Making a Levain

Enough for 1 sourdough loaf Prep Time 4 hours   Rated:


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The Lazy Sourdough Bakery

What we are making here is a healthy natural yeast with a minimum of starter that will make your baked goods rise as expected. It will have a nice sour taste in the end result which is partially what you are aiming for with sourdough, but it also will make a more workable dough, as opposed to the Lazy method of making a dough. The ratio of flour for a levain remain the same, no matter what flours you are using. I suggest using the same flour to create your levain as you plan to use in your dough.

The ratio of starter in your levain can vary depending on how your schedule is, which is kind of convenient once you understand that.

I recommend initially following this recipe, but as you get more confident, go ahead and play with ratios. Be aware that the less starter you use, the more time the levain will need to develop to the useable state.

Good luck!

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Measure out the starter, add water into the same jar. Stir to combine, add flour and combine again.


Cover loosely with a piece of baking paper or similar and keep draft free for 4 hours until it is bubbling and more than doubled. Use as directed in sourdough recipes of choice.


To make a smaller or larger amount of levain for a recipe that requires a different amount of levain, the ratio is 1 part starter to two parts water and two parts flour.


To make a levain that will take longer to develop and potentially be more active, you can use the following ratios. 1 part starter; 4 parts water, 4 parts flour. This will increase development time to around 8 hours. This can be quite convenient if you are looking to make a lot more dough, or need to be doing something else rather than worrying about the 4 hour time limit on the quantity in this initial recipe.

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The Lazy Sourdough Bakery

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