Developing a Liquid Levain Culture

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Complex

Appears in

Bread

By Jeffrey Hamelman

Published 2004

  • About

Ingredients

Day One. Initial Mix

U.S. Metric Home Baker’s %
Whole-Rye Flour .75 lb 300 g 4.8 oz ( cups 100 %
Water .94 lb 375 g 6 oz (¾ cup) 125 %
Honey .03 lb (.5 oz) 10 g .2 oz (.1 tsp) 3.3 %
Total 1.72 lb 685 g 11 oz

Day Two. Two Feedings

U.S. Metric Home Baker’s %
Initial Mix .45 lb 200 g 5.5 oz (half of above) 111 %
Whole-Rye Flour .2 lb 90 g 1.2 oz ( cup) 50 %
White Flour .2 lb 90 g 1.2 oz (¼ cup) 50 %
Water, 90°F .5 lb 225 g 3 oz ( cup) 125 %
Total 1.35 lb 605 g 10.9 oz

Days Three, Four, and Five. Two Feedings

U.S. Metric Home Baker’s %
Initial Mix .45 lb 200 g 5.5 oz (half of above) 111 %
White Flour .4 lb 180 g 2.4 oz (½ cup) 100 %
Water .5 lb 225 g 3 oz ( cup 125 %
Total 1.35 lb 605 g 10.9 oz

Method

Day One. Initial Mix

Mix the Ingredients Well, cover with plastic, and let stand in a warm area (75° to 80°F) for 24 hours. Medium rye flour can be used in place of whole rye, but avoid using white rye flour.

Day Two. Two Feedings

Mix the Ingredients Well, cover with plastic, and let stand in a warm area (75° to 80°F). Ideally, the 2 feedings should be 12 hours apart. The white flour should be an unbleached bread flour with 11 to 12 percent protein.

Days Three, Four, and Five. Two Feedings

Mix the Ingredients Well, cover with plastic, and let stand in a warm area (75° to 80°F). Ideally, the 2 feedings should be 12 hours apart. By day six, the culture should have enough ripeness to be used for bread production. In order to continue developing strength and complexity (heterofermentative bacteria), however, it may be fed for 2 or 3 more days before beginning to use it. In that case, follow the same feeding schedule as for days three, four, and five.