Brown Levain

So I’ve spent a few weeks in the shadows, reading tips on the boards, but I need some help.


I received FWSY for Christmas, and spent some time making my own Levain.  My levain is very active, and it has no problem making bread rise.  

Where I have problems is that after I do all of my stretch and folds, and then set it overnight for bulk fermentation, it becomes almost completely unmanageable when I’m shaping it into a loaf the following morning before I put it into a banneton basket.  It won’t hold any form, and I can’t form a nice skin or anything on it.  It just tears and the sticky center comes spilling out.  And this is even after I really flour my counter space.

Ken Forkish recommends an overnight bulk ferment, and my dough tends to rise to almost 3x-4x the original size, with bubbles forming on the surface of the dough by the following morning. It just won’t stretch and form into a loaf.  

I have a few ideas, and I tend to think that I’m either over-fermenting my dough causing a complete loss of structure, or there’s something wrong with my whole wheat flour.  

I tried making a loaf with very little whole wheat flour, reduced the bulk fermentation by a few hours, and reduced the proof by an hour, and the loaf worked out just fine.  It was easy to shape, and baked up with a decent crumb.

Any ideas?

Source: Fresh Loaf