The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Sourwort levain


Sourwort levain

A sourwort levain is built using 20% of the recipe's flour mixed with equal amount of recipe's liquid (1 water : 1 sourwort) and 1% instant dry yeast. The levain is left to ripen at 82F until it 'brakes' and then treated like common sourdough.

In this bake the levain took 3 hours to ferment and the main dough 4 hours (2.5h bulk + 1.5h proof).


Total Formula

200g   flour            100%

130g   water           65%

20g     sourwort     10%

0.4g    idy               0.2%

4g       salt              2%


10g    wheat bran (soaked overnight and strained)


Sourwort Levain

40g     flour

20g     water

20g     sourwort

0.4g    idy


Left: Levain just mixed                                                        Right: Approaching peak

About 20' into the bake a very pleasant aroma of warmed-up yogurt starts lingering around the place. Tastes good too. 


Just a thought

One main holy-grail of artisan home bakers is the taste of bread and rightly so. To this end the champion proves to be 'prolonged fermentation' by all means. And though this is scientifically and practically correct, quality of flour usually comes at the bottom of the list if mentioned at all.

I've had plain straight yeasted bread (short-ferment) made with top quality flour that was surprisingly tasteful. At the other end, low quality flour will almost always produce bland-tasting bread no matter how slowly is fermented or how well-aged/robust/aromatic/resourceful was the leavening agent used. 'No good flogging a dead horse'!

My 2cent is that top quality, fragrant flour should be first item by far on the list for making tasteful bread and then follow all the rest (preferments, long bulks, retarding etc). Maybe it is too obvious a prerequisite and being so is often omitted. But I think it should be the first culprit to be looked at in case of misfire!


Happy (oven) Spring

Ming's picture

Nice to see you tried something different this time, with a levain. I don't believe I have bought a "low quality" flour before so I wouldn't know a difference, but I will take your advice about using a good quality flour to begin with, which makes sense. Thanks for sharing this gorgeous loaf of bread. 

Benito's picture

Another great and interesting bake. I couldn’t agree more with you about flour quality and flavour. I have experienced the poor flavour and texture from flour of a lesser quality.

GaryBishop's picture

I've only used KAF WW and BF. Are they high quality? Should I try some uber expensive locally milled flour?


All I'm trying to say is that if someone is not satisfied with her/his results maybe it is better to first double check on the flour used and then delve into the maze of preferments. In my experience, one can save much hassle trying say 5-10 different flours (bought in small batches) tested on the same recipe, as a first step. Flour alone is a major player in the bread making poker game!

You owe me 2-cent now for all this information.... :)))))


Benito's picture

KA BF I've only used once in my life and it did seem to be good quality.  I have little experience with most US flours living in Canada.