The Fresh Loaf

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Glezer's Sourdough Semolina Question

inlovewbread's picture

Glezer's Sourdough Semolina Question

Has anyone made Maggie Glezer's "Sourdough Semolina Bread" from her book, A Blessing of Bread? I am trying to make this but need help converting my sourdough starter for this formula. 

The formula calls for firm starter refreshed 8-12 hrs prior, then using 30g starter with 80g water and 135g flour. I assume this is the same as using part of your regular sourdough starter and doing a build? If not, could you point me in the right direction?

I currently have an active starter that I feed weekly and refrigerate. I keep mine at about 80% hydration. How would I use this for her formula? 

Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks!

dmsnyder's picture

I believe Glezer has instructions for making a firm starter in the book. Look at the hydration level she prescribes. Refresh you starter at that level, then use it to make the intermediate starter ("final build" before mixing it with the dough).


dghdctr's picture

Maggie Glezer has instructions on page 89 to convert from a "batter" starter (assuming around 100% hydration, maybe even wetter) to her 60% firm version.  But yours isn't 100% hydration.

So . . . there's still at least two other options:

  1. Familairize yourself with Baker's Percentage and its application to maintaining starters and other pre-ferments (in Hamelman's Bread or Glezer's "Artisan Breads Across America), or

  2. Just use what you've got to make the "intermediate" starter.

I'm a stickler myself for details like the differences in those two original starter hydrations.  Still, since you're adding so much more flour and water (at the desired 60% hyd.) to this 30g "seed", I think that the differences might be noticeable, but not so great as to warrant creating a separate, differently hydrated mother culture.  I did some mathematical calculations and I think there's less than 2g worth of difference in terms of flour contributed by the different mother levains.

Keeping the overall flour at the same weight isn't the only consideration, of course. Acidity and enzyme activity between the 80% mother and the 60% mother would be at least a bit different as well.  I just doubt that, when 30g of starter @80% is added to almost 7 times as much flour and water @60%, the performance of the "intermediate" starter will be so different as to warrant going the route of creating an additional mother culture. (The combined flour and water from 30g of 80% and 215g of 60% mothers yields an intermediate starter with a 61.5% hydration).

And I'm making this comment based purely upon the idea of convenience.  There probably would be at least a very subtle difference, and if absolutely precise replication of Maggie's bread was paramount, I'd use precisely the same mother culture that she does.

But I just don't know that you'd like a slightly altered version any less than the one with a 60% mother culture.  Look at what it is you bake most often, and the ideal hydration for a levain used in those situations.  That's where you might want to be when hydrating your one mother culture.  Most -- if not all -- of the other formulas can be adjusted to using the mother with the hydration that you choose.

I hope that this mostly helps -- and doesn't just confuse the issue.

--Dan DiMuzio

inlovewbread's picture

Thanks David and Dan. I guess I should have clarified that I don't have Glezer's book, I just have the formula.

In any case, thanks. I appreciate the input. I will go ahead and use my starter and do one or two builds with it. 

I've got some more studying to do for the baker's math and hydration calculations :-)