I just got a dry start packet, and following your directions, I was wondering, will the yeast be sour if I leave it out? I absolutely DETEST sourdough, and am hoping to be able to start wet yeast that will be sweet and not sour. Thanks, Dana
Once upon a time, I disliked sourdough. My mother loved it. One day, I mistakenly tried white sourdough bread, thinking it was white store-bought bread. What a sour shocker! This bread had vinegar added like many bakery sourdough breads. I agreed with the masses–sourdough is an acquired taste.
Fast forward over twenty plus years to 2006. My husband decided he’d like all our wheat products naturally leavened. He began baking and cooking. I didn’t complain. We really felt treated when I converted my favorite pancake recipe to natural leavening. The occasional, mild and natural sourness didn’t bother me. Next we figured out how to make sweet smelling and tasting flat breads and loaves. Do you want to know the simple secrets to prevent sourdough sourness?
Secrets to Prevent Sourness:
#1 Culture your refreshed (and previously activated) Natural Leavening start for the minimal amount of time. Leave Natural Leavening at room temperature just until it doubles in volume. This may take just under 3 hours when warm (mid 70s), or around 12 hours if cool (high 60s). Use this Natural Leavening start to raise batter bread, flat bread, or loaf bread (see #2).
#2 Minimize rising time for naturally leavened batter and bread doughs. Simply let your bread rise once. Find a warmer place like the top of the oven,a Southern room, or an oven heated to 180’F and then turned off. A few hours in a warm place (mid to high 70’s) may raise your bread to the perfect, almost doubled volume. Next, bake this naturally leavened, sweet creation! Warning: If your kitchen is very cool (mid 60’s), raising may take 12 hours, which could produce sourness.
#3 Refrigerate, refresh, or use the remaining Natural Leavening start. If sitting too long at room temperature the leavening volume will compress or deflate. Next, a liquid* alcohol, called hooch, will form on top and the leavening below will be sour. (Some store bought “whole grain” flour and some gluten free grains, especially sorghum, will separate immediately after refreshing. Don’t worry. This is not hooch, just water separation.)
#4 Store your cooked/baked naturally leavened bread products in the freezer to prevent further souring (and staling) on the counter. Portion bread items before freezing for an easy reheat.
Healthier Bread. I actually don’t mind the sour flavor anymore. Tastes buds can mature, so to speak. Adapting to a sour flare was a conscious choice of mine, knowing that the natural flavor comes from a more broken down grain. I have had some gut issues previously. Studies demonstrate increased digestibility with sourdough, or naturally leavened bread, as we like to call it. For health reasons, we now prefer to maximize the culture and rise times for batter breads and bread dough. We like to give the beneficial bacteria time to become plentiful and “really do their stuff”. Currently, we are suggesting 8-12 hours or more for better digestibility. Some extremely grain sensitive and health conscious individuals let the grain ferment for 24-72 hours. Studies show that long ferments drastically improve tolerance of glutenous grains for sensitive individuals.
Sincerely, Amy, R.D.
Dr. Dough, hopefully, will blog more about grain tolerance studies in future months!
Amy McClean, registered dietitian, and Dr. Matthew McClean, “Dr. Dough” are the makers of Old World Natural Leavening. This duo has been researching and experimenting with Natural Leavening since 2006. They have helped numerous “health gurus” and hundreds, if not thousands, of other people use Natural Leavening. At the time of this writing, all proceeds from the sale of Natural Leavening starters and classes have been put back in to natural leavening research and education. McClean’s have funded small research studies, started naturalleavening.com, and built an inspected kitchen to legally make bread and teach classes.