The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rise time and Starter question

kgreg's picture

Rise time and Starter question

My husband does not like Sourdough in any shape or form.  My question is at what point in the starter or rising does the dough become sour tasting.  I want to use a starter but do not want the sour taste.  Any advice?

Darkstar's picture

My first thought about how to keep your bread from becoming too sour is to use yeast.  You could add yeast to get the bread to rise while still incorporating some of your starter to add flavor.  Imagine it as treating your starter like a small poolish or bigga.


Any sourdough fanatics out there that could lend kgreg a hand?

kgreg's picture

thanks darkstar for your input.  I will try that

pastordic's picture

In addition to rise time, etc. the sourness of the sourdough bread or item also depends on the sourdough culture itself.  Some are sourer and others are sweeter and milder.

For instance, the "Classic Sourdough Starter" from King Arthur Flour is VERY sour.  I didn't know before I bought it that they pride themselves in a very sour starter.  My wife won't even eat the Blueberry Sourdough Muffins using that starter.

From what I hear, a very mild starter is Carl Griffith's 1847 Oregon Trail Sourdough Starter.  Information on requesting it is at .  It is free except for a self-addressed, stamped (39¢) #10 envelope.  You might want to try it.

I have some Russian Sourdough starter on order, but it hasn't arrived yet.



Russ (PastorDIC) Battle Ground, WA

SourdoLady's picture

I would not recommend using yeast in any sourdough recipe. It is actually very easy to make non-sour sourdough bread. The sour comes from long, cool fermentation. If you want to avoid sour, feed your starter and then as soon as it is very actively bubbling (depends on your starter, but anywhere from 3 to 8 hours) mix your dough. Let the dough rest for an hour and then shape, rise in a warm place (covered) and bake. It will not be sour. If your husband dislikes commercially made sourdough bread, he will be surprised when he tastes homemade. Many commercial sourdoughs have additives to make them taste sour. I have converted many so called "sourdough haters" to sourdough lovers with my homemade sourdough breads.

kgreg's picture

Thanks sourdolady. What you say about commercial breads makes sense to me.   I would like to try a simple recipe to convert my husband.  Can you recommend one for me to try?

SourdoLady's picture

Are you using a wild yeast starter that you already have, or are you planning on making one or getting a start from someone? This is my favorite every day recipe, good for sandwiches and toast. It is not the holey, lacey, open-textured type of bread. You don't have to bake it free-form. It works just as well baked in bread pans. I now use a bit more Whole wheat flour (1/2 cup instead of 1/4 cup) and it doesn't have to be white whole wheat. Regular whole wheat works as well. You can skip the dough refrigeration if you want, but I don't think that it really makes a sour bread even with doing it. It just gives the bread a better flavor. Try it both ways. Make up the dough and shape 2 loaves. Refrigerate one and proof and bake the other the same day it is mixed. Remember that sourdough takes much longer to rise than yeast doughs do, so allow several hours and don't bake it until it has almost doubled.


Deluxe Sourdough Bread

1 1/4 cups proofed starter
1 cup water
3 T. dry powdered milk
1 T. lemon juice
1/4 cup instant potato flakes
3 3/4 cups bread flour
1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
2 T. sugar
3 T. butter or margarine
2 tsp. salt

Combine the first 5 ingredients. Mix in the flour just until the mixture is a shaggy mass. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes. Add sugar, butter, and salt and mix until all is incorporated. Knead dough until it is smooth and satiny.

Cover and let dough rest for 45 minutes. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Pat each dough portion out into a large, flat circle. Gently stretch and fold the left side over the middle, then the right side over the middle (like folding a letter). Pat down with the palms of hands and repeat the folding with the remaining two unfolded ends. Shape loaves, always keeping the folded side as the bottom. I do free-form oval loaves and place them on parchment paper.

Spray the loaves with Pam and cover with plastic. Place in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, take loaves out and let them finish rising at room temperature. They should be very light. Do not rush it or your bread will be dense.

While bread is rising, preheat oven and stone to 400� F. I also place a shallow pan of hot water on the bottom rack for steam.

When bread is fully risen, slash top and slide onto hot stone. If you don't have a stone, just bake on a baking sheet. After 10 minutes, turn the oven heat down to 375� F. When loaves start to show color, water pan can be removed. Bake until loaves are a nice golden brown. Time will vary according to the shape and size of loaf.

Cool on a wire rack. You can brush crust with butter while still hot if you like a soft crust.

The small addtion of white whole wheat flour that I use in this bread gives it an interesting depth of flavor that I like. It does not change the color of the bread. I don't know if white whole wheat flour is easily available just anywhere. I am fortunate to live in an area where wheat is grown and milled so I have easy access to various flours.

kgreg's picture

thanks sourdolady.  In response to your question, I was planning on making a starter.  Do you have a recipe for this? If so, I would greatly appreciate it.  Your recipe sound wonderfull and I cannot wait to try it.  Thanks so much

SourdoLady's picture

Yes, I do have a recipe posted on my blog with detailed instructions. I'd post a link here but I haven't figured out how to do it. I'm html challenged! Just do a search from the search box in the upper left corner of the page and type in 'SourdoLady's Blog'. You should be able to get to it that way. I'll be happy to help you along the way.

Tess's picture

If  you ever decide to put together a sourdough cookbook or e-book, I want to be the first in line.  (Or have you and I missed the boat?) Your advice on the forum has always yielded good results.  Thanks for another great sd bread recipe (Deluxe Sourdough Bread) for my files.






SourdoLady's picture

I appreciate your kind comments and I am happy that you enjoyed the recipe. No, I don't have a cookbook. I do enjoy experimenting with recipes and incorporating ideas I get from various cookbooks. I also enjoy very much helping others learn to bake with sourdough. I'm definitely not a sourdough expert but I like to share what works for me.

jm_chng's picture

Hi feed the starter lots at least 1 part starter to 10 parts flour and 10 water. When the starter has doubled store in the fridge til you're ready to bake. Then use whatever amount of starter you need for the timing you have in mind. Ferment the starter and dough at about 70F 17- 23C this should help keep the sour down. Use white flour, dark flour always produce more sour breads. If you don't want sour sourdough the last thing you should add is acid in the form of lemon juice or vinegar. I wouldn't follow any recipe that tells you to add these. They are not necessary at all.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you need more help or recipe with times etc.


L_M's picture

Hi, I've been following this wonderful site for some time, but this is my first post.

I would also like to bake a sourdough bread without the sour taste. Whenever I try to bake with my starter it takes so long for each rise and now after reading these last posts I think possibly it wasn't active enough because I wasn't feeding it enough. My starter lives in the fridge but for the past few days I have left it out on the counter (about 16 - 19 deg C) and fed it using the ratio of 5 gm starter, 40 gm flour, 40 gm water every 12 hrs and it now seems to double in that time span. Please Jim can you give me details as to how I should proceed? I'd like to start with a recipe for 1 loaf. Thanks in advance.