The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

confused "stiff-levain build?

tomsgirl's picture

confused "stiff-levain build?

I am totally confused I have a starter and I am currently refreshing twice a day @ 20g starter to 40g each water and flour. It's almost a month since a first started it. Anyways I was wanting to bake Cheese bread from Bread by Jeffery Hamelman and it calls for a "stiff levaine build" for the build it calls for 1.2 oz. of mature culture (stiff) when I looked it up in the book it seems that I need a different starter? Can't I just bulid off what I have? This is more complicated then I thought lol. The conversions and math I get lost... Any tips? Thanks

cranbo's picture

Hi tomcatsgirl,

Don't sweat it, firm starter/levain is easy. This just means you need a starter of about 60% hydration. Your current liquid starter is 100% hydration (i.e., equal parts flour & water by weight). 

60% hydration (firm) starter would be 100g flour to 60g of water, and 10-20g of liquid starter. 

To convert to your liquid starter to a firm starter, take 10g of your liquid starter, dissolve it in 30g water, mix in 50g flour, and let it rise until it just starts to collapse onto itself (that's when you know it's at its peak), which may take some hours, depending on how active your starter is. You may want to do this 2 or 3 times to make sure the hydration is 60% (over time it will become 60%). 

You can feed firm starter exactly the same way:

10g of firm starter, dissolve in 30g water, mix in 50f flour. 

FYI, 1.2oz is 34g, which is very little. 

Let us know how the bread turns out!