Make your own Breadlink Natural Leaven Mother Dough, (NLMD chef) with Sprouted Flour

  • -Pour 25 cl of warm mineral water in a glass jar
  • -Add about 15 dry raisins
  • -Cover without closing ( air needs to get in ), live it in full light and wait a week
  • -The water will become troubled, a fermenting smell will occur and a small film will be formed on the surface.
  • -Pick up the floating raisins at this stage and discard them
  • -Add 250 gr of sprouted flour (Sprouted Rye is the best) mix and cover with a cloth.
  • -After a few days bubble occurs : your mother dough is ready.
  • Note that you need to mix always the same quantity of flour and fermented water ( you can even use apples or even potatoes instead of the raisins...)

Breadlink Organic Leaven Bread



Making organic leavened bread is possible!
Good leavened bread is something everyone can do at a small cost and with a minimum of equipment.

Much has been written on the subject, but the sheer mass of recipes and advice can be confusing for the beginner. All the wordiness - although, at times, poetic - is the heritage of a moribund imperiousness.

Bakers, especially those who have mastered the technique of natural fermentation, are not in the habit of bandying about recipes and advice.

It is a good idea to begin, by coming to a common agreement on some of the technical terms in usage. Once the phenomenon has been grasped, the debutants can get started; from their mistakes they will learn how to get the desired results.

Lets not pretend that there is such a thing as the best bread. Our own personal tastes dictate what we look for in bread. This is why rather than just spell out the recipe, I find it more useful to explain the essential basics that will enable you to realise your own recipes.

Let's come to some agreement:
Organic bread : Bread is "organic" when 95% of its ingredients come from organic farming. Only a few greedy professionals cheat with the 5% allowance of non organic ingredients. Luckily this is not the case with most organic bakers.
To be simplistic, organic bread is made using flour from organic farming.

Leaven is, so to speak, a breeding ground.


Leaven : Leaven is a dough that contains cultures. Cultures are tiny living things; raising agents and bacteria. Natural leaven is obtained by leaving a flour and water paste to reproduce naturally as a result of the cultures present in the air. The little creatures you are breeding need food to survive! They live off the sugar present in the amidon in the flour. All you need to do is to give your leaven a sprinkling of flour from time to time (at least once a week) so it doesn't die of hunger.

When it eats, the leaven culture releases carbon dioxide and ethanol. The dough retains the CO2 and ethanol, and it begins to swell. This is how bread rises! The little creatures you are breeding need warmth! The culture is happy developing if it has food and is kept at a temperature between 18 and 30°C. The ideal temperature being 25°C. This means trying to keep the dough at 25°C during each stage of its preparation.

In the fridge (4°C), the leaven is practically incapable of reproducing itself, it stops eating... when you are not making bread, conserve the leaven by putting it in the fridge.

Flour : Flour is obtained from ground cereal. Bread can be made only from cereal containing gluten. In other words: wheat, rye, barley. Other cereals are almost gluten-free, and can be theorically used only in the fabrication of biscuits.

Amidon and gluten are the principal elements in the flour used for bread-making.

•Amidon is the sugar that permits the leaven culture to multiply.
•Gluten is an assembly of proteins forming an elastic network. This network retains the gas produced by the fermentation and allows the bread to rise.

Hydration Level : The level of hydration depends on the quality of the water that you use to make your dough. Simplistic as it may seem, the more water used in your dough, the better the quality of your bread. However this being the case, dough made with a large quantity of water becomes sticky and difficult to knead.

Bakers work traditionally with 600g of water for one kilo of flour.

This is not enough. It is possible to use a litre of water for one kilo of flour!

Try working with 850 to 900g of water for one kilo of flour.

My advice is the following : more water, "knead the dough" in a large bowl using a spoon, and use baking tins. In this way you will get the best results from your home-baked bread.

Proportions of Ingredients.
For one kilo of flour you will need:

•20g of salt
•750 to 850g of water
Calculate according to your needs.

With one kilo of flour you will get 1.4 kilos of bread.

It is helpful to know that leaven can grow between 5 and 10 times its weight in dough, but no more.

Leaven makes up 10 to 30% of the dough. (Except for when the leaven is used for the first time, when you will need slightly more.) The temperature of your dough depends on the temperature of the water used. Down to you to check the temperature of the water.

The main stages of bread-making.
Bread making can be split up into several stages:

1.preparation of a living leaven
4.shaping or putting into baking tins
5.second rising

It is important to respect each stage in the preparation. I have detailed the aims of each stage, because once these are understood, they become easier to follow.


Once assimilated, there will be no more need for recipes. You can experiment different variations to your heart's content, and discover the depth of a profession which is constantly on the move.

Imperatively you will need:

•an oven
•a large bowl
•one or several baking tins
•a spoon so you don't get your hands messy!
•a container to keep your leaven in the fridge
•a brush to grease your tins
•a rasor blade to scar the bread before to go in the oven
•a vaporiser to humidify the oven before cooking

1 - Preparation of a living leaven
When you are not baking bread, the leaven lives in the fridge. This is our starting point for our bread baking experience.

(If you do not have any leaven, make some or ask a friend to give you some. To make it: mix some flour and water and wait a few days until the dough starts to rise; you will know then that it is alive and growing.)

When you take the leaven out of the fridge, the living things it contains are not on top form.

They are cold and hungry. In such conditions it would be indecent to ask them to work.

You have to get to get your breeding ground back into shape.

You must give them food and put them at their favourite temperature (at about 25°C).

Now proceed with what we call a "refreshment", for these little creatures are far from fresh.

It is the evening and you are going to prepare your leaven for tomorrow morning's bread.

Add some flour and warm water in order to obtain a dough at a temperature of 25°C.

The amount of flour you need to add for an initial refreshment is always the same: 200g of flour and 200g of water for 200g of leaven (Don't forget the salt).

Do this in a large mixing bowl, with a spoon to not get it everywhere!

No need to stir for hours! Once the dough is mixed you can stop.

Your leaven is happy, and so are you; you can sleep peacefully.

2 - Kneading
After a good night's sleep, the leaven has been happily reproducing itself and is ready to work.

By adding 1 kilo of flour, 850g of water and 20g of salt,the leaven can get to work.

Keep an eye on the temperature of the water in order to get the dough at a temperature of 25°C.

Using a spoon, take a few minutes to mix the dough. This should not involve forcing yourself or suffering... the revelation of using lots of water: kneading is no longer a strenuous task. Cover with a cloth to avoid that nothing falls in, and also to prevent a crust forming caused by the surface of the dough drying out.

3 - Rising
Fermentation starts: the gas released starts the dough rising.

For bread to keep, and for the sake of it's flavour, it is important to let it rise the first time for a long time.

The first rising stage will take all morning.

4 - Shaping or putting into tins

At one o clock it is time to put the dough into the baking tins. Bakers divide up the dough and make it into buns or baguettes... You are not a baker and anyway your dough is too sticky. Instead you tip the dough into tins that you have greased. Use slightly melted margerine, and apply it with a brush. It is better not to fill the tins more than three quarters full, as the bread is going to rise. Bare this in mind.

Remember to put some of the dough in the fridge for the next time. Otherwise when you go to make bread you'll find you have no leaven!

5 - Second Rising
There is nothing more you can do for the bread.
The dough is rising in it's tin, and as you ponder over your hard work, you imagine your professional reconversion as a traditional baker (see "Becoming a Baker").


6 - Baking

Two and a half hours after putting the bread in the tins, it is time to put it in the oven, pre-heated to the highest temperature.

•Scar the top of the bread using a rasor blade, in order to let gas escape without splitting the loaf. This not only permits some pretty designs, it helps the bread to rise.
•Dampen the oven with water from a clean vaporiser. This prevents the crust forming too quickly, allowing it to develop it's beautiful, shiney aspect.
After twenty or thirty minutes in the oven, turn it down to 230°C.

After about 40 minutes, take the bread out of it's baking tins, and return it to the oven to continue to bake. After about one hour, the bread is ready.


You are happy...


May your leaven rest in peace.