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Added too much leaven to final mix - is it salvagable?

FertileCroissant's picture

Added too much leaven to final mix - is it salvagable?

I'm making the White Wheat Blend from Tartine No 3. The recipes I usually use tend to make just enough leaven to use in the final dough, but this recipe calls for 400g + 1Tbsp of leaven, only 150g of which is used in the final dough.

Well, I just mixed the final dough, and it looks like I accidentally used all ~450g...oops! At least I saved the rest of my starter instead of relying on the leftover leaven.

The rest of the recipe for the final dough is as follows:

500g high-extraction wheat flour - 50% (I used a 50/50 blend)

250g whole-grain flour - 25%

250g white-wheat flour - 25%

70g wheat germ

850g water (I used 800, 50 reserved for after autolyse)

150g leaven

25g sea salt (reserved for after autolyse)


Is there any way I can salvage this without tripling the recipe? Is it even worth baking at this point?

a_warming_trend's picture

Don't you dare throw it out! If I'm calculating correctly, using all of the levain you've created will put you at just about 20% levain for the whole mix, which is a totally reasonable amount.

Just know that you will want to at least double your bulk fermentation time, and make sure to increase your salt by at least 5 grams (I would increase by 10, but I like my bread quite seasoned).

Tartine recipes are very low in levain, and they lead to beautiful results. But you could have created 600 grams of levain in this formula and still used it to great effect in your bread. It's all a matter of watching the dough during bulk fermentation and proofing. 

Bake that bread!

FertileCroissant's picture

Ok so this is good news! A few follow up questions though:

1) I just mixed the dough and planned to autolyse overnight (as recommended for hard wheat flours) for approximately 12.5 hours. Should I make any adjustments to this time?

2) When doubling the bulk fermentation to lets say 6 hours, how many stretch and folds should I do? Every 30 minutes and leave it for the last hour?

3) Should I keep the final rise the same?

4) Instead of baking it tomorrow evening (or night at this rate) would it still be OK to do the final rise in the refrigerator overnight tomorrow? If so, do the loaves go right from the fridge to the oven, or do they need to proof further at room temperature?

Thank you for the help, I really appreciate it!!


a_warming_trend's picture

Whoops! Mini is right, of course; meant to say that bulk time would be about half. I think you could still to s-fs every 30 mins for 2 hrs--just let it rest at room temp for less time.  

And I also didn't reference hydration percentage. It will be much higher if you don't add more flour to offset the levain increase. Could be a nice challenge!

I couldn't tell from your post if you were doing a true autolyse without levain or salt. If levain is involved then definitely don't go that long at room temp.

Overnight proof should still be fine with that levain percent, but I would place straight in the fridge after shaping, to minimize risk of overproofing in the fridge. As Mini suggested, watch really carefully...the loaves might need more time at room temp before being baked in the morning, but they might not.

I'll also add that if you're at all worried about the loaves overproofing with the higher levain percentage, you can always place the dough in the fridge at the end of room temp bulk, then shape and proof at room temp, watching carefully. 

FertileCroissant's picture

My autolyse was with leaven, and unfortunately I was already asleep before I read any new posts here, so the autolyse went ahead with leaven at slightly below room temperature (a cold room, probably about 60 degrees) for 11 hours.

The book was really unclear on this point (as in completely neglected to mention it) but through further research  I discovered if you autolyse overnight, you're not supposed to include the leaven.

Well my dough has now doubled, and according to Mini Oven, will be ready to bake about now. I'm still going to try to get some S+F in there. I guess I'll see what happens. At least I'll be better prepared next time!

Thanks again!

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

1. Autolyse for 30min is fine. I don't think an overnight will benefit greatly. Some say 2 hours is optimum. If you wish then a warm autolyse will speed things up.

2. Well if you double fermentation time then time is on your side too. Kneading or stretch and folds helps the gluten formation and brings it into sync for when your dough is ready. But time alone will help the gluten. Plus you've also done an autolyse which jump starts the gluten formation too. If you increase the bulk fermentation time then you don't have to increase the stretch and folds. Just do them until the dough is ready. You can do them all at the beginning or stretch them out.

3. Final rise time is always until its ready!

4. When I final proof in the fridge I normally shape, leave it out at room temperature for about 20 - 40min (depending on how much starter ive used and how long the bulk fermentation was) then finish off in the fridge. When taking out of the fridge it's normally ready to bake straight away. If you think it needs more time then finish off at room temperature.

FertileCroissant's picture

Hey, good to hear from you again!

1. I'm pretty sure I bungled the autolyse (see my response to awarmingtrend).I'll just pretend it went according to plan and see what happens I guess?


2. I'm apparently supposed to half the fermentation time (instructions to double it were a mistake), which makes a bit more sense logically, considering there's so much more "fuel" in the dough.

3. Of all the things I need to work on in my bread baking it's knowing when the dough is ready. I poke and prod, but I'm never sure. It doesn't help that the temperatures in my kitchen/house can be all over the place, especially if I'm cooking other things during the day.


Anyway, thanks again Abe!

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

Is the most critical and has to be the most precise however someone has yet to produce a method to tell when it is exactly ready.

There are guides and lots of advice out there from doubling (which is inaccurate when shaping like a boule because what looks like doubling is actually more) to prodding etc.

I suppose trial and error till you get to know the look and feel of a proofed dough.

Best of luck.

P.s. yes autolyse is just flour and water in order to help gluten development before the yeast is added. 30 min is all it really needs.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

with the book or recipe but if I tripled the levain,

1) I would pop it into the fridge for the "autolyse overnight"  to slow it down a bit. or it will be ready to bake in 12 hrs.

2) I don't understand why the bulk rise should be twice as long, perhaps that got twisted, I would think it would be half the time.  So watch your dough carefully.  

Compare to a 1,2,3 sourdough, with a retard to slow down the rise.