Saturday, 21 December 2019

Pasta Madre Stiff Starter 45%


Pasta Madre or stiff starter is similar to 老面 or aged dough used in bread baking. Using the method shared by my FB friend, Barry Apek, I did a little modification to make a 45% hydration instead of a 50% stiff starter. To me, 45% hydration stiff starter has a less sticky dough thus easier to be shaped. I also shortened the duration from about 4~5 days to 2 days. If the natural yeast is active and strong, and with the warmer temperature of our region, I believe the duration can be shortened 😉

The process mainly comprises of a 2-day event. The first day was to convert the 100% hydration natural yeast to a 45% hydration stiff starter. And feed the starter twice at an interval of 12 hours. The second day involved transferring part of the first-day stiff starter to mix with water and bread flour. The new stiff starter was fed thrice at a shorter interval of 4 hours (but I was too busy, I dragged the second feeding for another 4 hours 😉)

The stiff starter was then used in panettone or other normal bread baking 😊



Day 1
1st feeding: 11 Dec 2019, 9:30 am
10g active natural yeast, 100% hydration
6g bread flour (for making up to 45% hydration)
5g water
11g bread flour
Total: 31g

Combine all ingredients together and knead into a smooth dough.
Roll the dough into a long rope

Fold into half and roll out into a rope again, repeat a few times.

Shape the smooth dough into a ball

Snip a cross over the top.
 Place the stiff starter in a small bowl and cover with a cling wrap. Let it stand in room temperature for 12 hours.

Beginning of 1st 12 hours

End of 12 hours

Day 1
2nd feeding: 11 Dec 2019, 9:40 pm
stiff starter from above
5g water
11g bread flour
Total: 49g

Add all ingredients together and knead into a smooth dough.

Beginning of the 12 hour

End of 12 hour

Day 2
1st feeding: 12 Dec 2019, 10:00 am
10g stiff starter from above
5g water
11g bread flour
Total: 26g

Add all ingredients together and knead into a smooth dough.


Beginning of the 4 hour fermentation

End of the 4 hour fermentation

Day 2
2nd feeding: 12 Dec 2019, 2:10 pm
stiff starter from above
10g stiff starter from Day 1
5g water
11g bread flour
Total: 50g

Add all ingredients together and knead into a smooth dough.

Beginning of the 6 hour fermentation

End of the 6 hour fermentation


Day 2
3rd feeding: 12 Dec 2019, 8:40 pm
stiff starter from above
10g water
22g bread flour
Total: 80g

Add all ingredients together and knead into a smooth dough.


Beginning of 12 hour fermentation

End of 12 hour fermentation




Unused Pasta Madre
Wrap the remaining stiff starter in cling wrap and store in refrigerator if you intend to use within 3 to 4 days.
For longer storage, keep the stiff starter in the freezer and thaw before use.


I have to thank my FB friend Barry Apek for sharing the preparation of the stiff starter 😄



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