The Fresh Loaf

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Can I replace leaven with yeast?

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abrock_ca's picture

Can I replace leaven with yeast?

I just got a copy of Dan Lebard's book "Handmade Bread". He discusses how to make Leaven, and a bunch of recipes use it.

I'm not really ready to do Leaven yet; can I substitute some amount of yeast for it? For example, the sunflower bread uses 3 1/2 oz of leaven (100g); I'd like to make it - how much yeast should I use?

(Apologize if this has been answered already; a quick search didn't find it...)

Floydm's picture

Yup!  I'd try a teaspoon or two of instant yeast.  Less is better for flavour development but takes longer. If you want to play it safe, err on the side of more and just scale back the next time you bake it when you are feeling a bit more confident.

Good luck!

abrock_ca's picture

Thanks, Floydm and WoodenSpoon for the quick answers! I'll play around with those proportions!

I did make his milk bread and brandy bun recipes (which take yeast not leaven) and they came out great! ok, the brandy buns didn't look like the picture in the book, but I'll get better!

thanks for the fast answers!

WoodenSpoon's picture

first you should look at the levain formula and determine how much flour and water is in that 100g, adding that extra flour and water will maintain the proper hydration. I'm not sure how to calculate levain to commercial yeast conversions but I do know that 1.5-2% is pretty standard yeast amounts, so look at the total flour weight and multiply it by .02 then add that much yeast and hopefully it will work for ya. bear in mind that bulk ferment/proofing times will be different, shorter I'd guess. so keep your eye on that.

adri's picture

It depends on the recipe:

On german style recipes (e.g. no bulk fermentation of the whole dough, just of the leaven/sponge) you can say:
150g sourdough leaven (100% hydration "sponge") = 21g yeast = 7g instant dry yeast = 10 g active dry yeast

If there is a higher percentage rye in the bread it won't work without another source of acid.

abrock_ca's picture

thanks!! appreciate the info!