Last week, I baked two sourdough loaves, one with 67% starter the other with 30%. Overall they were pretty similar:

  1. Texture – the crumb was identical on both loaves.
  2. Taste  – this is still up in the air. We did a blind taste test and found the 30% loaf to be more sour than the 67% loaf (both were baked on the same day). We’re still undecided on what, if any, effect the starter had on the final taste of the loaf. We had sandwiches with both loaves all week and both were delicious.
  3. Time – the biggest and most objective difference was the time it took to make these two loaves. Using less starter extended the bulk fermentation time by 1 hour.

With an indiscernible (to our palates at least) effect on taste, the 1 hour time difference seems like a great tool to make this bread fit into our schedule. Need to attend to something else during bulk fermentation? Extending or reducing the sourdough starter would be an effective way to make that work.