The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

The levain mystery

BreadJazz's picture

The levain mystery

Hi after having made several straight dough bread, I would like to try a levain based recipe.

I am looking for a method (recipe) on how to prepare levain. I am also looking for some readings on the subject.


Thank you,

Yumarama's picture

would give you tons of results on "starter recipe" but this is one that you might find helpful:

For "Reading on the subject":

To see a photo-essay of this process in action, comparing the pineapple version vs plain water:


And if you want to check out lots more, try using the SEARCH box on the top left, maybe using "Starter recipe".


Hope this helps you out.

BreadJazz's picture

Thank you Rainbowz and Mini Oven.

Very stimulating readings. A trial will follow shortly.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Shiao-Ping just posted a method with pictures on her blog

This is with alternating 8 and 16 hour feedings.



abqhudson's picture

How does all of this change if I want to make liquid levain?  Is it just a matter of increasing the hydration to 125% or?  Thanks for any help.



Yumarama's picture

and making the starter at the hydration stated until you have the starter going so you're not introducing new variables not looked at in the process.

Once the starter has stabilized, usually after  a couple of weeks of daily feeds, it should be pretty well set, then you can change the hydration to whatever you would like. 

You could also maintain your starter at, say,100% and if a recipe requires a different hydration - and some do - you can take that day's discard and change THAT to 125% or 65%. Or keep it at 65% and switch as needed to 100% or 125%, etc. It's up to you. Find out the pros and cons of each level, decide what seems best for the breads you expect to make then go with that.

You can even switch rye starter to white, white starter to whole wheat, etc..

BUT if you choose a method, it's best to stick with it as it's given. Switch up later.

celestica's picture

I second the pinapple juice starter is so consistently active (indefatigable!)... I feed it 100% rye, use it for every recipe, bake once a week, and keep it in the fridge in between. 

Have fun!