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    Yeast Free Artisan Bread Starter (Levain)
  • Developed by George De Pasquale; Master Baker, The Essential Baking Company.


  1. Mix 600g flour with 300g water. Desired dough temp is about 80º (about 27ºC)- assuming general room temp for the flour, water should probably be 90º- 100ºF (about 35ºC). Let stand covered for 24 hours at a warm ambient temp: greater than 70º, preferably 80º if possible.
  2. After 24 hours take 300g of the starter and mix with 300g flour and 150g water, same temperatures.
  3. Repeat this process every 24 hours for 5 days.
  4. Most likely you won't start seeing any noticeable fermentation on the first feeding, but by the second feeding, the starter should be showing signs of activity- the starter will be risen, slightly at first and more by the end of the 5 day cycle.
  5. By the end of the fifth day you should have a mature starter: the starter will rise to about 1.5 times the original volume, there will be a sweet/sour aroma and there should be some acid (tang) on the tongue. A trick is to dust the top of the starter with flour- when it's mature the smooth dusting will appear broken and textured.
  6. For maintaining the culture, remove 50g starter and mix in 150g water and 150g flour. Let stand for 3 hours at ambient temp, cover and refrigerate. The starter will stay healthy in the reefer for at least 2 weeks, no more than a month. At that time, remove it from the reefer, let it warm to ambient temp (about 70º) and repeat this process, endlessly, forever, make sure when you will it to your grandchildren that you leave clear instructions.
To Use This Starter For Breadmaking
  1. Remove 50g of the starter, refresh it as above.
  2. The remaining starter (300g) can be used for bread with a kilo of flour in the formula.
  3. This is a good start, a guideline, but obviously getting various textures, flavors, characteristics is a lifelong pursuit!

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