A Modo Mio… No Recipe White Leaven Bread

See the pretty loaf with the crunchy looking golden crust? It was made without following any specific method. Just went its own way and surprised me.

And now I am going to show you step-by-step what I did and actually give you the recipe and method. So this is going to be a “no recipe” bread for not much longer… guess I will have to call it some other way… uhm… how about “Söder white leaven”? After all, this loaf was born South (Söder). Of Stockholm, Sweden, where I live.


I recently fell in love with Hamelman’s liquid levain (see Pane Alle Olive), the starting point of this loaf. For some chemical mechanism I haven’t fully understood, if I do the last refreshment of my starter (before using it for the final dough) taking out just a tiny bit of it and 6 times as much water, plus almost 5 times as much flour, the dough will “go” much slower than normal, will rise better, and will not taste as “sour” as usual. Liquid levain worked great with olives’ bread and I wanted to test it also on a simple white loaf (and some mini-rolls made with leftover dough).

If you don’t have some sourdough starter at hand, my post Dirty Laundry and Sourdough Starter can help you to make a super-duper one.

liquid leaven: the night before baking, I took out 34 g (1.2 oz) of 100% hydration active sourdough starter and mixed with 204 g (7.2 oz) water plus 165 g (5.8 oz) of bread flour. This can be used 12 to 16 hours later.

final dough: all the liquid leaven minus 2 table-spoon (369 g – 13 oz), the same amount of water (369 g – 13 oz), double the amount of bread flour (738 g – 26 oz), 3 tea-spoon marine salt.

mixing: I kneaded by machine for 5 minutes at the first speed plus 5 minutes at higher speed. It would have taken 20 minutes by hand.

bulk fermentation: then I let the dough rest covered for 3 hours, folding twice after 60 and 120 minutes.

shaping: after transferring the dough to a surface sprinkled with semolina flour, I used 1 kg of it (I like heavy loaves) to make a round and the rest was used for rolls by simply cutting the dough in smaller pieces. I placed the round seamed-side down in a small basket lined with kitchen towel and sprinkled with semolina flour, and put the rolls directly on a baking dish lined with parchment paper.

proofing: the rolls rested for 2 hours covered by a deep baking sheet (this method works so well!). The round rested for 3 hours (so I had time to bake the rolls while the round was still fermenting).

baking: I baked the rolls at 230 degrees (Celsius, 446 Fahrenheit) for 25 minutes, creating steam with ice-cubes trown in the lower baking dish. To allow the steam to leave, I opened the oven a few times after the first 15 minutes. The round was flipped on a hot baking dish covered with parchment paper and baked for 50 minutes at 230 degrees, lowered from the initial 250 degrees (Celsius, 482 Fahrenheit). In this case I used more ice-cubes and opened the oven every 3-5 minutes starting after the first 35 minutes. I lowered the temperature to 200 degrees (Celsius, 392 Fahrenheit) for the last 10 minutes.

CONSIDERATIONS: During the proofing of the dough, I was so daring to leave the apartment and go shopping with my daughter. So the total rising times of 5 hours for the rolls and 6 hours for the round are totally coincidental. I was almost sure the bread would have been over-proofed and what a disappointment to see that the round actually seemed flattened at the beginning of the baking. But after a while, unexpectedly the loaf started to rise. It looked like someone was pumping air from the inside! I really am like a little child when it comes to bread. Get so frustrated if it doesn’t work and am in total awe when the rising miracle happens. I guess this goes with everything we are really passionate about.

Submitted to YeastSpotting

I should have probably waited longer to cut the loaf but… just couldn’t!

And these are my “no-shape” sourdough rolls

Don’t they look like cute little stones?

The softest, spongiest, stones ever

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Barbara Elisi

Hi there! I am the "soul" behind Bread & Companatico. My main interest is the preservation of bread tradition and craft, with an eye to health. I hope you are having a good time reading this blog, and please don't be shy to connect with me through comments or emails and do keep on bread-ing! 🙂

Latest posts by Barbara Elisi (see all)

15 replies
  1. Spoon Feast
    Spoon Feast says:

    Isn’t it fascinating when it rises! I always turn on the oven light so I can see the spring.
    When using a round wooden basket for my ‘artisan’ loaves I remember a time when the dough stuck to the basket while flopping it onto the baking stone.
    Thinking it was a bust because I literally had to grab the rest of the dough out of the basket and slop it onto the dough part that actually landed on the stone.
    I thought it would be easier to throw away baked bread than gooey mess, but SURPRISE! somehow it turned out wonderful. It rose, had great shape and color. It looked as if the dough that was slopped on top made a bow and baked beautifully.
    Go figure.

  2. Gosia
    Gosia says:

    OMG!!! This can’t be true, no recipe, ‘you-give-it-the-name-bread’ is so ultimately amazingly good looking, I’m beyond myself. Barbara, I swear, I’ve never ever baked a bread that would look anything fantastic like that. Baking IT!!!!! Lots of hugs and remember to bake more before the hot Italian summer starts. Gosia

  3. Federica
    Federica says:

    E’ da poco che ho il lievito liquido ed ero tentata di usarlo per il pane senza impasto. Grazie per le utilissime dritte 🙂 Ti è venuto magnifico. Buona giornata, baci

  4. ritacooksitalian
    ritacooksitalian says:

    This look delicious! I love the process of bread baking and like you I become excited when the bread is ready! I am not a big fan of the usual strong sour taste of this type of bread so this could be the right sourdough bread recipe for me…

  5. Christine
    Christine says:

    Looks lovely. I want to give it a try. But don’t know if I am going crazy. I can’t get the starter to add up to 369gm. Works out to 403gm for me. Won’t be a problem though.

    • Barbara
      Barbara says:

      you are right Christine. it should be all less two table-spoon (which in my case tends to disappear cleaning up the container sides). I have now corrected it, thank you!

  6. Ornella
    Ornella says:

    A modo tuo e hai fatto bene, è venuto una meraviglia! A vedere quei panini tagliati nell’ultima foto fa venir voglia d’infilarci subito una bella fetta si sopressa veneta o mortadella 🙂

  7. Korena
    Korena says:

    This bread is gorgeous! I’m the same – I don’t always believe that the mess of flour and water is actually going to turn into something so beautiful, so I get so excited whenever I take a successful loaf of bread out of the oven 🙂


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] I experimented a little and recently I managed to obtain pretty good results by playing around my usual loaf and including in it quite a lot of rye (60%). The result is a mildly tangy white rye sourdough […]

  2. […] I have made again my favorite sourdough bread, the one I have already described and called Söder White Leaven. It is the third time I bake this bread and the loaves keep coming out better and […]

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