my mother sponge smells good and sour and my baby poofs real good but when i make the bread it does not taste sour anymore it used to. some one told me to pore off the clear liquid or alchole liquid? the instructions say to stire it in. Im not sure will this bring back the taste?  because right now it just tastes like a good chewie french bread. Or is it that my mother is still young? It's sevral months old.




GraemeH 2011 November 5

 Hi shawnyree,

In my limited experience, I've found that retarding the final proof in a fridge overnight helps to create a more pronounced sour flavour. Minimum 8-10 hours up to about 16 hours seems to work for me. Depending on the recipe, some books even recommend 36-48 hours fridge proofing for very sour bread, but you have to be careful not to overproof it - follow the recipe.

I'd stir the "hooch" back into your starter when you feed it - it's harmless and adds to the complexity of the flavour! 

Happy baking!



shawnyree 2011 November 16

 Hi Graeme

  Thank you for your reply. I have been keeping my sponge in the refridgerator should i not do this? Should i leave it out untill a day before i make a loaf? I have two going one that someone gave me,  it was made in september that get's hooch on top. The one i made get's very little hooch it's all thick and bubbly like it should be, the one with hooch still looks like pancake batter. both the pancaky and bubbly one poofs and my bread rises beautifuly it smells sour and so does the other, It's just there is no flavor. S.

farinam's picture
farinam 2011 November 16

Hello shawnyree,

The reason that your starter smells/tastes sour is that it has had time for the acid levels to build up.

As I understand it, when you make your dough, that acid is 'diluted' with the fresh flour and water and the sourness is lessened (a bit like mixing water and vinegar).  The options then would seem to be to allow more time for the acid level to build up in the dough or to increase the proportion of starter in your dough mix.

One method to increase the time is to use a progressive build of the starter/dough.  The other is to retard the proving by placing the shaped dough in the fridge for a time (overnight) - apparently this slows the yeast activity but has a much lesser effect on the acid production rate. 

Increasing the proportion of starter just requires an adjustment of the fresh flour and water that you add to make the dough to compensate for the extra starter that you have added.

I am also curious about your statement that there is 'no flavour'.  By that, I assume that you mean that you cannot detect your desired level of 'sourness'.  In my experience, bread made using sourdough technique has plenty of 'flavour' if not 'sourness'.

Hope this helps and that you can achieve your aims.


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