The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Commercial Yeast in Sourdough?

swedishflish's picture

Commercial Yeast in Sourdough?

I woke up late one morning and missed the peak of my starter. I decided to spoon a little into some water to see if it would float. It floated for about 3 seconds and then sank. Instead of feeding the starter, I just skipped the autolyse and incorporated everything into the bowl and kneaded super well. The dough was super wet so I just added more flour. After that I did a couple of stretch and folds and the dough still seemed too hydrated and it did not grow any bigger. So, I decided to add about 3/4 of a tablespoon of instant dry yeast. I kneaded it on the counter and it was a wet mess. So I added even more flour and did slap and folds. It seemed a bit more manageable so I put it back into the bowl and let it rise on its own. 

Is it ok to add yeast into the sourdough halfway into the process?

Anon2's picture
Anon2 (not verified)

You did well. If for any reason your sourdough fails on you then you've hit upon a good way to save the dough. Sprinkle on some yeast, combine well and carry on. The starter/levain will impart flavour (and possible some rise) but it'll be a hybrid bread at best. 

A good save! 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

as the dough will now behave like a commercial yeasted bread and be bulked in an hour or so and ready to shape and proof.  Keep a sharp eye on it as it will be super fast compared to sourdough.  

Maria Morando's picture
Maria Morando

I have had to add yeast as well, partially because I am a little unsure of my starter sometimes. But there are also days when I just don't have the time to spend home with a slow rise that has to be folded every hour or less. Adding a little yeast can speed things up a bit, but I don't add much. If I have a starter that is showing signs of strength, but I would have liked it to be better, or I don't have a lot of time, I will add about a 1/2 teaspoon of yeast or less. That has always worked well for me. I find that it will rise more quickly than pure sourdough, but It doesn't rise so much as to not to be able to retard it in the refrigerator overnight.  I have gotten some of my most beautiful and best tasting breads this way. Note: It will bulk up some during the folding, but as soon as it appears to have a a fair amount of puffiness, it gets delicately shaped and placed into the banneton. It is then immediately placed into the refrigerator where it will rise a little more overnight. I bake them right from the fridge. If you add too much yeast, you will lose control of the rise.