The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

It was SOUR !

merlie's picture

It was SOUR !

Before I found this site I had never tasted sourdough bread but fell in love with the photos of the lovely looking breads baked here. So I jumped right in and with a lot of help from several kind people at TFL and lots of trial and error I eventually had a starter ! So, Tartine book in hand, I proceeded to make Chad Robertson's Basic Country Bread. I was delighted with the resulting loaf - it looked exactly like the picture!  Then I tasted it.......It was SO Sour!! I have to admit that after all the help I received I felt guilty not liking it!  I am writing this as I've noticed some posts recently asking how to make bread MORE sour. My question is how do I make it LESS sour or is it possible to bake a lovely blistered loaf that is NOT sour ?

Happy New Year to All !    -  Merlie.

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

There's nothing wrong with not liking sour.

While a little sour is OK, I find the intense sour that is associated with San Francisco sourdoughs to clash with just about anything I can serve it with.

Most wine? Clash. It accentuates bitter.

A delicate sauce you slave over all day on low heat? Clash. It overpowers.

Fruit? Clash. 

Dessert? Clash. Don't let it anywhere near chocolate.

Soup? Clash. (OK, this is probably the most acceptable pairing, but not for stock-based soups).

Most cheeses? Clash.

It's just one opinion, but I think very sour bread is almost without exception ruinous as an accompaniment to any meal. It stands alone just fine, but good luck finding something to pair it with.

merlie's picture

Thomaschacon, thank you so much  - so glad to hear I'm not alone !  Merlie.

dwcoleman's picture

It's your levain, Stan from NYBakers sent me some SanFran sourdough last year.  It has sat in my fridge for 3-4 weeks at a time between feedings.  I received the Tartine book as well for Christmas and proceeded to make his basic country bread using my starter.  I took half of the receipe and made it as directed by Chad.  The other half was retarded in the fridge for 12-16 hours.  Both weren't sour at all!

merlie's picture

Thank you dwcoleman, I guess I will just have to try again!   Merlie.

G-man's picture

If you'd like to reduce the sourness, reduce the time between feedings and reduce the overall fermentation time of the dough when you make the bread. Steps such as retardation are your enemy. Skip it and move from the mixing to the rise to the shaping.

Knowing what your current feeding regimen looks like would be nice, but if you feed more frequently than you are feeding now you'll wind up with a starter that isn't as sour. Every four hours should eliminate most, if not all, of the sourness but is really not easy for a person with a regular job to maintain. Stick as close to that as possible without depriving yourself of sleep and you should be ok.

merlie's picture

I'm sorry to say the starter got chucked! (I was feeding it every 24 hrs.)  So I will have to begin all over again .... Thank you for the info - I had no idea that retardation was my enemy.  Many thanks G-man.    Merlie.