We, like many other foodies out there, have fallen down the sourdough rabbit hole. We have been baking a loaf pretty consistently every other weekend or so, and have been religiously feeding our starter, Sebastian, who was gifted to us from my Dad over the holidays.
For the uninitiated into sourdough bread baking, the first step of the process generally involves waking up your starter in a process known as making the levain. This involves adding a small amount of your starter to various mixtures of flour and water, and allowing it to ferment overnight (or for several hours at least). From this stage, you take a small amount of that levain and add that to even more flour and water, which will eventually become your final dough. The final dough goes on to a bulk fermentation phase, shaping, and more resting before finally baking, while the rest of your levain is often thrown away as it’s done its job.
For those of you who know me, I hate throwing things away, and I’m generally against creating unnecessary food waste as much as possible. Being left with about 1 ½ – 2 cups of levain every time we baked was starting to bother me, especially considering the amount of flour and leavening power that would go to waste. I’ve been trying multiple versions of recipes with the leftover levain (shout out to the total failure that was levain waffles!), and I have finally landed on one that is totally awesome and uses all of the leftovers in its totality. Sourdough Levain Flatbread is super simple, made with whole wheat flour (for your health, and for flavor), and has become my go-to recipe for leftover levain since its creation. Recipe and pictures down below!
Sourdough Levain Flatbread
1 ½ – 2 cups Sourdough Levain
¾ – 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tsp Salt
1-2 tsp flavorings (optional: chopped rosemary or lemon zest work great!)
- Add ¾ cup whole wheat flour to the bowl with the levain. Reserve remaining ¼ cup for the kneading process, and to adjust dough if it seems too wet.
- Add olive oil, salt, and optional flavorings to the bowl with the levain.
- Using your hand, incorporate all ingredients into the levain and begin to knead the dough until it forms a cohesive ball. Add additional flour if the dough seems sticky or too wet. Dough should feel hydrated but not stick to your hands during the kneading process. Knead in the bowl for about 3-5 minutes.
- Leave dough ball in the bowl to rest for about 30 minutes. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel during the resting period.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Place a Silpat or a piece of parchment paper large enough to fill an entire baking pan (half-sheet size) on the counter. Sprinkle with whole wheat bread flour.
- Remove dough ball from the bowl and place in the middle of the prepared Silpat or parchment paper. Flatten slightly, and sprinkle the top of the dough ball with more whole wheat flour.
- Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to fill the entire area of the Silpat or parchment paper. The dough should be about a ¼ inch thick after rolling.
- Transfer Silpat or parchment paper with dough to a clean baking pan.
- Place baking pan in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Flatbread should have large pockets of air/steam after 12 minutes, but still feel soft (like a giant pita bread).
- Remove from oven. Best enjoyed immediately/while still warm.