The Fresh Loaf

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Rye Pre-sour How Long Is Too Long?

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Rye Pre-sour How Long Is Too Long?

In making a 40% rye, the pre-ferment sour I usually do is the following:

Rye Sour

  • 360 g Medium rye flour (high quality organic works best)
  • 360 g Water
  • 20 g Rye sourdough starter (100% hydration)

Let sit at 78 degrees for 12 - 16 hours.

My question is, if I was to let this ferment for longer than 16 hours, is there a time amount that is too long?  I will not be able to get to it until it has been sitting for about 20 hours.


varda's picture

Can you manage a cooler temperature?   Not refrigerator but something like 60F?   That should slow it down  so the longer time works.  

Also, if it gets overripe you  can adjust  your bread making accordingly.   Use less of the starter, reduce some of the water, or ferment at lower temperature or for shorter amount of time.  

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Thank you Varda!  Unfortunately, I am away from home or I would adjust the room temp., or put in fridge to slow down. 


dmsnyder's picture

The best way I know to judge the maturity of a rye starter is the traditional one: After a feeding, sprinkle the surface with a thin layer of rye flour. The sour is ripe when the surface flour is well spread into many "islands." 

See this: Care and feeding of a rye sour 


breaducation's picture

Hey John,

I think 20 hours would be fine but if you're worried about things getting a bit too ripe you can add .1% salt to the starter and it will help keep things in check. In all likelyhood though at 20 hours you'll probably still find it usable. The bread may be slightly more sour in the end and could also rise a bit slower. Just be aware of it and compensate accordingly.


Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Thanks for the help guys.  Sounds like I may be fine and if not, I will put those practices to the test.

Take care.


ananda's picture

Hi John,

Are you able to add in an additional small refreshment after 20 up on "Detmolder", and look at my posts on the "Auerman" Process which combines an 18 hour sour with a "scald" to make a "Sponge" which is then given 4 hours fermentation before use in the final dough.   That is a good option to look at.

Best wishes