The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Questions about altus and old dough

clazar123's picture

Questions about altus and old dough

I recently realized I am a little confused (no comebacks on this admission,please)about altus and old dough. I have seen recipes that refer to using "old dough"(unbaked bread dough?) as part of a recipe and then there is "altus" or "old bread" (usually rye).

Am I understanding it correctly that altus and old bread are the same thing? Both are baked bread that is old/stale? How is it used-ground to crumbs? Soaked and shredded?

Then is "old dough" a lump of unbaked bread dough? How is this kept until it is used? This technique must be best used if there is a bake every day or every other day, like maintaining a starter-best used often so there is no wastage. I am assuming this.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Old dough contains live yeast and bacteria usually pinched off a bigger batch of dough and allowed to ferment further (fast or slow) to leaven a future batch of dough.  Yes, no waste.  If pinched off after the bulk rise, the new old-dough can be refrigerated until the next dough mix.  Keeps for a few days.

Altus is not fresh baked bread. Soaked and/or shredded or dried or frozen often one or two days old max.  Some moisture is added > if say your recipe is 80% hydration and you want to add altus, then for every 100g of dried altus, soak in 80g of water and let it soften.  The bread can be crumbed in a food processor or chopper.  If soaked long enough altus tends to fall apart during mixing. If soaked in copious amounts of water, it is suggested that the altus be squeezed well before adding to the recipe, replace water in the recipe with the pressed water from altus. Crust bits can be tough but can be easily squished between the fingers while kneading or mixing the dough.  Used as a flavour and structural enhancer.  Altus can also be used as a starter food (great in hot weather) or easily added to pre-ferments.  Because altus normally contains salt, do not figure for salt content.  

(Floyd, do you think you could add altus to the spelling checker so it's accepted?)

ananda's picture

Hi clazar123,

Just to note on what Mini writes about old dough.   It is a common method to use in commercial situations, as you note.   But its primary use is as an Improver to speed up your process.   Most recipes/formulae would also call for additional yeast in the final dough.

Best wishes