Sekowa Spezial Backferment or baking ferment is a German bread-proofing product or ferment containing natural yeasts and enzymes and an alternative to commercial fast-acting engineered yeasts. The resultant bread has an excellent crust and non-sourdough flavour but gives a similar wild-yeast soft, open crumb that keeps well.

Particularly popular in Denmark and Germany as alternatives to commercial yeasts and sourdoughs/leavens, many professional bakers use this exclusively for proofing their doughs. It is made only from dried honey, organic wheat, corn and pea flour. Sekowa Backferment is therefore good for those intolerant to commercial engineered yeast strains.

Using Sekowa Baking Ferment

The backferment can be used in a variety of ways. Some use it as a direct alternative to dried yeast, others make a starter from it that can be kept in the 'fridge for a couple of months without any feeding or tending - at BakeryBits we have found that this works very well.

Backferment Starter:

A batch of Sekowa Backferment starter will keep in the 'fridge for up to two months and should be used as required for backferment recipes. As it isn't a sourdough starter it doesn't need feeding or any other looking after.

Ingredients - Step 1

  • 1 tbsp, heaped (20g) Sekowa Backferment
  • 220g warm water
  • 100g strong wholemeal flour
  • 100g strong white flour

Using a 2L container - choose one that can be covered easily as it is important to avoid the starter forming a dry skin on the surface), stir the Sekowa Backferment into the warm water, try to avoid any lumps.

Add the flours and mix well to form a very wet dough. Leave to stand for 12-18 hours, well covered for example, with cling-film, in a warm place such as an airing cupboard at about 30°C or 86°F.

Bubbles will be seen when the dough has started to work.

Ingredients - Step 2

  • 100g warm water, 40°C or 104°F
  • 150g strong wholemeal flour
  • 150g strong white flour

Add all the step 2 ingredients into the bubbling mix from step 1 and mix well. The resultant dough will be less wet than before.

Stand for another 5-10 hours, during which the optimum temperature is again 30°C or 86°F. After this time - sooner under optimal conditions, the dough will have doubled in volume and is will be ready for use.

Over time, the volume of the starter will decrease, but this is normal and does not detract from the quality of the starter. Your new starter may be kept in a 'fridge for several months in a food-safe container. Some grey liquid will collect on the surface of the starter over time - don't worry - pour it away or just stir it in.

Give it a try! Recipes are posted here regularly.