Bread Is Very Sour

Karen Adair



I have successfully made two loaves from my starter.  The problem is that they are very sour and tangy.  Is there a way to adjust This?





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Millciti's picture
Millciti 2016 September 13

Hi Karen,

Sourdough - although the name implies it is just a colloquialism for bread using a levain or starter consisting of both wild yeasts and lactic acid bacteria. So it does not have to be very sour just have the right microbes. But fermentation, especially lactic acid fermentation, does make foods more sour - think pickles - sourkraut - cheese etc.  Most breads produced before the early 20th century were made with yeast from the brewing process or a starter.  So given the right ingredients, adjusting time and temperatures I have been able to produce lots of different breads with varying degrees of sour notes. Some of the breads I have made would defy the term "sour" completely.  There are lots of possibilites once you get through learning the basics.

So in order to understand more about the problems you are having we would need more information.  Could you explain more of your process.  What is your recipe, method, what type of flour, ambient home temperature etc... 



Karen Adair 2016 September 13

I put the starter, olive oil, and flour together and then let it autolyse for 30 minutes.  I then put the salt in and kneaded it in.  It rose overnight on the counter (about 12 hours).  Then it had a final proof after shaping of 30 minutes.  I used whole wheat bread flour to make the bread.  The starter is made with the same bread flour.  Maybe this will give you some help.  I am unsure of the temp overnight in the kitchen.  It is probably getting down to the 50's overnight here but maybe the 60'scrapbook inside.

Millciti's picture
Millciti 2016 October 5

Karen - I probably need more details.  Do you follow a formula or recipe for the amounts?

For example - I store my starter in the refrigerator it is usually less than 4 days old. Below I am describing my method not because it is better than yours but will give those that are trying to help better insite.

I usually mix bread enough for two large loaves (~800g each 1600-1700g) in the evening after work at least twice a week.  I stir up my cold starter that I refreshed after making the last batch of bread.  It usually has a layer of hooch.  Don't remove it just stir it in.

This is my basic mostly white bread method or formula - everyone has their method or recipe.  When I was a beginner I followed other people's recipes or methods.  But eventually I made my own method to fit my needs and work schedule.  I use a scale because cups are so inconsistant especially with flour weights.

1. Add 300g of cold starter - 125% hydration (125g of water/100g of flour) to my bread bowl

2. Add 125g or more of whole grain flour - this can be wheat, white wheat, oats or whatever I am in the mood for.

3. Add 500g or a 1/2 liter bottle of bottled water - my tap water is very sulphurous.  Do you add water or just starter to your bread?

4. Stir and allow to stand for an hour or so - this gives my starter a snack and time to wake or warm up. It also allows extra time to hydrate the whole grain.

5. I then add - again depending on my mood a small amount of honey or molassas, or not.  If I use a sweetener it depends if I am really trying to make a sweet bread or not. If not aiming for a sweet dough I might use around a tablespoon of honey, raw sugar, or molassas, but it is not a necessary ingredient.  I simply like to add it at the beginning of the process again depending on my mood.

6. I Then stir in around 350g of unbleached flour.  I usually use two different unbleached flours. One is usually GoldMedal which has a lower protein content.  The other one is usually an unbleached bread flour with a protein count of 13% or higher.  It does'nt matter really which one you use first really.

7.  I then go off and watch TV or do some other chore for 30minutes to an hour.

8.  Next I add salt - non iodized salt.  It might be kosher, pink or sea salt.  I use a scale again for accuracy.  for every 1600-1700g of dough I usually add 14-16g of salt or almost 1g to every 100g.  If I am adding oil or butter this is also the time to add any fats, usually I add around a Tablespoon or 2.  This is again dependant on taste and requirements.

9.  Now again weighing my dough and subtracting the weight of the bowl I add additional flour to reach the goal of 1600 to 1700g of dough.  I mix in the flour that I just added using the ceramic bowl I am mixing in to knead my dough for about 5-10 minutes. Over time you kind of develop a feel for when your dough feels just right.  My recipe tends to be fairly wet and a little sticky. 

10. Let the dough rest again for about 20 minutes - then stretch it and fold it a few times in the bowl.  Usually I then tuck it in the fridge for about 18-24 hours.  I usually form it into loaves and place it in bread pans to bake after I get home the next day.  I usually let it rise as loaves for 1.5 hours then set my oven and bake the bread after warming the oven for 1/2 hour.     But this depends on rise, ambient temperature of your house etc.

My bake temp is 425F because I am in Ohio - USA and I use a special method with pans to produce steam.  So I bake my loaves covered for 15 minutes then uncovered for 10-12 minutes.



franc.castella.romeu 2016 September 17

Hi Karen,

I recomend to use a young starter (use after 3-4 hours after refresh), in a proportion of 10% if you are using whole flour or 13% if you are using white flour for the breads.

A dough temperature of 29C and after mixing 24 hours at 4-5C, after that you can shape and bake after 2-3 hours of proofing.

With this method I use for make the loaf of the photo that I attach.



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