A Stir The Pots Post

Naked barley sunflower levain and ciabatta redux

by | Oct 13, 2007 | Bread

Naked Barley sunflower levain

The chance to bake bread is something I can never say no to, but making a great loaf and without making some dud with the moniker lazy baker hanging around my neck has made me work a bit harder! So I used Dan leaders book as a guide and used some naked barley given to me  and other bakers in Bethesda by a visiting professor Dr. Edward Dickin who gave us a some information regarding naked barley. One of my newest tricks is to wake up before the crack of dawn, say 4 am, that is when bakers usually are making bread? Proceed by quietly kneading in short Dan Lepard method, fermenting and all the while enjoying the quiet serenity, much different than a restaurant where you are dealing with cooks, managers, maitré d’s and lazy waiters! So I find that all though difficult physically in a commercial context, baking is a zen like exercise in a home environment, sort of yoga with dough?  Dr. Dickin will know that I like this barley, it gives a different texture and flavor for sure to the bread, as Dan Leader said using different flours does change the character of the levain dough that is a standard wheat beast, with a bit of percentage changes a wholesome loaf will come out!

Ciabatta for Nils

Not to escape a challenge by any means my friend Nils ,who makes some famous loaves and is a great hand for translating German for me posted a ciabatta recipe. Ok so I have made them before, but this time I was looking around my multitude of bread files and found a formula  based on Dan Lepards suggestion on how to make a ciabatta with limited time!That fit my work schedule and I would be  retarding for twelve hours, I did the math and well it was a beautiful and big success!

Ciabatta di Dan Leopardo:

Levain 30% (mine is hydrated @130 %)

Do the math according to how you feed yours!

Final dough:
215g flour (I used KA bread)
124g H20 (water)
142g liquide levain
3g yeast (if you think you need the push, I did)
salt 4.3 (I threw in 5, my scale is a bitch!)

mix dough, ferment twelve hours, remove from fridge give one fold and sit for another 2-3 hours.
Shape your ciabatta, I fold the two halves over, the first half way and the other over the first. Lay the seam side down on a well floured couche or parchment paper and rise for about an hour or until it is full of bubbles.
I baked mine around 450 F for 15- 25 minutes


  1. Susan

    The breads look great. Perfect analogy about bread baking being like yoga with dough. I too love early morning baking.

  2. Nils

    Thanks! I’ll take two, please. Those loaves look great. I like that Sig. Leopardo uses levain instead of biga, and I have also had great results by following a recipe by Sig. Eric Kayser, who uses a liquid levain too. Gave my ciabatta a superior crust.


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