The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

FWSY - starting levain

pj9034's picture

FWSY - starting levain

I am fairly new to bread baking, and have slowly been working my way through FWSY. I am about to start making my first levain and have a few questions:

  1. I understand from the book that once I have a mature levain, it can be maintained using smaller proportions at each feed. My question is, do I need to follow the instructions exactly for the first five days of building the levain, or can these amounts also be cut in half (or quarters)?
  2. Second, when is the best time to put the levain in the fridge to store it if I won’t be using it for a while? Just after feeding it? After using it to bake (8 or so hours after feeding)?


Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

Before you go down the rabbit hole and attempt Forkish's levain, please - Don't!

Forkish has wonderful recipes but his ways are eccentric. Before you know it you'll be swimming in a pool of levain. Have you read the story of the "magic porridge pot"?

If you still wish to use his method may I suggest you do a much smaller ratio of the amount he builds. Can't remember off hand but 1/10 should do it.

If you are willing to try another method then may I suggest you take a look at this video?

Exact flour isn't important. Use unbleached. Wholegrain is better. And wholegrain rye is better still. Keeping it warm is vital - 78°F is ideal - if you wish for things to go smoothly.

It'll be ready for refrigeration once mature enough to make bread.

Danni3ll3's picture

I love Forkish but his making a sourdough starter is crazy. You will be throwing out pounds and pounds of flour. Listen to Abe!