The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

General rule for using my sponge in other recipes?

hokietoner's picture

General rule for using my sponge in other recipes?

Is there a general rule for how much of my sourdough sponge to use in other recipes? I followed the recipe for a "barm starter" in "Crust and Crumb" but there are only a few recipes that use that sponge. The rest of the recipes in the book use a poolish that was started a day or so ago, or maybe some pate fermente (old dough). Additionally, I'll want to be able to use recipes that call for commercial yeast and substitute in my wild yeast. I know that I can use my sourdough starter to rise any loaf, but I don't know how much I should use if the recipe doesn't call for sourdough starter.


sphealey's picture

In Rose Levy Beranbaum's _The Bread Bible_ there is a subsection on how to convert bakers yeast recipes to sourdough. I don't do that much so I don't have the details at the top of my head, but you could get the book from the library and jot that process down. She also gives instructions for using a (yeast) poolish with almost any recipe.


SourdoLady's picture

Here is how I do it:

Converting to Sourdough
The easiest way I have found to adapt a recipe without altering the ingredients too much is to take all of the liquid from the recipe, stir in 2 Tbsp. starter, add the same amount of flour as the liquid. Let this sit, covered, overnight (room temp.) Next day, continue by adding the rest of the ingredients, remembering that you already used the liquid and part of the flour. If your recipe calls for milk rather than water, use water but then stir in some dry milk powder after the overnight proofing is complete and then mix your dough.

This method is much simpler than any other methods that I have encountered.

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

I substitute a cup of active and stirred down 100% hydration starter for 1 packet of yeast.  That is about a tablespoon of dry yeast or an ounce of fresh yeast.


Then I adjust the water and flour in the recipe.  In a cup of active starter there is about 1/2 cup of water and 3/4 cup of flour.


I stir down the starter so I am getting starter instead of an uncertain mix of starter and bubbles. 

Hope that helps,



Janedo's picture

I use a liquid sourdough starter and convert recipes all the time. For a kilo of bread (I'm in France) which is just over 2lbs, I put 180g, about a cup, of starter. I don't even alter the other ingredients because it up the water content which doesn't bother me. I can just add a bit of flour if need be, but usually don't.

For an average size recipe of baked goods, I add 1/2 cup of starter, keep 1 tsp of baking soda and skip the baking powder. I have converted lots of recipes this way and the result is always great.