Creating a Sourdough Levain starter is simple but takes time.

I have known of starters in restaurants and bakeries which have been around for years. Some are known to be more than 100 years old. This recipe creates an amazingly malty, deep flavour in the sourdough for a fantastic base for any dough, loaf or pizza.

DAY 1 – 2
  • 400g strong bread flour
  • 500ml Water @ 25°c
  • 1 large glass bowl
  • A large clean tea towel

Mix flour and water to a smooth paste and place in bowl covered with tea towel.

Place outside in warmer months, to allow oxygen to attack the starter and begin the process. If winter place in your warmest room and near a window which is slightly open. In both cases ensure the starter is out of direct sunlight. On the second day, bubbles should begin to appear. Beat these in and recover, then leave for a further 24 hrs.

DAYS 3 – 4
  • Water at 25°c
  • Strong bread flour

Add 200ml water at 25°c to the starter and mix well. Now add 200g strong bread flour and mix well. Leave for 24 hours and repeat the process again

DAYS 5 – 6
  • Water at 25°c
  • Strong bread flour

Remove half of your starter (always weigh it!). Replace with 200ml water at 25°c to the starter and mix well. Now add 200g strong bread flour and mix well. Leave for 24 hours and repeat the process again for day 6.

DAY 7 AND ONGOING FEEDS

Now you need to weigh your starter and discard half. Now replace with half strong bread flour and half water @ 25°c, to bring your starter back up to original weight.

EGGsample: Remove 200g of starter and replace with 100g strong flour and 100g of 25°c water.

You can increase the size of your starter by just weighing the total amount and doubling.

You must feed your starter a minimum of 8 hours before using (night before).

A starter should be kept in the fridge in a container with an air hole. It can be fed once a week to keep it alive.