The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Converting Hamelman's Liquid Levain to a 50%

arlo's picture

Converting Hamelman's Liquid Levain to a 50%

So, I thought I could do it, but I am a bit untrustworthy of my skills. I am looking at converting my liquid levain from Bread by Jeffery Hamelman, a 125% white starter to a 50% firm starter. I thought I could do it, but I am afraid to mess up and wreck my dear, dear starter.

So what I am seeking is anyone know what measurements of liquid levain, to white flour to water I should use to switch my 125 to 50? I was thinking along the lines of:

225 G Levain (Original 125% levain)

150 G Flour

125 G Water


Am I close at all? I am looking for a starter that I basically mix and then knead for a few moments to pull it together.

Thanks a bunch!


KenK's picture

No, your 225 grams of starter has 100 grams of flour and 125 grams of water.  For 50% hydration, the water should be half the weight of the flour.

Add 150 grams of flour and you now have 250 grams of flour and 125 grams of water. 125/250 = 50%

That is just the math; I have no opinion on your plan otherwise. 

Yumarama's picture

Mother starter that is. Well, not to your mother either.

Until you like the results and feel comfortable with it, you should probably nab some of your next feed's extra discard and turn THAT into stiff starter while also keeping your original at 125%. Yes, this means you'll have two starters to take care of but just until you're finding one or the other more suited to your needs. Then decide which you keep, knowing you can switch either (or some of either) back to the other type as you need.


arlo's picture

Thanks for the tips, I did end up last night just figuring I should mess with the leftovers from refreshing my liquid starter which left me with something like 145 grams of liquid levain. I worked it out and ended producing a nice 50% firm starter which I used this morning for a loaf of bread still on its first bulk fermentation.

At one point I did have a 50% and my original 125% going for about 3 weeks but it just became a bit to tedious to have to designate so many minutes in each morning to work with both and then again at night. Mainly because I was getting to work at 3 am to work with dough there and then sleep, then nap and I would often forget about one or the other because my mind would be set on just making one kind of bread with just one or the other. Odd I know, but I was a bit overwhelmed, now though perhaps I can have two kids again!

I think though I will keep my 125% going since it's celebrating it's 5 months coming up in February and just pinch off whats leftover after refreshing (when I need too) and make those remainders my 50% to use the next day or whenever. Better than keeping two around

Also...I don't think I'd ever refresh my mother hahaha.