sourdough not sour


Hi all, I'm new to sourdough baking but really enjoying the results so far.

My starter looks and smells healthy and seems to be making nice bread, however the flavour is not much different to "norrmal" breads ie it does not seem to develop that destinctive sour flavour.  My starter is about 3-4 weeks old and I have used it 5 times. Two were complete failures, more due to my messing up the recipe rather than the starter not working.

 Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

FYI - I'm in Bendigo, so it pretty cold this time of year.


thanks in advance 


332 users have voted.


BillM 2013 August 10

Hi there. I am a home baker and you may get different ideas from a pro but here are some things to try:

  • Allow the starter to become more mature before using it. Smelling slightly acidic even.
  • Use a bigger % of starter in the bread. I.e. mix up a levain with 20 to 50% of the total flour and let it mature before adding.
  • Take more time with slower rising levain and then let the dough rise slowly overnight in the fridge before baking.

For a recipe combining all these techniques look up Weekend Bakery San Francisco Sourdough recipe. I haven't tried it but there stuff is always very clear and works well. Good baking


Mr MFA 2013 August 15

Thanks - will give it a go. Its so cold in Victoria at the moment, the kitchen window sill is as cold as the fridge. So yes I think longer rise times could be the go.




farinam's picture
farinam 2013 August 15

Hello Mr MFA,

Bread made using sourdough as the leavening agent doesn't necessarily have to taste sour itself.  Often when the bread is particularly fresh it can have quite a sweet taste even though there is no sweetening agent added.  Very often some sour tones will develop as the loaf ages.

The sourness comes from the acids produced by the bacteria in the culture and the concentration can be quite high in the mother culture because of the time that has allowed the concentration to built up.  When you make the dough, you dilute those acids with the flour and water and it takes time for the concentration to build up and thus for sourness in the dough  and final loaf to become noticeable.  You will probably find that loaves made with a shorter processing time from mixing to baking will not have as much acidity as those that take a longer time.  This is possibly why some sourness develops with aging of the loaf though theoretically all of the bacteria should be killed off in the baking.  Another possibility is that as the loaf dries, the concentration of the acid is increased and becomes more noticeable.  This concentration will happen to some degree in baking as well as water avaporates in the oven.

The other thing to be aware of is that some commercial 'sourdough' loaves are artificially 'soured' and can give a false impression of what bread made with sourdough should taste like.  Arguably,  artisan produced sourdough based bread is a victim of its own success and should be styled 'bread leavened with sourdough' to reduce the expectation that it should be sour tasting.

Good luck with your projects.


Mr MFA 2014 September 16

Thanks for the feedback. Getting much better results these days. My starter has more flovour these days and depnding on the recipie and fermentation time I do get different flavours. All good though. 

Jeannie143 2014 October 15

I have found that the longer rise in colder temps (even the fridge) gives me a much stronger sour note. Hope this works for you.

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