The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Using sourdough technique with instant yeast

GeraldInTokyo's picture
GeraldInTokyo

Using sourdough technique with instant yeast

Does using sourdough techniques with instant yeast lead to overproofing? 

For several reasons I cannot make my own sourdough starter. So I make all my bread with SAF Instant Red label. However, I would like to make artisan style bread with open crumb. I've experimented with the variables but some general characteristics of my technique:

  • Bread flour (often 20% whole wheat)
  • high hydration (70% - 80% or higher -- including a small percentage of olive oil) 
  • Poolish (50% of the total flour and water with a scant amount of yeast and rested for 12 hours)
  • Autolyse (mix rest of the flour and most of the water and rest for 1 hour)
  • Mix yeast with rest of water and mix into dough. Rest 20-30 min.
  • Mix in salt +olive oil. 
  • Stretch and folds. I've done only stretch and folds, e.g. 3-4 spaced 30 - 45 min apart, or kneading + 2 - 3 S&Fs. (The intention is for S&Fs to lead to an airier crumb and more holes) 
  • Bulk rise in room temp -- until dough seems doubled and (preferably) light and jiggly.
  • Pre-shape
  • Shape -- rest -- sometimes in fridge overnight or more briefly at room temp.

My results have been mixed. My crumb tends to have a nice springy texture and good flavor. But I rarely get consistent big holes. And my dough often deflates when coming out of the banneton before baking and doesn't really spring a lot in the oven - whether cold retarded or not. (Note that I have a funky old oven in a country (Japan) where gas ovens are almost non-existent. So my oven temp might not be high enough) 

My question: This process means the total time from mixing to end of Bulk Ferment is about 4 - 6 hours. (Sometimes after the S&Fs, the bulk rise gets exceedingly slow). Am I fooling myself that sourdough technique can be used successfully with instant yeast; am I just risking and perhaps experiencing overproofing? Might the instant yeast burn itself out during the hour or two of kneading and stretching and folding? After all, instant yeast is designed for bakeries and faster rising times. And given the longer bulk process, should I be using more or less instant yeast? I've experimented between 1% an 2%. But I'm always confused whether a longer bulk requires more or less yeast. 

Thanks for your thoughts!

loaflove's picture
loaflove

How much instant yeast are you using?  For a sd recipe which calls for 50g of starter , i substitute with half a tsp of yeast and follow the sd recipe method.  And it turns out fantastic. If you want a long bulk ferment as the recipe calls for, i find that half a tsp of yeast works just fine.  That being said, watch the dough and not the clock.   That's for a 500g flour loaf. 

GeraldInTokyo's picture
GeraldInTokyo

Thanks for your suggestion! Maybe I need to use less yeast. I tend to use between 1% and 2% (i.e. 6 -10 grams with 500 gr. flour). This is the amount that typical bread recipes call for. 

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

That much yeast with an already fermented poolish is going to age out and lose its strength during the retard time. You would be better off retarding during the bulk ferment without the poolish like a no knead recipe. If you want an open crumb try a ciabatta or baguette recipe. 1 or 2 grams of IDY is all you need. 

GeraldInTokyo's picture
GeraldInTokyo

Thanks! I guess I hadn't thought through the consequences of "already fermented poolish." I had thought that since only a scant amount of yeast went into the poolish and since more flour and yeast are added the next day, it would be like starting over. I do think the poolish adds flavor - but I will try doing the bulk with much less yeast next time. 

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

That should work. The poolish is where much of the flavor comes from. The excess gas in a yeasted dough is CO2 and if the levels get too high they can affect taste and rise. Just let it double and no more. You will get much more oven spring if you save some of that lift for the oven.