A Stir The Pots Post


by | Nov 29, 2010 | Bread, Old dough

Sometimes choices between levain, commercial yeast or just a chunk of dough left behind from a recent bread dough, are just that – a choice. It's all on how to make your dough rise. For a long time,I preached that it was levain or nothing. Phewy! Yes I am a sourdoughist at heart but I live a life often imbalanced by my schedule or my wife tearing my ear about flour or too much bread, so I often sneak a piece of old dough in a mix, even some dry yeast just to give me a head start when I am in danger of spousal bread abuse!

Upon returning from visiting my mom, I wasn't sure I had enough levain built up for a bake, so I took out a piece of pizza dough. It was was a bit older then I liked, but still showed signs of life, nonetheless. Yes, I made a loaf with it, from Amy Scherber's book. I haven't used her book for sometime. I guess it's because I get her bread at work and also I think of always converting all the recipes to sourdough, when I get time! So here is a pretty picture of a simple loaf from page 55, Golden Whole Wheat bread (Old dough starter).




  1. sandra

    Fermentator.. is that your new nickname.?!
    Love it!
    I wish I could see the crumb to call your bread perfect but I know it is.. even with old dough starter.
    You should have your wife tearing your ear more often 🙂

  2. bob del Grosso

    I get antsy using old dough because of the salt. I’m afraid of ending up with too much or little in the final dough. I suppose the thing to do is to record how much (what percent) salt I put in the old dough but that would be too rational 🙂

  3. Jeremy

    Bob, percentages!!! This old dough was pizza, so very small percentage about 1.5 to 2 % in old dough.
    Sandra, crumb is up!!!

  4. George Biron

    Hi Jeremy long time me no comment but reading all the time…
    I also like to stray from orthodoxy at the moment I make a biga with 100% hydration using a very active natural starter leave this overnight and adjust with 30% more dry flours [strong stone ground white flour and wholemeal atta] in the morning I adjust it to 75% hydration and .05% yeast and it gives a pretty good light quite crusty loaf suitable for lapping up juices during a long lunch. Also I can sleep in till 7 am
    best for the silly season

  5. Jeremy

    George, t’s a pleasure to see you here, which I was down under rather then running like a rabbit for Xmas…Yeast doesn’t scare me, just trying to re-learn how to use it after being so deep in natural bacteria, levain!
    Keep writing, love your fabulous stories, your a big inspiration to us old school chefs!


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