Does the age a sourdough really affect the overall finished product?


Ive had different pastry chefs and bakers tell me different stories on age old dough making better bread, and others swear it affects nothing. Can anyone actual explain how the age affects the dough. Thats if it does

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farinam's picture
farinam 2016 February 21

Hello anonymous,

Everything old is new again.

It depends on what you mean by old.  If you mean the age of the dough, as in the time elapsed from mixing to baking, then, yes, the 'age' will affect the flavour profile of the bread as the various bacteria present will have had more time to do their stuff and produce more of the by-products that add to flavours such as sourness etc

The same sort of comment will apply to a starter/chef/levain/sponge before it is mixed into a dough but the proportion of the recipe that is represented by the starter will have some effect on the final product but not as great as the elapsed time effect.

If you mean the length of time (months, years, centuries) that a particular sourdough culture is reported to have been continuously maintained then I would say that the effect is minuscule compared to the effects mentioned above.  Also, since the culture is being used and fresh ingredients are being added and bring with them fresh injections of yeasts and bacteria a culture that has been continuously maintained for long periods of time is a bit like Captain Cook's axe.  It's had 5 new heads and 20 new handles, but it's still the same axe!

Good luck with your projects.


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