* Test 2* Natural yeast that started with semolina flour and water for non sour bread

12 Mar

2 weeks ago, I got a Japanese bread baking book for making non sour bread with flour and water.  The Aurthur Hiroko Hayashi insisted that the starter is different from sourdough because it is not sour, and she also mentioned that sourdough must be started with rye flour and water. She called her starter ” Koubo- Pan- shu”-(Natural yeast-Bread-Culture), or 老麺 in Chinese. Other Japanese say ” Flour yeast”  or ” Bread culture”   I will say “ Old dough=Pre-Ferments  ” in English.  However, I think that if the bread has sour tastes ( lactic acid  or acetic acid) it would be sourdough.

I really like her way not to discard her dough except the dough dies. She never discards any of them that is like my raisin yeast water.

* Note: Unfortunately, She passed away in 2010. She was still 40’s. I am very fond of her books. ( I have other kind of her books to make miso, soy sauce, vinegar etc..)

I tried her method once, but the starter came out  little sour like the first one that I tried,but I am still keep her dough in the refrigerator for a chance that I may be able to make non sour bread because they are still young.  It takes a month until ready to bake bread according to Hiroko Hayashi.  I am still skeptical.. Is it really possible to make non sour bread with flour and water? I saw a Japanese home baker who tried her method made non sour bread.  I checked what kind white flour she used.   The flour contains malted rice, which is kind of sake yeast water.  I would understand why she was able to make non sour bread with the flour and water.  But, How about Hiroko Hayashi?

When I built the yeast with white flour and water, the yeast was weaker than I expected. I realized that I should use flour that contain more enzyme to make strong yeast.  Hiroko Hayashi suggested to use semolina flour or whole wheat to start with. So I tried semolina flour to make the yeast using her method with my technique.


  • 12g semolina flour
  • 6g filtered water

I reformed the dough into a ball 3 times at 4 hours interval to activate the dough.

After mixing the ingredients.

After 3rd reformed the dough. Getting stickier.. No rise.


  • 15g starter ( The total weight of the Day1 dough)
  • 15g semolina flour
  • 7g filtered water ( Added water until I get the texture of my ear lobe)

I reformed the dough into a ball 3 times at 4hours intervals.

After mixing the ingredients

After 3rd reformed the dough.   No rise.

Day3–  Discarded the surface that was dry in 24 hours.

  • 15g starter ( The total weight of the Day2 dough)
  • 15g semolina flour
  • 7g filtered water ( Added water until I get the texture of my ear lobe)

No more reforming the dough.

The surface was dry.  This is a good sign of the first fermentation.

It rose doubled in volume in 11 hours. so….

I took the dried surface again and  fed the dough like this..

  • 30g starter ( The total weight of the dough)
  • 30g King Arthur all purpose flour
  • 18g filtered water( Added water until I get the texture of my ear lobe)

Mixed them all and put in a zip-lock to store in the refrigerator ( 9℃– the place that I keep butter)….. I don’t close the zip-lock for the dough, which needs to breath.

* Using a zip-lock ( or plastic bag) is Hiroko Hayashi’s way.  I prefer her way when I keep the dough in the refrigerator for a long term. The dough may have excess oxygen when it is in a container, which may be oxidized. I can’t get a right size container for the dough every time.

The place is 3 ℃ warmer than the other places.

Day4/ Day5

  • Reformed the dough once a day.

Day5  Before reforming the dough into a ball.


Fed the dough…

  • 69g starter ( The total weight of the Day5 dough)
  • 69g King Arthur all purpose flour
  • 36g filtered water ( Added water until I get the texture of my ear lobe)

Before feeding

After feeding.


  • Reformed the dough into a ball once a day.

Day7  Before reforming the dough: It is fermenting!

Day8  Before reforming the dough.It is fermenting more..


I fed the dough… ( the plan was 10th day, but it fermented faster than I expected)  In the same time, I had a question about the dough how much the dough rose exactly when I keep the dough in the zip-lock… So I divided the dough in a half to test… One is in a zip-lock, the other one is in a container.

  • 73g starter each ( The total weight of the Day8 dough)
  • 73g King Arthur all purpose flour
  • 36g filtered water ( Added water until I get the texture of my ear lobe)

before feeding

After feeding

Day10   It rose  more than doubled in 24 hours when I checked the dough in the container.   Now I can see how much the dough rose in the zip-lock. The taste of the starter is not sour, which is good news.

In the evening, I made the dough to bake  the Japanese sandwich loaf next day.

  • Levain ( I already got from the dough)– Should be 255g.. but I made a mistake.. I used only 196g

Final dough:

  • 301g  King Arthur bread flour
  • 20g egg yolk
  • 38g  whole milk ( I didn’t have heavy whipping cream)
  • 134g water ( The original was 144g .. I didn’t know why I changed it.)
  • 29g butter
  • 13g sugar
  • 7.2g salt

How I made the dough

  1. Knead the dough with 5 minutes autolyze.
  2. Bulk fermentation 76F   10.5 hours.
  3. Preshape  and 30 minutes bench time.
  4. Shape
  5. Final proof   2 hours.
  6. Bake ( Cold oven)

Bulk fermentation: In 10.5 hours.

Final proof:  before baking. 2 hours later..   I don’t wait any longer not to have sour tastes.

It rose over 180% in the oven.

The crumb is fluff and soft.

The taste:  Very close to non sour bread. When I had some of them when it was still warm, it was very slightly sour. I had it again when it is cooled, the taste was no sour.  I also tasted the semolina and white flour that I used directly.

The taste of the loaf in 24 hours:  It was little sour.  According to Hiroko Hayashi, I will wait another 20 days until I make the sandwich loaf to compare.

Next day:

I made a champagne loaf with the starter using Hiroko Hayashi’s formula, but I added more rye flour to it.

  • 200g starter ( Old dough=Pre-Ferments)
  • 30g  dark rye flour
  • 35g  King Arthur whole wheat flour
  • 335g King Arthur bread flour
  • 287g water
  • 8g salt
  1. Mixed all the ingredients except the salt.
  2. Autolyze for 15 minutes
  3. Added the salt and kneaded until  the dough got gassy. ( 10 -15 minutes)
  4. Bulk fermentation  6.5 hours  — Stretch and fold on the work bench at the first 45 minutes.
  5. Preshape
  6. Bench time 30 minutes.
  7. Proof  1 hour at the room temperature.
  8. Retard for 12 hours  at 6 ℃.
  9. Final proof for 1.5 hours at the room temperature.
  10. Bake 

The day that I baked-The taste : little keen Sour but pleasant  and sweet. It is little too sour for me.The crumb : Soft and fluff . I really like the texture.

The next day–  The taste: little keen sour but very pleasant and less sweet than yesterday, which mean the flavor combined well. The crumb: Softer but chewer than the sourdough with raisin yeast water.

By the way, I really like this natural yeast that started with flour and water as much as I like raisin yeast water, that are used very simple ingredients.   I must say, “Simple is the best.”

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Koubo by Akiko is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.


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5 responses to “* Test 2* Natural yeast that started with semolina flour and water for non sour bread

  1. south bronx

    April 11, 2012 at 5:25 am

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  2. passerby

    August 18, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    this is what westerners/Europeans called “sourdough starter” . sour-dough…obviously carries certain degree of sourness. if you don’t feed it appropriately(proper ratio of flour and water and time), the acidity rises quickly(learned of it from experience).
    i just don’t understand how the bread comes out of it called “non-sour”. isn’t it contradictory?
    sorry, simply curious about this.

    the bread you made is all wonderful. and your generosity of sharing baking knowledge is admirable.
    keep on the good work. 🙂


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    • Akiko

      March 13, 2014 at 2:11 am

      Thank you for your nice comment, procera. 🙂

      I am very happy if I can help!



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