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sourdough starter - high altitude

gduell's picture

sourdough starter - high altitude

I've been trying to bake sourdough bread for quite some time now. High altitude bread baking is quite different. I want a really sour bread, as well. I'm keeping the starter really firm, and when I create a sponge, it's really active. I've resorted to using a bread pan, and refrigerating (Otherwise, it's tough to get it to rise in the oven, especially during summer months). That helps. Nice crumb, etc. The issue is that the bread is really tangy, but not really sour tasting. (I've heard the word 'immature' used). Trying to figure out how to bake sourdough bread was the first challenge. Now I'm concerned with the flavor. I'm using yeast I got from My starter is about a year old now. I've started over several times. I really like the behavior of this starter, but not the flavor. I keep the started refrigerated and feed it once a week. 

I make croissants, cinnamon rolls, shortbread, etc. Not a novice. But this......This is a real challenge.

Any suggestions with the flavor of sourdough will be greatly appreciated.



bikeprof's picture

1. what is the hydration of the sponge (levain) you are using?  As with your starter, a firm levain favors acetic over lactic acid production.  You can give that firm sponge lots of time to get sour.

I also recommend Dan Wing's book The  Bread Builders for one of the better explanations of the dynamics of sourdough cultures, so you can gain a real understanding of the variables involved.  He has a brief section called "Very Sour Bread" and recommends combining a very sour stiff sponge (or old dough) for acidic flavor and a more liquid and younger sponge to power the rise.

2. If baking once a week, I'd take the starter out of the fridge a couple days before, and refresh it a few times before using to leaven.