The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Levain Question

edavenport's picture

Levain Question

Hello All,

I am still getting my feet wet with sourdough and have been perusing through many recipes. I have made a few loaves in which I incorporate the starter into the final dough right off the bat and let that ferment for 12-24 hours. I have also found recipes that use a seperate levain rise. What is the purpose of this levain and how does it differ than adding the starter straight to the loaf? What are your opinions on levain vs. non levain as it seems to add another step and another 12 long, ticking hours until I get my delicious bread. 


Thank You!

phaz's picture

 have tried the sponge method, but didn't see much advantage to it.  it is great to make sure your starter has rising ability (essentially a first prove), but I add starter, then water, mix, then flour to work up the dough.  knead, then sit for about 12 hrs, usually doubling in size in that time.  then some gentle forming and another rise for up to 6 hrs -  in the oven it goes.  the loaves turn out good (I'm not an expert, far from it) with a nice tang. not overpowering, just that bit you notice on the palette at first, then increases a bit as the juices start flowing!