Levain

I’ve spent the better part of the last year pursuing the art of baking bread. I don’t think I’ve made the same bread twice…I like to play with ingredients too much. Honey instead of sugar, bread flour and wheat flour one time, all all-purpose flour next, olive oil instead of butter, adding garlic and thyme and rosemary and basil, cheese. Yeah, so much for perfecting anything. But!

I’ve turned a corner in the bread baking world. I started a levain this week!

I’m not calling my levain a sourdough because, according to my reading, sourdough is very specific to San Francisco style sourdough bread. I’m not making SF style sourdough – as far as I know.  I’m just making a sour starter (levain) that will be used to make bread. And hopefully I won’t kill it. Dudes. It’s awesome.

I mixed water and flour and life emerged!

12.5.12

2pm

Supplies

Supplies

My grandma milled this wheat for me from her stash of hard red winter wheat. It will be the main food for the levain for a while, then I’ll switch to King Arthur bread flour…cause it’s more accessible than Grandma’s wheat. She and her wheat are in Oklahoma.

Equal parts flour and water

Equal parts flour and water

1130pm

Two bubbles!

Two bubbles!

12.6.12

815am

Special liquid

Special liquid (hooch)

More bubbles

More bubbles

2pm

Hooch and beginning of seperation

Hooch and beginning of separation

430pm

Look at that fermentation!!!

Look at that fermentation!!!

More magic hooch

More magic hooch

12.7.12

10am

Lots of bubbles

Lots of bubbles

11pm

I'm in love

I’m in love

Magic

Magic

So, next week I plan to make my first loaf with this levain.

I was inspired to jump into this by the book 52 Loaves by William Alexander. His (mis)adventures in pursuit of the perfect loaf of bread, baking a loaf a week for a year…great reading.

I will name the levain soon. I’m open to your ideas and suggestions!