Is Interest in Sourdough Waning

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    King Arthur has been pushing rye flour lately.

    I haven’t needed to buy caraway for a while, Italian Cook, but the last time I did, I bought it from Penzey’s.


    Thanks, Mike & BakerAunt, for your suggestions on purchasing caraway.


    What is the difference between rye bread and sourdough? I’m going to try making my deli rye with starter instead of commercial yeast. But it’s because I want to see if I can shorten the time to make it. With commercial yeast it takes about 3.5 days to develop the sour flavor I want. I’m hoping I can cut the time down to 1.5 or 2 days by using starter.

    I am not sure there is any consistency in what people call “sourdough” any more. There is starter made bread and commercial yeast made bread and their are breads with sour flavors.

    Not all starter breads have sour taste and some commercial yeast breads do.

    Mike Nolan

    I don’t think it is a new phenomenon, but I do think the explosion of interest in breadmaking and sourdough has muddied the waters a lot in the past year.

    Yeast-risen breads fall into three categories:

    wild yeast starters, ie, sourdough (This also includes ‘old dough’ recipes.) Historically, all yeasted breads were once sourdoughs.

    commercial yeast This is a relatively new trend in baking, because bread has been around for thousands of years but commercial yeasts for much less than that, they were developed as an ofshoot of the brewing industry in the 18th or 19th century. Brewing yeasts and baking yeasts have evolved into products designed for specific usage. If you visit a homebrew shop you’ll find many types of yeast, I’m told none of them will work well in baking.

    hybrid doughs that use both wild yeast starter and commercial yeasts. This is done both for time considerations and to de-emphasize the sourness, though there are other ways to do that as well, such as Chad Robertson’s ‘young or immature starter’ method.

    I exclude those that use chemical souring methods to try to mimic the acidity of a bread with with sourdough starter in it as unworthy of inclusion.

    Historically, many rye breads were pure sourdough but that’s not necessary, the rye bread I make the most, Reinhart’s marbled rye from BBA, is a commercial yeast bread.

    Of the 78 bread in Ginbserg’s The Rye Baker, a dozen or so use only commercial yeast.


    You can also get caraway seeds from The Spice House, if you purchase their “flat pack” it ships free and no minimum, you can buy a single flatpack. The flatpack of caraway seeds is a 1/2 cup and currently listed at $5.29.

    Mike Nolan

    Considering that a pound of caraway seeds is about 4 cups and can be bought online for under $15, including shipping, the Spice House flat pack is kind of expensive.


    Thanks, Len, for your help on the caraway seeds. Thanks, Mike, for pricing info. I’ll have ordered caraway by the end of this week.

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