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Sourdough Bread Baking: Sourdough Baker’s Percentages

January has been a crazy month. My baby boy celebrated his first birthday on the 18th.

Mom giving Jack his first cake

Mom giving Jack his first cake

Laura made him a fun shark themed cake that matched the wrapping paper on his presents. He made a huge mess of it.

Messy Boy!

Cake Destroyed!

I also got in a car accident which rendered my vehicle useless.┬áThat sure has made the weekends more difficult, since I can’t even leave the place to get groceries unless Laura is home from work. At work we’ve gone through four separate change of responsibility ceremonies, starting at the company level and going all the way up to theater. Plus I’ve been preparing for two missions that I’m slotted for, one starting tomorrow and the other at the end of March. It sure has been busy.

So we last left off with making a starter and letting it mature into a levain by feeding it and keeping it healthy. If you followed those instructions and have been taking care of it, you should have quite nice mature liquid levain. It should be very active and smell nice and sour when it’s at its peak. Maybe you’ve even found a bread recipe to try it out with.

Well, now it’s time to learn how to formulate a sourdough recipe with your levain using bread formulas. Hopefully, at this point, you are well versed in basic baker’s percentages and have used pre-ferments before. Sourdough formulas can seem a little more complex at first, as there are extra steps and math involved. You’ll remember from using pre-ferments that you have to start with your total dough recipe. Then you select a percentage of your flour that you want to pre-ferment a day before. That requires you to subtract the flour and water that you used in your pre-ferment from the total dough recipe, which gives you your final recipe. Baker’s formulas using levains use that same basic concept. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2013 in Army, Baking, Bread, Food, Pizza

 

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Sourdough Bread Baking: The Levain

It’s no secret that I love bread, which is why I often come back to it. We’ve covered some pretty good information on bread in the past in my Bread Baking Basics run of posts. Having gone over the twelve steps of baking, baker’s formulas, and how to use pre-ferments, we are armed with enough knowledge to make some pretty impressive bread. The next natural step would be to learn how to make sourdough breads.

But what exactly is a sourdough bread? In simple terms, it is a bread that is completely leavened without the use of commercial yeast. Instead, it is leavened with the natural yeasts that exist in our environment. This is achieved with the use of a sourdough starter, also known as a levain. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2013 in Baking, Food

 

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