This weekend I made Thom Leonard's Country French bread fro Artisan Baking Across America. His method calls for a small piece of "levain", disolving it in water and then adding flour. What you end up with looks a lot like the barm starter from Crust & Crumb, a thick batter like starter. I had a batch of "firm starter" a la C&C in the fridge and used .8 oz. of it as the seed for the starter. It worked nicely. Here are my questions- What is the relationship between the "firm starter" as described in Crust & Crumb, "old dough", and the "levain" called for in the Thom Leonard recipe? Are they variations on a theme? If I am right about the seed + water + flour= barm starter, Is there any reason why I could not just use refreshed barm? PS Joe Ortiz also uses a walnut sized, firm starter in his recipes. It seems the same would apply.