Levain too dry?

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  • This topic has 6 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 3 weeks, 4 days ago by Paula vanHaagen.
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  • #6614
    Paula vanHaagen
    Participant

    Hi, I’m glad to hear the flavor was mild – that was the goal, to allow the wheat/honey/oat flavor outweigh the tang.

    The levain formula is based on a room temp of 66dF, the typical cool PNW overnight kitchen. You could leave your levain on the counter or, if using the proofer, use 1g/loaf less starter “seed” when making the levain. Use your judgement to manipulate the variables so that the levain is just right when you’re ready to mix it into the autolyse.

    I love my proofer too! I found that the new formula hits the shelf and top before the panned dough is fully proofed. I’m going to have to let it finish proofing on the counter while the oven finishes preheating. Not a problem for 2 loaves, only for 3 or 4, when I use the shelf.

    #6590
    Jim Glynn
    Participant

    Hi Paula,

    The bread turned out to be quite mild. The levain was much more active than I expected! I’m fortunate to have use of a proofer, which has been a game changer for me. It allows decent control of temperature which makes it easier to play with the other variables. Our house gets cold overnight, so I kept the levain in the proofer at 70 degrees and it really went to town!

    I held the temperature between 75 and 80 for both bulk ferment and proofing. I think I’ll take your suggestion to let the loaves rest in the fridge overnight next time. That should give it a bit stronger flavor, which I prefer. Plus, I’ll get to sleep at a reasonable hour 🙂

    #6574
    Paula vanHaagen
    Participant

    Hi, Jim, Your loaf looks good! How does it taste?  Your starter looked very happy!

    I also find the larger loaf to proof more slowly than when I tested it as a smaller loaf.  Ambient temperature makes a difference. I’m finding it takes 4 hours when proofed at 75-78dF, and an hour longer when proofed at 66dF.  You can retard in the fridge and finish proofing in the morning if that schedule works better for you.

    #6555
    Jim Glynn
    Participant

    As requested, here’s a picture from this week’s bake. Because of the reduced amount of levain, the process was quite slow. It probably should have proofed a little longer, but it was about 2 AM and I needed to get to bed. That said, I’m OK with how my first attempt at this formula turned out. I’m interested in what you think.

    Jim Glynn

    #6508
    Jim Glynn
    Participant

    Thanks for your reply. I went back and read the fine print on the instructions, and they mention that the levain is about 75% hydration, so I guess I should have expected it to be dryer than I’m used to.

    It also expands significantly more than I expected. Note to self, use a larger container next time!

    #6504
    Katherine Kehrli
    Keymaster

    Right? I know from experience it would be easy to transpose. The levain for the Purist is not a 100% liquid levain it is a little “stiffer”. This is intentional to the process of reducing the tartness.

    Wishing you success on your baking day! Thank you for your dedication.

    Love to see a picture of your loaves when they are all finised.

    #6502
    Jim Glynn
    Participant

    I just finished mixing my levain, for the new Purist recipe tomorrow. I plan to bake 4 loaves, so I plugged that into the spreadsheet, and it says to use 280g Trailblazer flour, 208g water, and 12g of starter. Is this correct? It seems like 280 and 208 are easy to get mixed up.

    When I mixed this, it seemed very dry. I’m not an expert baker, but I’ve been baking sourdough for a few years. All the levains I’ve used have been closer to 100% hydration. I guess I’ll see how tomorrow goes tomorrow morning.

    Thanks,
    Jim Glynn

     

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