Getting to grips with dried sourdoughs and there uses is pretty simple. Here's my (short) guide on what they are and what they do.
There are two types of dried sourdough, one is a dried active starter. The other is deactivated sourdough this type is used in the commercial manufacture of hybrid style sourdough bread.
If your following a 100% sourdough recipe like my sourdough bread recipe for beginners you'll need a sourdough starter.
Dried sourdough starters
There are many dried sourdough starter sellers across the world. You can buy one or follow my how to make a sourdough starter guide to make your own.
The most well-known starters come from San Francisco where arguably the best sourdough bread is made. A dried starters requires activation with water. Afterwards they can be ready to bake that day.
Buying a sourdough starter means you don't have to wait to build one which can take a few weeks - you can bake right away!
The problem with buying sourdough starters is after a couple of days it becomes accustomed to its new environment and strains of yeast that are no longer prevailing will lower and new ones from the sourdough's new home will take over.
The benefits of buying a sourdough are largely lost however they are pretty handy if you want to speed up the process of starting a new starter or for making a few loaves before its original flavour is lost.
This is added during commercial or “home-bake” kits to provide the sourdough flavour. The yeast bacteria is killed off which extends the shelf life of the product.
Baker's yeast is added to levain the bread which is sometimes the instant variety and included in a just add water style bread kit.
It’s a bit of fun and of course some of the health benefits of sourdough bread will be found however not all, especially when used (as they typically are) to make bread at pace.