The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Tang! and Salt

Abe's picture

Tang! and Salt

Just had a lightbulb moment and then checked out my idea which Brod and Taylor confirmed. 

Salting a starter makes the starter less tangy. Sometime ago I made a starter and included 2% salt from the get go. The starter matured nicely but was very mellow. 

So got me thinking how to transfer this into baking for a more tangy sourdough bread. 

How about if you include salt from the start, or close to the start e.g. after an autolyse, of the final dough's fermentation then the levain should be a high percentage of the final dough so the acids have had chance to build up before the salt is added. 

If one is going for a very low inoculation then add salt towards the end of the bulk ferment giving time for the acids to build up. 


WanyeKest's picture

I'm back to bread baking, created new starter, 4% salt, 100% hydration, epic fail lol. Funny thing is, I used it to flavor flatbread (flatbread is always edible, no matter what lol), it browned nicely, it proofed nicely, but the starter was highly proteolytic. It was very deceiving, it wouldn't double during feeding, but very active during bulk. I tried triple stage levain, satisfied with the mild flavor, but the schedule is just something I can't keep up with. So I made peace with the less-than-desired overnight levain. 50% hydration starter, no salt.

Abe's picture

4% salt? That's very high. Are you talking about using 4% salt when making a starter or in the final dough? 

Why would an overnight levain be less than desired? 

WanyeKest's picture

As for salt, I tried his method

But ultimately keep the total salt 2.4% to my taste.


I found overnight levain is too sour for my liking (even at 1:10:5, 8 hours). I tried triple stage levain, I love it (1:2:1 each stage, 4 hours each). But too much to fit in my schedule.

Sorry for messy reply, I am not used to platforms like this, just lurking around to recall every missing memories about bread baking lol. It's been 10 years

Abe's picture

Try an off-shoot starter but salt at 2% 

  • 10g starter
  • 50g water
  • 50g flour
  • 1g salt

Give it a few feeds this way over a day or two. Just to change it's flavour profile from a non salted starter. 

Then for your final dough use a small-ish amount of starter and 2% salt. E.g.

  • 500g flour
  • 300-350g water (depending on preferred hydration)
  • 10g salt
  • 100g starter

This way your starter has been salted, and fed a few times this way, to keep the acid down. The final dough has salt added from the beginning.

If this works then perhaps you can keep this as your "new" starter. 

WanyeKest's picture

With both triple stage levain and newly adapted overnight levain I use my 50% hydration starter, no salt, as she advised for reducing sourness

And I figured out, from final mixing to popping to the oven, can't go longer than 6 hours, otherwise too sour (actually not that sour, it's just that I live somewhere in Southeast Asia. You get the idea, lol). Last time I tried 2 hours bulk, 4 hours proof, it tastes close to my liking. So I'm keeping it. And because of short bulk, I  have to be a bit more aggresive with mixing. Time is my enemy lol


My levain

10g starter

100g bread flour (13% protein)

50g water


Final dough (68% hydration, 2.4% salt)

160g levain

187g bread flour

186g cake flour (I have too much cake flour at home. So, yeah. Why not lol) (8% protein)

273g water

11g salt


During bulk, I do bowl folds, then coil folds, then lamination fold. 20 minutes interval