The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Switching to leaven, how is my baking process going to change

texasbakerdad's picture

Switching to leaven, how is my baking process going to change

I am finally going to switch over to leaven from commercial yeast. And I am curious, what are the subtle and not so subtle ways my baking process while change.

Some things I am curious about:

  • I can rise my dough multiple times with commercial yeast, but, I think leaven can't do that.
  • Will the proofing process feel different, require a different set of expectations?
  • or anything else that is different when using leaven.

NOTE: I am not too interested in the hassle of maintaining the starter, there are already a lot of posts and good information about that. I am mostly interested in learning about how the process will change after the leaven is mixed into the dough.

Thanks! You all are great!


Danni3ll3's picture

a lot more slowly! You will need to develop patience!


Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

You'll probably find that temperature is much more important. There will be many different yeast cultures in your leaven and some of them grow better in different temperatures. You'll have to get to know your starter and how long it takes to double or triple at different temperatures. Even the weather will affect the fermentation and proofing of your dough.

I find that dough made with a poolish (active dry yeast) seems to be springier and stronger than my sourdough. Generally; not always.

WatertownNewbie's picture

I agree with the comments on time (things will seem as if in slow motion) and temperature (a cool kitchen and warm kitchen will matter).  If you mix by hand, you will also need to make sure that you incorporate the preferment (levain, poolish, biga, or whatever) thoroughly and completely throughout the dough.  Commercial yeast is a lot easier to spread around.

Lastly, although this is not directly related to the baking process, you will find that pure sourdough loaves stay fresh an extra day or two.

hreik's picture

able to raise the dough multiple times, but in exchange you get a TON more flexibility.  Once you are used to it, you will be able to slip the dough into the fridge and go about whatever you forgot and then take it out and it'll be fine.... maybe better b/c of the extended time.

The proofing will take much much longer and contribute a lot to enhanced flavor.

Also, the options you have will multiply exponentially.  It's very exciting and the learning curve is endless and sometimes epiphanic.

Good luck