The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Not enough Levain?

cdnDough's picture
cdnDough

Not enough Levain?

Hi all,

 I purchased Leader's 'Local Bread' book and found his older book, 'Bread Alone' at the local library.  I've made my stiff firm levain following the instructions in the Local Bread book and the instructions for refreshing it makes a total of about 200 g of levain.  This is enough for a single batch of bread but what do I do if I want to make a double batch of bread?  In that case, I need a minimum of 250 g of leavin for baking + 45 g for saving.  The refreshing proportations are: 45 g levain, 50 g water, 95 g all-purpose flour, 5 g of whole weat flour.  Is it possible to double the amount of water and flour but keep the proportion of levain the same?  I don't usually end up with much more than 45 g of levain remaining in my container after baking a single batch.

Thanks.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Yes, you can double the feeding amounts. Many people prefer to do it in two feedings, though. If you do one larger feeding it will take longer to proof your levain than if you gave it the original amounts, so allow for that.

josordoni's picture
josordoni

I would add another 50g each of flour and water to the 200g of levain, and leave it another night to bulk up, then use the resulting levain as my raising agent. 

What's another day among friends?

 

Lynne

 

cdnDough's picture
cdnDough

Many thanks for the advice.  When Leader describes the refreshing of the levain, he writes:

"Pinch off about 1/4 C of your levain culture, or the piece the size of an Italian plumb (45 g), and discard the rest.  It might seem like a waste to throw away the culture you've so carefully nurtured, but if you keep a large amount it will produce excess alcohol and the acids will eventually kill the yeast and give your bread an off taste."

 I think that I'd prefer to have double the amount of levain on hand for a little while as the Bread Alone recipes only yield a 1kg dough which makes 1 large loaf or 2 smaller ones.  Could I keep 90 g of the levain after my current refreshment and double the feeding described in the original post or will that lead to excess acid production?

josordoni's picture
josordoni

Honestly, I first made the starter (using the pineapple method) when I did have to throw some away as it was maturing, But since I have been keeping it in the fridge, I have never thrown any away at all. 

I have two starters, one rye one white, and I use them in turn each week, so each starter gets used once a fortnight.  I take out a tablespoon to feed and put back in the fridge, and then use the rest to elaborate up for my baking, usually over 2 days for the white and overnight for the rye (which is a bit faster). 

Lovely bread, no waste, one happy girl.

 

Lynne

 

Soundman's picture
Soundman

"Is it possible to double the amount of water and flour but keep the proportion of levain the same?"

If you were to keep the proportion of levain the same, you would double it as well, i.e. 90 grams, but I suspect you mean to keep the amount of levain the same, 45 grams.

You surely can increase the amount of flour and water, in their usual 2:1 proportions, and use proportionally less levain to create your final build. The variables that will affect getting the final levain ready to use are, as so often, time and temperature.

Higher temperatures will shorten the time it takes for your final levain build to peak. So, if you increase the the ratio of flour and water to starter, you will need more time before you are ready to mix the dough (you can build the final levain a few hours earlier), or you will need to develop the final levain at a higher temperature to arrive at the usual place at the same time.

What this means in principle is you could use a very small amount of levain, 5 grams for example, to inoculate 250 grams of levain, without a problem. It would simply take longer.

The time and temperature variables (along with hydration level) can be manipulated to favor either the yeast in the culture or the bacteria. Higher temperatures tend to favor the yeast, lower temperatures favor the bacteria.

Soundman (David)