Just got home from a week away to some rotten sourdough on the counter…so as I was making up a new batch I had some thoughts I will share.

Yeast strain: There are many strains of yeast suitable for sourdough, of course you may even find these apparently different strains for sale on the net.

For me the obvious and most available choice is to start with bread yeast (because it’s proven)…buy a packet and your set. You can leave flour and water on the counter and you will get a yeast culture…the dominant strain will most likely be suitable and was the first method I used in 1982.

Getting started: Just mix the flour and water and yeast or lack of and your done, treat as any sourdough (not addressed here)…will take a while to get sour.

Adding sugar: Some recipes say add sugar to get started (some even continue to add it), my thoughts are simply that the yeast that consumes the added sugar, are not attacking the starch sugars, and you may end up with a different balance of yeast strain, some preferring the sugar. This may be ok if you are going to continue adding sugar, otherwise this balance may change when stopping the sugar. On permantly adding sugar, I can only speculate a slightly different texture may result if less of the starches are broken down.

Spiking with yeast: Adding yeast to your dough mix may be total blasphemy to some, and I have no doubt that my end results are affected by doing this. My main reason for doing this is lack of schedule, I do not make bread on a regular enough basis to keep my sourdough in the optimal state to make consisitently decent bread. Adding yeast into the dough make sure of a good raise in a somewhat reliable time frame. As for other methods, overnight in the fridge, etc…I make this work for me and aim to get the best results under those circumstances.  I do try and use a small amount of yeast to still make the process at least 8 hours long, but have had no luck with the fridge method as the rise just never seemed to recover.



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