The Fresh Loaf

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bread not sour enough!

kristakoets's picture

bread not sour enough!

Help! my starter is great but my bread is not sour enough! here's my formula:

Feeding every 12 hours 1:1:1 (retained starter, flour, water) with 50% reduced bran flour, 25% whole wheat flour and (recent change to get more sour flavor) 25% rye flour and I keep it on the counter at about 65-70 degrees right now. Doubles like a champ every 8-12 hours.

I am using Dan Lepard's pain au levain recipe...1 cup starter per loaf, autolyse 15 min, brief hand knead, S&F every 45 min (4x) bulk ferment at about 65 degrees (dough temp is around 73 degrees). Pre-shape, rest, shape and proof (sometimes for the recommended 2 hours at room temp, sometimes for 12-24 hours @45 degrees. Continue proofing (if cold) 1-2 hrs at room temp, bake per usual. Getting great crust, great crumb, oven spring etc...but barely ANY sour flavor. What's strange to me is that my starter tasted straight is so sour it makes my mouth pucker...but none of it shows up in the finished product...what to do? Thanks for your help :-)


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

than room temp up into the high 70°s or low 80°s before retarding.  That might get your sour producing bacteria going. 

Nickisafoodie's picture

I find the following get my loaves more on the sour/tang side which is how I like it:

1) Mini is correct: optimal temps are typically 78° or so- I get doubling in three hours at this temp.

2) Also suggest increasing preferment portion to 15-20% and let that go 8 hours/overnight, then add rest and make as normal

3) Continue with overnight rise in refrigeratior shaping loaves into final form, cover (basket/linen) in plastic bag leaving room for expansion

4) Use of rye in your starter will accelerate fermentation and sour buildup. 5% makes a difference and adds a nice and subtle flavor nuance to the bread...



kristakoets's picture

Mini and Nick...I will try all those options!

golgi70's picture

A few suggestions to increase sour to your liking.  

1)  If you make a sour starter that will be the first start.  If you bake often enough this is simple.  Just keep a cold starter.  Feed it once daily.  I take it out of the fridge/retarder a couple hours before feeding to take the chill off.  Then let it rest at room temp for a couple hours before returning it to the fridge/retarder.  I make it a point to feed the same time every day to keep it healthy.   If you dont' bake very often you could probably get away with feeding once a week and make sure to feed at least a few days in a row before use.  

2)  The easiest step towards sour is to increase the retarding time.  For example.  Start off by bulk ferment at room temp.  Shape and retard overnight.  Then bake.  

If you want it even more sour I'd suggest a bulk ferment in the retarder overnight.  Take out for a couple hours to take the chill off.  Shape.  Proof at room temp until close but not completely proofed.  Now finish the proof in the retarder overnight and bake the following day.  

At this stage I couldn't imagine you'd want to go any further.  As for the proofing times you'll have to play with it based on the temp of your retarder and how much more they will proof overnight.  Probably between 3-5 hours depending on loaf size and temps of room and fridge.   

Hope you get the twang you seek


G-man's picture

Subject says it. This worked for me...keeping the starter dry until it was time to use it, then building it to a 100% hydration starter over a series of two feedings without discarding until I reached the amount I needed to bake with.


Just a thought.