In Germany, Hermann, a sweet sourdough, is probably one of the most common forms of sourdough. It is made from wheat flour and is mostly used for baking cakes. Since the 1970s, it has been passed around like a chain letter. Around 1980, the time of the German peace and ecology movement, a letter with care instructions was added when giving it away.

In the United States, this dough is known as Amish Friendship Bread. The cake-like bread with cinnamon baked with it is traditionally distributed to friends or needy people. The American version tastes a little sweeter than a dough made from Hermann. For both recipes you need dry yeast for baking.

Is it possible without added yeast?

I'm more into wild yeast, so I tried to prepare a sweet dough without purchased yeast. With success! My sweet, wild yeast dough I call Hermione, or Hermine in German, and it is fabulous for baking cakes. Or for sweet breads and rolls.

Hermione, the sweet sourdough

Süssen Sauerteig ansetzen
Hermione, like her brother Hermann, is a sweet sourdough. The difference is that Hermione is created with wild yeasts from the ingredients used and the environment. Ideal when, for example, there is a shortage of yeast. Or you just do not feel like shopping.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 10 d

Equipment

  • 1 glass jar
  • 1 dishtowel or cloth napkin
  • 1 rubber band
  • 1 jam or other screw top jar
  • 1 fork

Ingredients
 

  • 63 gr. wheat flour per day for 5-7 days
  • 59 gr. water per day for 5-7 days

SUGAR TRANSFORMATION, 5-7 days later (per feeding, at least 3x).

  • 25 gr. water, 60-80° C
  • 15 gr. sugar
  • 30 gr. firm sourdough starter
  • 50 gr. white wheat flour

MILK TRANSFORMATION and FEEDING, from 2 days later (per feeding).

  • 100 gr. starter
  • 100 gr. wheat flour
  • 150 gr. sugar
  • 150 ml milk

Instructions
 

  • Combine 1⁄2 cup (63 g) flour and 1⁄4 cup (59 g) water in your glass container and mix thoroughly. The mixture should not exceed one-third of the container, as it will expand significantly when fermentation begins.
    Süssen Sauerteig ansetzen
  • Cover the vessel with the fabric and the rubber band and let it stand for 24 hours at room temperature, between 18° and 22°C.
  • To feed the starter, add 1⁄2 cup (63 g) flour and 1⁄4 cup (59 g) water. Mix well, cover loosely and let stand at room temperature until the next day.
    sweet sourdough
  • On day 3, the sourdough will likely begin to show bubbles. From now on, feed every 12 hours to keep it active. If it becomes too much dough for the vessel, just remove some before feeding and add to a batter. I usually use it to make quick pancakes or cookies.
    If the dough seems too firm or too runny, adjust the amount of flour and water accordingly.
  • By day 5 at the latest, the starter should be bubbling and thus doubling in volume every 12 hours. It now tastes tangy and flavorful and is ready for sugar transformation.
    If the starter is not active enough, continue feeding every 12 hours. If the starter still has not started on the 10th day, discard and start again.
    sweet sourdough

SUGAR TRANSFORMATION

  • In the morning, dissolve the sugar in the hot water. First add the starter and stir until foamy. This works well with a fork. Afterwards add the flour and knead to a firm dough. Cover and let rise for 4-5 hours at 26°-28° C. A jam jar or a jar with a screw top works very well here.
    Repeat twice.
  • After about 15 hours, chill the mixture for 12-24 hours, preferably in the refrigerator.
    Sweet sourdough Hermione
  • By the way, this dough can be kept indefinitely if you feed it every three days with the ingredients from above.

MILK TRANSFORMATION

  • For the transition to the bake ready dough and for continuous feeding add flour, sugar and milk. Let stand warm for 2-3 hours and then store in the refrigerator. Feed once a week.
    For baking keep in the warmth for 5-6 hours after feeding.
Keyword Hermann, cake, sourdough, wild yeast

Sweet sourdough, Harvard and science

During my Harvard studies to become a fermentista, I also had to prepare a sourdough. Naturally, this involved scientifically analyzing and understanding the principles behind it. I took various measurements of the dough every day. If you are also interested in such things, then do a simple measurement and find out the measurable acid development of the dough. For this you need pH strips* to find out the pH of the dough. Hold one side of the strip in the dough for 10 seconds and read the displayed value. Do not forget to write down your observations.

What do you notice?

Baking with sweet sourdough

I love Hermione especially for cakes with slightly alcoholic fermented fruits and spices. The dough rises really well, and makes a very very tasty, sweet cake. All without added yeast!


* I buy my test strips here https://www.hobbybrauerversand.de/PH-Messstreifen-10-Stueck-pH-38-55?fml=1. The scale is suitable for all types of ferments and they are very reliable for home use.

If you order through the linked recommendation, a share of the purchase price goes to me (at no extra cost to you, you know the principle under the name Affiliate Links). I take the commission as your appreciation for my work as a writing fermentista and thank you if you trust my recommendations.

6 Comments

  1. Hallo!
    Ich finde Deine Seite(auch das Fermentieren) sehr interessant. Gebe aber zu, dass ich da skeptisch bin und den Produkten nie ganz trauen würde….
    Allerdings backe ich fast ausschließlich mit einem selbstgezogenen Sauerteig-seit nun mehr 15Jahren 🙂
    Habe jetzt eine Frage zu Hermione:
    Ist es ein Unterschied, wenn der Sauerteig selbst süß ist, oder könnte man einfach den normalen Sauerteig in einem Kuchen verwenden?
    Will sagen: wenn ich Brot backe nehme ich zu dem angesetzten Sauerteig normalerweise
    Mehl, Wasser, etwas Honig u Salz.
    Stattdessen würde ich Mehl Milch mehr Honig/Zucker und kaum/kein Salz nehmen.
    Oder schmeckt süßer Sauerteig anders?

    Bin gespannt, wie der Unterschied ist.
    Viele Grüße
    Michaela

    • Hej Michaela,

      lustig, da geht es mir genau umgekehrt, ich traue dem, was die Industrie mir verkaufen will, nicht recht über den Weg und mache das meiste selber.

      Der süße Sauerteig auf Weizenbasis mit Milch ist milder, weniger sauer, und er ist auf jeden Fall sehr aktiv – ob jetzt aktiver, hängt sicherlich von Deiner persönlichen Kultur und Teigführung ab. Gebäck mit anderen Sauerteig schmeckt meiner Familie nicht gut, Gebackenes mit Hermione jedoch sehr. Seien es Waffeln, Kekse, Pfannkuchen oder Kuchen.

      Probier doch mal selber, eine Hermione zu züchten und berichte dann, was Du schmeckst.

      Gutes Gelingen!
      Katsu

  2. Super!
    Vielen Dank für Deine schnelle Antwort. Ich werde Hermione probieren. Mein Sauerteig ist ein aktives Kerlchen. Ich werde mal von meinem was abnehmen und versuchen, ihn umzufunktionieren. Mal schauen, ob’s klappt. Mit hellem Mehl ist er übrigens immer schneller. Wenn ich z.B. Weißbrot mache. Lasse ich ihn über Nacht im Kühlschrank gehen. Das Brot wird dann sehr locker, aber nicht sauer!

    Bin auf das Milch-/Zuckerexperiment gespannt!

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