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Vitalpina Hotels Südtirol

The Oldest Trick for Loosening Bread: Sourdough

03.11.2014 - by Vitalpina Hotels Südtirol
Sourdough is the oldest form of leavening agent. Even today it is widely used as a natural loosening and acidifying agent for wheat and rye bread dough.
Sourdough, which causes the dough to ferment, is necessary in order to bake soft, airy rye bread. That’s why, in the old days, the farmer's wife prepared the Dampfl (starter culture) from water and a little flour three days before actually baking. For three days, the sourdough should “go” again and again, with the addition of a little flour and water, until what is known as the pre-dough for the particular type of bread is ready. Sourdough loves heat, because it aids in the formation of lactic acid bacteria in the dough, and also needs time, which makes the dough wonderfully airy and loose. Today we can buy sourdough at the bakery in order to save some time. If you want to practice the genuine South Tyrolean bread culture, though, it’s best to start with a basic sourdough recipe (from Rita Bernardi’s Vollwertküche, published by Athesia Verlag).

Making Sourdough
  • 150 g rye flour, finely ground
  • 150 g of lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp. cumin
Mix 50 g of rye flour with 50 g water and cumin. Cover, and let stand in a warm place (about 30 degrees) for 24 hours. Add another 50 g rye flour and 50 g water, and let stand for 24 hours. Then once again stir in 50 g rye flour and 50 g water, and cover for another 24 hours. Now the sourdough is ready for further processing (the time required will depend somewhat on the temperature).

Making Pre-Dough
  • 300 g rye flour, finely ground
  • 300 g of lukewarm water
Mix the sourdough with 300 g of flour and 300 g water, and leave it covered in a warm place for 12 to 24 hours again. This dough forms the basis for many typical South Tyrolean sourdough breads. If you need the process to go faster, then you can just let the dough stand briefly (1 hour).

Good luck ... and welcome to your first experience baking South Tyrolean specialty bread at the South Tyrol Vitalpina Hotels.

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