The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dan Leader starters: Bread Alone vs. Local Breads

SaraBClever's picture

Dan Leader starters: Bread Alone vs. Local Breads

I have both Leader's Bread Alone and Local Breads.  I've been maintaining my starter per the instructions for a liquid levain in Local Breads.  I've wanted to use this to make some recipes out of Bread Alone, but I'm not sure how they convert.  I was surprised to see that the starters seem to be somewhat different in their composition (flour to water ratios), also the amounts of sourdough starter in Bread Alone is about two cups, which is far more than the Local Breads recipe produces.  I don't want to maintain such a large starter as I don't bake frequently enough (not for lack of desire) but I'd still love to make some of the Bread Alone recipes. 

Has anyone figured out how to convert between the two systems?  How can I use my liquid levain in the Bread Alone recipes?

(And while I'm at it, how do I convert the Local Breads Rye sourdough for use in the Bread Alone rye recipes as well--I've come across the same problem, and my math isn't good enough!)


sphealey's picture

You can convert any starter hydration to any other by using a small pre-build as the mother starter.  Say the recipe calls for 120 g of a starter kept at 70% hydration.  Just make a prebuild of 10 g of your starter, 70 g of flour, and 50 g of water.  Ignore the hydration of your starter and its contribution to the flour/water percentage; it will be infintismal in the final build of the dough.  Let ferment for 12 hours and Voila!  You have a little more than 120 g of starter of the required hydration.

Now, many claim that starters kept at different hydrations for long periods have different taste.  This you can't fix easily, except by converting as above and then feeding the result at the desired new hydration for 3 months or so.  But I haven't found this to be a big concern personally.