Bakers: Sourdough yeast question

I’ve been doing sourdough for a while (Carl’s Oregon Trail derivative). I make a sponge by taking maybe 1/4 cup starter, 1/2 cup flour, 1 cup of water. Maybe I feed it for a day or two or three, maybe just overnight. There is good yeasty activity. When I use the sponge to make the whole loaf, I find that the loaf generally doesn’t rise very much. Even if I leave it overnight (no knead process).

Now, I did find if I do the above and then add say a teaspoon of yeast, then my loafs do rise a lot.

Question: does this adding of the yeast for the loaf rise affect the sourdough flavor to any great degree?

any hints you have for sourdough?

No answer, but I got some of Griffith’s Oregon Trail starter too so I’m interested. Haven’t even tried it out yet.

One of the purposes of sourdough is that the wild yeast takes so much more time to rise that it gives time for the complex flavors to develop. My guess is that other than any flavor that was imparted by the residual starter, it will taste like regular yeast dough.

Of course the real test is how well you like it.

Commercial yeast is far more robust than wild yeast and quickly crowds it out, and it will affect flavor.

I’ve been trying to figure out a way to effectively add yeast just before the final rise, myself. It actualy shouldn’t be all that hard, but I havent’ come up with a foolproof way yet.

No matter what you do, plan your breadmaking days in advance, so give it plenty of time to develop flavor.

I suggest you head over to for sourdough questions and info. The bakers over there are very experienced. Taking into account my knowledge and experience with sourdough, I would say you are using the wrong process to make the bread. You make the culture first, get it going good and strong (5+ days of feeding, dividing, feeding, etc), and then you make a sponge with a portion of the culture. The sponge has to sit and activate for a good 24 hours before you make the actual dough. If the dough has not risen in 24 hours, the sponge, and possibly the culture is just not strong enough yet. If you’re not using a formula/recipe, then you could also not be using enough culture in the dough. Once you add commercial yeast to a sourdough, it’s not sourdough anymore. The commercial yeast will take over and push out/kill the wild yeast, and the desired characteristics of sourdough are lost. Done properly and when the wild yeast are given enough time to do their thing, commercial yeast is never needed.

Each time you make a loaf of sourdough, you have to reactivate the starter with 5+ days of feeding at room temperature before making the sponge. The yeast basically go dormant under refrigeration, so you have wake them up and get them vigorous and active before making the sponge for the loaf.

thanks for the link.

I’ll have to try a side by side comparison next time to see what the flavor and rise is like.

Rokzane, I’ve spent a week developing the starter/spoonge before, feeding it every day, etc, and still not had a great rise come baking time. Maybe I need to let the loaf rise for 24 hours instead of overnight.

it is actually about 3 days of rising total when I bake … and I do a 4 loaf batch at a time, so I bake basically twice a week. If I want ‘instant’ bread, I use commercial yeast like everybody else.

It really takes time for a good sour flavor to develop, though you can buy souring salts to fake the sour, just like you can buy rye additive to make a more commercial rye flavored loaf at home.

I found a sourdough link to Sour Dough Home that seems really good. At least the guy’s style appeals to me. Here it is:

I guess that for the past few years I have
a) not cared for my starter very well (but it is alive :))
b) not revived the starter for baking very well

My latest sourdough following the sour dough home directions came out more sour and got a good rise with just the well activated sourdough starter.