The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Soliciting your opinions

noyeast's picture

Soliciting your opinions

At a friends' advice, I embarked upon a regime to see if I could get my starter to ferment and proof my SD as quickly or near as quick, as instant yeast.

As I have mentioned in one or two other posts in and around 'The Fesh Loaf' it involves feeding at 4 hourly intervals for three to four days ( obviously I'm not getting up in the middle of the night to feed) then after this, on the following day the starter ought to be at an absolute peak in tems of viability and power to ferment dough !   My friend who is a pro baker ( yes like many of you ! ) says it should perform very close to yeast in terms of the quick rise.

Now I'm aware that speed aint everything and that flavour, gluten development and other factors all contribute to great bread.  Thats not what I'm on about with this little experiment, just speed !

I will no doubt find out shortly how successful I've been, but for now I would ask any of you who may have been baking SD for some considerable time, whats the quickest turnaround time you've gotten from your own SD starter ?

Yes, patience is a virtue and SD is one of the greatest of rewards.  This is all about education and adventure.


ehanner's picture


The best my starter has been in terms of doubling was 4 hours at room temp. You aren't really framing a question since you haven't mentioned how much yeast, what hydration or flour types. I'm more interested in developing flavor and not rushing to bake something I know would be better later.


xaipete's picture

My starter doubles in about 4 hours at room temperature too. It didn't used to but after I took it out of the fridge and started feeding it every 12 hours per Hans suggestion, it got more powerful.


proth5's picture

At about 76F - with a mature levain based preferment

I need 4 hours to do a good bulk ferment dough at 12% prefermented flour when I am using white flour for a lean dough.  I can't get it to go faster.

I need somewhat less (3 hours) at 12% prefermented flour  if I am using high extraction flour for a lean dough.

If I move up to 25% of the flour prefermented and use high extraction flour in an enriched dough, I can get the thing to double in a couple hours.

High extraction flour seems to move more quickly than white.  Higher percents of prefermented flour (logically) move faster because there will be more yeast in the preferment and less unfermented flour to leaven.

My starter is 100% hydration and is kept as much as possible at a cool room temperature and fed once a day.  The liquid levain and the cooler temperature supposedly favors yeast development. 

My preferments are generally 100% hydration.

I like the taste of my breads and so do some other folks.  I don't like a really intense sour taste and my breads definitely do not have that kind of taste.

Hope this helps.

foolishpoolish's picture

Damn that's an active starter! 4 hours is pretty quick for what is essentially a 1:4 (starter to final flour) feed. I don't think I've ever had a (non rye) dough rise that fast at that ratio.  Any secrets you can share with us?



proth5's picture

Just good starter maintenance. Daily feedings - more if it gets warm.  Cool room temperature and the liquid starter encourage yeast I'm told.  Dilligent attention to every detail including dough temperature. 

Now that I think of it, the altitude at which I bake (5280 ft) might be a factor.  I am told that bread will rise somewhat faster than at sea level.

But other than that - no secrets...

Hope this helps

noyeast's picture

Thanks for the helpful replies folks.  What this is doing is giving me an idea of what's possible and a direction to head towards.

Yesterday at 3 pm I decided to mix up a batch of SD using the starter I have been attempting to "hyper-ize".  I decided to let it begin to rise and fully expected it to have changed little before bedtime, when I was planning to place it into the fridge for the night.

By 7 pm it had doubled, which is the fastest I have so far experienced, so I decided to complete the process that same evening, with success ! By 9.30 pm I had a fully baked freeform, wholemeal SD loaf.

This morning was the taste test and as expected this loaf had an even crumb, medium density and only a little sour twang.  But it has shown me how to improve my starter health, and I feel I'm on the road to better SD bread.

The next loaf will be with far less starter, and a long cold retard to fully develop flavour.

Incidentally, yesterday I visited a Trade Aid shop and purchased a rattan fruit bowl, which worked very well as my first bannaton for the above loaf. Cost for the bowl was $6. ( $US 4.00 approx.)