Pros and Cons of Adding Yeast to Sourdough

Pros and Cons of Adding Yeast to Sourdough

Ahh, the age old debate - sourdough bread or yeast bread. Sourdough, known for its flavor and nutritional value, competes with the ever popular yeast bread that many find quick and easy. 

But have you ever wondered about adding yeast to sourdough bread? Does it work? Is it good or bad? What happens? 

Today we are here to chat about it- the good, bad, and ugly (just kidding, nothing’s ugly about heritage wheat).

Often times bakers refer to sourdough loaves with yeast as “hybrid loaves” 

We ran this by Sunrise Flour Mill’s executive baker (Darrold) and this was his response.”I was always a purist, shocked that anyone might mix 7Up or Coke with their scotch, and adding yeast to my sourdough wasn’t going to happen until…..I was trying to make baguettes and I read several recipes in well-known artisan baking books and found that they sometimes actually added a little commercial yeast to their sourdough baguettes”


Rises Faster: Sourdough relies on the wild yeast in the air around us to make your dough rise. Commercial yeast packets are one strain of yeast that has been manipulated to activate and rise faster.  When you add commercial yeast to your sourdough bread, it will likely rise faster.

More Consistency in Results (Potentially): Since sourdough bread relies on the yeast in the air around it, there are many more environmental conditions that come into play which will ultimately affect the rise of your bread. Whether you know it or not, the conditions around you change constantly resulting in variations in your starter and the way your bread rises. A yeast packet is more controlled which will result in more consistent results each time you make bread. 


Digestibility: true sourdough bread is more digestible. As sourdough sits and ferments, the mixture of flour, water and salt is fermented by naturally occurring lactic acid, bacteria, and yeasts. When you use yeast to make your bread rise faster- you're not allowing this process to happen. Note that many people find heritage wheat more digestible and sourdough brings that digestibility to the next level. 

Potentially less flavor: Although sourdough bread takes more time to rise, this extended rise results in a deeper flavor. By shortening the rise time, you are missing out on a depth of flavor that can not be achieved in yeast or hybrid loaves. 

Not traditional: Traditional sourdough is made only with sourdough starter- no commercial yeast is used.

I want to take this chance to say this email is not meant to encourage/discourage you from doing what works for you. Darrold makes yeast bread, hybrid loaves, and pure sourdough. What’s most important is that no matter what method you’re using, you’re using quality ingredients that are better for you.

All for now, 


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