The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

On leftover levain from Ken Forkish's recipe

lacoet's picture
lacoet

On leftover levain from Ken Forkish's recipe

Hi,

I'd like to know if anybody making the wonderful recipes from K Forkish's book Water, Flour,Salt, Yeast has saved the leftovers of the levain, after taking what is needed mixing into the dough, to use it the next day or even 2 or 3 days later.

I've figured out how to reduce the excessive quantities he asks for in his recipes to end up with just enough levain to make a full recipe without any waste, but today I was going to make 1 1/2 recipes and to be safe I prepared the levain with his original quants and I have enough leftover to make another full recipe maybe tomorrow or the day after.

Would it be okay to keep it on the counter? or should I refrigerate it and take it out a few hours before I start the process the day I'm going to bake.

Any input greatly appreciated ;)

 

Comments

Abe's picture
Abe

And use up within 3 days. Either take it out and let it warm up or use in the dough straight away with warm water and wait however long the dough needs. Often after using warm water and working on the dough there's not much difference. 

If you find the levain excessively fermented and broken down it might not be good to use as it'll compromise the dough and give off flavours. If it's not broken down and still has strength then good to go. The sooner you use the better. 

You can get away with a more fermented levain but you'll need to use less of it in the final dough to avoid the issues. 

Benito's picture
Benito

Abe is correct of course, you can definitely keep the levain for use again soon.  If it had gone quite past peak and was really fallen from peak then you might not want to use it to levain bread.  If left at warm temperatures the LAB would have kept working producing acids.  When the acid load becomes excessive pH < 4 the proteolytic enzymes in the flours will start to breakdown the gluten.  You don’t want to transfer that excessive acid load to your dough to make bread because it may compromise the structure and thus shape and rise of the bread.

When you are making extra levain to bake again in a couple of days immediately refrigerate the levain after peak and it will keep until the next bake a day or three later.  Just make sure your fridge is cold enough that it will stop fermentation so < 38ºF should do the trick.

Benny

Benito's picture
Benito

I forgot when you plan to bake with your cold refrigerated levain there is no reason to warm it up to room temperature.  Just use warmer water when you’re mixing the dough to compensate.  Again, I wouldn’t want to levain to get too acidic.

lacoet's picture
lacoet

Hi, 

thanks a lot for your quick answers and very useful info, I’m using it today ( the next day) but I left it on the counter all night. So, we’ll see how the bread turns out ;)

 

Benito's picture
Benito

If you left it on the counter overnight and need to bake tomorrow I’d cut your losses and toss the levain and build a new fresh one.  It will really have a high acid load after being left at room temperature overnight and today.  I’d rather waste a bit of levain than waste all the effort to make a dough that has a lower chance of working out.  But that’s just me.