We’ve received an influx of questions about sourdough recently and it has inspired us to dive deeper into the subject. We wanted to find ways to make sourdough easier to perfect at home. Sourdough is a lengthy process that only gets better with age. But what if we want a great sourdough loaf, sooner rather than later? How can we expedite the process to make a consistent sourdough loaf at home?
“How can we hack a homemade sourdough?”
The process of making a loaf of sourdough takes time because it requires a sourdough starter. Sourdough starters are a living colony of bacteria and yeast that provide the funk and sourness of a great loaf. But you need to remember to feed the starter, if you do not feed the starter, it will die. A good way to jumpstart a starter is to use Florapan. Florapan contains specific yeast and bacteria to create a loaf of french sourdough within a day. The reason why it is a “french” sourdough loaf is that the yeast and bacteria in Florapan are specific for a french “levain” flavor. Florapan can be used in two ways, It can be added to a pre-ferment in a ratio of 0.1% to the weight of the flour in the pre-ferment. This can also be used to create a starter but just know after a few days the natural yeast and bacteria in the air will change the french levain flavor to a more localized flavor. This is the exact reason why San Francisco sourdough can only be made in San Francisco.
The second hack is a simple addition that adds consistency to every loaf. When using a sourdough starter it will become sour. This is due to lactic acid being produced by the fermentation process. The longer the fermentation the more acid will be produced. But like we stated, the starter will need to be “fed”. When the starter is fed the acidity will fluctuate. So when making sourdough it is always a good idea to include lactic acid as a way to regulate the flavor. Adding 0.5-1% lactic acid to the weight of the flour in the recipe will make for a more consistent loaf.
Lastly, we have some tips on keeping the starter alive once you have created it. The first thing you need to do is to feed it. The best way to remember to do this is to name the starter. Yes, we know this seems silly but if you give the starter a name that makes you chuckle you will be more apt to remember to feed it. I feed Captain Lou Albano… errr… my starter daily when consistently making bread. If I know it will be a while before making bread again then I place it in the fridge. Doing this will make it go dormant and you can go months without feeding it again. Once you remove the starter from the refrigerator you can make a Floripan preferment for your recipe and add it directly into the starter. This will revive the starter within a day. If you do not use the Florapan it will take a week of consistent feeding before the starter is ready to use again. Quick tip when feeding a sourdough starter, make sure to do 90% All purpose flour and 10% organic whole wheat flour. The organic whole wheat flour contains the bran which in organic flour will carry a large amount of wild yeast. This will help keep a lively starter. So whether you want to make sourdough daily or weekly using these tips will help you create a consistent loaf every single time.