The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Conversion for sourdough starter to dry instant yeast?

shopkins1994's picture

Conversion for sourdough starter to dry instant yeast?

Hi Everyone. I am trying to make a recipe that calls for 1 Tablespoon of sourdough starter. I only have dry active yeast. Does anyone know what the conversion (if any) would be? 

ElPanadero's picture

This will likely be tricky as sourdough starters typically require much longer time to do their raising and to add their flavours to the dough.   Any recipe that calls for sourdough starter will likely have long proofing times of many hours.  If you leave a dough with dry yeast for a similar amount of time the dough will overproof and flop on you.   Additionally, sourdough starters are a mix of flour and water and thus have a level of wetness or hydration.  Your dry yeast is . . . dry, so by substituting you will alter the hydration level of the recipe to some degree.  I'm not saying what you want to do is impossible, but it will take some juggling.  You will probably need only a tiny smidgen of dry yeast if you intend to leave the dough proofing for a long time but I'm sure others here can provide more detail on that.

You can create your own sourdough starter very easily but the process takes about 4-5 days, sometimes a little longer.   If you have that time, I recommend doing this.  There are plenty of threads on this site that will explain how to do it.


shopkins1994's picture

Thank you GL, this has been very helpful. I've made 5 loaves of bread in my attempt to do the recipe and they have all fallen. I have no experience with sourdough starter and figured that it was probably my problem. My first attempt was 1 tablespoon of active dry yeast and a 4 hour proof. =D That sucker was big and then turned into a pancake in under 3 seconds when I tried to move it. I will try with 1/4 TSP yeast and see what happens.





ElPanadero's picture

GL is an abbreviation for Good Luck.   ATB = All The Best.  :-)

I'm thinking you'd be better with a different recipe, one that specifies baker's yeast.  What type of loaves are you wanting to make?

If you really do want to use that recipe then try this (though I think the results will be unpredictable). 

Use 1 sachet of yeast (7g) for say 500g flour

Mix the dough,

Knead for a few minutes

Leave to rise for 1hr or until it doubles in size.

De-gas / knock back the dough to get rid of the air bubbles

Shape the dough into whatever shape you want, put into a tin if you are using one

Leave to proof for another 30min to 1hr.  Gently press your finger into the dough and if the dough does NOT spring back immediately then it's ready.


So . .  no 4hr proofs ok?  :-)

Happy baking

shopkins1994's picture

Haha. Sorry about that ElPanadero. =D I am trying to make Tartine Bread. Here's my latest attempt. I still have to get it to rise higher and char it. I used 2 TSP yeast and only let it proof 40 minutes. I am going to try less yeast so that I can go the 4 hours.

Tartine bread attempt

ElPanadero's picture

If you are passionate enough about bread to be attempting Tartine loaves then absolutely make yourself a sourdough starter !!!  It's only flour and water ! Really easy.  What you are doing (imo) is like setting out to paint the Cistine Chapel and trying to use house decorating paint brushes instead of artists brushes !

These loaves are all about taste and depth of flavour and that will come from the wild yeast starter and the long fermentation times.

Make a starter, you won't look back.   Start now. 

Get 150g of rye or wholewheat flour (not white AP flour) and mix with 90g water and a tiny pinch of salt and leave 24 hrs at room temp

Then take 75g of it (discard the rest) and add 75g of the same flour and 45g water, leave 7hrs

Then take 75g of it (discard the rest) and add 75g of the same flour and 45g water, leave 7hrs

keep repeating this

(if the 7hr feeds don't fit with your schedule then do every 12hrs.  It will just take a little longer to get going)

After 2-3 days you'll see bubbles in the mix and a few days later it will be doubling in size between feeds.

Once established switch to a regular feeding regime of:

50g starter + 50g flour + 50g water (=150g)

Feed twice per day if it is left out at room temp.

Feed once per week if it is left in the fridge.

Loads of threads to read on this site about managing sourdough starters.

ashtonb95's picture

Hey! New to all this as well, got a few questions about my starter.    
I have one which I've fed every 24hrs for 3 days now.... is it going to be bad since I haven't been feeding it 12 hourly?  
Just opened it up and it smells beer-y. 
Also, I started my starter (heh) with a guide from another site, which went much like yours except instead of grams they used cups. 1/2cup of flour to 1/2 cup of water. Only thing is if you use grams it changes because its mass instead of volume, and 1/2c flour is like 75g to 1/2 cup water's 125g. 
so my starter is like 1 part flour to two parts water. 
aaahhhhghhhh have I fucked up?

shopkins1994's picture

Thank you ElPanadero! I really appreciate your help. You have inspired me. I am going to make a starter today using your instructions. I can't wait. I am definitely getting better with each failure. I wish I would have taken a picture of the first loaf. It was pretty funny. 

Heath's picture

Well done for trying sourdough - you won't look back once you've tasted your first loaf :-)

I just wanted to warn you that it's common for people making their first sourdough starter to think it's died after a few days.  There'll be some activity at first, but this tends to die down.  It doesn't mean the starter is dead - the bacteria and yeasts are fighting it out for supremacy.  It'll come back to life with patience.  Don't give up!

shopkins1994's picture

My understanding is that up until the 4th day you do not need to worry so much on exact measurements but after the 4th day you have to because you will not be able to feed it precisely each day which means you cannot guarantee the same bread from bake to bake because there will be a different mixture of acid/yeast/alcohol/etc. I would buy a scale at walmart.