levain bread

starting the starter
200 grams white flour + 200 grams of  filtered water:  mix the water and flour in a non-reactive container with a lid.  keep at room temperature. each day throw out about 1/2 of the mixture and feed with 100 grams of white flour + 100 grams of filtered water. stir well. after about a week the mixture will start bubbling, at this point it will be ready to use.  this starter needs to be maintained.
to maintain start
50 grams whole wheat flour + 50 grams white flour + 100 grams filtered water. each day you need to discard about 1/2 of your starter. you will either bake with it, or throw it out.  after discarding the starter, feed it with the above flour/water mixture.  if you find that you will be out of town, or unable to feed your starter daily (once you have built your original)  you can place it in the refrigerator--this will retard the yeast.  once you remove from the refrigerator, you will need to begin feeding it daily.  

To Make the Bread
100 grams starter

250 grams white flour

250 grams whole wheat flour

375 grams filtered water

10 grams sea salt


stir together the starter and water until dissolved.  mix in the flour until water and flour are incorporated.  do not knead, just get the flour fully combined. cover and allow the mixture to sit for 30 minutes.  add the salt and mix together with wet hands. cover.

at the end of the 1st hour

turn dough onto a floured surface. hold one end of the dough and with your other hand, pull the other end to stretch. fold the stretched end on top of it. give the dough a half turn and repeat the stretch and fold. place the dough back in the bowl, cover and let sit.

end of hour 2

repeat the stretch and pull and put back in the bowl. cover.

end of hour 3 or 3 1/2

turn the dough onto a floured surface.  begin to shape the boule. take the dough and pull the sides together as if you are making a beggar's purse, press the edges together and pick up the dough. turn it over in your hands and turn to form a round.

place the dough, round side down in a heavily floured proofing basket or in a bowl lined with heavily floured baking canvas/or cloth.  cover and let sit at room temperature for 3 1/2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator (preferred)

when ready to bake

you will be baking this in an dutch oven

preheat oven and cooking pot to 500 degrees, turn the bread out of its basket or bowl onto a floured surface.  use a razor blade to score a 4" square on the top of the bread.  once the oven/pot is up to temperature,  plop the bread in the pot, round side up.  cover and let bake for 25 minutes. remove the top and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes. the bread should be nicely browned and sound hollow when tapped.

allow to cool for 1 hour before eating


This recipe is from a course at the institute for domestic technology and was given to me by erik knutzen

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