The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


NewToBakingBread's picture


Hi, I'm fairly new to baking bread I've made about five loaves and they are getting better every time. There is one thing I would like to ask, that is, is it possible to keep a piece of your dough with the live yeast in it before you shape and proof, store it somewhere where the yeast will continue to grow and add that to a new batch of dough or a pre-ferment without adding extra yeast? Will the yeast multiply if you add sugar and flour and water to 'feed it'? I like the idea of this, like being able to make your own yoghurt from milk and a small portion of your previous batch and letting the cultures grow and multiply. But will it work and is it worh the effort?

Thank you.

NewToBakingBread's picture

Some people say to knead at least ten minutes, some say to knead briefly, some say don't knead at all. I am a bit confused about what kneading actually does. All I know is the more I knead, I have a tendancy to add more flour to stop the dough sticking to my hands and the bench top, making my dough firmer and a denser bread. I have read that a wetter dough produces softer bread. I started out by making naan bread and I got some of the best results when I left the dough very soft and didn't knead at all.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

for a nice historic view on this

Welcome and happy baking


pmccool's picture

Save a piece of dough for the next bake, that is.  Use the Search tool at the top right of the page and look for "old dough" or "pate fermentee" (the quotation marks aren't required).  It serves to leaven the next batch and has some beneficial dough conditioning properties, too.


Ruralidle's picture

And it is just a short step to sourdough bread baking. In fact, if you feed your retained dough between bakes it is - basically - a leaven.

Cob's picture

Is it worth the effort?

Truth is, it's no effort at all. It ferments in the corner. You go about your day. There's no sweat involved.

And you judge correct, it's just like yoghurt. :)

As for specifics, they vary from baker/bakery. Good luck.