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A pre-dough (Swiss German: Hebel or Hebl , Austrian: occasionally also Dampfl ) is a wheat dough made from grain components , bulk liquid and yeast , occasionally also from other recipe components. The dough is daily prepared and - in contrast to leaven not continuous - out . Pre-doughs are part of the indirect dough process. The pre-dough can be used as a starting point for a wheat sourdough.


The “Dampfl” often described in Austrian cookbooks, a mixture of yeast (yeast) in a warm liquid without added flour, was primarily used as a fermentation test to check whether the yeast is still capable of leavening and then also to activate and multiply the yeast (because Germ was not yet standardized and marked with an expiration date).

The main purpose of the pre-dough is to promote yeast multiplication and fermentation. At the same time, the development of lactic acid is promoted, which within certain limits promotes aroma and freshness, but in high concentrations reduces the ability to bake. Acid formation is therefore not the goal of the tour. Pre-dough results in a better aroma, better freshness and shelf life, better swelling of the flour components and thus better machinability. For tours over 15 hours, the standing time takes place in the cooling room to reduce the acidification of the dough. After four hours, the acid build-up increases significantly, which is why these doughs are technically sourdoughs .

Pre-doughs are used in countries with a long bread tradition and are only used for yeast doughs. This technique was widespread in Germany until 1950, the aim being to save yeast, which was quite expensive at the time. The art of this process lay in being able to use the dough at the predetermined time. A distinction was made between short, medium and long guides, with different amounts of yeast being used.

Variations of the pre-dough are so-called zero dough or gluten swell pieces . A yeast increase or aroma development is not aimed for with these pre-doughs. First and foremost, the aim is to relax the glue and thus improve the machinability of the dough. But they are not real pre-dough, but preliminary stages.


A pre-dough is always used when not all ingredients are processed directly into a dough. A typical pre-dough can be found with Stollen . Heavy doughs with a lot of fat or sugar make it difficult for the desired microorganisms to develop. Therefore, the pre-dough promotes their multiplication so that they can develop better later under difficult conditions.

Further examples are:

  • the baguette tour, which is held overnight in France and therefore has a very intense aroma
  • the production of "rosettas", a roll specialty from Italy and Italian-speaking Switzerland. Typical are: larger volume, cavity inside, higher crust content, great crumb elasticity and strong taste.
  • Swabian "Knauzenwecken". They are made from spelled flour and are characterized by their coarse pores, very good crumb elasticity and strong crust formation with a strong taste

Pre-dough types

Wheat pre-pastries are differentiated according to their ripening time. A distinction is made between short, medium and long ripening times.

Short maturation period

  • Maturing time: 0.5 to 1 hour
  • Temperature: 25-28 ° C
  • Flour content: 50%
  • Dough yield : 150-170
  • Yeast content: 6–10%
  • Effect: Accelerated dough maturity

Medium maturation period

  • Maturing time: 2–4 hours
  • Temperature: 25-28 ° C
  • Flour content: 20–40%
  • Dough yield: 160-200
  • Yeast content: 1–2%
  • Effect: Yeast propagation, elastic, cohesive crumb

Long ripening time

  • Maturing time: 12–20 h (from 15 h in the refrigerator)
  • Temperature: 22-25 ° C
  • Flour content: 10–20%
  • Dough yield: 150-160
  • Yeast content: 0.1-0.2%
  • Effect: cohesive crumb, aromatic taste

Individual evidence

  1. ^ IREKS Arkady Institute for Bakery Science (ed.): IREKS ABC of the bakery. 4th edition. Institute for Bakery Science, Kulmbach 1985
  2. ^ Handbook sourdough , editor: Gottfried Spicher, M. Brandt, Biologie, Biochemie, Technologie, 6th edition, 2006, Behr's Verlag, ISBN 3899471660
  3. Brümmer, J.-M., H. Huber: Definitions for preliminary stages - Getreide, Mehl und Brot 41 (1987) 4, pp. 110–112
  4. M. Seiffert: Mediterranean pastries containing wheat with pre-doughs. - Getreide, Mehl und Brot 56 (2002) 2, pp. 102-107

See also