Thomas Keller’s Sourdough Bread

Thomas Keller’s Sourdough Bread


Note: 1) after making this bread for over 6 months, and since I usually make sandwich bread, I like to make a country loaf (in a bread pan), and I like to put a cake pan in the oven and 1 cup of water in the cake pan, after putting the bread in the oven, start at 400°F/204°C for 10 minutes, and then 350°F/177°C for approximately 30 minutes (this technique creates a constant temperature in the oven since the temperature decreases when something is put in the oven), 2) I will probably have to reduce the amount of dough in a Pullman pan by 10-20% to have bread that is less dense

Note: 1) this levain is tangy not sour, Thomas Keller may explain that a firm levain, a levain made with less water, is sour, 2) consider only using 6 grams of salt (flavor may seem more traditional)

Note: 1) in Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery, Thomas Keller explains that the amount of flour or water to feed the levain is the weight of the levain multiplied by 1.67, 150 grams of levain x 1.67 = 250.5 grams, thus he would add 250 grams of flour and 250 grams of water to 150 grams of levain to feed the levain, if people wanted to feed 650 grams of levain, they would use 1085 grams of water and 1085 grams of flour to 650 grams of levain to feed the levain (650 grams of levain x 1.67 = 1085.5 grams)

Note: 1) I am probably going to feed levain stored in the refrigerator once or twice a week, at room temperature, the levain rises in a container, maybe once the levain rises to a similar height as a levain at room temperature, I will feed the levain

I have never had bread better than Thomas Keller’s sourdough bread. The flavor of this bread restored my faith in something. When I taste this bread, I know how much I enjoy life. No bread compares to the flavor of this bread!

This bread requires a someone to make a levain or sourdough starter. The translation of levain may be leaven. In contemporary terms, a person has to make a “leavening agent” using wild yeast. People use science to understand how water changes flour and to understand how wild yeast and bacteria work to make gas and acid. Knowing the mechanisms that make sourdough possible may invite someone to be more creative or passionate about baking. Maybe someday I will have the opportunity to know (the story for) how fermentation works.



  1. Combine 250 g water and 250 g flour
  2. Wait 24 hours
  3. Combine 150 g (liquid) levain, 250 g water and 250 g flour to make 650 g levain
  4. Repeat step 3 every 12 hours for 2 weeks*
  5. Refrigerate or freeze the levain
  6. Restore the levain to room temperature
  7. Repeat step 3 for 2 days before using

* Notice that 500 g of levain is discarded every 12 hours. After 4 days, someone will have 500 g of levain to make bread every 12 hours.



  • 424 g all-purpose flour
  • 0.5 g yeast (1/8 teaspoon)
  • 403 g liquid levain
  • 181 g water (75°F/24°C)
  • 12 g fine sea salt (consider only using 6 grams of salt, the flavor may seem more traditional)


  1. Make the dough (add the salt after mixing the dough, knead the dough for 20 minutes)
  2. Stretch or knead the dough to make a ball
  3. Let the dough rise for 2 hours in a oiled bowl
  4. (Optional) Put the dough on a floured surface and pat it to make a rectangle and let it sit for 40 minutes (relaxed gluten probably “opens” the crumb)
  5. Shape the dough to make a boule
  6. Let the dough rise in bowl lined with a floured towel for 3 hours
  7. Use the towel “to flip” the bread on a floured peel or parchment paper
  8. Bake at 425°F/218°C degrees for about 30 minutes or until the internal temperature is 200°F/93°C


Download The Recipe:

Thomas Keller’s Sourdough Bread

1. Thomas Keller: Bouchon Bakery (New York: Artisan, 2012), 302, 303.


7 thoughts on “Thomas Keller’s Sourdough Bread

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