Reply To: Levain too dry?

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Paula vanHaagen

    Hi, Deborah, I’m replying to your original comment about your levain being too dry and slow to rise. Could you explain the “too dry” part? When mixed, the 74% hydration should not feel dry. It starts dry, like the autolyse, but when fully mixed, it is like dough. (The autolyse is a lot drier than the levain, 64% hydration.) If you can provide a photo, that would be helpful.

    Regarding the slow development of the levain, that is an indicator that the starter is not active enough. Adding more water can expedite the fermentation a little but if you’re not getting a dome in 10-12 hours (overnight), then it needs investigating to understand why. Temperature matters a lot. Mine rises with an overnight temp of 58dF and 66 after 7am. If you’re confident your starter is plenty active, try increasing the amount of starter a few grams. Because of seasonal variation in our kitchens’ temperatures, it’s important to pay attention to the amount of starter you use and how long it takes to develop.  (It’s great that you’re asking questions about this!) The formula is the starting point and your experience tells you when and how to vary.  See the Tips under the Step-by-Step tab.





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