The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Lievito Madre Question

sanmarzacho's picture

Lievito Madre Question

Hi all! First post here, and it's a question that I've been thinking about for a while. What are the differences between using a stiff starter and a liquid starter? 

I found my way to bread through pizza, and so I have a particular interest in Italian baking traditions. Naturally, I have become curious about lievito madre. However, the apparent waste involved in the refreshment of the lievito madre gives me pause. Whereas I can keep a very small amount of liquid starter nice and healthy, the beautiful, cross-cut flower of dough that is lievito madre needs to made in a larger batch and requires significant pruning. (See how much of the drier exterior Bonci cuts off during refreshment in this video?) Which leads me to my question..for what?

What are the consequences of using a stiff starter when baking bread? Is it all about lowering the acidity and changing the taste? Does it add strength in the same way a biga would? Is the stiff preparation more resistant to infection?

Thanks so much!


P. S. In my previous trials, I have found that converting my liquid starter to 50% hydration probably takes about a week to produce something as robust as the original.