The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

beginners questions: in some recipes, why is a small amt of IDY added to dough even when a natural starter is used?

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koloatree's picture
koloatree

beginners questions: in some recipes, why is a small amt of IDY added to dough even when a natural starter is used?

i tried a recipe today that i really liked and it called for a small amount of yeast in addition to the natural starter. i was just wondering if it is to simply quicken the fermentation process? i thought yeast would overpower the natural bacteria?


 


 


 

sphealey's picture
sphealey

=== i tried a recipe today that i really liked and it called for a small amount of yeast in addition to the natural starter. i was just wondering if it is to simply quicken the fermentation process? i thought yeast would overpower the natural bacteria? ===


I add bakers yeast to sourdough when I have a tight schedule and otherwise cannot afford a long or failed rising cycle.  It does result in less total sourness and a somewhat different flavor, but I put the whole grains in the overnight build so they are pretty well sour-ized by the time I get to the morning rising cycles.


I think that is basically why Hamelman's recipes, for example, include bakers yeast:  commercial bakers need to have a reasonably exact production schedule.


sPh

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I started as a purist but quickly discovered I didn't have time for long rises and potential failures,as the previous response indicated. I came to understand why housewives in the 1920's and 30's would save their pennies so they could purchase a cake of yeast. It must have seemed a miracle to have consistent and fast rises.


I occasionally have a sourdough-only baking fest but I like to use 1/4-1/2 tsp of instant yeast for a 1-2 loaf recipe simply so I can get more baking done in a day as I bake on Saturdays. I bake all our bread for lunches and breakfasts.


My sourdough culture is strictly wild-gathered and not started from a commercial yeast-it adds such wonderful flavor to everything you make with it.

merkri's picture
merkri

Pure wild-yeast sourdough is great, but as other posters have noted, rising can take many times longer and is somewhat unpredictable, depending on the particular strains of yeast you happen to have in your pot.


 


I highly recommend trying it sometimes, as it's fun and does taste slightly different. To be honest, though, I don't think the results are substantially different, and the extra time involved is usually not worth it, at least to me. I do bake a 100% wild-yeast bread from time to time, but not very often. Depending on your starter, the flavor won't be overpowered at all by the commerical yeast.


 


A preferment made with the sourdough, something that sits overnight, with commercial yeast to do the final ferment, proofing, etc. will yield something very similar to what you'd get if you did the whole thing with all wild yeast.


 


In my experience, the starter itself--its age, what flour it's based on, idiosyncracies, etc.--makes a much bigger difference than whether you add commercial yeast or not.