What harm could a few rye flakes do? I had a small quantity of rye flakes in the cupboard, too little for most recipes. On impulse this morning, I tossed the flakes into the water to soften up with the already soaking levain. Use it before it goes stale, right?
Now that I’ve found a 100 percent whole wheat wild yeast sourdough recipe that works, I’m setting the method down here, step-by-step, so I can replicate and refine the process until I can count on making a successful loaf every time.
I’m having fairly good luck with their “100 Percent Whole Wheat Sourdough” recipe. Take a look at my fifth loaf, which I baked Tuesday. It is still tender and moist on the inside and delicious today, Thursday.
At about ten to nine this morning, humming in anticipation, I pulled my stiff levain from the oven for the last time before making my first boule using the method in the King Arthur Whole Grains Baking book. (To go to a slide-show of the photographs on this page, or to see more detail in them, click on any picture.) Finding the levain moist, spongy, and higher than it has been after any other feeding, I fairly tingled. What can I say? It doesn’t take much to make this granny happy. Some good music, a yeasty dough, grandkids in the house.
The 2-year-old helped me feed the levain today; tomorrow we bake our first levain boule!
With this feeding, the levain leaps back to life
After incubating for sixteen and a half hours, the levain had not grown, not puffed, not changed. Time for some doctoring!
Experimenting with my stiff-levain sourdough discards, I dump them in my discard jar, add some water, and set them in the oven, without mixing and stirring, to incubate overnight
Overnight, the levain nearly doubles, but during the day, incubated in the oven with the light on for a little extra warmth, it shows little sign of yeast action
For the first time, I attempt a levain, feeding the starter with twice as much flour as usual, every twelve hours over a period of two to three days. Here’s how it works on Day 1 and Day 2.