The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Liquid Sourdough

densemy's picture

Liquid Sourdough

Hi there, I'm logging in from Malaysia which is breadmaking heaven cos everything happens so quickly and smoothly.  Being a know-it-all male I did a bit of reading on sourdough and then embarked on my own system.  

Firstly, because I do a lot of experimenting with my breadmaking I chose to make a universal sourdough using rye flour, white bread flour, wholemeal flour and rolled oats.  I thought using all those ingredients I was bound to come up with the right yeasts

I cheated and added a few grains of commercial yeast and a dose of yoghurt hoping to get some of the right Lactobacilli

I'm working on the assumption that  I will use my sourdough brew to replace all the liquid in the recipe.  So its a very liquid concoction

Its day five now and the brew is fermenting  like a loony. Each morning I discard all but one cup of the brew, replace with warm water and a tablespoon of each of the dry ingredients

My plan is to allow another week of 'brewing' to stabilise whichever yeasts and bacteria are doing the work then will use it for my first batch of bread

I would appreciate your comments

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

which might mean that you need to feed it more flour.

clazar123's picture

I would have several concerns but it will certainly be an interesting experiemnt.

One concern is that by add ing commercial yeast and yogurt you may have slowed down the development of the long-term natural yeasts you want to "stabilize" in the starter.The variety of yeast in commercial yeast, while strong is not meant to be long lived. Building a good,balanced natural levain does not take that long-maybe a week to 10 days before you can use it for bread and then about a month of using it several times weekly and consistent maintenance to really stabilize.

Keeping a liquid levain (at 200% hydration?) is certainly possible but in your tropical environment(95C or higher) it will require more feeding than  mine which is a 100% hydration and in a 24C environment. Keeping refrigerated might be a good idea. Also, using a little salt (once it is a stable culture) may keep the feeding frenzy down at those hot temps.

Using multiple grains to feed is a fine idea and I have done that on occasion. Then I get lazy and just dump in AP. I have never had a problem using my levain(starter) on any kind of bread (rye,wheat,multigrain) if I just use unbleached AP flour to feed it.

So definitely try using your starter but consider mixing up just flour(whatever kind or mix you want) and just water. I usually start out with a few tablespoon in a small jar. Stir several times a day and when it starts with some small bubbles (prob on day 2 or 3) then start feeding by discarding half and adding flour and water back once a day. When it starts raising after a feed, do it twice a day. When it goes a little crazy-keep goingthe same way and it will settle down. When it settles down and does a more dignified rise after a feed, then it is ready to use in bread. If it ever develops a liquid layer several hours after a feeding, that means it needs MORE food and is starving.Don't let that happen. It's like a puppy-feed it and clean the cage and when it is growing, it needs more food.

Building a starter can help you build patience, also. Makes the best bread


SourdoLady's picture

The activity you are seeing at this stage is probably not yeast growing, but bacteria. If you want to grow yeast, you will need to provide much more food than a few tablespoons of flour. As Mini said, you are pretty much just "brewing alcohol" at this point. Yeast cells are very hungry and go through an enormous amount of food very quickly. They live on carbohydrates, and a lot of water is not going to help them be healthy. If you want a very liquid starter, you might want to explore "yeast water". It is totally different. The addition of commercial yeast isn't going to help, either. You are trying to grow wild yeast, which prefers an acidic environment, and commercial yeast cannot live for long in such acidity.


You would be wise to put aside your 'male know-it-all attitude' (that you admitted you had ;) ) and follow one of the tried and true guidelines posted here on how to create a new wild yeast starter. I don't mean to come across as harsh, but you will have much more success if you do it the right way!