Lievito Madre

Lievito madre or Mother dough is another form of leavening or sourdough starter. The typical sourdough starter, is quite liquid and requires daily feeding. This lievito madre is different in that it has a much more solid texture and does not require daily feedings, but only when you need to bake. The texture is like a soft bread dough when you first make it and it grows quite rapidly after a feeding.
Its taste is quite different than a sourdough starter, as it is much milder and subtle than a traditional sourdough starter. It requires storage either in a jar with a tight lid on or like most bakers, they keep it in a tea towel tightly wrapped with a cord. The beauty of a Lievito Madre is that it keeps forever… This one is 10 years old and comes from Sicily. Many bakers pride themselves in keeping theirs for over 25, 50 or even 100 years. They are passed on from generation to generation and if you take care of it, will last forever.

If you can find a Lievito Madre from a good, good friend, you only need 100 grams of it and you can maintain it for a long, long time. Only drawback, is you need to feed it once a week.

Here is a recipe to feed the Lievito madre


100 Gr. Sourdough – Madre
200 Gr. Flour – 14/15 Protein – Try to use bread flour – T50 type or 0 type or Manitoba Flour work best for the feeding.
82 Gr. Water – (42%) at 28 Degrees Celsius

If you want to keep it fresh and alive… the starter needs a weekly bath, to remove some of the acidity it will develop during the resting period. Take it out of the fridge an hour before bath time and when it is at room temperature, cut 100 gr. of dough in small pieces and soak them in
2 Litres water at 28 Degrees Celsius with 4 grams Sugar.
Mix well and make sure the sugar has dissolved. Add the pieces and let them soak in the water for 15 minutes.
Drain the pieces and add 200 grams of flour with 82 grams of water, just like a regular feeding.
Mix and knead the mixture until you have a soft and tender strip of dough you roll out, just like a cake roll.
Make a cross in the middle and let it grow…
Leave it a room temperature for 2 hours and it will rise to the occasion…. literally !
You can store the remaining starter in the jar and make sure you make a cross on top –

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