Bread diary no. 10 – a natural leaven

The natural next step in my bread making adventure is, of course, a natural leaven.

Using the tiny amount of yeast in the air was exactly how all bread was made not so long ago. Using a leaven rather than factory grown yeast does feel really traditional and, if was possible, makes me even smugger. As I have found out though making a leaven is a bit of a faff.

Leaven - day 1
Leaven - day 1
Leaven - day 3
Leaven - day 3

A leaven takes a good 5-6 days to mature. It seems to me that a leaven is like owning a pet. You have to feed, nourish and look after it every day. I suppose you don’t eat your pet at the end of it though. Mine did have a teenage rebellious period where it exploded out of the jar.

Other than the faff the leaven seemed easy enough to make. I followed the instructions from Dan Leppard’s book.

My first attempt at making bread with it was less successful though. What threw me was the radically different resting/proving times than I am used to. It turned out edible but was a bit denser and less fluffy than I normally make my bread. It did smell and taste pretty nice.

I’ve popped the leaven in the fridge for now and I’ll try to revive it another time and have another go.

Leaven - day 5
Leaven - day 5