The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Paul Ringo's picture
Paul Ringo


     I'm just wondering why sourdough bread is called 'sour'.  My starter only has potato flakes, sugar and water. It ferments and smells like over-ripe bananas at times but it doesn't match my idea of 'sour'. 

    I appreciate your wisdom. 



Darwin's picture

One of the good bacteria in wild yeast starters is Lactobacillus and its by product is lactic acid.  The smart folks should be along shortly to give you more information.  and

clazar123's picture

Calling it sourdough really gives the impression that the bread is sour and sometimes it is. I prefer bread to be NOT sour.

Darwin is right-the flour and water are fermented by a culture of bacteria and yeast that is naturally present on the grain as it grows and is milled. The Lactobacillus initially grows, makes it bubbly and acidic (go ahead and taste it). This creates a friendly environment for the yeast to then grow and tends to suppress other bacteria from growing. As the yeast multiply, the lactos may diminish but eventually they will create a balanced culture of yeast and lactobacillus.That is natural levain or sourdough.

Paul Ringo's picture
Paul Ringo

     That makes perfect sense.  Thanks for the understanding.