The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Non-sour Starter?

MacInAction's picture

Non-sour Starter?

I'd like to thank Debra Wink for taking the time to post the finer points of making an easy starter.

Now that I have been able to make sourdough at home, I would like to try other flavors using a starter. I plan to use other types of flour to get new flavors in the bread. I want to eliminate the sour flavor, if possible. Is there a flour ingredient that can be used to make a starter that doesn't taste sour?

PaddyL's picture

If you find your sourdough bread is too sour, add a half teaspoon of baking soda to the dough.

pjkobulnicky's picture

Do not use baking soda to deal with "sour" sourdough.  You deal with sourness by shortening the time and therefore increasing the temperature at which you refresh and use the starter. Refresh your starter at ~70F, do your bulk rise as soon as the starter is fully refreshed and do that at ~70F and then shape and do final proof also at 70F. Lactobacili cause sourness and they grow slowly and at cool temps. By moving quickly, you get out ahead of them. Read the Tartine bread book for a thorough description and start to finish recipe.



Emelye's picture

My spouse and I are not fond of very sour bread.  I find that using Nancy Silverton's starter - 150% hydration, fed every 12 hours, fermented at room temperature - give a very nice flavor without being too sour.  The rule I've learned is to sweeten the starter you make it wetter and warmer and feed it often.  The baceria that create the really sour taste by making acetic acid (vinegar) grow slower than the lactobacilli.  Feeding often reduces the amount of acetic acid in the starter.

Another way of reducing the sourness is to spike the dough with a bit of instant yeast to reduce the fermenting and proofing time.

Enriching the dough with milk or milk powder can reduce the acidity as well.  Even a bit of sugar (please don't stone me, purists!) will counteract it but you need to experiment with the amount so you don;t get the yeast to become overactive and overferment/proof the dough.

You'll always get a hint of sour in the bread when you use a sourdough starter but the level can be controlled.  Good luck!

baybakin's picture

Well, the other option is to make a very firm starter and feed it very often.  If you have a starter at 50% hydration, and feed it every 4 hours, keeping it around 80-90F, it will begin to smell sweet, and not in the least bit sour.