March 9, 2014 - 4:30pm

## Can I revive a week old levain without feeding it?

Hi guys! I recently started working with my own levain, and I still have a lot of questions.

Last week I fed my levain to make a bread and then I left it over twelve hours at room temperature for it to rise. I then refrigerated it and just now I took it off the fridge. I have a lot of levain and I don't want to feed it because it will make a lot more levain (and since I just bake once per week I don't want to end up with an excess levain).

And if I have to feed it I would feed only half of it, to have the same amount of levain I have now. So can I do something with the levain I would have to throw away if I eventually feed half of it? I don't want it to go to waste.

Greetings!

Two thoughts-you could use leftover Levain for sourdough waffles-many recipes around. Second thought, keep less Levain around. It is ok to throw out spent starter after you have reserved what you need and fed it. It's only flour and water. I use the cheapest flour I can find to feed my starter. If I weigh out 50gms, I add 100 gms water, 100 gms of flour. I toss the rest. you could easily halve that amount for less waste.

Greetings to you, Mr Paiz!

I've never discarded any surplus starter. I always turn it into pikelets - just drop a dessertspoon of your mix (adjusted to batter-like consistency) around a hot frying pan. Or turn them into fruit pikelets by adding sultanas or similar. Takes minutes, and it's so tasty!

http://nobreadisanisland.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=sourdough+pikelets

Scroll down to the 25th May for the pikelets - and ignore the 'flying saucer' bread along the way! :)

If you continue to keep it in the fridge, it should survive for at least a couple more weeks, maybe longer. Take out only the amount you're going to use for bread, and leave the rest for next week. When you've used it down to the size you want, then take it out and feed it as usual. This is similar to what dabrownman said he does. He makes a certain amount, uses a little at a time, and only feeds it when it gets down to a small amount. When he takes out some to use for bread, he only takes out a very little, and builds a levain out of it, so it will be highly active and ready to go when it's time to bake with it.

Thanks a lot for your tips!

I'll definitely be using dabrownman's technique for next week's baking!

And thanks Breadandwine for the picklet tip! I had some of those for breakfast with some raspberry marmalade and it was delicious! Next time I'll look out for some sourdough waffles for breakfast!

Many thanks!!

like I do and don't want any left over levain, then you might want to keep a very active, whole rye, stiff (66% hydration) starter of about 100-120 g in the fridge. It doesn't require weekly feedings. You take out your 20 g of starter per week to build that week's levain and after 4 weeks or so you build the starter back to 120 g. The no muss, no fuss, no waste,no maintenance starter is one of the great things when only baking once a week.

Happy baking

Thanks a lot!

How can I get my 100% hydration starter to 66%? How is the feeding proportion for flour/water quantities?

your 100% hydration starter to 125 at 66% hydration. The process is pretty simple . Take 10 g of your active staerter and do the first feeding. 4 hours later do the 2nd feeding and let that double which should take about 4 hours. When it doubles ,then do the 3rd feeding. Once the 3rd feeding rises 25% then refrigerate it.

seedflourwatertotalflourwatertotalflourwatertotal101010302020704015125125 g of starter at 66% hydration has 125 / 1.66 = 75 g of flour and 125 -75 = 50 g of water.

Happy SD baking

When we talk about hydration percent, we're talking about Bakers' Math, in which total flour content is always equal to 100% and everything compares to that. So, 66% hydration would mean that for every 100g flour, you would add 66g water. Notice that when added together, it results in a total greater than 100%. That is always the case with Bakers' Math.

To convert a 100% starter, you can divide the weight of the starter in half. Half of the weight is flour and half is water. What I like to do then is calculate how much flour it would take to make it my target hydration, then add some amount of water and flour beyond that at the same hydration level. For instance, if you have 66g starter (to make our math easy), there are 33g each of flour and water in there. To make a 66% hydration, you divide 33/66 to get a constant of 0.5. Multiply that 0.5x100 to get the flour to 100%. That results in 50. Right now, there are 33g of flour, so subtract 50-33=17 to get the amount of flour that would be added to make it 66% hydration. We can check this by multiplying 50g by 66% or 0.66 to see that it results in 33. Now, the reason I like to figure in enough to add both flour and water is that I like to mix the water with my starter first before adding flour. It seems easier to me. In this case, I might add another 33g water, then add a total of 67g flour. That is the 17g we need for the existing starter, and 50g more for the additional water.

Another way of simplifying:

Read 66.67% in stead of 66. This is two parts water per three parts flour (weight, not volume).

To get there from 100%, you add a quarter of total starter weight in with flour. (Or take out however much you want of your existing starter and add a quarter flour.)

Many thanks to all for this great tips!!

I will try those 3 different methods with my current starter (which stands at 500gr approx.) and then see which one fits my schedule the best.