The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Starter AND Yeast?

Susan's picture

Starter AND Yeast?

Could someone please explain why many recipes call for both sourdough starter AND commercial yeast?  Is it to have a rising shortcut but the author wants a sourdough taste, or will the starter not last or support the dough, or is it something I haven't even considered?   Thanks to anyone who can clear up this mystery for me.

JMonkey's picture


When commercial yeast is used in conjunction with starter, it speeds up the rise significantly, but also lessens the sourdough flavor. Just depends on what kind of characteristics you want your bread to have. I rarely add commercial yeast to sourdough bread, myself.

breadnerd's picture

I'm looking through my notes from a sourdough seminar I took. Our instructor (from the SFBI at the time) often had .1 or .2% yeast in the final dough. I can't find my exact note--but basically he said up to a certain (I think .5 of a baker's percentage) of yeast would not affect your sourdough qualities.


Why would you want to do this? It aids in the predictability and consistency of your product, which is obviously more important in a commercial application. I think for home use, we're more likely to work around our bread's activity, rather than force it to be done in a certain time. But, I do add it to some recipes when I don't have 3-4 hours extra in my schedule.


Also, I use my sourdough culture in recipes calling for poolish, but then I use the regular yeast in the main dough. For ciabatta, for example, I think this gives me extra flavor than a standard poolish, but it keeps the other qualities of the yeasted dough that I'm looking for (texture, etc).