The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dan DiMuzio's Book Formula Question

Mitch550's picture

Dan DiMuzio's Book Formula Question

Hello everyone,

I ordered Dan's book from on July 19. They told me it was shipped on July 24 and I still don't have it. They say it can take up to 21 days to arrive. It's going from Hew Jersey to New York, not around the world for goodness sake.  So, you can decide for yourselves if you ever want to order from this company just to save maybe a few bucks and wait forever for your book. I certainly won't do it again.

So, while I am impatiently waiting, I was looking at a portion of the appendix posted on Wiley's website and this is my question:

On page 223, there is a formula for PAIN AU LEVAIN WITH FIRM LEVAIN, which shows (using the 5-Qt mixer formula):

Bread Flour: 500 g

Water 180 g

Ripe Levain (not used in final dough): 300 g

This seems to be a very large amount of Ripe Levain that will "not used in the final dough," and I wonder if this is correct.  If it is correct I don't understand why the amount would be so large for something we aren't going to use.

Perhaps Dan will see this and will jump in here.



davidg618's picture


I've made this formula quite a few times; it's a favorite with us.

My book reads:

Firm Levain

Bread Flour 300g

Water 180g

Ripe Levain 300g (not used in final dough)

Sub total 780g


Bread Flour 600g

Whole Wheat Flour 100g

Water 500g

Salt 20g

Instant yeast 0g

Firm Levain 480g

Mr. DiMuzio assumes the 300g of unused levain will be used in future bakes, a common commercial bakery strategy.

Being an amateur, when I make this formula, I build 500g of ripe levain from the starter I keep in the refrigerator. The small extra (20g) is what I generally lose sticking to the levain's container and the scraper.I keep my starter at 100% hydration. I change it to 60% over three feedings each followed by approximately eight hours of growth. I also start with a vary small amount of starter. Each feeding increases the levains mass by 3, ending up with 500g of ripe levain after 24 hours.

I don't know if you made a mistake in your posting of 500g bread flour, or your edition is wrong. but the bread flour contribution 300g (listed above, and shown in my edition) is correct. The formula's 480g of ripe levain is meant to be at 60% hydration. Note the highlighted box just below the lower righthand corner of the formula.

David G

P.S. Here's a link to a recent bake I did of DiMuzio's formula

Today's Bake: DiMuzio's Pain au Levain (firm starter)
Mitch550's picture


Thanks for you reply. I should have typed 300 g Bread flour and not 500 g, that was my mistake, which probably helped to confuse things.  I too wondered if he was looking to leave 300 g starter for next time but that just seems like an awful lot of firm starter to have left over, and is inconsistent with many of his other formulas, which is what made me wonder if he meant to say 30 grams of Ripe Levain (not used in final dough) and not 300 g.

Can't wait to try this one out for myslef and am about to look at your photo(s).

Thanks again for your input.