When it comes to food, everyone's tastes and expectations are different. Some individuals like a loaf of sourdough that is more sour, and others prefer a loaf that is less sour. We have one of each types of people in our house. Our starter isn’t very sour, Darrold’s preference, so we have figured out some ways to make it more sour, Marty’s preference.
The baker has some control over the level of sourness. It's true! There are certain things you can do to make your loaf of bread more sour. Here are are 6 things to try if you prefer your sourdough bread to be more sour:
When it comes time to proof your dough, the longer you proof, the more sour the dough will be. As your dough proofs, the good bacteria eats up sugars and starches in the flour. This decreases the sweet undertone and creates a more sour undertone. The longer you ferment, the more starches and sugars the bacteria eats, and the more sour your bread will be.
Some people let the bread proof in the fridge for up to 48 hours! (or longer if you’re absent minded like we are. We have been known to forget a loaf in the fridge for 5-6 days. The bread won’t have as much loft but it will definitely be sour).
Try adding whole grains
Like our Fine or Coarse Rye Flour or Heritage Whole Wheat Flour - whole grains contain complex carbohydrates. These help the acetic acid-producing bacteria gobble up more sugars which produces a more sour loaf.
Doughs using more whole grains will not have the same loft as those using White or Bread Blend. The tradeoff is more well-developed flavor, and more nutrition. If you prefer a loftier loaf, play with the ratios of White to whole grain flours. It’s kind of fun to see how they differ at different percentages. You’ll land on your preferred blend - or it may be all whole grain.
Feed your starter less often
The longer you go in between feedings, the more acetic acid your starter will develop. This acid creates a more sour flavor.
Stir in any hooch
If you wait long enough between feedings, a gray or black “water” will develop on top of your starter. The liquid is called hootch. It is the alcohol given off as the wild yeasts ferment. That hooch is packed full of sour flavor so don't pour it off, just stir it in.
Add starter to recipe after it's reached its peak
The flavor of a sourdough starter is most mild when it has reached its peak. Add it to your recipe after it has reached this peak for a more flavorful loaf.
More stretch and folds
Typically, people do about 3-5 stretch and folds in the process of making a loaf of sourdough bread. If you do 2-4 more of them, it helps produce a more sour dough.
Try one or all of these tricks to make your sourdough bread more sour.