The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Can I use sourdough instead of active yeast.

Lemonie's picture

Can I use sourdough instead of active yeast.

I have been baking my own bread for a year now and have just branched out into sourdough.  I love the sourdough loaf taste and texture but I also want to bake a white or malted sandwich loaf for my husbands sandwiches etc.  Can I use my sourdough starter to raise a standard loaf instead of using active yeast.  I know it would take longer to rise but I wouldn't want to extend the time to build extra flavour, just to raise it if that makes sense?  I would just prefer to use a natural yeast to one I have to buy in if possible.  Not sure if this is possible or whether they are two separate things?

hreik's picture

Make sure it stays warm so rises quickly if you don't want to do it for flavor.... but honestly that's the gift of sourdough.  The long rise and taste benefit.


Dulcilo's picture

I have not done it myself, but Beranbaum gives these instructions: you need to reduce the amount of flour and water in the rest of the recipe to account for the flour and water in the starter. (She gives an example of the math for doing that assuming a stiff starter which would be 30% of the loaf.) Then, mix the dough to develop the gluten structure a little, allow to rest for 20 minutes, then knead in the sourdough starter if using a machine. Add the salt after that step. If hand mixing, add the starter in the beginning just because it is easier to incorporate that way by hand. Expect the rising times to be longer, of course.

David R's picture
David R

You can certainly do it. It's much more convenient though, to find a recipe for the kind of bread you want to make where they planned it as sourdough from the beginning. Not because they are so different, but because that way the time-wasting trial and error have already been done. Converting recipes is a hassle you definitely don't need, especially when what you're looking for is (to put it in "universal-husband-speak" 🙂) "some normal bread, instead of the fancy stuff".

There are probably hundreds of recipes online for sandwich-style white or malted bread using sourdough, definitely including several from the blogs and posts right on this site, where you can often see pictures of how it turned out and comments on the suitability of the recipe.