The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

sourdough quick breads

butterflyblue's picture
butterflyblue

sourdough quick breads

 I found a recipe here for sourdough banana bread, which uses a cup of sourdough starter in the batter.  I've also made sourdough pancakes.  The pancakes had the distinctive sourdough taste (a half cup of the starter fermented all night with the water and flour from the recipe).  The banana bread did not.  I've made it twice, and both times it just tasted like regular banana bread.  Is it that my starter isn't sour enough, or just that the starter is stired in when the bread is mixed, right before going into the oven, and doesn't have time to ferment further?  Is it supposed to be that way?

butterflyblue's picture
butterflyblue

And today I tried some oatmeal cookies with sourdough starter in them, but again, they just tasted like normal oatmeal cookies.  I was hoping for a little of the twang to come through.  I did let the starter ferment a couple of hours with some of the oatmeal.

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

The use of the starter is primarily as moisture,treated like buttermilk in the recipe. The idea originated with those who had discard and didn't want to toss it. I don't have discard as there is no reason once you have a healthy ongoing starter to toss any before you feed it. I learned that from David. I usually just feed my starter extra so that I can have enough to use it as an add in for pie dough and quick breads and pancakes etc. The other way to use "discard" if you feel you must toss it is to simply place 1/2 of what you have in another container and feed both a small amount. You have effectively discarded by cutting in 1/2 your stock amount. Hope this helps. c

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Only thing I can think of for lack of 'tang' is that your pancakes were less sweet than the oatmeal cookies or banana bread.  The sweetness would cancel out the sour of the sd...or so I guess because I know that is what happens in an enriched loaf....much less 'sour' flavor unless there is a long bulk ferment and proofing time.

If you want more sourness try increasing the amount of sd you use.

Have Fun,

Janet

Davo's picture
Davo

Erm, I think you will find that the sourdough tang is from its acidity. Quickbreads generally use that acidity to react with some bicarb to produce C02 rapidly and "artifically" - well, it's not from bugs slowly producing the gas directly, at least. Anyways, in the end you are neutalising the acidity with the bicarb - so couldn't expect that acid tang to persist...

butterflyblue's picture
butterflyblue

Well, that seems to make sense except for the pancakes also had baking soda in them.  It was stirred in immediately before cooking, and they were quite light and fluffy. 

It might be a combination of decreased acidity from the baking soda and so much sugar canceling out the tang, as Janet mentioned.

Anyway, if quick breads made from the "discard" starter aren't going to have a sourdough flavor, I probably won't make them much.  I enjoy the pancakes but my regular feeding schedule hasn't led to a whole lot of starter needing discarded yet.

Why do so many sourdough bread recipes call for baking soda?  Wouldn't the leavening power be dissapated by the time the rise periods are over?  Is it for flavor, or just one of those holdovers from way back that no one knows the reason for?

Davo's picture
Davo

I think in any quickbread or pancake mix that incorporates SD you could still get some complex sourdough flavour coming through, but don't expect the acid tang if you add bicarb. I am not aware of too many "quickbread" recipes that mix and THEN have a long "ferment" or "proof" time - that's why they are called "quickbreads"! But I suppose if you had one (such recipe), that C02 that's produced pretty much immediately by the chemical reaction of acid with bicarb would have more chance of being retained in say a 70% hydration dough than in a pancake batter where it will just rise and bubble out...

I personally wouldn't describe a quickbread that incorporated sourdough starter as "sourdough". This doesn't mean you wouldn't get some SD flavours or that it otherwise has any more or less merit, it's just not sourdough! It certainly won't be acid quite like sourdough, which is what gives the sourdough its "sour" (I suppose the extent to which it might remain a bit acid depends on that balance of bicarb to total acidity).

Frankly I don't believe that sugar cancels tang - I mean you can easily have a sweet/acid apple, or something like rhubarb compote can be both extremely sweet and extremely acid. They are different things, although I suppose one might distract a bit from the other, where the effects are subtle.

butterflyblue's picture
butterflyblue

Yeah, anything with a significant rise period would no longer really be quickbread. But I kind of switched topics there without clarifying.  Actual sourdough "slow" bread recipes, not quickbread, often call for a little bit of baking soda.  And I still wonder why. :)

Despite your quibble about nomenclature, I think I'll still refer to any quickbread containing starter as "sourdough this" or "sourdough that".  Yeah, it can get confusing a little, but "banana bread containing sourdough starter" doesn't have the same efficiency. 

So if I wanted some cookies with a little bit of the sour still coming through, do you think that using a larger amt. of starter, plus using only baking powder to leaven them, and perhaps decreasing the sugar slightly would be a good course of action?  I said I don't need to discard starter often, but I am enjoying experimenting with recipes, and having sort of failed my objective once, I take it as a personal challenge now.

Davo's picture
Davo

I suppose more starter might work for your cookies.

The pedantry about nomenclature is perhaps a reaction to the lack of control of the term "sourdough" in commercial products. There is no standard re the terminology used. For example, we (in Australia) have chain-store bakeries that make most of their money from selling pretty much the same yeasted squishy white breads as anywhere else but with more marketing. Among their products is "sourdough" that is a standard rapid dough yeasted bread which has a little starter in it. They add sour "flavourings". Some supermarkets with their own bakeries do the same. They market "sourdough" with a list of ingredients in fine print as long as your arm and reading like a chemical list from your average hazardous waste site, and in that list yeast is one of the first things mentioned, while somethwere way down the list is sourdough culture - it's a joke, frankly. McDonalds here sells (or used to) a hamburger that they market as being on a "sourdough bun" (which it's clearly not), along with the advertising line that it's "a little bit fancy", which I doubt it is. So I'm really picky about the use of the term "sourdough", which I think should be used only for breads made with natural grain products, water, salt and culture raised from that list (ex salt), give or take a bit of fruit/juice that might be used to get the culture going (but which also a caveman could obtain). But that's just my opinion!

Davo's picture
Davo

BTW if you are making pancakes with SD and some bi-carb, definitely mixt them up immediately before cooking. You can ferment the SD with whatever else you want, but reserve at least some flour with bicarb in it (to be added immediately before cooking), otherwise you will be making bubbles and kissing them goodbye before cooking. You might as well make straight-out SD pancakes, which frankly tend to be a little heavy...

levain master's picture
levain master

been there, done that, good bacteria in the starter actually create acid what gives the sour and that protects the levain & yeast from bad bacteria, therefore: for the sour acid flavor you like sourdough needs time to SOUR (bacteria producing acid to mature), if you want the tang i.e. wang in quick breads use sour salt (citric acid), experiment and the results will be quite wonderful, similar to buttermilk in breads such as buttermilk rye, one comment said maybe more starter, not so, sourdough flavors develop with less starter and more ferment time, more starter will get faster rise with less sour