French Levain

A “French Levain” is made from an active, multistep sourdough. It differs from the multistep rye sourdough in its hydration level (TA) and its maturation time. 

With a multistep wheat sourdough, I want to keep the acidity as low as possible. I do this by using a hydration level (TA) of 200-220 and adjusting the maturation time to the individual steps. 


Wheat sour:

Step 1

  • 60g wheat flour type 700 or 550
  • 60g water 35°C
  • 10g starter

DT: 27 – 28°C      Maturity time: 10 hours

Step 2

  • 130g wheat sour from step 1
  •   60g water
  •   60g wheat flour type 700 or 550

DT: 27 – 28°C     Maturity time: 4-5 hours

Main dough:

  • 250g mature sourdough
  • 300g wheat flour type 700 or 550
  •   65g whole grain emmer wheat flour
  •   65g whole grain spelt flour
  • 250g water (c. 12-15°C)

Mix ingredients for 1-2 minutes and then let rest covered for 30-45 minutes to autolyze. 

  •   12g salt
  •   30g water (only add in when the dough completely falls away from the side of the mixing bowl.) 

Add the salt and mix slowly for 10 minutes. As soon as the dough completely falls away from the side of the mixing bowl, pour in the extra water (If you have nimble fingers, you can add in more water).

Knead the dough well one more time (c. 4-6 minutes quickly). 


  • After kneading, place the dough in an oiled tub. 
  • Fold the dough after 45 and 90 minutes. 
  • Then cover it and let it rise (c. 2-3 hours). 
  • Only once the volume has increased 30-40% should you start working it again. 
  • Tip the dough onto a floured work surface and fold it from all sides into the middle. Let it rest seamside-down on the work surface for 30 minutes.
  • To shape the dough, turn it and fold it from the left and right sides into the middle. Finally, using light tension, roll the dough from top to bottom and then place it seamside-down in a floured proofing basket.
  • After shaping, let the dough proof in the fridge at 4°C for 12-18 hours. 
  • Place the bread in an oven that has been preheated to 250°C. Reduce the temperature to 235°C and bake with strong steam. 
  • Total baking time c. 35-40 minutes.