Jul 31, 2014

Double-Fed Sweet Levain Bread - An Amazing Sourdough Bread

Double-Fed Sweet Levain Bread - An Amazing Sourdough Bread

This Double-Fed Sweet Levain Bread is, to me, a revelation. I can't stop walking into the kitchen and slicing off a sliver, slathering it with butter, and taking another taste.

My theory is that if you eat it in tiny slices it doesn't count. It's practically zero calories, right?

When it was baking, the aroma was amazing. This is a sourdough that is both traditionally sour, and yet sweet because of the two feedings within a short period of time. The bread is moist and soft, and the crust is chewy and flavorful.

It still amazes me that bread that is unenriched (meaning no fat, no eggs, no sugar) lasts a lot longer than enriched bread. Sourdough bread, in particular, has an amazing way of staying fresh for several days. It's kind of magical.

Double-Fed Sweet Levain Bread - An Amazing Sourdough Bread

I posted the photo above on the Artisan Bread Bakers Facebook page and someone casually commented, "it looks like a Forkish bread."

Um. Yeah!! Which means it looks awesome!

This person obviously does not know about my obsession with Flour, Water, Salt, and Yeast (I am not a stalker. Even though I used valuable vacation time from my job to visit his bakery and restaurant. That's two different days people.)


Double-Fed Sweet Levain Bread - An Amazing Sourdough Bread

Double-Fed Sweet Levain Bread

Adapted from Flour, Water, Salt, and Yeast, by Ken Forkish

Note: This one requires an overnight rise in the refrigerator. Start the morning of the day before you plan to bake the loaves.

Tools I used to make this bread:
  1. 12 quart Cambro bucket (a large bowl would work)
  2. Kitchen scale
  3. Two 9 inch bannetons 
  4. Two Lodge combo cooker Dutch ovens
  5. Plastic dough scraper
  6. Metal bench scraper
  7. Bowl of water
  8. My hands 


First Sourdough Feeding

50 g active sourdough 
200 g unbleached all purpose flour
50 g whole wheat flour
200 g water at 95 degrees F

Second Sourdough Feeding

250 g sourdough from the first feeding
400 g unbleached all purpose flour
100 g whole wheat flour
400 g water, 85 to 90 degrees F

Final Bread Dough

660 g unbleached all purpose flour
40 g whole wheat flour
540 g water, about 95 degrees F
20 g salt
2 g instant yeast
540 g of the second sourdough 


  1. Mix the ingredients for the first sourdough feeding in a bowl large enough for the ingredients to double, and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 3 hours.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the ingredients for the second sourdough until just incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for for 4 or 5 hours. 
  3. From the Final Bread Dough ingredients list, mix the flours and water until just incorporated. I use a 12 quart round Cambro tub. Cover and let rest (autolyse) for 30 minutes. 
  4. Add the salt and yeast over the top of the dough, and then add 540 grams of the second sourdough. I place my tub on a scale and then add the sourdough until I have the correct amount. 
  5. With a wet hand (I keep a bowl of water nearby), mix the dough by pinching it and folding it alternately to mix in the salt and yeast and integrate the sourdough. 
  6. Let rise for five hours, with 4 stretch and folds every 30 minutes the first two hours. (Take the dough, stretch it, and fold it over itself, from all four "sides.") The dough should be about 2 1/2 times its original size. 
  7. Gently remove the dough onto you work surface, and divide it in half with a bench knife. 
  8. Form the dough into two medium tight balls and place them, seam side down, into two floured proofing baskets. Cover with plastic wrap or place in a plastic bag, and refrigerate overnight, 12 to 14 hours. 
  9. About 45 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F with two empty covered Dutch ovens placed on the middle rack. 
  10. When you are ready to bake, cut parchment into two 9 inch by 15+ inch pieces. 
  11. Remove the Dutch ovens from the oven and remove the tops. One loaf at a time, place the parchment over the dough and place a plate over it. Flip the dough over, remove the basket, and lift and place the loaf in the Dutch oven by using the parchment as a sling (leave the paper under the dough). Cover the Dutch oven and place it in the hot oven. Repeat with the second loaf. 
  12. Bake covered for 30 minutes, and then remove the Dutch ovens from the hot oven, uncover, and place the loaves on a baking sheet. Be careful not to burn yourself! Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes more, until the interior of the bread reaches 205 to 210 degrees F and the bread is a deep brown. My loaves were ready sooner, so check early. 
  13. Cool completely on a wire rack. 
This bread has been Yeastspotted


  1. I totally want to reach through my screen and grab that bread. GORGEOUS! The crumb looks absolutely luscious. And yes, along with thin slices of frozen pound cake (and cold pizza for breakfast, but maybe that's just me…), thin slices of bread are zero calories.

    1. Thanks Robin =) I'm with you on the cold pizza for breakfast. I would eat pizza for breakfast every day if I could. I also think that anything eaten before noon has zero calories.

  2. isn't Forkish amazing?

    Now you got me interested in this one, but I have a sourdough from his book planned for this weekend, the one that is called something like warm spot sourdough.

    Your loaves are gorgeous, perfect crumb, perfect crust!

    Awesome post, truly inspiring....

    1. Thanks so much Sally. The warm spot sourdough is next up for me!!! I've only got about 5 breads left from the book and I'm kind of feeling like a white bread.

  3. That crumb looks so tasty and soft. I just picked up Forkish's book from the library to give a read through. This was the first one I decided I wanted to try. Haven't yet but your loaf sure makes me want to.

    1. You will love the book Derik. And this bread is tasty. Thanks so much for stopping by!


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