The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Exchanging starters in recipes

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Sliss4's picture
Sliss4

Exchanging starters in recipes

Hi,


I am new to this site and also new to using starters.  I was given a recipe for a wheat starter and wonder if I can use it in any recipe that calls for a starter.


Thanks.

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

As long as you're making bread with wheat flour, be it white or whole wheat.  

Sliss4's picture
Sliss4

Thank you so much.  As it turned out, my starter never did start so I eventually threw it out and began again.  Same thing.  This starter contained yeast and I have a persistent problem with getting anything to rise. 


This is a fabulous site and I know that others have had the same problem, but it is discouraging.  Especially after putting so much time and effort into the process.


S

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Can you tell us some more specifics?


 


What method did you use?


How and how often did you feed the starter?


How warm is the spot where it was sitting?


Did it ever smell funny?


Did it ever have any bubbles, and if so what size were they?


How many days is "eventually"?


What did it look and smell like when you gave up?


 

Sliss4's picture
Sliss4

I recently got a new Cuisinart food processor which has a dough function and dough blade so I decided to give it try.  The recipe that was included was from Charles Van Over's bread book. I made the starter using AP flour, whole wheat flour, water and instant yeast.  Our house is cool and I waited a week for it to double and then I threw it out.


I started another one 9 days ago and, when it didn't rise all, I still went ahead and added more flour and water four days later.  It is now 5 days later and it has no bubbles and seems to have seperated into about a half inch of liquid at the top.  It does smell funny and seems to have a few "things" that appear to be growing on the top.


Does this one need to be tossed as well?  I recently began a sourdough starter from the Sourdough 101 tutorial.  I am three days into that one and it seems to be behaving appropriately. Thank goodness.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Hmmm. Not doubling after a week sounds like some other problem besides a cool house (which can extend a few hours rise into a daylong rise, but probably not more). Maybe it actually rose when you weren't looking, but then collapsed and fell back before you did look.


Or maybe you were a victim of the common problem with making doughs and starters in a food processor: Many food processors, because they turn so fast, greatly heat up the ingredients (enough to kill yeast). That's why food processor directions often say you should use cold (even iced) water.

Sliss4's picture
Sliss4

I still have the starter and have added more flour (to try to thicken it), stirred it a lot and put it in a warmer environment (a warmed up microwave).  It's bubbly but still very thin.  Should I dump it and begin again or throw away some of it and feed it in some way? 


 If I begin again, what do you think I should do differently?  The starter hasn't been in the food processor so I don't think that is the problem. It's so helpful to be able to discuss this with someone with esxperience.  My dogs are no help at all.

LindyD's picture
LindyD


......or throw away some of it and feed it in some way? 



Are you saying you have not been discarding about 75% and refreshing (feeding) the culture at least once every 12 hours?


If not, then you should read this thread.

Sliss4's picture
Sliss4

Oops.  No, I haven't been discarding any part of any thing.  As  I said earlier, this is all greek to me but I do want to master it.  Today I actually thought about doing something along those lines but was not sure how much to discard and then how much to feed.  Can you suggest what my next step should be?

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Hi Sliss4,


Little wonder you've had such problems. Flour and water ferment naturally.  You don't need to add commercial yeast and you certainly don't use a machine such as a food processor to mix a sourdough culture.  You'll need a lidded container (glass or Cambro) and something to stir it with (spoon, fork, dough whisk).


I think your next step is to read the thread written by Debra Wink and follow the steps she has outlined to create a sourdough culture, which will grow into a viable sourdough starter to flavor and raise your breads - in a few weeks.  


I personally would dump the stuff that Cuisinart suggested you make.  While they are pretty good at making machines, they don't seem to know much about sourdough.


Be patient, follow Debra's advice, and you'll succeed!