Sourdough Shokupan (Sweet Stiff Starter)

by - March 09, 2021

Sourdough Shokupan (Stiff Starter)

Sourdough Shokupan

The bread texture is soft, more moist, fluffy and slightly chewy. It stays fresh longer than the non yudane method bread.
Yudane Method ⬆



You may wonder why I have been using stiff starter for my baking lately. I read a lot of good reviews using a stiff starter on sweet enriched bread so I thought I would give it a go.  

I created a recipe using a high percentage of stiff starter that help to cut down proofing times and make the bread rise faster. I have experimented with 6 breads using this stiff starter recipe and all the proofing times were shorter (about 2 1/2 hours - 3 1/2 hours at ambient temperature 29C - 30C) and with better oven spring too compared to when using my Sourdough Shokupan using liquid levain.  It could be also the lower percentage of liquid levain used.  However, please note that the proofing timing may also vary depending on your climate, environment, flour, your starter and etc. 

I am sharing both stiff starter recipes USING YUDANE METHOD and WITHOUT YUDANE METHOD.   An advantage of using the Yudane method is that the bread stays fresh much longer.  Please click "Bread Making Method" to understand more details on Yudane Method.

Some of you may find it is too complicated with yudane dough.  After all, most of us will toast it from the second day. Anyway, it's up to you which method you prefer :) 

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.

RECIPE - SOURDOUGH SHOKUPAN (YUDANE METHOD)

Yields:  1 loaf 450g Loaf Pan
Utensil:  450g loaf pan (21.3 X 12.2 X 11.5 cm  /  8.4" X 4.8" X 4.5")




METHOD:
  1. Yudane (please omit this step if without yudane method):
    1. Add bread flour in a bowl, pour the boiling water and mix well with spatula or spoon until no dry flour.
    2. Cover and rest for at least 4 hours or overnight in the fridge. I prepared the night before.
    3. Take out from the fridge 30 minutes before using to return to room temperature.
  2. Sweet Stiff Starter 
    1. In a bowl of stand mixer, dilute starter with water, stir in sugar and add in bread flour.  Mix with paddle attachment until well mixed and all come together.   It can be done by hand mixing too.
    2. Cover and let it ferment until tripled. I prepared a night before and leave it in aircond room (approximately 24 - 25C room temperature) overnight until tripled.  It took about 8 - 9 hours depending on your starter.  It should take around 4 - 6 hours to get triple at room temperature at 28C - 30C. The starter should look smooth and round dome.  It shouldn't collapse.
  3. Main Dough:
    1. Put all ingredients (except butter) into a bowl of stand mixer.  I usually torn the stiff starter and yudane dough slightly first.
    2. Slightly combine the mixture by hand with the paddle attachment before turning on the machine so that the flour will not splash out.  Using the paddle attachment, mix for about a minute or until all incorporated.  This step is critical to prevent  an uneven mixed dough as the stiff starter is rather hard and a dough hook may not be able to mix it well enough.
    3. Change to hook attachment and knead for another 3 minutes at low speed #2 (KA) or until the dough comes together. Add in butter and continue knead for 10 - 12 minutes at low speed #2 or until reach window pane stage.  The whole kneading process, I stopped few times to scrape down the dough from the hook to be sure it is evenly kneaded and also to prevent the motor from overheating.
  4. 1st Proofing/Resting:
    1. In the same bowl, let the dough rest for 30 - 60 minutes. Keep it covered with clingfilm or use a lid.  This dough I rested for 35 minutes at 30C room temperature and the dough rose slightly in 35 minutes.  (I did not find any big differences of 30 mins to 60 minutes rest.  So, please follow your schedule).
  5. Shaping:
    1. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface then divide into 2 equal portions.  Please use a kitchen scale if you want to be exact.
    2. Form each portion to a ball.  Flatten with rolling pin.
    3. Fold right to centre and fold left overlap it.  Roll out with rolling pin into long rectangle shape. Roll up the dough like Swiss Roll until a small log is formed. 
    4. Place all dough in the prepared loaf pan.   
  6. Final Proofing 
    1. Let it proof in a warm place until the dough reaches the height of the pan.  This one took approximately 3 hours at room temperature of 30C.  The duration of proofing depends on your ambient temperature and starter.
  7. Baking:
    1. Preheat oven at 190C (top & bottom heat) or 170C (fan-forced) for 10 - 15 minutes.
    2. Brush with egg wash (optional) and bake in a preheated oven for 25 - 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
    3. Remove bread from oven and let them cool on rack completely before slicing.

Yudane Dough

Sweet Stiff Starter


Main Dough



Without Yudane Method ⬇ 
The bread texture is soft, moist and fluffy.  However, it lost its moistness on the second day.Sourdough Shokupan


RECIPE - SOURDOUGH SHOKUPAN (WITHOUT YUDANE METHOD)

Yields:  1 loaf 450g Loaf Pan
Utensil:  450g loaf pan (21.3 X 12.2 X 11.5 cm  /  8.4" X 4.8" X 4.5")




GENERAL NOTES:

SOURDOUGH STARTER
A healthy starter is very crucial as advised by Baking with Gina.   It is advisable to feed your starter regularly if you want your bread to rise nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.  A starter that is fed regularly will be more active in general.  If the mother starter is not strong, the bread dough will not rise a lot even though the starter is used at its peak.  

There are so many ways and methods of how to maintain the starter.  Below is my method of starter maintenance.  This is just for your reference. Please try and find a way or schedule that works best for you.

I bake almost everyday.  So, my starter is left at room temperature and I feed it twice a day every 12 hours at its peak when it is tripled.

Example
10.00 am - at ratio 1:10:10 at room temperature 26C - 27C
10.00 pm - at ratio 1:10:10 at room temperature 25C - 26C 

I feed a very small amount of 1g starter + 10g water + 10g flour if I am not baking, so that I will not end up with too much discard.  When I am baking, I will feed the starter accordingly to make up the quantity required by the recipe to be baked. If I know that I won't be baking for a few days, I will then feed it only once a day at 1:10:10, transfer to the fridge when it is doubled, and feed again 24 hours later.

If you do not bake daily or if you bake perhaps once or twice a week, then you may place your starter in the fridge and feed once a week.  But, you will need to refresh your starter 2 days before the baking day. There is no way around this, sourdough baking takes planning! 

How I judge my starter is healthy?  My starter usually tripled in size (or at least double) in within 3 - 4 hours at room temperature (27C - 28C) for feeding ratio of (1:1:1 = starter:water:flour)

When is a starter at its peak?  My sourdough starter is usually at its peak when it is tripled in the jar. The surface of my starter looks bubbling and uneven.  It usually stays at its peak within 30 - 60 minutes before it starts to reduce/fall.  

Why use starter at its peak?  This is when the starter is most active and it will result in a better rise for your bread in general.  By the way, you can use when it is doubled/before its peak too.  But, not it starts to fall.

GLUTEN DEVELOPMENT & WINDOWPANE TEST
Gluten forms when flour comes in contact with water.  Hydration of the flour causes the sticky and stretchy protein to form, giving structure to the bread.  This makes your bread trap air and rise. 

Gluten in dough can be developed by autolyse, resting, kneading or folding.

The windowpane test is used to determine whether the dough has been sufficiently kneaded.  By gently pulling the dough (or you may pinch off some dough) and trying to stretch it into a thin membrane.  If you are able to stretch the dough paper thin and translucent  without tearing, then the gluten is fully developed.  However, if you can stretch it without tearing but the membrane is not transparent, then the gluten is not yet fully developed.  

However, from my experience not all the recipe can achieve a thin and translucent window pane stage easily.   For example low hydration and low fat dough.  For such recipes, a reasonable window pane is good enough and it can be left to rest. Gluten will continue to develop while resting.  Exercising restraint to not over-knead the dough prevents the gluten from being overworked and broken.   Some of you may have experienced the dough breaking during the second proofing.  It is because the dough is over kneaded. 

The total kneading time for me is usually 15 minutes at low speeds except brioche dough with high fat percentage or dough using liquid fat which usually takes a little longer (maybe 18-20 mins).

From my experience, I found that high hydration dough with high percentage of fat will be easy to stretch and achieve a paper thin windowpane stage.

MILK POWDER 
Why do I use milk powder?  
  1. Milk or milk powder will enhance the flavour of the bread and makes the bread texture softer due to the fat content of the milk. 
  2. Milk powder is shelf stable and you can have it anytime when you want to use.  Unlike liquid milk you need to finish within a certain time before it spoils.
KNEADING TIME
For kneading, please regard the timing provided as an indication only. It is only meant as a guide.  Timing may differ depending on the brand of flour and electric mixer used. The protein content may vary from one brand of flour to another.

FLOUR
The right flour plays a very important role in bread making.   To achieve fluffy, soft and light bread, I used Japan High Gluten Flour in most of my bread baking.  The protein content is around  12 - 13%.

HYDRATION
The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 

PROOFING
Please note that the proofing timing may also vary depending on your climate, environment, flour and your starter. 

If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:

Proofing:
  1. Lightly press the side of the proved dough with your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation, it means the dough is under proved and needs more time before baking.
  2. If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
  3. If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
  4. There will be a final burst of rising once the bread is placed to bake in the oven and it is called oven spring. 
WRINKLE TOP OR SHRINKING
If your bread collapses or gets wrinkled on top after removing from oven, it could be because your dough over proved during the second proofing. Please proof until the tip of the dough just reaches the rim of the pan, around 80% - 90% in size.

BAKING TEMPERATURE AND TIME
Do also note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.

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54 comments

  1. Hi! Love your shokupan loaf! But lately my dough has been sticking to the pan and it's difficult to knock it out. How to you maintain your pan? Also is there a brand that's better? (More non stick?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for reading this recipe. I am using Chefmade Non stick loaf pan. It is very good. No need to line and bread come out easily.

      You may need to line your pan with parchment paper or grease it if the dough stick to your pan.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  2. Really liked how fluffy the bread turned out! I did sub the egg and water for almond milk since I wanted it to be vegan. Thank you for the recipe :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for trying this recipe and your kind feedback. May I know which recipe you tried? With yudane method?

      Delete
    2. Yes, I used the yudane method! Made it the night before so it was ready to go the next morning :)

      Delete
  3. Hi thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes. I have tried a few and always have the problem of the sides that raise above the pan tearing away from the loaf. The bread didn’t collapse and the top is smooth so I don’t think is overproofed. What could be the reason?

    How can I tell that the bread is baked and not over baked?

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rachel,

      Thanks for trying and your feedback. Actually, this recipe gave very good oven spring. It is because of the oven is too hot. Try to adjust your oven to lower temperature than mentioned. Maybe 180C top and bottom heat. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  4. Hello. Thank you for sharing fabulous recipe. May I ask how to add some sweet potatoes to this recipe to make it sweet potatoes shokupan? Thank you..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Thanks for asking. I have not tried sweet potato on stiff starter recipe yet. But, You can try to add about 35% of steamed mashed sweet potato (around 125g) into the dough. I am not sure it will work. I will not recommend using yudane method for sweet potato bread. It may turn out too moist.

      Otherwise, please use the liquid levain recipe as below:
      https://www.bakewithpaws.com/2021/01/orange-sweet-potato-soft-sourdough-bread.html

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  5. sorry to ask as i have not try any sweet starter before my qns is
    1) i hv to feed my starter to peak first before preparing the sweet starter ?
    2) create the sweet starter @peak then then use it at its peak for the bread ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Thanks for asking.

      1) It is advisable to use the liquid starter at peak when you prepare sweet stiff starter. Just in case if your starter is not active then it may cause your stiff starter not rising properly. However, sometimes I used active discard to build stiff starter and it works too. But, sometimes may cause the bread a mild sourness if discard is used.

      2) Yes, use the sweet stiff starter at peaks when it is tripled.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  6. Made burger buns with this recipe (without Yudane). Had to reduce the water by 25g and the buns turned so light and soft, and very tall too. Recipe definitely a keeper. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for trying and your kind feedback :)

      Delete
  7. Hello.
    Thank you for sharing!
    Did you ever tryed retard in the fridge overnight, to bake the next morning? Do you think that affects the softness of this bread?

    Thank you ☺️

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for reading. I did try with liquid starter recipe but not this one. The bread turned out slightly sour. However, you can experiment and I am curious too.

      Cheers :)

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  8. Hi i made the bread and it didn't rise at all during the baking process.I did wait for it to rise to the height of the pan.What's wrong??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for trying this recipe and sorry to hear that it didn't rise. It could be your starter if the bread didn't rise. Please make sure use the stiff starter during peak.T he starter should look smooth and round dome. It shouldn't have any dimples or it shouldn't collapse.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  9. Hi, if I would like to omit milk powder but use fresh milk instead, how should I substitute both water and milk powder components? Thanks in advance!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Joanne,

      Thanks for reading this recipe. You can use milk in preparing yudane dough and also replace water with milk in main dough ingredients.

      I think you can prepare sweet stiff starter using fresh milk too. But, I have not tried it yet and not sure what is the outcome.

      Happy baking and stay safe :)

      Delete
  10. Hi, really eager to try your recipe. I run out of milk power. Can I substitute it with 30g of fresh milk or Whipping cream? Tks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for reading this recipe.

      You can omit milk powder and use fresh milk in preparing yudane dough and also replace 15 - 25g water with fresh milk in main dough ingredients.

      I think you can prepare sweet stiff starter using fresh milk too. But, I have not tried it yet and not sure what is the outcome.

      Cheers and stay safe :)

      Delete
  11. Hi when i tried to shape, my dough was really sticky and u able to use roller even with flour. How can i resolve this issue?
    Also i think i let the stiff starter be for too long. Will that affect the bread? Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for trying. Did you knead until you reach window pane stage? Initially the dough is sticky and the longer you knead it will be come elastic and less sticky.

      It could be also the flour you used that absorb less water. Please try to cut down on the water in the main dough ingredients.

      If your stiff starter pass the peak time, the bread may not rise very tall and may taste sour too.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  12. Hi yes, it turned out sour indeed. After it reached windowpane stage and i left it to rest. Then tried to roll it, felt so sticky it’s impossible to use roller. Will try to reduce water next time
    Thank u

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, pls use when the stiff starter at its peak. Look like a dome and smooth. Ok hope it will work for you next time.

      Thanks for trying :)

      Delete
  13. How do i make the non yudane method with no eggs?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, please use the non yudane method recipe as shared above. Replace same amount of egg with water. However, Be careful not to all water at one time and hold back some.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  14. Good Morning. I would like to try out Yudane matters for my next bake, but I don't have milk powder, can I substitute with fresh milk instead? If so, how much fresh milk to use and do I have to reduce the water as well?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for reading this recipe.

      You can replace the 25g of water with milk and use boiling milk to scald the yudane dough. I sometimes just omitted the milk powder when I run out.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  15. Hi. In the sweet stiff starter:
    Sweet Stiff Starter (50% Hydration):
    60g sourdough starter (100% Hydration), use at its peak
    180g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
    75g water
    30g sugar (I used organic brown sugar)

    Is there is typo in the hydration percentage? 75g over 180 is not 50%

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      Thanks for reading this recipe. There is no error.

      50% hydration stiff starter means the stiff starter dough contain 50% of water and 100% of flour. Total flour in this stiff starter is 210g and total water is 105g.

      I hope it answers your question.

      Cheers :)

      There is no typo error.

      Delete
    2. Thank you. I see how you calculate now.

      Delete
  16. Thank you so much for your recipe.. soooo nice.. i thought i will fail miserably cux first time bake using sourdough.. and i use thermomix to knead and it was good..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      Thanks for trying and your kind feedback. It is good to know that this recipe works for thermomix too.

      Cheers and happy baking :)

      Delete
  17. Hi, my sweet stiff starter was not able to triple in size. Stayed as double.

    I had refreshed my starter a few times prior to this. N the starter was able to increase 4x in size.

    May I know how to resolve this?
    Thank u!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for trying and reading. You may want to try add more water in the sweet starter. Try 90g water and do not add water in main dough unless is dry or you can add 10g of water in main dough.

      I hope it will help.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  18. Bakes it and turns out well. Super fluffy and soft .how do I replace main dough flour with wholemeal flour? Is it the same amount ? Thank uou

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for trying and your kind feedback. Please click the below link for Wholemeal Soft Sourdough Bread and it it using sweet stiff starter and yudane method too. or you may search for Wholemeal Soft Sourdough Bread in the RECIPE.

      https://www.bakewithpaws.com/2020/04/wholemeal-soft-sourdough-bread.html

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  19. Hi. Can I confirm this recipe yids 2 loaves as I only get 1 loaf in a 450g pan. Turned out well though

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, sorry for the confusion. What I meant is 2 small loaves in 450g loaf pan because I shaped into 2 loaves. I think I should change it.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  20. Hello! I would like to give it a try on this recipe, however, I've yet to bake any soft sourdough bread before.
    (1) Would like to ask if i could use Thermomix to knead the main dough as i do not have a stand mixer for main dough? I should be looking at passed window pane texture dough (stretchy and smooth like texture)?
    (2) For the stiff starter - IF i use hand mixing, I can just mix until it comes together until there's no flour to be seen and rolled into ball form? OR it can be mixed with Thermomix too? I could use it after 9 hours later too or it shouldn't be "over-proofed"?
    Sorry for the many questions. Many thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for reading this recipe.

      (1) I never used Thermomix and I do not know how it function. Yes, you need to knead until it reaches window pane stage.

      (2) Yes, you can use hand mix. Maybe take slightly longer than machine mix. Please use it when the dough about triple of the size.
      You can use a big jar if you do not how to judge. 8 - 9 hours depends on your stater. Please try not to overproof as your bread may taste sour.

      No worry and happy baking :)


      Delete
    2. Thank you very much for your reply! My first sourdough shokupan bread works! Thanks for your clear instructions, I mixed the starter dough with TM and also the main dough with TM. The later i mixed probably about 12 minutes all in until i see the texture can be "stretched" without breaking. :) Will try again with your brioche recipe. :)

      Delete
    3. Thanks for the updates. Good to hear that this recipe works with TM too.

      Happy baking and stay safe :)

      Delete
  21. Thank you for sharing your recipes. I've already tried this and it is very tasty. I have some questions.
    1.How many percent of sugar in sweet stiff starter?
    2.I proof it for 12 hours(final proof), why do i proof it so long?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for trying this recipe.

      1. For 60g of starter I used half of the sugar which is 50%.
      2. It took me only 3-4 hours the most for 2nd proofing. However it could be your starter.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  22. when I do stiff starter,it is quite stiff. It may be the reason that make my starter did not grew in double or not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for trying. I have not encounter this issue so far as I have been feeding my stater daily. It could be your starter. However, you can increase the water to 90g instead of 75g, then reduce the water in main dough.

      You can also read the general notes about the starter I shared on the above.

      I hope it will help you.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  23. I did first loaf, it is looking good - soft&fluffy. But it took time so long🤣. Today i have done another loaf but final proof is just 4 hours. Maybe my stiff starter in first loaf is not active well. Just sharing the rusult of your recipes from home baker.

    Very very thank you for your advice and appreciated that you answer every comment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for sharing your feedback. Much appreciated. It could many other factors contributed to it. Maybe the ambient, the flour we use and etc. My kitchen is quite warm, sometimes can be 30C.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  24. Hello, have tried the yudane and stiff starter twice, first time the dough proofed so fast that it got stuck on the lid hence i baked with lid on. Turns out super fluffy and moist even on second day! Tried again as i wanted to bake without lid and realised i ran out of sugar for stiff starter,improvised by adding some condensed milk, but it only doubled. Proofing time was relatively fast too at abt 3hrs. This will be my permanent go-to recipe for now and will try to make cinnamon buns next time. Thank you so much for your contribution!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for trying and your kind feedback. I am glad that you like it. You may want to cover the loaf pan with cling film during proofing so that you can see the progression.

      By the way, I will update the recipe soon with the improved version but still yield the same result. But, no worry I will still keep the old recipe under archived.

      You are most welcome...

      Happy baking and stay safe!

      Delete

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