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How to make 60% Motherdough:

Many of my formulas/recipes have Motherdough in them. Motherdough is a cold preferment which you make up and put in your refrigerator to ferment for a while. You can have a low hydration like a 60% Motherdough ferment in your refrigerator for a long time. You should leave it in your refrigerator for at least 3 – 4 days before using it, it does need time to ferment. As long as it has bubbles and has not turned into glue, it can be used. Motherdough is often used with another sourdough starter that is fresh and has plenty of wild yeast.

60% Motherdough

Add together:

  1. Vigorous fresh sourdough starter @ 100% hydration – 6 oz/170 g
  2. Water – 6 oz/170 g
  3. Flour – 12 oz/340 g  (you can substitute part whole grain flour for even more flavor).
Mix all of the above ingredients and store, tightly covered in your refrigerator. This will make about 1.5 lbs/680g. Double this amount if you wish to keep some on hand for baking.

Watch in video:

25 Comments

  1. TONY KIRK TONY KIRK
    June 19, 2016    

    TERESA,

    I ATTEMPTED TO MAKE YOUR COUNTRY HEARTH SD BREAD AND HAD THE SAME PROBLEM I HAVE HAD WITH OVERNIGHT FERMENT OF OTHER LOAVES — MY FRIG IS SET AT 40*F AND AFTER AN APPROX 12 HOUR TIME THE LOAVES ARE READY TO BAKE OR MORE — THE FINGER TEST LEAVES A HOLE THAT RISES VERY LITTLE IF AT ALL — WHAT AM I DOING WRONG AS I HAVE FOLLOWED THE RECIPE EXPLICITLY — I LIVE IN CENTRAL TEXAS BUT WITH A/C MY INDOOR TEMP IS AROUND 78*F —

    TONYK

  2. Heather Alff Heather Alff
    June 17, 2016    

    I am gluten intolerant and do not know how to properly adjust your formula to accommodate the variation in weight for other floor choices. I have a very active 50/50 starter going that I have never refrigerated but use it to make bread in my bread machine. It work fine but would love to make my attempts better. I have gotten more rise out of breads than others with my experiments but could use some serious help to improve things.

  3. TONY KIRK TONY KIRK
    May 31, 2016    

    TERESA, I CHECKED THE HARDNESS OF MY WATER FROM THE WELL AND IS OVER 400 PPM — FROM WHAT I READ
    A PPM OF< 100 IS suggested FOR BAKING — ANY SUGGESTION AS TO HOW TO LOWER THE HARDNESS — THANKS —

    TONYK

    • May 31, 2016    

      Hi Tony, I am no expert on water hardness and what to do about it. I think a lot of people use a water softener to soften water. If it is too soft or acidic, the water can make the dough slack. So finding a good balance is important. You might want to do the research on it and see what you can come up with. I found this and it might help: http://www.triangularwave.com/BakeryEffects.htm
      They said extra acidity and more yeast would help a bit. That sounds like a good ripe sourdough to me but if you are having problems, a ripe motherdough with a fresh starter (use both in the bread) might help. I would suggest going to a water filter company and let them know what your problem is and see if you can get the right filter for your water.

      • TONY KIRK TONY KIRK
        June 12, 2016    

        TERESA,

        RE HARD WATER — I MIXED 1 PART OF MY WELL WATER AND 4 PARTS OF DISTILLED WATER TO GET WATER WITH A HARDNESS OF 107 PPM — I USED IT AND I GOT AT LEAST 30 TO 50 % MORE OVEN SPRING — HAPPY HERE — ALSO HAS JUST THE DRIGHT AMOUNT OF HOLES IN THE CRUMB — WILL SEND PHOTOS AFTER NEXT BAKE —

        TONY

  4. TONY KIRK TONY KIRK
    May 27, 2016    

    TERESA,

    ONR OTHER COMMENT ON THE LAST NOTE — MY LOAVES XEEM TO RISE MORE NEAR THE CENTER — SORT OF LIKE A SMALL MOUNTAIN — I DO SLASH THE LOAVES —
    TONY K

  5. TONY KIRK TONY KIRK
    May 27, 2016    

    TERESA,
    OVER THE PAST YEAR OR SO I AM HAVING MY DOUGH BEING OVER PROOFED — I AM USING:
    200 GM OF 100% LEVEN
    700 GM WELL WATER( I LIVE ON A RANCH) WATER IS VERY HARD
    1000 GM OF SIR GAL BREAD FLOUR
    10 GM SALT

    MIX, AUTOLYSE, ADD SALT, MIX A BIT MORE
    PUT DOUGH IN A TUB AND DO S&F EVER HALF HOUR FOR 2HRS.
    DIVIDE THE LOAVES
    SHAPE , REST, FINAL SHAPE AND INTO BANNETONS
    BY THE FINGER TEST THE DOUGH IS READY TO BAKE BUT IF I TRY TO LET IS RISE FOR TWO OR SO HOURS I GET A VLAT LOAF ( 1- 1.5 “THICK)
    I HAVE COOKED RECENT LOAVES AFTER LESS THAN ONE HOUR RISE AND GET A DECENT RISE— ANY ADVISE WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED — THIS RECIPE IS THE TARTINE BASIC ONE.
    THANKS AS ALWAYS FOR YOUR HELP — BY THE WAY I AM ENJOYING THE COURSES I GOT FROM YOU AND THE PIZZA CRUST IS A REAL WINNER —

    TONY

  6. Lior Lior
    August 28, 2015    

    hi Teresa,

    I started my starter today, on which day should i move it into the fridge ?

    Thanks a lot

    Lior

    • August 28, 2015    

      Hi Lior, I keep my starter at room temperature. For those that do keep their starter in the fridge, I would recommend not refrigerating it until it is mature at around two weeks.

  7. Muna Muna
    March 31, 2015    

    Good morning Teresa, How often should the cold mother dough be fed?
    thanks

    • northwestsourdough northwestsourdough
      April 1, 2015    

      Hi Muna, since 60% motherdough is a somewhat low hydration, it can stay in the refrigerator 2 to 3 weeks before needing to be fed. You can tell when it has gone past it’s prime by noticing how much stretch or strength is left to the dough. If it is a pile of pasty glue, it is far gone and I would make a new motherdough or take it out of the fridge, discard almost all of it, refeed it at room temperature for a few days to bring up the yeast and bacteria levels before making another dough to keep in the refrigerator. If it has good stretch and strength left to it, just feed it and put it back in the fridge.

      • Muna Muna
        April 3, 2015    

        Thank you Teresa

  8. Amos Amos
    January 5, 2015    

    Can I ask about using apple cider as the liquid for sourdough, This was recommended to me as all my attempts, compared to the posted pictures look flat. I have been using a 50/50 mix of whole rye flour and apple cider. Apple cider in the uk is fermented, about 4% alcohol, a friend tells me that in the US cider is the name for un fermented apple juice, can anybody confirm.

    • northwestsourdough northwestsourdough
      January 5, 2015    

      A 50/50 mix of rye and cider would produce a dough that would have a difficult/impossible time rising. What else do you put in the dough, just rye flour and cider?

      • Amos Amos
        January 5, 2015    

        I have tried water(bottled) with organic rye, again 50/50 by weight, filtered tap water, then pineapple juice with rye flour, they all produce something resembling a thick beer like Guinness although a lighter colour, these produce a porridge, sometimes with a shallow dark liquid layer on top. I have used a food mixer to mix.

        I have about three so called starters with no visible activity. I am doing something very wrong.

        Thanks so much for coming back to me.

        regards

        Amos

    • John H John H
      January 28, 2016    

      I didn’t see a response to the specific question about apple cider in the U.S In response to that, apple cider here is apple juice — not fermented. In some states, there are labeling laws making distinctions, but to most people, juice and cider are the same.

  9. Chris Pickett Chris Pickett
    September 11, 2013    

    Good Morning,
    Can you tell me what the right consistency/thickess the motherdough should be?. Also if you have time, what 60%, 100% hydration means.
    Thank you, ke6faw

    • northwestsourdough northwestsourdough
      April 1, 2015    

      A motherdough at 60% hydration feels like a finished bread dough, not a sticky wet dough, but a firm dough.

      Hydration means how much water is in the dough. It is calculated by weighing the flour and then the weight of the water is a percentage of the weight of the flour. So if you have 100 grams of flour and 60 grams of water, you have a 60% hydration dough. If you have 100 grams of flour and 100 grams of water, you have a 100% hydration dough or starter.

  10. Elizabeth Elizabeth
    May 24, 2013    

    Can I use whole wheat flour for motherdough?

    • northwestsourdough northwestsourdough
      April 1, 2015    

      Yes. 🙂

  11. pLUT0 pLUT0
    May 17, 2013    

    how can I check if my sourdough still works, I left it in the fridge for more than a week, ( left for a trip)

    • northwestsourdough northwestsourdough
      May 18, 2013    

      Hi Pluto, pour out half of it, feed it again and then keep it at room temperature. Do that for a day or two and see if it has recovered. Keeping it for a week in the fridge isn’t much time as far as a starter goes. It should be fine.

  12. February 5, 2013    

    I’ve been refreshing part of the leftover motherdough – and I’m keeping the same hydration but wonder if I’m doing it “properly”? For example if I start with 100 g. motherdough, I add 60 g. water and 100 g. flour. Does that sound right to you? I get so confused with ratios! (I love the blonde wig bread, by the way… I have had great success with it!!)

    • northwestsourdough northwestsourdough
      February 5, 2013    

      Yes, that is the right refreshment. You are adding a 60% mixture to a 60% motherdough.

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