How to Make Sourdough Bread More Sour

One of the main reasons why people love sourdough bread is the sour flavor. Pair that with the terrific texture, and you have bread that stands tall above the rest. But what if you’re planning to bake a fresh batch of sourdough in your Dutch oven, and you want a more sour flavor

There are many ways to make sourdough bread sourer. A lot comes down to the starter, from using rye flour and stirring more regularly to stirring in the hooch and waiting for it to mature. You can also increase the fermentation period and de-gas while rising.

Hey! I’m Michelle, a self-taught baker that seriously loves sourdough bread. I eat sourdough bread several times per week, especially for breakfast. It’s just so yummy! I enjoy the sour flavor provided by sourdough, so I set out on a mission to make it more sour

Want to make your sourdough bread more sour? Find the best tips and tricks below!

9 Ways to Make Sourdough Bread More Sour

If you’re craving a little more sourness in your sourdough bread, you’ll be happy to find out that there are many ways to up the sour content. They’re all relatively simple solutions, too, ensuring you can easily find your way to super sour sourdough.

Here are my top nine methods to increase sourness in your sourdough loaf:

1. Use Rye Flour in Your Sourdough Starter

You can’t make sourdough bread without a sourdough starter – it’s just that simple.

However, most recipes share to use whole wheat flour with all-purpose flour (or other similar flour).

This is fine and all, but if you want to kick the sourness up a notch, I recommend swapping the whole wheat flour for rye flour.

Rye flour will activate your sourdough starter and create a very bubbly starter, which is always a good thing. Not only that, but it will enhance the sourness incredibly. It’s a win-win situation, so some people opt solely for rye flour – although I don’t recommend this for newbies.

2. Stir the Sourdough Starter More Often

To up the sour content in your sourdough bread, you need to look at the sourdough starter. 

One great way to increase sourness is to stir the starter more often.

For example, instead of stirring once every 12 hours, you might shake it up to once every six hours.

That doesn’t mean you should stir your sourdough starter every hour. Over-stirring is not a good idea. However, mixing a few more times per day can help oxygenate the starter and lend a helping hand to bacterial growth, resulting in more sourness.

3. Stir in the Hooch

At one point or another, you’ll find liquid on top of your sourdough starter. At this point, you might panic, wondering what’s wrong with your starter.

Don’t worry; this liquid is not a bad thing. It’s simply an alcohol byproduct from the over-fermentation of yeast. This happens when your sourdough starter hasn’t been fed in a while and starts to get hungry.

The best thing to do is stir the hooch into your sourdough starter and return to your regular feeding schedule. The hooch will produce a more sour flavor you’re sure to enjoy.

4. Opt for a Longer, Cooler Fermentation

All kinds of bread need to rise. Some take longer than others.

When it comes to making your sourdough loaf taste sourer, one of the easiest ways to do it is to create a longer fermentation (rising) time.

The best way to do this is to stash your ball of sourdough dough in the refrigerator for up to 24 to 72 hours.

The longer the ball of dough sits in the refrigerator rising, the sourer the outcome will be!

5. Add Some Citric Acid

Managing your sourdough starter to make your sourdough bread sourer can be complex and challenging, especially if you’re new to the world of sourdough bread-baking.

There’s an easier way.

Add up to ¼ of a teaspoon of citric acid to make your sourdough sourer. You’ll add it at the same time you’re mixing the other ingredients, like water and flour.

However, refrain from adding more than ¼ teaspoons of citric acid. Otherwise, your sourdough will be rendered inedible. 

6. Keep it Simple

There are many wonderful and delicious enriched sourdough loaf recipes out there. Sure, these loaves are yummy, but they contain many ingredients – such as milk and butter – that will tame the overall sourness of your sourdough.

If you want the sour flavor to be on full display, opt for a simple recipe that’s nothing more than flour, water, and salt. 

7. Use Mature Sourdough Starter

When it comes to creating a very sour loaf of sourdough bread, you need to be patient

Brand-new and young sourdough starters are simply not going to cut it.

You need to give your sourdough starter plenty of time to “mature.” Ideally, you should wait a few months before using it to make your sourdough bread. The longer it “matures,” the more the results will be.

8. Store Sourdough Starter at Room Temperature

Many prefer to keep their sourdough starter in the refrigerator and use it straight from the fridge.

That’s fine and all, but it won’t create the sour flavor you’re looking for.

The better option is to tuck your sourdough starter away in a cool, dark area in your kitchen at room temperature.

The warmer temperatures will produce more acetic acid, essential for creating the sharp sour flavor you’re after. Just make sure you feed room-temperature sourdough starter daily.

9. De-Gas While Fermenting

Your sourdough is going to enjoy a very long rise in the refrigerator. That doesn’t mean you should let it “hang around” in the fridge.

While your sourdough dough is fermenting, get in there and de-gas it. You can do this by punching it down or stretching and folding the dough.

By doing so, you punch out the air bubbles and require the yeast to move around and find new areas of the dough to feed on. Ultimately, this will enhance the sour flavor while also encouraging a perfect crumb – and who doesn’t want that?


There are so many easy and fantastic ways to make sourdough bread more sour! If you want to keep learning about this fascinating topic, I recommend checking out these frequently asked questions.

Does baked sourdough bread get more sour over time?

Sourdough bread does not tend to get more sour over time. That’s because most of the sour flavor is produced before baking.

Why does my sourdough have no flavor?

If your sourdough bread lacks flavor, there is likely an issue with your starter. It was likely not done correctly or fed regularly enough. You may not have waited long enough for the sourdough starter to mature.

Is sourdough supposed to be Sweet or sour?

Sourdough bread is supposed to have a sour flavor that ranges from mild to intense. However, if you opt for an enriched sourdough bread loaf, you may notice a sweet and sour taste. It all depends on the ingredients used to make the bread.

Sourer Sourdough, Here We Come!

There are tons of ways to make sourdough bread sourer. However, it mostly comes down to the sourdough starter.

How do you make your sourdough bread more sour?

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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