The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Benefits in SD Quickbreads or Pastries

SoniaR's picture
SoniaR

Sourdough Benefits in SD Quickbreads or Pastries

In making a sourdough quickbread or other pastry, if I use a ripe levain rather than discard, but then do not do a long ferment once everything is mixed, do I still get the benefit (nutritional, digestive, etc.) of fermented sourdough? (I am assuming that when using discard and baking without a fermentation period, the quickbread does not have those benefits.)

This has to do with the eggs in the dough and not wanting to do a long ferment for safety reasons (that decision has been made so no need to discuss here!).

Any input on this would be appreciated.

BaniJP's picture
BaniJP

Short answer: Yes

Long answer: Starter itself is a beneficial product (or in this case ingredient). It contains lactic and acetic acids built up by live bacteria cultures and nutrients (starches, protein etc.) that are partly or completely broken down, making them easier accessible, resulting in a the product that will be more digestible. By adding sourdough/starter/prefermented dough to a recipe, you automatically add all those beneficial properties. 

How big the effect in the end is depends of course on how much starter you add into the final dough. A few teaspoons probably won't do much, but replacing a larger part of the flour and liquid with starter will have beneficial effects for sure.

Just keep in mind that as long as you don't bake the dough, it will ferment and produce gases, no matter what. You added yeasts and other gas-producing bacteria to the dough. Also for the first few minutes in the oven, it will do a speed gas production. Long story short, you can't stop the fermentation, but it will be very slow.

I can also imagine that baking powder could neutralize the lactic and acetic acids, making them useless. That is just speculation however.

I would recommend adding starter to waffles, pancakes, donuts or muffins, as well as basically any yeasted pastry or baked good that could benefit from a slight tang. All this will need experimentation though, to see how it affects the dough.

TopBun's picture
TopBun

Incorporating levain in quickbread doughs is generally done for flavor. If there is no fermentation period at all, the sourdough culture will not have time to substantially ferment the flour for benefits like the reduction of phytic acid, lower glycemic index, etc. Of course there will be some sourdough fermentation happening from the time you mix through the first few minutes of baking until bacteria & yeast die off, and the oven heat will spike the bioactivity of the bacteria and yeast from the levain (until they die), but I do not know the magnitude or duration of that effect.

With quick bread and muffin batters, I sometimes mix just the flour and sourdough starter first and let it ferment for a few hours, then add the eggs, salt and baking powder/baking soda when I'm ready to bake. As long as it's a wet style batter this actually works fine if I use a stand mixer. I often mix the salt and baking soda/powder with a little bit of all-purpose flour to make incorporation into the batter easier. Caveat - this does change the flavor of the final product since you're doing actual sourdough fermentation over time. I like it for some recipes.

Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

There is the additional benefit of the actual flour and acids from the starter itself.  If you substitute a large percentage of the flour and water in the recipe for starter, all of the benefits that fermentation create will be in that starter. This could be a significant amount.

TopBun's picture
TopBun

Although substituting a large amount of starter in a recipe that doesn't originally call for it will change the acidity of the dough or batter, and will likely require an adjustment in the baking soda or baking powder.

Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

No doubt there could be need for adjustments. Just making the point if you want those elements in something that does not have a long fermentation time, you can get them from increased starter.

SoniaR's picture
SoniaR

Thanks for the comments.  I see how it can be beneficial to a degree in quickbreads and I particularly like TopBun's suggestion to first ferment flour and starter before adding eggs and other ingredients. I like the idea of adapting existing recipes rather than looking for recipes specific to sourdough.