The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Adding sugar to sourdough

Syd's picture
Syd

Adding sugar to sourdough

Does adding sugar to sourdough benefit the loaf in any way?  I was under the impression that sourdough yeast was not able to break sugar down and use it like commercial yeast does.  Would it perhaps help balance out the flavor or add more color to the crust?  I have never used it in sourdough myself but have seen recipes that do include it, and was just wondering if I was missing out on something.  


Syd

clazar123's picture
clazar123

Most of my loaves are  whole wheat based and also, my sourdough is not at all sour.


The sugar /honey is just used for flavor.

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

If it sounds reasonable, go ahead and try something out. Following the well established recipes is fine and works for a lot of people. However, most of us are baking for family and friends so if you're in that situation and you think it could be worth serving to them, go ahead. If it doesn't work, tear the recipe out of your notebook and move on to the next loaf.


You can always offer to teach bread baking to any complainants.

Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

I have a 75% whole wheat loaf and a sourdough pumpernickle loaf that I make often that are lean doughs except for molasses added for flavor that my family loves.  These loaves turn out very well and are staples here.   I often make the whole wheat with sourdough starter.


FF

Syd's picture
Syd

Sorry if I implied that I wasn't open to experimentation.  It is just that I have always thought of sourdough as consisting of only flour, salt and water.  That is the way I have always made it.  I guess I have only tried to manipulate the ratio of those basic ingredients rather than adding any additional ingredients.  More to the point, I was under the impression that it would  be futile to add sugar to a sourdough as it could not be broken down and be made available as food to the yeast.  So I was surprised when I came across a recipe that included it and was just curious as to why it had been added. I was kind of hoping for some of the bread science geeks to chime in and offer an explanation. 


 


Anyway, I dared to be daring and added a whole 3g ( 0.6%) to my basic white sourdough.  I was cautiously surprised by the results.  I am not sure if I am imagining it ( I don't photograph my loaves that often so I don't have a lot to compare to) but it seemed to rise a tad higher than usual and it had quite a burnished look about it.  (The sort of color I usually only get when retard it in the fridge overnight). 


What do you think?



This is an 850g loaf.


 


 


 


 

Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

As your previous loaves show, the yeast don't need sugar for food.  The flour is sufficient. 


That loaf looks very good.


FF