The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How to create levain that will ripe after 13 hours

Ittayd's picture
Ittayd

How to create levain that will ripe after 13 hours

I want to prepare the levain when I wake up and start making the bread after getting back from work. The average temperature is 28 Celsius at home (average, actually more like 30 for 6 hours and then 26 as the air condition is used). 
What should be the percentage of starter to flour ? What should be the hydration? (if possible, in numbers, to get 300g levain, so there's no mixup of what percentages mean, )

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

It's going to make a difference if you go down the path of dropping the hydration to slow it down. So assuming you were asking for 300g levain at 100% hydration that would give you 150g water + 150g flour.

Now you want to keep the flour within the levain at 150g but drop the amount of water. But then add the remaining water back into the final dough.

I like a build of 1:5 starter to flour. Then you can toggle the water depending on what you're after.

If it's an all bread flour preferment then you can take it down as low as 50% hydration but it's difficult to combine in the final dough.

How about 70% hydration? Just as an example. It'll need trial and error of course but it's a good start.

S0 150g flour that is 70% hydrated will have 105g water. The remaining 45g water add that back into the final dough.

28g starter + 91g water + 136g flour (very close to a 1:5 give or take a few grams)

You have the 150g prefermented flour at 70% hydration and that 45g water has been added back into the main dough.

Use cold water and hopefully that'll give you a 13 hours ferment time ready to be used in the evening.

That is just one example of how I might work around this. It's not by any means the only way and there will be many more ideas all good! It's whatever works at the end of the day.

Another example might be to do your usual preferment build through the night. It's cooler and you can do a shorter ferment catching it at a good time come morning and then refrigerating it till you get home. Another good idea. I just thought I'd show you how to manipulate starter build as it's always good to know.

 

Ittayd's picture
Ittayd

I tried to build during the night, but then it means creating the dough in the morning. Since I autolyse for 30 minutes it means at least 45 minutes (mixing, waiting 30 minutes, kneading)  which I don't have in the morning. 

So I thought of building during the day, then at 19:00 I prepare the dough, put it in the fridge overnight+morning to double then at noon the next day (which is free for me) I shape, let it proof, and bake (roughly 3 hours).

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

You can refrigerate the levain until ready to use. That also brings out more flavour. So you can either experiment with the idea I've given you or continue to build the levain in the evening to mature overnight and then refrigerate till the evening.

Ittayd's picture
Ittayd

I keep my starter in the fridge.

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

If you keep and maintain your starter as a seed only (i.e. not built for a specific recipe and just a small amount to inoculate a levain) then you'd still need to build a levain.

But if you have a recently fed and matured starter built to the right requirements and 300g of it then sure use your starter.

It's all about how you use a starter. But either way it's ok to build the preferment and then refrigerate to use within a day or two.

Don't tell anyone but I made an off the cuff bread the other day, had some starter for a small amount of inoculation, fed and matured a few days back and not enough time to build a levain or feed the starter so I used some. It worked!

HansB's picture
HansB

I would build the leaven in the morning using 100g starter, 100g flour and 100g water. As Abe said, there are many ways to accomplish it.

Ittayd's picture
Ittayd

it'll be 33% at 30 Celcsius, it'll double within 2 hours. 
I can put it in the fridge, but then I think it'll slow it down too much

HansB's picture
HansB

Whoops, yes at 30C it will...

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

is build a 100% hydration levain using the ratio 1:5:5.

28:140:140 (slightly over 130 but starters/levains lose weight when they ferment so you'll find it'll be almost, if not exactly, 300g)

Mix it before you go to bed and refrigerate straight away. Then take it out just before you leave the house in the morning. Then it'll slowly mature over the day. Having to warm up and with a big feed might just be fine.

Then of course you don't have to alter anything else in the recipe.

Ittayd's picture
Ittayd

Since my starter is refrigerated anyway, I can put the flour in the fridge then in the morning mix everything using cold water. That saves the fridge fermentation time at night. 

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

another good option. You can even refrigerate the water the night before.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Mixing up the levain with cold ingredients in the morning, put into a small styrofoam or insulating box with lid after mixing and use it when you get home from work.  It will very slowly warm up while you are gone and wouldn't need much warming up and extra fermenting time if needed.

JoshuaLoafer's picture
JoshuaLoafer

That's how I'd go, too. 

If it's still too warm, add a 2nd container inside the cooler with cool water or ice maybe. 

Alternatively, cover the starter container inside the cooler with a damp towel. Evaporation should help cool gently.