Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Little Herman - Sweet Starter

Herman starter seems to be a very easy to cultivate and versatile type of natural yeast. It does not need daily feeding, and can be harvested on the 10th day after cultivation. I think the main difference between sourdough natural yeast and Herman starter is the high amount of sugar and milk used in feeding the natural yeast. During the cultivation period, only needs to keep the Herman Starter in room temperature (around 30°C).  I learned from other Herman cultivators that it can be used not only in bread, but also cakes, pancakes and even meat dishes.  The Herman starter helps to tenderize meat before cooking, and thickened soup or gravy. Sound interesting right?  That's why I'm jumping on the Herman Starter bandwagon too :)

Sharing with you the growing process of my Little Herman ...

(quantity of the flour adjusted on 24 Nov 2017)

Day 1 (15.10.17)

I used about 1 tbsp of natural yeast/ sourdough* 100% hydration, 1 tbsp each of plain flour, whole milk and fine fine sugar to start my Little Herman ;

* other cultivators used commercial yeasts to kick start the cultivation process.

Natural yeast 100% hydration: 21g
Unbleached plain flour: 10g
Cold Whole milk: 18g
Fine sugar: 17g
Total: 66g

Most importantly, do not use metal spoon to stir the Herman Starter!

Little Herman starting to grow ...
I think the Little Herman took about 6 hours to double itself on the first day.

18 hours after ...

Day 2 (16.10.17)

Only stirring was required. Lots of tiny air bubbles was observed throughout the day.

Day 3 (17.10.17)

Only stirring was needed.
Tiny bubbles appeared throughout the starter and day.

Just after stirring :)

Day 4 (18.10.17)

Add 2 tbsp each of all purpose flour and milk, and 1 tbsp of fine sugar to the Little Herman. To accommodate the growing Little Herman, I transfer them to a 600ml bigger container.

Herman starter transferred: 55g
Unbleached plain flour: 20g
Cold whole milk: 33g
Fine sugar: 17g
Total: 125g

Mixed all the feeds before adding to the Little Herman.

Little Herman doubled in volume after about 6 hours.

Little Herman at 17th hour after feeding.

Day 5 (19.10.17)

Only stirring was required. The Little Herman tasted sweet and a little tangy, plus a nice fruity alcoholic smell.  It is constantly very vibrant. I saw it rose and fell throughout the day. It is always filled with little air bubbles :)

Before stirring


After stirring :)

Day 6 (20.10.17)

Feeding day again for my growing Little Herman :)
Feeding these 3 ingredients to Little Herman:
Unbleached plain flour: 20g
Cold whole milk: 33g
Fine sugar: 17g

Stronger Little Herman took about 4 hours to double itself. In previous feeding, it took about 6 hours to double itself.

Before feeding

Getting all the feeding ingredients ready

After feeding

"Little Herman please grow faster, I want you to help me raise the dough" :)

7 hours after that morning feeding, I stirred the Little Herman to check whether it would double itself in two hours.

 After stirring

Little Herman doubled itself in two hours. I can use it to bake now :)

Little Herman in Bread Baking

I used 130g of Little Herman in my Sweet Bread and

Keep 30g to start another round of Herman cultivation.

After kneading with 250g unbleached bread flour, 105g water, 45g sugar, 1g salt, and 30g salted butter. Recipe in courtesy of Lily Lua.

Let the dough stood in room temperature (about 30C) for 90 minutes before keep in the fridge for 14 hours of overnight proofing.

Day 7 (21.10.17)

14 hours after refrigeration - unlike sourdough or commercial yeast, the Herman dough seemed like totally stop working. It looked the same as 14 hours ago :(

After 90 minutes of thawing, I divided the Herman dough into 9 portions, shaped and arranged in a 20cm square pan to proof in room temperature for about 3 hours 30 minutes.

3 hours 30 minutes later

Proof in a warm oven for 30 minutes.

Baked in a pre-heated oven at 170°C for 17 minutes and lower to 150°C for 3 to 5 minutes, at lower rack of the oven.

That's wrap up my Little Herman chapter :)

I dropped my  bottle of Little Herman on the eve of 2018 New Year. The container shattered and it ended my 12th cultivation of my Little Herman 😭 I'll start a new Herman brother on Friday, 5th Jan 2018 😉

I started a new batch of Herman Starter (named it Herman B) cultivation on 5 Jan 2018 using the remaining refrigerated Herman Starter from previous batch.

The new Herman B became bubbly and double in quantity within 12 hours. Yeah *\0/*


  1. Bravo...bravo!!!
    una experiencia increible , le has dado vida
    al pequeño Herman , los bollos seguro que estarán deliciosos
    me guardo tu receta para cuando haga más calor , aquí estamos en otoño
    y no llegamos ni a 22º
    una receta increible

    1. Hi,
      Thank you for finding my Little Herman cultivation interesting. Too bad you have to wait till the temperature rises higher to start your cultivation. Enjoy your cooling autumn :)

  2. Hi Miss Goh,
    I'm a newbie to Herman Starter. I would like to know what do I replace with the Natural yeast or how do I get the Natural yeast? Please advise

    1. Hi Wanda, I’m also a newbie in trying out Herman Starter for my bread. That’s why I’m still following closely the instructions laid down by others.
      Some Herman Starter cultivators use instant dry yeast to kick start. I think you can sprinkle a little instant dry yeast (about 1/8 tsp) over 10ml of water with a few grains of sugar. When the yeast water becomes frothy, about 15 minutes later, stir in 8~9g of unbleached plain/bread flour. Let the mixture stands for about 15 to 30 minutes till you see some bubbles start to rise to the top, then you can mix with the other 3 feeding ingredients to start. I’ve not try out this method, but I think it should work 🤞
      I cultivated my natural yeast from grapes. You can browse the process through this link:

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Thanks.Now that you have used 130gm for the buns and kept 32gm for the next cultivation. If you have some balance, do you keep it in the fridge to use for next round of bun making or you need to wait to the end of the next cultivation, which 4 or 5 days later?

  4. Not sure if my second enquiry went through: After keeping 32gm for the next cultivation and making the buns, can the balance be kept in the fridge to make the second round of buns or I have to use the ones from the next cultivation (and that will be 10 days later?) If kept in the fridge, how long will it stay active?

    1. Hi Wanda, sorry for my late reply. I’m new too in using Herman Starter to bake. To be frank, I’m still in the exploring stage, so may not be able to answer all your question.
      To my understanding, you can keep the HS in the fridge one day after feeding. When you need to bake again, you can take a portion of the HS to start a new round of cultivation. I think due to the high sugar content, the strength of the yeast may reduce after refrigeration.
      So far, I just keep the cycle going, since I can only bake once every 7 days 😊

  5. I noticed that houses natural yeast to go through the whole process of cultivating the Herman. What I did was use my natural yeast and fed it with milk and flour to the ratio of 1:1:1 And some sugar. The result was soft very nice soft bread. But I'm not sure if ehat I'm using can be considered Herman. I didn't go through the whole cultivation process because to my thinking I already have an active yeast. I'm not sure if I am using Herman or just natural yeast fed with milk and some sugar. Please share your thoughts. Many

  6. I have been feesing my natural yeast with flour and milk at the ratio of 1:1:1 And add 2 taps of sugar. The results have been good. I did not go through the whole process of cultivating it like what you did. I am confused now. To my thinking I already had an active natural yeast and thought that feesing it like Herman would suffice. Please share your thoughts with me. I am so confused now. Many thanks

    1. Hi Jennifer, I’m a new Herman Starter cultivator, so I’m still in the exploring stage. To my knowledge, Herman Starter is a more luxurious form of natural yeast that fed on milk and sugar besides flour. I love the nice alcoholic aroma and its sweet and tangy taste. I followed a 7-days cultivating cycle that allows me to harvest once a week. This pattern suit me as I have another bottle of natural yeast or sourdough starter. I cultivated my Herman Starter using my natural yeast as well as commercial yeast, so I need not get HS from a friend to begin.
      As long as you are feeding your natural yeast with milk, sugar and flour in 1:1:1 ratio, you are cultivating Herman Starter :)


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