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Substitute Sourdough Starter For Yeast in Your Baking Recipes

If you’re wondering whether you can substitute sourdough starter for yeast in your baking recipes, you’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll find information on how to substitute sourdough starter for yeast, how to use a sourdough starter and the changes in flavour that you’ll notice. It’s easy to convert sourdough bread recipes using a sourdough starter.

Have you ever wanted to try sourdough starter in one of your usual yeast recipes or experiment with other flavours when baking? This article discusses using sourdough starter instead of dry yeast in recipes. While you’ll have to be flexible with the ingredients and rising time, the main principle is to figure out how much flour and water to leave out when adding the starter.

While this appears to be a simple task, there are a few considerations to keep in mind, which may seem apparent to some but are worth mentioning just in case.

What is Sourdough Starter and How to Make it?

It’s no surprise that sourdough starter has become a hot issue in recent months. Slower, more attentive cooking is becoming popular among home cooks and bakers, and what better place to start than with the most basic of foods: bread. For tens of thousands of years, humans have been organically leavening their pieces of bread with just three simple ingredients: flour, water, and time. With the addition of salt, you have an excellent and nutritious loaf of bread.

Baking sourdough bread allows you to mix science and art to create something delicious, healthy, and beautiful with your hands. This may appear complicated, but I assure you that it is not. Because Sourdough has become so popular in the food media and on social media, there is a wealth of knowledge available. I’ve spent numerous hours reading cookbooks, other blogs, online baking resources and forums, and, most significantly, social media conversations with other sourdough bakers. Because the starter has gotten the most queries, I’ve put together this resource to utilize when you start your sourdough journey.

What Exactly is Yeast?

Saccharomyces cerevisiae is the scientific name for yeast employed in the food and beverage sectors.

On the grocery store shelves, yeast is usually marketed as quick yeast or active dry yeast. Dry yeast becomes a living, breathing creature and a single-celled fungus that begins to react when added to water. Yeast consumes the sugar in the components (such as flour) and produces carbon dioxide bubbles.

Yeast also supports the rising process and helps the dough generate gluten.

This is a straightforward explanation because yeast is required for leavening to occur. In a pinch, though, there are excellent yeast replacements.

Why Convert a Sourdough Recipe?

You might be wondering why someone would want to convert a recipe sourdough in the first place. After all, Sourdough is a little more challenging to make than quick yeast. Here are a few advantages and reasons why you should try making your favourite recipe with Sourdough.

Sourdough Aids in the Digestibility and Nutritiousness of Recipes

Some of us can’t digest gluten unless it’s in a sourdough form or simply prefer to eat wheat in a sourdough form that’s easier to digest and more nutritious than the yeast version. In my article “Is Sourdough Bread Good for You?” you may learn more about the health advantages oSourdoughgh.

When you usSourdoughgh in a recipe, you get more complex flavours

Making a sourdough version of your favourite yeast recipes will add a whole new layer of flavour and complexity, transforming ordinary recipes into extraordinary ones.

Making the switch to sourdough adds a fun challenge to your baking!

When I want to push myself with my bread baking, I prefer to see if I can turn a tried-and-true recipe into a sourdough one! This will give a tried-and-true recipe a whole new flavour and texture, making it a really satisfying experience when you get it right!

Is it Possible to Convert Other Non-Yeast Recipes?

We’ve covered the basics of converting a yeast recipe to a sourdough one so far, but additional recipes can be converted as well. The following are some examples of pieces of bread that can be converted:

Breadsticks (Pancakes, Waffles, Crepes, etc.)

These are frequently made into sourdough variations, which add a lot of flavour and fluffiness to the final product. These recipes, however, do not call for yeast and instead rely on baking soda or baking powder to rise.

How to Turn a Quickbread Recipe into a Cake?

Any quickbread recipe has three simple steps to follow:

Simply use sourdough starter in place of some of the wheat and water.

Before baking/cooking, add the baking powder and/or baking soda as the final step.

Allow at least 4 hours for fermentation. (If you’re merely adding a starter to your dish for flavour rather than other advantages, you can omit this step.)

When you add the baking powder or baking soda at the end, you’ll get the most rise out of your quickbreads when cooking or baking them. As you pour in the mixture, you will notice it rising!

How to Create a Sourdough Starter from Scratch?

It takes at least 5 days to grow a sourdough starter, but it’s simple to maintain and use once you have one. What you’ll need is the following:

at least 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour (600 grams)

2 1/2 cups (600 mL) water minimum

To produce your own sourdough starter, follow these steps:

Day 1: In a big glass container, combine 1/2 cup (120 grams) flour and 1/2 cup (120 mL) water and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Allow cooling to room temperature.

Day 2: Combine 1/2 cup (120 grams) flour and 1/2 cup (120 mL) water in a mixing bowl and feed the starter. Allow cooling to room temperature before covering loosely. Bubbles should emerge at the end of day 2, indicating that the yeast is multiplying and fermenting the flour.

Day 3: Reverse the steps from the previous day. The mixture should have a yeasty aroma and plenty of bubbles.

Day 4: Reverse the steps from the previous day. There should be more bubbles, a more pungent and more sour scent, and it should be getting bigger.

Day 5: Retrace your steps from day 2. Your sourdough starter should be bubbly and smell yeasty. It can now be used.

Keep your sourdough starter in an airtight container in the refrigerator after the fifth day. Every week, use or discard half of it, and feed it with 1/2 cup (120 grams) flour and 1/2 cup (120 mL) water.

Any sourdough starter contaminated with fuzzy, white, or coloured mould should be thrown out.

Because a sourdough starter takes at least 5 days to make, this yeast substitute is best if you already have a sourdough starter or can wait 5 days before baking.

Is it Possible to Make Sourdough Cakes?

Because of the amount of sugar in cakes, the sourdough starter doesn’t perform a great job of fermenting the flour in the batter. However, it is a terrific way to add some exciting tastes to your cakes and an excellent way to use up any leftover sourdough!

Simply stir a small amount of sourdough starter into your cake batter to see how it affects the flavour. As previously said, the mixture will not ferment like typicaSourdoughgh, but the flavour will be altered.

What are the Important Things to Consider When Making Sourdough Recipes?

When it comes to adapting recipes tSourdoughgh, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Sugar content of the recipe

When there is too much sugar in the recipeSourdoughgh just doesn’t function as well in fermentation. No more than 10% sugar should be used in a sourdough bake, and more than 10% will prevent wild bacteria and yeast from fermenting the wheat, causing it to ferment too quickly and destroying the texture and structure of your dish.

So, if the recipe you wish to convert contains more than 10% sugar, such as cakes, you can add sourdough starter to the mix merely for flavour, not for the slow fermentation benefits. It’s a great way to use any leftover sourdough starter or scraps. It cannot, however, be transformed into a classic fermented recipe.

Never De-Gas Sourdough or Knock Back!

Many yeast-based bread recipes call for ‘knocking back’ or de-gassing the dough. This should never be done to risen dough that has been fermented slowly. Sourdough should not be pounded back or de-gassed in any manner and should be handled with care. It has spent hours growing and maturing, and knocking it back will undo everything! If you’re converting a bread recipe that requires it, you can skip this step entirely.

Sourdough has its Own Personality!

These fundamental rules have always worked well for me, but it’s important to note that everyone’s experience witSourdoughgh is different. Get to know you are started, and be ready to trust your gut if a recipe calls for a little more flour than the recipe calls for or a little less time to ferment than the recipe calls for. It may take several attempts to convert a recipe before you get it right, but you won’t be sorry once you do!

In Comparison to My Yeast Recipe, How Long Should I Let it Rise?

Allow your sourdough recipe to rise for at least twice as long as the yeast recipe calls for, and this is true for both the bulk ferment (first rise) and the second rise (after shaping).

If your bread recipe calls for a 2-hour rising/proofing period and a 1-hour second rise, your sourdough bread should rise for at least 4 hours, with a 2-hour second rise.

Sourdough, variations in rising times will be more significant

Of course, the amount of time you allow the bread to rise is determined by the environment’s temperature, and this applies to both yeast and sourdough pieces of bread. However, keep in mind that the sourdough version of any recipe will have more variance simply because it must rise for a more extended period. Check out my article “Best Temperature to Proof Sourdough: Full Guide & How To” for additional information on rising times based on temperature.

For example, whereas a yeast recipe’s rise time may vary by a half-hour here and there, a sourdough recipe’s rise time may vary by a couple of hours. This bread proofing station is an excellent method to eliminate the guesswork of rising/proofing time without worrying about the temperature of your bread’s environment (Amazon link).

Adjustments to the flour and water When Making Sourdough from a Recipe

The added ingredients from your sourdough starter are incredibly crucial to keep in mind while converting recipes. Because a sourdough starter is made mainly of flour and water, it adds texture and consistency that dried yeast/fresh yeast does not.

The moisture level of your starting will determine the recipe change. If you keep your sourdough starter at 100% hydration (meaning you feed it the same quantity of flour as water), you’ll need to subtract that amount of liquid and flour from your original recipe to account for the excess from your starter.

Adjust the recipe if your sourdough starter is not fed the same amount of water as flour. The amount of starter you use will remain the same (e.g., 100 grams), but your recipe will be adjusted based on how much flour and water your starter contains.


Yeast gives baked foods airiness, lightness, and chewiness, but substitute ingredients can be used in a pinch.

Like baking soda mixed with an acid, baking powder reacts with liquid and heat to produce bubbles and leaven baked goods. Because these yeast substitutes react immediately, there is no need for a rise time. However, they may not produce the same unmistakable rising action as yeast.

A sourdough starter can likewise be utilized, with similar outcomes as yeast. However, a sourdough starter requires roughly double the rise time, and the liquid and flour ratios will need to be adjusted depending on the thickness of your starter.