The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

More sour with hydration

bobku's picture

More sour with hydration

I recently converted my storage starter to 50% hydration to see if I could get a more sour flavor. Not sure how I should apply this to my reciepes. If reciepe calls for 280 grams at 100% hydration should I just bring it to correct hydration and weight with several feedings, wouldn't that bee the same as keeping a 100% storage starter, wouldn't that be less sour. Or should I just use same weight of starter and leave it firm just adjust liquid in recipe accordingly. I also realize I need to rise longer times to effect sour flavor.Just not sure how to handle the firm storage starter to keep it more sour.

totels's picture

Do you have some references that you could point to that describe how a lower hydration starter results in a more sour flavor?

Your actual bread starter hydration would be more important than your storage starter, you would likely lose most flavor related to the storage technique if you were to change they hydration to make a loaf.

polo's picture

...............about the sour question, but here is a converter you can use in your recipes.

Comes from a great site I frequent.

edited to include the correct link

TerryTB's picture

That would be the same as keeping a 100% starter.  You want to keep all of the feedings at a lower hydration (maybe 3 or so, to get it converted).  What I would do is use the same method as you did with the 100% starter to check for yourself whether or not the bread results in a more sour flavor profile.  To convert, make sure that your overall flour and water in the entire formula is the same.

280 grams at 100% results in 140 grams of flour and 140 grams of water.  To convert this to 50% hydration,

the 50% hydration starter should contain 140 grams of flour.  So you should use 210 grams of 50% hydration starter.  The makeup will be 140 grams of flour, and 70 grams of water.  So you will need to add an extra 70 grams to the dough when you mix the sourdough with the remaining ingredients in your bread.


G-man's picture

I keep my starter really dry, too, and then I get it to about 100% hydration over two feedings before I bake. I separate it into two jars, feed one as normal, feed the other with equal parts flour and water. Next feeding I do it again, maybe add a little bit more water if the consistency still doesn't seem right.

That's the trick to increasing the sour that I've found. When I was keeping my starter at 100% hydration it had very little flavor. Now that I keep it dry except when I bake, I get much more flavor.

sam's picture

It is easy to get a very sour bread regardless of the hydration of the starter or levain.   Just cold-retard the levain for 24 hrs or more (then let it warm up to room temp), before mixing it with the final dough.  It should make the final bread quite sour.