Sekowa Backferment


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.

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  1. Andrew Chamberlain on


    Can you also tell me when I submit a question do you reply via email or do I have to log into some where on a blog !

  2. Hilary Minor on

    Hi! I have just made a very successful loaf using the Sekowa Backferment starter. However, I too find the above quantities too much. Here’s what I did. I used one heaped tablespoon of Sekowa and enough warm water to get it mixed and not lumpy (not as much as 220g). To this, I added about three heaped tablespoons of white flour and mixed it well. The consistency was quite sloppy and the mixture was in a jar with a snap-tight lid. I then left the mixture just on my kitchen worksurface until I could see bubbles forming and the mixture looked active. I then fed it with a further three heaped tablespoons of white flour and just enough warm water to keep the mixture sloppy. The starter began to bubble more enthusiastically. Over a week or so, I continued to feed it two to three tbsps of white flour, some more warm water if it needed it and occasionally I mixed a teaspoon of diastatic malt into this warm water. The starter loved it and began to be very active. I used 350g of this starter to make the Olive Oil and Rosemary loaf and it was wonderfully successful. I am like the cat that got the cream! The loaf rose in the oven beautifully and I just can’t wait to taste it. I am also pleased as Punch that there has been no wastage of starter. After extracting 350g of starter there was some left so that has had 3 tbsps of white flour and some water + a tsp of diastatic malt added to it. It’s fizzing already.

  3. Thanks for the reply Patrick. It was the loaf recipe I was having trouble splitting as the quantities of backferment and starter are so small. There are only two people in my home and two large loaves is too much. I also suspect that a frozen loaf would not stay fresh long enough when it had been defrosted.
    I suppose I would just try and make half

  4. Eddie – I find that the quantities suit my family well as we will freeze one of the loaves. The recipe for the starter above can be halved quite easily: Part 1, use 10g Sekowa Bakferment, 110g warm water and 150g flour in total. Part 2, 50g water and 150g flour in total.

    The same can be done for the bread recipe, or you could always divide the premix in two and make two different batches with different flours, grains etc? Maybe add some malted wheat flakes and wholemeal flour to one and keep the other white?

  5. This makes a lot of starter and the recipes on your blog and in the instruction translation give amounts for two large loaves. This is far too much for the average home user!
    If you make smaller amounts how much pre-fement starter and backferment powder do you use? It would be nice to have recipes aimed at a home user with suitable amounts of ingredients – can you publish these ddetails?

  6. I am going to try making the preferment bit in my yoghurt maker as that stays consistently warm, though I am not sure if it is quite warm enough… I will report back on the results. J.

  7. I had forgotten about this ! Must give it another go and try this recipe of yours, I think I got in a bit of a muddle the first time making the first stage. That’s a great picture! I had a thought that now you are posting recipes it would be good if you made a link to a pdf file to make it easy for us to print out the recipes.

  8. Pingback: Crusty White With Sekowa Spezial Backferment | The BakeryBits Blog

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