The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

whole grain sourdoughs without yeast?

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

whole grain sourdoughs without yeast?

Maybe I'm being completely ridiculous, but why do almost all my recipe books call for yeast for sourdough recipes if they have any wholegrain? Isn't the whole point of catching wild yeast to eliminate the need for commercial yeast? Or is just the flavor people are after with sourdough and it's too risky to have varying results with just wild caught yeast if it is even 50/50 whole grain?

I "could" and "should" be scouring my books and the internet for an answer, but right now I'm busy and with having a stroke a year ago, reading things in depth is a lot more challenging than it used to be. I can DO IT, I just have a lot less patience for myself in reading when I'm used to grasping things super quickly.

ifs201's picture
ifs201

Seems strange that ALL of your books do this. FWSY has some recipes that use both and then also "pure sourdough" that only uses levain/starter and no commercial yeast. 

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

My husband is off to a conference and dinner is done, so I'll look more carefully at my stack of books in a bit, but I have a loaf started right now using a Sourdough recipe from Amy's Bread and it calls for sourdough starter and a smidge of commercial yeast.

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

These are the books I have and looked through. I'm especially looking for whole-grain sourdough:

Laurel's Bread book by Robertson et al- the sourdoughs I looked at have commercial yeast

Village Baker by Ortiz- doesn't use commercial yeast, but I find this book a bit hard to follow.

Local Breads by Daniel Leader - I have a liquid levaine which is what they suggest at the onset of the book, but then the book mostly uses stiff levains... but when  I look at the recipes, they are not using commercial yeast at all. 

Beard on Bread by James Beard uses commercial yeast.

Whole Grain Breads by Reinhart is mostly commercial yeast bread

I should have made it clear too - I prefer whole grain or at least 50/50 breads - not white bread.

calneto's picture
calneto

You don't need yeast. Even for 100% whole wheat. Some people add sugar in some form with higher ww percentage, but definitely not yeast.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

It may be that writers suggest some commercial yeast in the hopes that it adds some insurance - especially since the strength of the readers sourdough starter will vary greatly from reader to reader.  IIRC, I saw that phrase in one of the baking books I read, though I can't recall which one.  Vanessa Kimball's book,   The Sourdough has a number of 100% whole wheat recipes that call for sourdough only, no yeast.

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

I bet it is for insurance.... they don't want people complaining that they are making bricks. I'll look up the book. I need more books it seems. White bread is just easier which is why that is what is mostly available, I guess.

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

It seems I need to do some searching for what I want specifically for a book as either they are old and yeast has changed (as it has) or they are mostly white flour. I'm wanting to make more whole grain. AND I just got myself a mill, so I have a lot of learning to do.

This particular recipe I used today only called for a 1/2 teaspoon of commercial yeast for the recipe as well as a levaine which yields two loaves (but I have a large banneton and made one large loaf.) It's mostly white flour with some rye and whole wheat flour - about 25% of the flour. I will cut into it tomorrow, but it looks good!

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Actually that looks great.  There are not many books on milling your own wheat and using sourdough,  I know I have looked .   Vanessa's book does not have a lot of recipes or procedures, but is a fairly good introduction to whole wheat and sourdough.  She has formulas for white, 50 50 white and whole wheat, and 100% whole wheat boules, then about a dozen or more others - such as russian rye bread, seeded sourdough boules, jalapeno and cheese loaf, etc.  I have only made the lean boules, so can't comment on her other recipes.  She does not use home milled flour, IIRC, but of the recipes I have looked at ,  none call for added yeast.  I have the kindle version because it was on sale, but find I don't absorb the info as well as a paper book.   

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

Thanks! I find there is only one book out there (that I can see) that talks about home milling. Well, there is another, but it has HORRIBLE reviews. But, I plan to get that one book.

I found a fb group for home milling and for regular bread, but I haven't done home milling yet (I want to use up the flour I have), so I haven't really gone searching for recipes techniques yet. Even before the blasted stroke that affected my reading, I found bread recipe books way too cerebral - and I'm an intelligent person, but I deal with bread by how it feels - looks - behaves, not by percentages and such because even with weighing flour, I find I need to tweak things to get it right.

And here is what that bread looks like on the inside (white/whole wheat and rye flour as well as a levaine to make it sour). Taste is good but too salty. I followed that recipe to the T for salt, so that cook just must like saltier bread than I do. And I can taste the sour in the dough!

Justanoldguy's picture
Justanoldguy

In many cases the addition of yeast to a recipe that employs sourdough is a consideration of timing, making the loaf a better fit in the constraints of the baker's schedule.

I don't know if you have either one of these titles but they do focus on home milling; The Homemade Flour Cookbook, by Erin Alderson and The Essential Home-Ground Flour Book, by Sue Becker. They each have strengths and weaknesses but they are relatively recent.

In addition The Fresh Loaf has a 'Grains and milling' section in the Forum portion.

Good luck! Home milling can be a remarkably rewarding and sometimes frustrating pursuit. 

jey13's picture
jey13

There's a book by Mary Jane Butters called: "Wild Bread: Flour + Water + Air: Sourdough Reinvented."

I'd find a copy and check it out before buying to see if it's got what you're after. But it sounds like (1) she's all for making sourdough without yeast, (2) she's into whole grain flours (she owns a mill). So, maybe this is the book for you?

FYI, I have a friend who makes whole grain sourdough with only a starter. It follows the same steps as white bread flour sourdough, and the whole grain flour is actually is very active. So dough made with it ferments faster than white bread flour. BUT...and this is a big "but" which you may or may not know...whole grain flour is notoriously thirsty. So you can't just sub it in a recipe calling for white bread flour. The steps may stay the same, but the hydration level has to go way up. Like to 85%-90%. And you may find it ready to shape within three short hours.

Perhaps start here? https://www.theperfectloaf.com/baking-sourdough-with-fresh-milled-flour/