Dúnia's picture

Hi people, I´ve been trying to make a starter for several times, but it never went right. The first time I thought that it was ok to bake with it, the bread I made turned out to be very sour, and I wanted to know from people more experienced if the overall sourdough is that sour or if it is just slightly sour.



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farinam's picture
farinam 2012 July 23

Hello Dunia,

In my case, the bread is only slightly sour and when fresh often has a hint of sweetness as well.  As the bread gets older the sourness becomes more dominant but is never over-whelming.

In the scheme of things, I think the level of sourness of the bread depends on the time that it takes to develop and prove - the longer the time the more acid is produced and the more sugars are consumed.  This might depend to some degree on the balance of yeasts and bacteria in your culture which could depend on the frequency and type of feeding and hydration that you use.  Perhaps you could try varying your maintenance regime to see if that makes a difference.

For the record, I work with my culture at 100% hydration.  I store it in the fridge and I only feed each time I make bread (every 4-7 days).  I feed with 20%rye/80% white bread flour.

Judging by some of the discussions on the site, I think some people would kill to find out how you get to make really 'sour' bread.

Let us know how you go.



Mr_Punchy's picture
Mr_Punchy 2012 July 23
For me, the amount if sour depends largely on my feeding regime for my starter. I see the starter and levain as two separate things. The starter is the batter I feed daily to keep my wild yeasts alive. I feed the starter once a day at the same time each day. I discard all but a couple of tablespoons of starter and add to it 200g flour and 200g water. After 24hrs it is beginning to smell slightly sweet and sour, i discard all but two tbs and feed it again. The starter is the beginnings of a levain. When it comes to making bread day, I pull out a tablespoon of starter and again feed it 209g each of flour and water. I let this levain ferment for 8-12 hours then begin making bread. The result of using such a young levain is a much sweeter less sour bread. Which is what I like. Storing your starter in the fridge between bakes encourages yeasts that thrive in cold climates, and these tend to be of a more sour nature. If you want less sour, keep your starter at room temp and feed it daily. Then feed it 8-12 hours before you bake.
Staffo 2012 July 23

 Hi Dunia,


In my experience Farinam is quite correct.

I would add one other factor:  some flour seems to favour making sour bread, other flour does not. I am eating a very sour buckwheat bread for lunch. Buckwheat tends to make a much more sour bread than millet. I make bread with gluten free flour, but I expect the same will apply with various flours that contain gluten. Farinam may be able to comment on other flour.



zarniwhoop 2012 September 9

Apologies if this is an old thread - it arrived in my mailbox today, but everything is dated in July. Anyway -

One of my books is 'The Village Baker' by Joe Ortiz - from that I learned that the amount of salt has to be increased to balance the sourness of the leaven.  So, I suggest you try reducing the amount of salt. OTOH, my stiff wholewheat leaven (53% hydration) is never more than gently sour. But if I immediately refresh a piece of it with white flours to make whiteish bread, and leave it for a further 18 to 24 hours it is very sour.  So, you could try building hte refreshment - but that takes time and is less convenient.

I also have a wholemeal rye leaven - that is refreshed at 100%, but diluted to 125% for easier storage (it may be up to a month before I need to bake rye again). This is somewhat more acid - perhaps a wetter leaven will tend to be more sour. Then again, maybe the small amount of live yoghurt I've added to the rye in its early days also plays a part. But I wouldn't add yoghurt to a wheat, or mostly wheat, starter.

[ hope there are no errors in that - this is the second attempt to post it, lost the first version when I tried to preview it, so I won't preview this one.


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