My current sourdough recipe calls for 67% (baker’s percentage) of starter. As I’ve been doing more reading, I’ve noticed that a lot of recipes call for much less starter than I currently use. I looked through ten different recipes, and found that for doughs with hydration levels around 80% (blue dots), bakers used ~ 25% of starter. For doughs that had around 65% hydration (orange dots), bakers used ~35% of starter. In contrast, my current recipe (red diamond) calls for 67%!!
So, what’s the effect of using so much starter? Well, I expect my bulk fermentation time to be faster with more starter. But, I don’t know how it would affect the taste. To test the first hypothesis, I made small batches of dough (~60g) using 30% and 67% starter, while maintaining the same hydration in both doughs. Some caveats – since the amount of dough was very small I didn’t add salt since my scale isn’t sensitive enough to accurately weigh out such small amounts of salt. I also did the same number of stretch and folds to each dough. While I lost some dough during mixing due to stickiness, the difference in mass transferred to the jars was just 1 gram.
The result? In the time it took for the 30% starter dough to get to 1.5X in size, the 67% starter dough had doubled in size.
And what does it mean for the taste? Both doughs are in bulk fermentation right now, look out for the next post that will compare their taste!
How much starter do you use?
Here are the recipes used for these graphs:
|Recipe||Starter (%)||Water (%)|
|Gerard’s apprentice loaf||18||78|
|Tartine Basic Country Loaf||18||77|
|Bread Magazine Sourdough Bread||22||73|
|Higher hydration sourdough bread||24||83|
|100% Whole grain spelt||26||79|
|Rye Whole Wheat Sourdough||32||76|
|Diane Andiel’s Norwich Sourdough||30||65|
|Easy Sourdough bread||32||63|
|Norwich More Sourdough||39||68|
|My current recipe||67||74|