The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Lepard in The Times: Article about freezing dough leaven

hansjoakim's picture

Lepard in The Times: Article about freezing dough leaven

There's an interesting article by Dan Lepard in The Times about freezing fermented dough leaven. Here's the announcement from his forum:

In the Times newspaper today and on their website I've explained in loads of detail my current kitchen method for making sourdough loaves, much more pared back and simplified. It means that making a naturally leavened loaf can be much more spontaneous.

The theory behind it is that in liquid leaven the acidity builds quickly, whereas in a dough the acidity is more gentle. My reckoning is that the acidity build up has a much more drastic effect on storing leaven than freezing does, and if you can freeze a dough leaven as soon as the fermentation has peaked it will bounce back to a useable 'life' quicker than reviving a liquid one stored in the fridge. Liquid leaven doesn't seem to respond as well to freezing, but a dough leaven works really well. Have been trialling this for about 6 months now and it's my main method of sourdough baking at home. The full method is on the Times (UK) website here:


And here's the link to forum thread (containing photo of an impressive loaf made using this method): Clicky!

LindyD's picture

Thanks for the links, Hans.

Alas, my  firewall prevented the photo from showing up, but I did note the following forum comment by Mr. Leader:

I need to add that if you taste two loaves side by side - one made with a leaven continuously refreshed and one with this 24 hr reanimated leaven - the best flavour is one from the one continuously refreshed. The freezer-storage method produces a lightly sour loaf with a slow rise ready in about 5 - 6 hours after mixing the dough, whereas a really perky dough made from a ripe continuously refreshed leaven will (or should) have a dramatically complex flavour and rise slightly quicker using the same recipe. You can refresh the reanimated leaven for another couple of days with rye flour to help this along.

Since flavor is pretty important in my sourdoughs, I'm not sure I would use the freezer method for my weekly bake, but it is good to know the leaven can be frozen.  Sort of an insurance policy and definitely worth a try.