Homemade bread, part 1: make your own “levain”

A small event can sometimes make one’s day or week: baking my own bread is one of them!
The whole adventure started about 10 days ago when one of my friends sent me pictures of her homemade bread, made with fresh levain (GB: leaven, US: sourdough)!… The idea started to germinate in my head, and a few days letter, when I came across the post of a blog, talking about homemade bread with homemade levain, I took it as a sign… It was a sign… A sign that it was time to try the experience… Adding to this, the fact that I am currently reading a book mentioning the negative effects that pesticides and other chemicals have on our health – have you ever thought about all these pesticides sprayed on the wheat, which is used for our bread, biscuits, etc… and my decision was taken:
I shall make (create!) my own organic levain and from it, my own bread…
Boy, giving birth to a bubbly, effective levain is something which has to be taken seriously! I read a number of posts to find out lots of interesting info:
– levain is alive, therefore, you should give it a name. Mine is called Umberto, so pardon me, but from now on, I will say “he”…
– levain has to be fed daily, for he can get sick and die 😦
– levain is like me, he likes warm temperature (between 20°-25°C for Umberto, 25°-35° for me)
– levain is easy to prepare (good news…)

My two first attempts were ok, the bread tasted good, but its texture was still not as it should be. The mie (french word for the inside part of the bread, the softer part that is under the crust) was very dense and thick… I must say that I got really confused with the differents posts I had read, as most of them where making the whole process a very difficult, detailed thing…

And then…my Mum sent me a link about how to make your own organic bread (here) and OMG, everything was explained clearly and the process was really simplified…

I kept my way of preparing Umberto, but followed the details à la lettre and my bread turned out really good 🙂

So, let go back to last week, when the levain preparation started:

I mixed 30 g of organic rye flour, with 30 g of boiled water (spring water can be used but NO tap water) and one teaspoon of organic honey. This mixture should be mixed with a wooden spoon, which will from now on, only be washed with water (no liquid soap, please!!) and put into a glass jar. Do not close the jar. Just put the lid on top, letting some air to penetrate… I placed the jar in a warm place(20°C -25°C) protected from drafts, with enough light (i.e. our kitchen!)

The following morning, I added one spoon of boiled water, one spoon of organic rye flour and one teaspoon of organic honey, stirred well, and put back the lid, without closing it. Idem the following morning. FYI, it can take up to 6 days for the levain to be born/created…in my case, the third morning, I noticed the formation of bubbles on the surface, a very good sign…and in the evening, when I came back from office, a great excitement took me, when I saw that the quantity had tripled and was full of bubbles! Umberto was born!


3 thoughts on “Homemade bread, part 1: make your own “levain”

    • As he is alive, happily making bubbles, I kind of like the idea of calling him by a name… 😉 and Italian names are definitely linked to some yummy food, a good omen for a levain!!!

  1. Thanks for the informative article and the links to other information. I’m just starting on making my starter. You mention that, when your creating the Levin, you add “a spoon” of water. How much is that?

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