When I was much younger, my father would bring home a really good bread about twice a year. He told me the mother of a coworker would make it and her son would sell it at work. I didn't know it was sourdough at the time, but when I thought about it recently and asked him, he said it was.

I remember that it was pretty much like a loaf of white bread in consistency, texture, and crust. It also had a shape like a loaf pan had been used and was a nice golden color on the outside. It may have been a touch dryer than white bread. I remember that my parents would get frustrated with me, because I kept going back and cutting off slices just to eat plain.

Does anyone know how to make a bread similar to this? Is it a certain style? Is there a particular way of making it that makes it turn out like this? I think I've seen recipes that use honey, but would the yeast not convert the honey's sugar? Or is it like alcohol yeasts where the yeast is only capable of processing so much sugar. I think that is regulated by the strength of the alcohol killing off the yeast at a certain point. I'd just like to know how to make this soft sweet sourdough bread. Thanks.

  • 4
    Honestly from your description, it doesn't really sound like sourdough.
    – Jay
    Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 18:39
  • 2
    Can't give you a definite answer or recipe, but yeast will not "eat" all sugar, or doughnuts wouldn't exist. The "alcohol-killing-yeast" stage comes way later than in ordinary breadmaking. So why don't you just run a few experiments and come back with your results? My gut feeling would be a touch of sugar and a dab of butter might get you in the right direction. Like @Jay I'm unsure about sourdough, but an experiment certainly won't hurt.
    – Stephie
    Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 18:42
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    It's perfectly possible to put sugar (honey, molasses, maple syrup) in a sourdough dough - if you bake it before all the sugar is easten there will still be sweetness (and a certain amount of sweet&sour going on that could be nice.) Develop the sourudough and the acid tang over as long as you like, then get the sugar into it within a few hours of baking. Or cheat and use citric acid ;-)
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 18:45
  • 6
    Maybe the the bread was a variation of Amish Friendship Bread, which is a sourdough.
    – Debbie M.
    Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 18:55
  • 1
    Well, it deflates what's in there when you start mixing the sugar in, for the most part. But it's also providing sugar to the yeast for feasting on, so it typically rises in a tolerably short time. Citric acid is semi-serious - I have not found a convenient source that I've laid hands on, but I did notice that I inadvertently make "fake sourdough' when I put pomegranate molasses in an ordinary yeast dough, and I suspect the (natural) citric acid in it to be the reason; so I speculate that a "fake sourdough" using citric acid as the souring agent might be plausible.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 2:13

1 Answer 1


It depends on what one means by "sourdough." Some people tend to restrict that word to a particular bread style, usually associated with "San Francisco sourdough" or some variant. That bread tends to be a lean somewhat crusty bread, with sourness varying from noticeable to somewhat pungent.

But others use the word "sourdough" just to connote the use of "natural yeast" (as opposed to bakers yeast). If your source was using "sourdough" in that sense, it's perfectly possible to make all sorts of sweet breads using natural yeast. It was actually the standard way to make such breads before the widespread use of commercial yeast.

If you are going to do so, besides possibly adding sugar or some other enriching agents to match your memory (milk, butter/oil, eggs, etc.), I'd also recommend efforts to "tone down" the sourness in your starter. Traditional French methods for natural yeast sweet breads tended to work on a multi-stage building system, where you'd start with a remaining hunk of dough from a previous batch (the "chef") and then gradually build it up in anywhere from 2 to 4 stages to the final dough size. Each build would range from an intermediate to large dilution of the starter (to dilute any residual acidity in the starter), and you'd start the next build before the previous one had a chance to turn sour.

By doing this, you maximize yeast growth (which occurs earlier in the sourdough cycle) while minimizing acid production (which makes the bread sour). After a few such builds, you'll have knocked down the bacteria population -- which lead to sourness -- enough that the rising of the final bread will mostly be just yeast activity. The final bread is often more flavorful and complex than produced with bakers yeast, but won't have distinct sourness.

Also, this multi-stage method is less necessary if you are baking bread on a regular basis, like a bakery might do daily. As starters sit for longer periods without feeding (more than a few hours), they will accumulate more acidity.

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