How To Make Sourdough Less Sour?

If you like your sourdough less sour, you can make adjustments depending on your own taste or even the tastes of your family.

Here are some tweaks you can make to your sourdough to make it less tangy.

You might be surprised to learn that sourdough doesn’t necessarily have to be sour. Crazy, isn’t it? The actual sourdough starter is what makes sourdough – fermented dough that has gone sour.

Even though those really tangy loaves are totally okay to enjoy, they can be a bit overwhelming – especially for kids.

Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of ways you can make your bread less sour and thus more family friendly.

You can adjust your sourdough bread to suit your taste when you bake it yourself. It’s not hard to control the sourness in sourdough.

If you follow these tips, you’ll end up with more “regular” tasting bread.

Why Is Sourdough So Sour?

What makes sourdough bread sour? That’s a question we need to answer before we can reduce its sourness.

In sourdough, two acids create the sourness: lactic acid and acetic acid. A milder flavor profile is created by lactic acid, the same acid that gives yogurt its tang.

The unmistakable tanginess in sourdough comes from its acetic acid content. We must decrease the acetic acid content to reduce sourness.

To Greatly Improve

Reduce the water content in the starter to 60-65% and increase the feed ratio (a greater proportion of flour) if you wish to greatly reduce the acid content.

You should ferment at between 78- and 82-degrees Fahrenheit and refresh your wine at peak or just before it begins to recede. You should be able to achieve your goals after a few feeds like this.

For Starters, An Acid Evaluation Is Necessary

There will be some indication from smell, but taste will be much more accurate. Try putting a small piece of the starter on your tongue. If it’s very acidic, you’ll know. After that, spit it out.

What Is The Best Way To Make My Sourdough Less Sour?

You can reduce its sourness by using a starter that isn’t as sour. Bacteria are responsible for the sourness. Lactic acid will be produced by bacteria in the dough.

There are two types of sourness: lactic acid, which is the sourness of yogurt; and acetic acid, which is the sourness of vinegar.

Don’t let the acetobacter develop if you don’t like it. You can adjust the stiffness or runniness of your starter by adding more or less water, as well as keeping it colder or warmer.

Stiffer + cold = more acetic acid.

Liquid + warm = more lactic acid.

Your bread will become more or less sour as you adjust those parameters.

Other Ways To Make Sourdough Less Sour

You’ll need to reduce the amount of acetic acid in your sourdough bread if you want it to be less sour.

In order to make your sourdough bread less sour, you can do a variety of small things.

Depending on how mild you want your sourdough bread to taste, you can do all of them or just a few of them.

In order to bake sourdough bread properly, you will need to adjust the flavor of your sourdough starter, which has the greatest influence on the bread’s sourness.

1. Ferment Your Sourdough For A Shorter Time

By reducing the fermentation period of your sourdough bread, you can easily manipulate its sourness. If you want to find out what works best for you, you will need to experiment a bit.

Increasing the amount of starter is the best way to decrease bulk fermentation time. Do you notice a difference if you double the starter amount?

Sugar or honey can also be added to your dough. Because these provide fast food for yeast, they will reduce the fermentation time of your dough. As a result, your sourdough will become less sour.

2. Before Your Starter Peaks, Feed It

It should be enough to reduce the sourness if you feed your starter twice a day.

Additionally, you can time your feeding schedule so that you catch your starter before it peaks so that you don’t lose it.

Keeping it full of food ensures you don’t run out (and you won’t get drunk either).

3. Make Sure Your Starter Doesn’t Get Hungry

The starter produces “hooch” when it is hungry. Your bread would become more sour if you encouraged this. However, by regularly feeding your starter, you can prevent it from getting hungry and creating a less sour flavor.

It is best to feed your starter twice a day if it is kept on the counter so that it does not get too sour.

You may need to feed it three times if you live in a really warm climate. The starter might be better kept in the fridge in this case, so you don’t go through so much flour.

It’s okay if hooch still develops, but do not stir it into the food. Pour off the hooch before adding the flour and water.

It will also be helpful if you add a little more water to encourage a more liquid starter. It will reduce the sourness of your bread.

To be on the safe side, you should always make a backup of your sourdough starter before making any changes.

4. You Shouldn’t Use Whole Grains In Your Sourdough Starter

You will get more sour sourdough bread when you use wholegrain flour with your sourdough starter, since it produces more acetic acid.

You should avoid using wholegrain flour like rye in your bread to reduce tanginess. When building your starter, use all-purpose flour or plain flour.

Rye flour can still be used to boost your sourdough starter; however I recommend blending 1/4 rye flour with 3/4 all purpose flour.

Using your starter rye for a few days will get it started, and then switching back to your all-purpose flour will do the trick.

5. Skip or Reduce Your Cold Ferment

In general, your loaf will taste sour during the cold retard period that occurs between shaping and baking. You can solve this problem in several ways.

Cold ferment can be skipped entirely – simply let your loaf rest on the counter before scoring and baking.

Since ancient bakers did not have refrigerators, this practice is perfectly fine, but it will make your bread harder to score and will not have the same oven spring as refrigerated dough.

Alternatively, you can let your dough cool for a shorter period of time instead of storing it in the fridge.

Putting it in the freezer for 20 minutes after shaping would make scoring easier, but it wouldn’t give the bacteria much time to multiply.

How To Help Your Underperforming Starter?

When your starter doesn’t respond well to regular feedings, what can you do? If it hasn’t doubled in size in more than 12 hours or developed an unpleasant odor, it may be called “off.”.

You can address some of the factors that may contribute to the problem by following these steps.

Make Sure The Water Temperature Is Adjusted

It might be due to changing seasons or the cooler temperatures in your kitchen that your starter is slowing down. In hot weather, it may be due to the rapid rises and falls of the starter.

In the winter, warming the starter’s water will aid fermentation, while cooling it in the summer will help it return to its comfortable temperature.

Don’t Let Your Starter Go Too Long Between Feedings

When your starter is ripe or slightly less so, yeast is more likely to grow, while LAB is more likely to grow as it moves past ripe. So, feeding at the top of your starter’s growth cycle will keep both sides in good health.

Use Your Refrigerator To Its Full Potential

While we recommend feeding your starter when it’s at its peak, life intervenes, and we can’t always do that. This will cause everything to slow down and extend the ideal feeding window if you refrigerate your starter. 

The Ratio Of Starter To Flour And Water Should Be Adjusted

We find that our 100% hydration starter performs well under moderate to cool conditions, with a 1:1:1 ratio of starter to water to flour.

In a warm climate, on the other hand, your starter may peak too soon and fall too soon rather than lasting until the next feed if you’re in a warm climate (whether due to season or climate). 

It can quickly become tiresome to feed your starter more than twice daily, so here’s how you can slow things down: change the 1:1:1 ratio to something like 1:4:4.

Feeding your starter more flour and water will slow down things and allow you to achieve your ideal of feeding it twice a day, since a larger meal requires more time to digest and ferment.

If your starter seems to take quite a bit longer when you first switch to larger feedings, don’t worry. During the last few hours, most of the activity will take place.

Feeding 1:4:4 and concerned about too much discard?

Feed less starter. Start with 25g of starter and feed 100g flour and water each. Instead of 50g of starter and 200g of water, start with 25g of starter and 100g flour and water each.

Keeping a smaller starter might be a better alternative if this still seems excessive. A 1:4:4 feeding looks like this: 7g starter plus 28g water plus 28g flour for our smaller starter recipe.

Final Words

This guide should help you adjust the sourness of your sourdough bread to a milder taste.

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