The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

firm starter

hkooreman's picture

How to store Italian starter (lievito naturale) in water

April 4, 2013 - 2:16pm -- hkooreman

I have been working tirelessly to develop an Italian firm starter.  So far, it seems to be going well.  My question is how does one store an Italian starter in water and what are the benefits of doing so?  I saw a video done by Iginio Massari that showed him cutting up his starter and washing it in water into which he had placed a heaping spoon of sugar.  I am not sure what the benefit of this process is either.  Any thoughts or experience with this process would be appreciated.

tinynow's picture

Converting recipes calling for liquid sourdough to firm sourdough (Glezer recipe)

January 12, 2012 - 1:21pm -- tinynow

Hello and thanks in advance for help with this issue.

I am about to make the sourdough recipe found here:

My question applies to this and any other recipe that either doesn't specify the type of starter or calls for a liquid of batter-like starter -

PiPs's picture

We cut the miche today, three days after baking...and after a lazy Saturday lunch sent my parents home with half.

This miche was made on the fly...with these thought processes.

Total dough weight: 1.8kgs
Hydration: 82% (Freshly milled flour is thirsty...did not seem this hydrated)
Prefermented Flour: 25%
DDT: 24°C

Whole wheat Levain @ 60% Hydration: 400g
Wheat Flour Freshly milled and Sifted: 517g
Spelt freshly milled: 122g
Rye freshly milled: 100g
Water: 661g
Salt: 20g


Cool grains from fridge milled before being mixed with cool water. Autolyse 1hr

Knead (slap and fold) 20mins with 5 min break in the middle.

Bulk ferment for 2hrs with two stretch and folds in the first hour at 30min intervals as dough needed some strength.

Preshape and bench rest 20 min before gentle shaping into boule. Shaped dough placed into mixing bowl with floured teatowel.

Final proof was in fridge as the miche had to wait for oven. I judged that the size of the loaf would take a while to cool and the proof would be complete in the fridge as the dough was pretty lively...was a good guess.

Baked under SS bowl at 250°C for 20mins then 40mins at 200°C

Really enjoy working with dough this size and was happy with the spring the oven achieved....the rye flour adds a touch of tang and earth. A bread of this size sure gets noticed.

One of my parents dogs, Mr Hermann spent some time cleaning crumbs off the floor.....




Mary Clare's picture

Firm starter to liquid starter?

June 6, 2010 - 5:06pm -- Mary Clare

I saw a recipe for sourdough pancakes on King Arthur's website, and it called for two cups of liquid starter.  I have about 1/4 cup left over when I refresh my firm Maggie Glezer starter, but nothing like two cups!  I did make half a recipe of the pancakes and they turned out OK (they also called for baking soda, so that was safe, I guess.)  

How does going from firm starter to liquid starter go?  Two cups sounds like an awful lot!

jennyloh's picture

I have a question on the use of old dough.  I read somewhere that we can freeze old dough,  which I did to mine, probably about 14 days old. Now I'm taking out to use to try out on my Polaine de Champagne again. 

I took out from my freezer and refridgerator to defrost, not counter top. It looks like the yeast is still active.  Am I doing this right? should I have just defrost it within a short period and use it?  The colour and smell still stays good.

I saw a discussion on refreshing the old dough.  Can I just use it as it is,  throw and mix into my dough or I should at least refresh it first?

CaptainBatard's picture

I have been getting my stiff starter ready to make Pandoro and Panettone....and decided to not throw out the extra starter and make  Pain au Levain. I started in the morning with coffee and  got every thing together and realized that I didn't have any heat in the house....burrrr.....threw my coat on...mixed and shaped the dough in record time and put the breads to proof in the warmest place in the oven. Believe it or not i just had a new gas heater installed and this is the second time this week they had to come over work on it...first it was a bad water they put in a new gas regulator....not much else can go wrong! That is what I thought...the heat went on and the repair guy left and I huddled around the radiator to get warm....and with minutes it cut off again....before to long the repair guy was back and the breads (which I thought were way overproofed) were in the oven. The good news is I have heat again...and from the way they look....I think I have a strong starter.

Pain Au Levain  (Hamelman) page 158


Ryan Sandler's picture

Sourdough baguette experiment -- Success!

September 27, 2009 - 10:40pm -- Ryan Sandler

Usually when I get it in my head to cobble together a formula based on two or three things I've seen mentioned on this forum, two more in my head, and a bit of whimsy, the results are not pretty.  Especially when it comes to baguettes.  The last two or three times I've tried to make baguettes, they've come out flat, with closed crumb and, with the sourdough versions, crust that provides a thorough jaw workout.

But not this time, oh no!  This time I tasted victory.  Victory, and some very yummy bread.

Here's what I was trying for:

Wild-Yeast's picture

Anyone Else Using Firm Retarded Starters?

March 14, 2009 - 9:02am -- Wild-Yeast

I keep a firm starter refrigerated between builds.  It's allowed to at least double in bulk under refrigeration before use as a poolish in the next batch.  Refrigerated development period is four to five days.  Leavening action is slower than most sourdough starters but the resulting bread is exceptionally flavored.

I'm wondering if anyone else has experience in this technique as it seems to have a related but separate set of rules.



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