The Fresh Loaf

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Sweet bread and I need help with sourdough starter

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sonia101's picture

Sweet bread and I need help with sourdough starter

I finally have a sourdough starter again and this time I'm going to dehydrate some before I kill it again! LOL. I've tried google and can't seem to find any answers.....Do I dehydrate it after feeding it or when my starter is at it's peak? Any advice would be greatly appreciated :)

Growing up I used to watch my Aunty make this bread all the time, it was her specialty. I would sit in her kitchen in total amazement as she braided the bread. My Aunty now lives in a retirement village with no kitchen in her unit and mentioned that she really misses having a piece of Hefezopf with her coffee. Last weekend I baked her some and went for a visit, the bread brought a tear to her eyes! She got on her walking frame and showed the staff and her friends, I have never seen a person move so fast on a walking frame LOL! Listening to her tell her friends stories about the bread almost made me cry, but cry in a good way :)

Hefezopf Recipe
  • 500 grams plain flour
  • 1 packet (7grams) dry yeast
  • 90 grams softened butter
  • 1 packet vanilla sugar
  • 50 grams sugar
  • 90ml lukewarm milk
  • 150ml lukewarm cream
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt

  • Egg yolk and milk wash for glazing

Mix all ingredients into a smooth silky, soft dough. Set aside to rise for 40 minutes covered in a warm spot (till the dough has doubled in size). Divide dough into 3 pieces (for one big braid) or 9 pieces (for three smaller braids) Roll into long strips and braid. Allow braids to rest for 30 minutes in a warm post covered in plastic wrap and then brush with egg yolk/milk wash and sprinkle with course sugar and bake in oven on 180 degrees C for  20 mins (smaller loaves) 30 mins (larger loaves).

Cheers Sonia


breadsong's picture

Hi Sonia,
I don't know anything about drying starter, but I do know that's a sweet, wonderfully-braided and lovely-looking bread you've baked for your Aunt.
What a beautiful gift basket (homemade jam, too?!) - what a thoughtful and kind niece!
:^) breadsong


holds99's picture

Hello Sonia,

Very nice looking braided sweet bread.

Below is a link to a Breadtopia page with a video which may help you with maintaining your sourdough starter.  When I copied the link it didn't come up as a hyperlink so you'll have to copy and paste it to your URL window at the top of the page:

Good luck with your starter.


EDIT: You should be able to just click on the above link and it should take you to Breadtopia.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

within a few hours initially, I would use starter that would be just peaking.   If the humidity is high and it takes overnight to begin drying, I would feed it first.  It continues to ferment while it is drying.  Nothing wrong with a really ripe and high acid starter to dry.   I would rather have a ripe starter dried than one that was too freshly fed.   When it is re-hydrated, the acid amount helps to reestablish the starter.   You will have to use your own judgement.  

Spread out thin on plastic or wax paper or parchment and once it sets up you can turn it over to help it dry.  Make sure it is very dry before breaking it up and putting it inside a zipper bag or small jar.  Have fun!

dabrownman's picture

also freeze starters too.  I keep some dried and some frozen.  A couple of weeks ago, I froze my regular starter by mistake when it got pushed to the back of the fridge and it froze with the yeast water too!  No worries,  they both thawed and performed perfectly without missing a beat. 

sonia101's picture

Howard thanks for the links, and Mini thanks SO much for all the detail, you're a treasure!!!! Dabrownman I'll certainly be freezing some also this time, I've learnt one cannot have enough backups LOL. Thanks Breadsong and yep it's homemade apricot jam :)

isand66's picture

Beautiful looking bread Sonia.  I get the greatest pleasure from giving my bread to family and friends and hopefully making them happy for a short time.