The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough vs. Yeast rise times?

ryeaskrye's picture

Sourdough vs. Yeast rise times?

I need some help with a rising time question.

I am going to try an experiment this weekend and bake baguettes using sourdough only and no baker's yeast. I am basing this on Hamelman's Baguettes with Pâte Fermentée and just built my sourdough fermentée.

Hamelman's yeasted recipe calls for a bulk fermentation of 2 hours and a final fermentation of 1 to 1.5 hours. If I understand correctly, when using sourdough versus baker's yeast, rise times increase.

Is there a general rule of thumb to follow in converting a yeasted recipe to a sourdough version? Any suggestions?


gaaarp's picture


I don't know if there is a rule of thumb per se, but I would at least double your fermentation and proof times.  In fact, the sourdough bread recipe I bake most often calls for a 4 hour ferment and 2 to 3 hour proof.  The dough should almost double during fermentation and pass the "poke test" during proofing.  That is, when you gently poke the dough with your finger, the dent should fill back in slowly.

Hope that helps.


ehanner's picture

If you make sure you get a good double in the fermentation, I think it is less important that the proof be longer. I have had very good luck with a 1 hour proof at temperatures above 75 or so degrees F. The whole ferment/proof process is more dependent on a warm kitchen than a yeasted mix. This time of year we keep the house at 67-68F. At that temperature it will take all afternoon to double. I use the cabinet above the freezer that stays an even 76F now.


Wisecarver's picture
Wisecarver (not verified)

...with more time.

You can achieve so many varied tastes via multiple methods.

The "secret" is time and less yeast.

Take for example the same amount of Flour and water, Salt or not.
Now pre-ferment one with 1/4 teaspoon Instant Yeast for 20 hours in a warm area, covered.
The other with 2 teaspoon of Instant Yeast but in a Fridge covered for 12 hours.

Now use those doughs along side your sourdough loaf.
Bake all three, after proper rising.

The one that pre-fermented 20 hours in a warm area will taste very much like "sourdough".
It will be however be sticky and harder to work with.

The one that used more yeast, in the Fridge, will have a milder taste and will be much easier to work with.


ryeaskrye's picture

I ended up going for 4.5 hours on the bulk ferment and 1.5 hours for the 1st pair of loaves/2.5 hours for the 2nd pair on the final proof. 

Next time around I may go longer on the bulk and shoot for 1.5 hours for the final proof.

I am going to post my outcomes here shortly.

Thanks again.


Lulu's picture

Hi everyone,

I have had great success in activating my starter from scratch with white bakers flour now 11 days old (till I can go to a bread shop for other flours)-BUT even when I  leave the dough to rise 3 hours it is not doubling in size-only rising about 50% Is this because it is YOUNG or does it need a booster?

The end result of the bread is also quite dense.

I do live in Queensland, humid and hot climate.

I appreciate any advice!