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I've recently acquired a really cool bread book filled with recipes which follow this format

  1. Mix up some flour, yeast, honey, and milk into a very smooth dough.
  2. Cover this with more flour and yeast and set it aside to rise for several hours until you're ready to add the remaining ingredients and mix it all up into dough.

This is working great and produces delicious bread. However, I'd like to increase my batch size in order to make more. Can I safely double the ingredients in step one to make my dough starter twice as large and then dump twice as much flour and yeast on top of it?

I don't feel like I should be able to as the current amounts of flour and yeast cover the dough starter completely so I don't think adding more would grant the starter any great access to flour and yeast. Thank you!

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In baking, doubling sometimes is accurate, sometimes not. Yeah, that is a non-answer, but is true. It is not unsafe to double, or halve, but sometimes results will vary. You hit a point which could cause a slight issue, even distribution. Changing volume of a recipe with an ingredient which is distributed over the surface might affect the distribution ratio, though in this case I think it would likely be minor. Other issues can arise in doubling would be if the dough needs to breath. Thermal reactions can often affect results when doubling or halving recipes as well. The cooking time adjustments are often obvious, but cooling can be less obvious but disastrous at times, and any resting times needed may be skewed.

All of that said, with allowing for baking time, and a little experimentation, most recipes can be safely doubled or halved, but tend to start breaking down beyond that, going for tripled, 4 times, etc tends to get progressively poor results without a lot of trial and error. It is certainly worth a try though. And alternate or fallback if you do not like the results of doubling is to make two separate batches, which you know will be correct.

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You can safely double all the ingredients, including the yeast. (See this)

If you're worried about the wet part of the starter having access to the dry flour and yeast, you could try shaping the wet starter to give it more surface area, use a bigger bowl, or simply make two separate bowls of this and combine them later.

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