I’m done with yeast

Not really. But since I started to use a sourdough starter for my bread again, I realized how much better sourdough based breads are compared to yeast breads. When I grew up, I hated sourdough breads. Here in Germany, sourdough is associated with rustic rye breads. These breads have a dark colour and they have a really sour taste. When I was a kid, the breads I chose had to be jelly-compatible, which means soft sandwhich bread types were best. My father on the other hand loved real sourdough rye breads with caraway seeds, but how are you supposed to eat these with nutella or strawberry jam?

A couple of years ago I worked – only for a couple of months – at an organic bakery. The sold yeast and sourdough leavened breads. While the yeast leavened breads were light both in taste and appearance, the sourdough breads again were dark, rustic, and they had a distinct sourdough flavour. I still didn’t like them that much.

When I started to bake my own breads, I started with yeast breads. I thought that sourdough is a complicated matter and I never really considered to use it. One day I changed my mind and started to do a bit of research about sourdough. I bought a rye sourdough starter culture at a store and used a recipe from one of my bread baking books. The bread didn’t come out that great and I went back to yeast breads.

Bazu’s posts about sourdough baking changed my mind again. Her breads were made with sourdough, but they were light and fluffy. I started researching again and I realized that the bread baking traditions of Germany and the USA seem to be very different when it comes to sourdough. In Germany sourdough is often made from rye and it is used for rye breads because rye and yeast just don’t go so well together. (I wrote about this before here). Nobody that I know would associate a light and fluffy bread with sourdough. (Although I guess that you can find these breads. I’m just not aware of them because I haven’t got a clue about baking traditions in Germany.)

In the US and in other countries like Italy and France plenty of light and fluffy bread recipes based on sourdough can be found. Realizing this was a totally new and great experience for me. The most important thing  is to use a wheat sourdough starter, which is much milder than a ry starter.

My first wheat sourdough was a ciabatta which came out so fantastic, light and fluffy, that it finally came to my mind how versatile sourdough really is.

If you have a really good starter it will improve the texture of your bread a lot. The bread gets fluffy, elastic, and it will stay fresh for a long time. I keep my starter in the fridge and use it once a week by feeding  it for a couple of days, baking with it and then I put the starter back into the fridge. I also change flours quite often. When I got the starter from Bazu, it was made from all purpose flour. I refreshed it with whole wheat flour, which made the taste of the starter slightly sour. When I baked with it for the second time, the result was a bread that tasted almost like rye bread. For this bread I used whole wheat flour, ground amaranth flour, and soaked millet. I seasoned the bread with dill seeds, which taste similar to caraway. Not jelly-compatible but very, very tasty. Meanwhile I have changed my mind about rye sourdough breads. They are aromatic and they are special. They can’t be paired with jelly because they have their own will:

After that I started feeding the starter with all purpose flour. When it was almost 100 % all purpose I made the oatmeal sourdough bread from baking bites. I used half whole spelt flour/half all purpose flour, substituted the 1 T sugar for the honey and left out the oil. The result was a fluffy, elastic, and really comforting white sandwhich bread:

100 % jelly-compatible:

The bread was still fresh the other day and we not only ate it topped with jelly but also to accompany our soup and I snacked on it all by itself because it was so good.

I divided the batter into two parts and mixed 30 g (1/3 cup) of dried barberries into one bread:

These berries are very sour and they give the bread a very distinctive taste. Zereshk, as these berries are called in Kurdish and Persian, are often used for rice, couscous, or other grain dishes. The berries are commonly grown in the Middle East and used in the cuisine of those countries, but P. brought me a batch of local barberries, which he found in a supermarket. As bread is the most important “grain dish” in germany, it seemed obvious enough to throw them into the dough.

It’s really funny how the berries stick out of the bread all black, looking like black corinths.

Now you know the reason why I prefer sourdough over yeast. It’s a starter with a personalety which is very versatile. It’s taste can be very predominant in one bread and very retiring and cautious in another.


  • 9 years ago

    Thank you, jrsimon56!
    I’m glad you like it.

  • jrsimon56
    9 years ago

    I just found your blog and loooove it. The breads are amazing. I have so much respect for anyone that can be patient with that fine science. Thanks for blogging!

  • 9 years ago

    Beautiful! All of it!

  • 9 years ago

    yummy. the breads look fabulous.

    I don’t care how sour a sourdough is, I will still make toast and put jelly on it :) I have strange tastes at times.

  • 9 years ago

    I used to hate sourdough too, but have recently discovered how much I love it!! Your breads look amazing… I still haven’t worked up the courage to try much bread baking…

  • 9 years ago

    your bread looks to die for. i never understood what the hell a sourdough starter was- that’s the main reason i haven’t made sourdough bread haha

  • 9 years ago

    oh and sourdough is a natural preservative, so sourdough bread doesn’t go stale as quickly. another plus!

  • 9 years ago

    that is exactly the same reaction I had when I first started using the sourdough- I’m through with yeast! (I still use yeast for sweets, like cinnamon rolls though). I love the idea of “jelly compatible” bread! I’ve tried making rye bread with the sourdough, and the results have been pretty good- 50/50 AP and whole rye flour is the proportion I use. Your breads look so good- I can’t wait to get back home and start baking again!

    P.S. Love the snow
    P.P.S. miss v, olives would be awesome in sourdough bread, I think.

  • 9 years ago

    sourdough is definitely my favourite. but i’ve been wanting to make a spelt olive bread… i wonder how olives would taste in sourdough?

  • 9 years ago

    Your breads look delcious, I wish I had some for the Speculoos spread that just arrived! You’re right, I love it!

    And I know, my Speculaas look nothing like the ones I ate as a child but I don’t have a mould for them like traditional ones, so mine are round or tree shaped now!

    And I too love the snow on your blog!

  • 9 years ago

    barberries? Your posts are so informative!

  • 9 years ago

    Oh how cute, I love the snow!

  • 9 years ago

    Snowball fight at Mihl’s, everybody!! :)

    You always make such impressive loaves of bread, they truly are gorgeous! I’ve never liked sourdough bread, but now I’m intrigued!

  • 9 years ago

    I love sourdough breads. I had this stuff called “friendship starter” for awhile that my mom passed down to me, and my grandma passed it to her. You had to feed it sugar and potato flakes every week and either bake with it or dump some out and re-feed.

    Unfortunately, all that sugar was kinda nasty. And it was ONLY good for really sweet breads, like cinnamon rolls. So I ended up dumping it out. My mom dumped hers out too.

    But I’d like to try again with a real wheat-based starter.

    BTW, I love the snow flakes on your blog!

  • 9 years ago

    dan & i have wanted to create a starter for quite some time now! i think i’ll do some research and see if i can get one going! it sounds awesome!

    i love the snow, Mihl! makes me superhappyfaced!

  • 9 years ago

    Impressive! The dark Finnish sourdough rye bread has always been my favorite, I’m not sure if it’s similar to the German one. I’ve never baked sourdough with other flours, sounds so intriguing! Maybe we’ll try baking spelt sordough bread for Christmas.

  • gail
    9 years ago

    As a real carb lover, and I completely appreciate your passion for breads. I especially appreciate you breaking down your process and preferences – I have never tried a sour dough starter, but now I definitely want to add it to my kitchen “must do” list.

  • 9 years ago

    Oh the bread goodness! I am craving bread like crazy – your breads all look amazing!

  • 9 years ago

    ohh…your breads look wonderful! I haven’t done much with bread baking but I hope to this winter inspired by you! I’m glad you are enjoying your new mill. Now it makes sense why I can’t find sourdough bread like we have here when I’m visiting Germany..not that I was really looking since German bread is sooooo good. What I wouldn’t do for a fresh brötchen! I’m taking a try at lebkuchen tomorrow..and stollen next weekend. Wish me luck..first times for both!

  • 9 years ago

    I’ve been meaning to get my starter started (wow, that seems redundant) for awhile now. Your breads look fabulously delicious, especially the blueberry one!

  • 9 years ago

    I’m still not very skilled at making sourdough breads, so I’m very jealous of your talent. Those loaves look incredible!

    PS, nice snow! ;)

  • 9 years ago

    Those are such gorgeous breads! I love sourdough as well–texture and taste are sooo much better than yeast, I think. And these baked goods are truly inspiring!

  • tofuparty
    9 years ago

    I like the idea of making food with something that has a changing personality. Preparing food never gets boring this way.
    I like the snow as long you don’t start to throw snowballs at us when we come to visit your blog :-)

  • 9 years ago

    Thanks for the great bread post! And I really want my blog to snow!

  • 9 years ago

    You’re not crazy. It’s snowing on my blog :D

  • 9 years ago

    Love the sourdough versions!! Fabulous!!

    Am I crazy, or is there snow falling across the computer screen on your blog??

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