Instructions for recipients of a wild yeast levain: I am sending 500 g jars to baking friends.

What should I tell them to do with it once they receive it? Should they feed it for several days in a row before using? Is there a recommended timetable? Anything else? It's a 100% hydration. Thanks so much, everyone. ;o)



AntoniaJames December 17, 2012
I strongly recommend that this particular levain be fed at a one to one ratio consistently (equal parts of flour and water). This allows you always to know its hydration (100%), making it easier to adapt other recipes in which you might use it. (I incorporate my levain into my Pullman loaves on occasion for flavor, simply by calculating the liquid and flours in grams, then deducting from each the actual amount of liquid and flour that the levain will contribute to the dough. So far, it's worked really well.) ;o)
sdebrango December 17, 2012
Thats exactly what I have been doing 1 to 1 ratio, I have not been discarding it though and I hope that hasn't hurt the levain but it looks and smells good and is quite bubbly and has grown very well. I can't thank you enough, did you use apples in the levain? I swear I smell apples.
hardlikearmour December 17, 2012
No problem! I recently started baking breads from FWSY & am totally smitten. I'm starting the walnut levain bread today, using a levain I started from scratch last week. Can't wait to pull it out of the oven tomorrow. Next up is the pain au bacon!!
sdebrango December 17, 2012
Wow do those sound good. I don't know what type of bread I will make with this levain a boule maybe, I have to so some serious research to keep this levain going. I don't bake bread that often and want to always have the levain around so I can whip up a loaf of bread. Thank you again,
hardlikearmour December 17, 2012
Pull it out of the fridge! Here are the instructions (with minor editing) from FWSY for storing and restoring your levain: "If you will not be making dough with your levain culture every day or don't feel like feeding it every day, you need to have a plan for storing it on those off days and restoring it as needed. It's best to store it in the refrigerator. Take about 300 grams of the levain, coat it with a film of water, and put it in a nonperforated plastic bag, then refrigerate for up to 1 month. When you're ready to use it again, you'll need to plan ahead in order to bring it back and use it at full strength. Here's the procedure I recommend: Two days before you plan to bake, remove the levain from the fridge and put 200 grams of it into your empty levain bucket. Discard the remainder. If possible, let the levain sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes to warm up. Then add 100 grams WW flour, 400 grams white flour, and 400 grams of 95º F water and mix by hand just until incorporated. Cover and let rest in a warm spot overnight. The morning of the day before you plan to bake: Feed the levain again. Discard all but 100 grams (up to 150 grams if your kitchen is cool) of the levain. Add 100 grams WW flour, 400g white flour, and 400g 85-90º water (cooler end in warm weather/kitchen, warmer end in cool weather/kitchen). Mix by hand until just incorporated. Cover the levain and let it rest in a warm spot until you mix your dough later that day."
sdebrango December 17, 2012
Thank you so much, pulling it out now and will follow the directions. Pasting into evernote. I can't wait to give this a try. You have been so helpful!
sdebrango December 17, 2012
Thanks HLA, I will discard some of it, feed and use. I have it in a plastic lidded container in the fridge with plenty of room for growth. I will do that tonight so it will be ready for use tomorrow.
hardlikearmour December 17, 2012
Per Ken Forkish (Flour Water Salt Yeast): Keep 100-150 g of the levain & discard the rest (or wet with water and keep in a plastic bag in fridge for a new batch). Feed with 400 grams AP flour and 100 grams WW flour and 400 grams 85º water. Mix by hand until just incorporated. Should be ready for bread about 6-8 hours after feeding if average kitchen temps. Think of the portion you throw away as spent fuel.
sdebrango December 17, 2012
I have fed every couple of days but have not thrown out any before feeding, it's in the refrigerator bubbling away. I am going to give it one more feeding and then start using it. I don't know if what I am doing is correct, I hope so, I have never dealt with levain before. Thank you AJ for such a wonderful gift. Is it necessaary to throw some of it away, if so why do you do that?
hardlikearmour December 17, 2012
I'm curious to know how it worked out? It's a really great gift!
Sadassa_Ulna December 6, 2012
I keep mine at room temp for about 8-10 hours after I feed it (or until it is doubled and very bubbly), then it goes in the fridge for up to 6 days. If I were mailing it I would probably add dry ice pack to try to stabilize the temp. I'd then tell recipients to feed it right away (or put it in the fridge for only a day or two then feed it) and keep it at room temp for 8-10 hours or until doubled or bubbly. This link has a very detailed description of one person's feeding schedule and process: and this link has Instructions on drying methods for shipping
AntoniaJames December 6, 2012
Sarah, I was planning to send to the East Coast via Priority Mail from CA. Should I put it in a much larger jar, and leave it somewhat loosely tightened? At this time of year, it should be fairly cool in transit. Thank you! ;o)
boulangere December 7, 2012
You can also freeze it before packing, and definitely leave some room for expansion in the jar. UPS 2-day might be safer.
Reiney December 6, 2012
That's a great idea - though I couldn't tell from your post how you were sending it? If via mail, keep in mind that they can build up pressure and explode - particularly if at room temp.

Voted the Best Reply!

Sam1148 December 6, 2012
I admire you all for this kind of stuff---I can't even keep a chia pet alive.
sdebrango December 6, 2012
LOL, I'm with you Sam. It's a wonderful gift!!!
boulangere December 6, 2012
A wild yeast barm is like the child who never grows up, never leaves home.
boulangere December 6, 2012
First, what a fantastic gift! If you're bottling from you own mature barm, there is no need to do the daily feeding for 5 consecutive days. Instead, I'd suggest you tell your fortunate recipients what the feeding schedule should be. I feed mine every 3 days with a flour to water ratio of 60%:40%, and letting the quantity of feeding double the volume of barm. If I've not used it between feedings, I pour out half of it (NOT down the drain!), then feed it. And I routinely let it sit out overnight at room temp after each feeding. Seriously, what a wonderful gift!
cookbookchick December 6, 2012
Boulangere, why do you say not to pour the excess down the drain?
boulangere December 7, 2012
cbc, I don't pour it down the drain because it is so thick and goopy, and I really don't want it taking on a life of its own within my plumbing.
cookbookchick December 7, 2012
Thanks, boulangere -- I've always dumped mine down the drain but now, maybe not!
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