Yeasted breads vs sourdoughs

SourYumMum's picture

OK ... a question of yeast vs sourdough from one of the beginners.

Y'all know about the 'incident' I had a couple of weeks ago (hubby accidentally threw my starter down the sink). Well, as I just can't stand not having that warm bread smell in the house, and I really don't like buying it from the supermarket ... I gave in and made a bread with yeast.

Because I like their Wallaby flour, I stuck with Laucke and bought a packet of their Bio-Fort Selenium Golden Wholemeal pre-mix.


But my question is this:

How should kneading and proofing YEASTED breads compare to the long, slow process we used with sourdough? I let it sit around for maybe four or five hours after mixing/kneading it with my old breadmachine, but could I have used, say, Dom's pane francese method? Or somewhere in between the right, royal hiding a breadmachine gives dough ... and the 'barely-there' Dom/Dan method?

I'm sure this is a really silly question, but my handmade breadmaking experience is mostly with sourdough.

Prior to getting bitten by the bug, I just shoved mixes in the machine!

(What a confession!)

Anyway, I'd love some thoughts on this!


230 users have voted.


Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 July 3

Carol, the only basic difference between the two types is the leavening agent, commercial yeast or sourdough yeast. The same principles of kneading apply, whether they be 10 min by hand, short gentle kneads with oil, or a few minutes in a machine.
The main thing that will change with commercial yeast is the proofing times, usually much shorter.

If you wish to cease being a Philistine, the offer of some starter is still there.

SourYumMum's picture
SourYumMum 2006 July 3

Thanks Bill,

I wondered about the proofing times ... seeing as how most bread mixes are for a fairly quick production time. I find it fascinating that giving your dough a substantial knead is what we're usually told, yet Dom/Dan's minimal intervention folding method seems to produce similar results!

Fascinating stuff!

The Laucke mix was quite tasty, but I think I'll halve it with Wallaby for the next go!

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 July 3

Carol, I favour the method that Dom uses for higher hydration dough. Dom has admitted that he is unable to reproduce a lower hydration loaf like mine using his method.
In my opinion it's a matter of using the method to suit the type of dough, much and all as I'm a firm believer in kneading lower hydration dough, I would not think of using the same method for a high hydration dough.

Like the old saying, "Horses for courses".

nina 2006 July 3

I've made good yeast bread by using minimal amounts of yeast - just the size of a pea for a large bread. When you use just a tiny amount of yeast you can extend the proofing times.

Doing a quick sponge also works great: Mix about half the flour with water and the tiny bit of yeast to make a wet dough (like stiff batter of thin porridge) and let it stand for 3-4 hours. You want lots of bubbles.
Then mix with rest of the flour, salt and a wee bit of water to make a soft dough that's not too sticky.
I find that with yeasted doughs it's best if they proof a bit colder than sourdoughs as heat will really speed up the yeast = not very good flavour. When it's not extremely hot like today (30 C, phew!) I'll let the dough ferment for 3-4 hours before shaping it. If you use more yeast it will have doubled sooner, so the tiny amount is really crucial. I put it in the fridge right away and bake the next morning. I find that retardation adds a lot of taste to a yeasted dough.

Oh and I also use cold water straight from the tap, it doesn't need to be room temperature in my experience.

SourYumMum's picture
SourYumMum 2006 July 3

Hi Nina,

Thanks for the feedback! It's the lack of flavour that used to drive me crazy about yeasted breads but I have so little experience with making them by hand (as opposed to shoving all the ingredients in the bread machine - inherited from my father actually, he bought it years ago, used it quite a lot but then it 'broke'. I don't actually know how it broke or what broke, but it seems to work fine for me!!) - I knew it would rise fast, but wasn't confident to leave it sitting around overnight, just 4 or 5 hours at room temp - about
18C. We don't have terribly cold winters where we are (2 hour drive north of Sydney), but sure cold enough not to be able to get a new starter going!

It's also THAT TASTE of commercial yeast ... having spoilt myself now with sourdoughs (mine and others) for a couple of years, I really find the taste of commercial yeast to be a bit yukky ... so your plan of using such a tiny amount with a longer proofing time would be good!

Hey Bill, I have some SourDom special on the way! I do hope Australia Post don't quarantine it!

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