The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

125% liquid non-bleached all-purpose starter = No Sour

  • Pin It
sournewb71's picture
sournewb71

125% liquid non-bleached all-purpose starter = No Sour

I know there's a wealth of information already posted, specifically by Debra Wink, when it comes to sourness.  However I have hit a wall and am perplexed.

I maintain a white, non-bleached all-purpose flour starter at 125% hydration.  My feeding regimen is 5g starter, 62g water, 50g flour, once a day at 60-65F temperature.  When I first created this starter it used to develop hooch after a 24hr period, but then it settled down and adjusted to the feeding regimen.  Now when I go to feed it in the morning, it is bubbling up beautifully, layers upon layers of little bubbles.  However when I use this starter to make bread, I get mild to no-sour whatsoever.  My latest attempt was to use 30% prefermented flour (basically a modified Vermont Sourdough), I thought for sure that would make my lips pucker.  I would honestly be more satisfied with a loaf that was unedible because of the sourness than just a bland white loaf of bread.

Correct me if I'm wrong but from what I understand via Debra Wink's posts and other discussions here, a liquid starter should produce more acid than a stiff starter.  A starter fed a bigger ratio, with less feedings, should produce a bread that is more sour than a starter that is fed more often.  A Vermont Sourdough should be more sour than a Pain Au Levain.

So what am I doing wrong to not achieve the above?

-Is it the all-purpose flour?  Is it not possible to achieve a nice tang with a 100% white starter (Vermont Sourdough style bread)?

-Is it the room temperature?  Is it not possible to generate sourness without an elaborate setup that maintains the starter at 90F?

-Is it the starter itself?  I created this starter with local raw honey, KAF, and filtered water.  Maybe the raw honey established some kind of biological community that suppreses sourness?

mariana's picture
mariana

I think it's the recipe for starter, how you created the starter and how you maintain it. It determines how sour it is. Because the way you feed your starter during creation and later during maintenance stage pressures some microbes to die off and others to thrive. A natural selection takes place. That is why different recipes create different style starters.

 

There are recipes for sour, average and barely sour starters. The only starter that is guaranteed sour is San-Francisco type. French style starters are usually very mild to average sour.  Certain breads require certain kinds of starters, they require specific starters. I.e. it is impossible to bake S-F sourdough with mild French style starter, you need specifically S-F starter. And vice versa, it is next to impossible to bake nice mild French pain au levain with S-F style starter, it makes bread too sour.

 

Once you have a starter of certain type, you can convert it into different consistency (liquid, soft, stiff) and feed it different flours, to suit the recipe for particular bread. But that doesn't change the nature of your starter and how you maintain it. It's the community of the microorganisms in each starter that determines how sour it is and how sour it will make your bread.

mariana

 

sournewb71's picture
sournewb71

I'm not sure how I feel on Ed Wood's theory that a starter from one geographical region stays the same after it is stabilized.  Maybe.  At this point I'm starting to wonder if it is the starter population itself.

mariana's picture
mariana

What does Ed Wood and his theories have to do with this? We were talking about your starter, in your region, in your kitchen, weren't we?

The recipe you used to create your starter and its regimen of maintenance determines its microflora and acid profile. I've lived in the same place for years and different recipes for starters allow me to create and maintain different starters in my kitchen: from mild to highly acidic. Same kitchen, different recipes for starters and their maintenance. You start with wild population of microorganisms in your flour, water and air and you end up with a selected one. The way you feed and maintain starter detemines who will survive in your starter and what kind of starter you will end up with. This works regardless of the region. Regional differences are a completely separate topic of conversation.

Obviously, while using the very same starter you can vary the acidity of your dough. You can do it with yeast too, regular storebought yeast in different dough recipes creates breads with different acidity. The same is true with starters: they too are capable of producing mildly of highly acidic breads depending on the techiques, how you handle your dough.

mariana

Craig_the baker's picture
Craig_the baker

Perhaps you need to add more starter to your leaven. Be sure your starter is good and ripe/mature and then carry that acid load to your leaven. You probably need to add more than 5g of starter as well in order to achieve your desired sourness.

sournewb71's picture
sournewb71

The last attempt I made a Vermont Sourdough, using 30% by flour weight of starter.  That is a lot of starter.  I only use 5g for building the starter.

placebo's picture
placebo

One way to get a more sour loaf is to use less starter. The fact that you're using so much starter almost guarantees you'll get a mild flavor.

Grenage's picture
Grenage

I started off using 33% starter in my loaves, but cut it down to 10% when I want a sourer taste.  Wholemeal loaves are a bit sourer.

sournewb71's picture
sournewb71

Interesting.  I always thought it would be the opposite.  Maybe I need to try a smaller amount.

Wholemeal, especially rye will definitely produce more sour, but I've tried sourdough white loaves, albeit maybe they had a small percentage of whole grain, that definitely had sourness to them.

Thanks for the tip I'll give it a shot.

Craig_the baker's picture
Craig_the baker

perhaps you should carry over more of your starter at each refreshing?

sournewb71's picture
sournewb71

So feed at a smaller ratio?  I wanted to do a 1:10 ratio so that I only had to feed my starter once a day.  If I feed it at a smaller ratio I'd have to refresh it more.

Craig_the baker's picture
Craig_the baker

Let me preface this by saying I'm no professional, but it sounds to me like 1:10 is a little overkill. I can feed mine once a day if I have a 1:2 or 1:2.5ratio But I've never kept one at 125% either so it sounds to me like the thinner the starter,the faster the starter goes through its food supply. Take a portion of your starter and stiffen it up and see what happens when you bake with it.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

White flour is the flour of choice if you're looking for a mild sour. Use wholemeal, especially rye and spelt and you should see vast difference...

Temperature is also another big factor.

Maverick's picture
Maverick

I would venture to say that while some starters lend themselves better (or worse) to a sour flavor, the technique used in making your final bread can have an even greater impact. If you share your process for making bread perhaps we can help a bit. Do you retard the dough, etc.? BTW, a little rye in the bread dough can help with the sour flavor. Since you referenced the Vermont Sourdough, you will notice that there is rye in that. In fact, I think the Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grains uses even more rye and is more sour in my experience (it also uses more starter).

sournewb71's picture
sournewb71

The formula for my last attempt is the same, bakers % wise, as JH's Vermont Sourdough with the modification of using 30% preferment and a little more hydration.  It was my understanding that using a higher % of preferment would carry over more acid, making a sourer loaf.  Maybe I was wrong on that regard, maybe less preferment produces more acid over a longer period of time.  Yes this loaf had whole rye in it.  I also used only unbleached KA all-purpose flour, I ran out of bread flour.  I also understand using more whole meals such as rye or wheat will add acidity, but am I wrong to assume acidity can be created in the regular Vermont Sourdough???

I autolyzed the flour and water (which I warmed up to body temperature) for about 45 minutes.  I adjusted the hydration just enough to make it all come together.  I covered this bowl, and set it into a bigger bowl filled with water that was a little warmer than body temperature.  Afterwards I added the 30% starter and salt, then 'worked' the dough ala Bertinet.  I returned the dough to the bowl, covered it, and refilled the bigger bowl underneath with water that was warmer than body temperature.  After an hour I removed the dough and gently folded and returned it back to the bowl, refilled the warm water.  After another hour I determined that the bulk ferment was done by the way the dough felt when I was gently folding it.  So I bench rested it, then shaped it on a peel, covered it and placed it into a slightly pre-warmed oven with the oven light on.  After about an hour and a half, the dough was looking about ready, lots of little tiny blisters on the outside, soft and fragile.  I pre-heated the oven to 440F, loaded my cast iron griddle, and waited about a half an hour for it to pre-heat.  I sprayed the oven to create steam, closed the door, slashed my dough, put the dough on the griddle, and then steamed again closing the door quickly behind it.  I then lowered the temperature to 425F.  After about 3 minutes, I again steamed the oven.  When I saw the loaf start to take on some color, I opened the oven door and let out any residual steam.  I then removed the loaf at internal 200F.  For those wondering why such a low temperature, I have found in my experience that cast iron transfers heat too fast to dough, and will cause the dough to cook a lot faster than a stone.  After burning a couple loaves I found 425F to be the best when using cast iron in my oven.

The loaf itself came out good.  The crust was a dark, cinnamon color.  The inside was nice with irregular holes here and there, creamy colored, and shimmered like it was egg white glazed (I forget the word JH uses to describe that).  It had an OK taste, but it had no sourness whatsoever to it.  Some may say that I'm selfish, but the goal was to obtain some sourness to the loaf.  Maybe I'm just pursuing it the wrong way.

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

I agree with the suggestion to add wholegrain flours to your starter, they will increase acidity and also speed fermentation.  While  maintaining your starter, be careful about small seed portions with whole grains so that you don't end up with maurading microbes taking root.  

I'm wondering if your feeding schedule might be a tad too early (or the seed a tad too small) to achieve full maturity.  Allow your starter enough time to be completely and fully mature before feeding, so that there is a full population of acid-producers present.  The faster fermentation with whole grains should help achieve this, or you may need to slightly increase your seed amount. 

Try a long bulk ferment at 68-70F with stretch-and-folds at appropriate intervals (perhaps every couple of hours).  This will allow the heterofermentors (bacteria that produce both acetic and lactic acid), if they are present in your culture, to make acetic acid.

Not quite sure what to recommend as to hydration, other than to say that there are some who maintain that a firm starter has the rounder, less sour flavor (James McGuire, Rose Beranbaum, Debra Wink), while others feel the liquid starters are milder.  You may have to try both and see what you think.   My personal feeling is that the flavors are different, but either way, the degree of maturity of the starter, the whole grain content, and the length of the bulk ferment are more important for creating (or avoiding) acid than the hydration.

 

sournewb71's picture
sournewb71

So you don't maintain a pure white starter, but add whole meals to it?  Or do you add some whole meal to the levain you are building for your bread?

I haven't seen any negative comments on maintaining a starter at 1:10:10, just that it takes longer and produces more generations of LAB and yeasts, which can help in the acid department.  My ratio is slightly bigger, 1:12.4:10, because it is kept at 125% hydration.  I've also hadn't had any irregularities while maintaining the starter this way.  Everyday I go to feed it it has doubled, and is bubbly.  If I leave it two days, hooch forms and it becomes really liquidy.

I want to maintain a starter outside of the fridge, that was liquid (because supposively this is how you can generate more acid), that can be fed once a day.  Yes that might be asking a lot, however kept at 60-65F, at the higher feeding ratio, it seems to have worked.  I can take pictures and show you how active it is before I feed it.

The one thing I haven't tried is a longer bulk ferment.  I usually wait until it just about doubles then continue on.  The whole process from start to finish is usually 6-8 hours.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

leads to science.  Genzel's raw data on reproductive rates of Lab's that produce sour and yeast that produce volume in bread with CO2  are linked by temperature.  Here is a chart of reproductive rates of Lab and yeast basted on temperature and then calculating the Lab to Yeast ratio where the higher the number, the more Lab are being produced for each yeast and how long it will take for dough to double in size at that temperature.  The idea is find the right temperature to produce as much Lab as possible  compared to as little yeast as possible so that the dough takes longer to proof to doubling size wile maximizing Lab production.  If these goals are met the dough will have maximum sour  as it reaches proper proofing for baking.   So the higher the lab yeast ratio the better if you discount time.

Reproductive Rates   
    Doubling 
Temp FLabYeastLab/YeastRate Hrs
360.01920.00513.78748
640.18690.16321.1455.4
900.8870.20193.251.6

As you can see at 36 F the lab to yeast ratio is the highest at 3.787 so that is where max sour will occour but it takes over 48 hourd to get the  dough to double.  90 F is not bad at  3,25 and it only takes 1.6 hours to double.  You can also see that at near room temperature 64 degrees the ratio is only 1.145 and will produce  only 30% of the sour at 36 F and 90 F.  What this points to for most sour taste,  you want to ferment your dough at long low temperatures and proof it at high ones in order to get a decent time lime to bake that doesn't take 5 days.

'txfarmer's 36 hour low temp retard in combination with dmsnyder's 85 F final proof temperatures afterwards have produced the most sour tastes in my bakes in a still not very reasonable time frame.  What this also points to is that it doesn't make any difference  if you double the levain amount for sour.  Increasing the inoculation makes the doubling of the dough happen faster too and you will still end up with the same sour when the bread is properly proofed.  It is temperature that makes the difference.  If you want speed then ferment and proof at 90 F  but you will only get 85 % of the sour you would low temp for a long time.

Other things that I have noticed that have increased sour are to make the levain you are going to use, stiffen it up to 75% hydration  and refrigerate it for 48-60  hours before using it.  Yeast production will be low but Labs will be reproducing at 3.5 times faster so that when the levain is finally used in the dough it will have much more Labs to start with than a non retarded levain and it will produce more sour.

My most sour breads result from rye sour starters too.  Why I have no idea other then Labs might like that food source better for some reason.  From experience low hydration starters also seem to produce more sour and I don't know why.

So if you want sour, then build a whole rye starter,  make a  75% whole rye  levain and refrigerate it for a few days.  Then make your bread and be sure to ferment it by retarding it at low temperatures for a couple or three days and then final proof it at high temperatures.  This method has produced the most sour breads for me - so far.  Oppsss. Forgot to note that using whey water from yogurt for all or part of the liquid in your dough will produce a more sour taste as well.

Your experiences on wet and whole grains may differ but don't fight the science of sour by making your SD bread at room temperatures - unless you don't want the sour.

The chart data was from Dough.doc's interactive spreadsheet he published here and on a download site .  If you look at his recent posts you should find the site.

Hope this helps.

Reproductive Rates   
    Doubling 
Temp FLabYeastLab/YeastRate Hrs
360.01920.00513.78748
640.18690.16321.1455.4
900.8870.20193.25

1.6

sournewb71's picture
sournewb71

dabrownman,

Thanks for the detailed reply.  Your temperature chart maybe the answer to my problem.  The only issue I have is I don't want to refrigerate my starter.  I also don't want to have to proof at high temperatures, if possible.  This leads me to another possibility.  Maybe the salt content of the final dough can be increased to increase the LAB/Yeast ratio?  Or does salt also decrease the growth of LAB at the same rate as the yeast?  If salt can increase the LAB/Yeast ratio to favorable numbers, that might be the best way for me.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Don't add salt. Salt slows bacteria more than yeast. Yeast handles drier environments much better. Bacteria loves wet and warm conditions.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

not want to refrigerate your starter? or refrigerate your levains?

I have found keeping starters on the counter is just way, way  to much work and wastes huge amouts of flour when people are starving  to boot.  I much prefer keeping 80 g of 67% hydro rye sour starter in the fridge that I never have to feed, use it all up in 10 days or so making levains for 4-6 breads and it makes better and more sour bread too.

You can salt your levains to slow them down if you think you need too, some fine bakers do I have seen in theoir posts,  but Michale Wilson's posts explains why you don't want to that to starters

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Welcome to you, sournewb71. I can tell by the strategies you've employed so far, and by the questions you're asking now, that you are already grasping the fundamentals much better than most. So, kudos to you for that :-) Now we just need to build on your understanding so that you can take it to the next level. Firstly, let me assure you that it doesn't matter how the starter was created, it's how you maintain it once up and running. So the honey used in the beginning has no influence over the biological community at this point. But you do.

Secondly, maintaining a starter and turning it into bread are two separate processes (I can't stress that enough), each with its own purpose toward the end goal, and both need to be in alignment to achieve it. The starter is for keeping the microorganisms healthy and in sufficient numbers/balance to do the job you will call on them to do later during the fermentation of your dough. The dough is where you provide them the raw materials so that they can do the job you're asking of them. And the preferment(s), if using, need to accomplish some of both functions.

Creating sour bread, then, requires two strategies:

  1. foster sufficient LAB populations relative to yeast in the starter and preferment, and
  2. provide the conditions and raw materials in the preferment or final dough for those populations to produce the acidity you seek.

They can't do the job if they aren't there, or don't have what they need.

There are five factors to work with here---temperature, water activity (hydration, salt), flours (raw materials, buffering capacity), inoculation rate, and maturity at time of use. Each has an influence, but is only part of the overall effect. None of those things alone will produce bread of any particular character, because the effect of one can be increased or decreased by the effect of another. They can enhance each other, or cancel each other out. I present these five factors, because they are really the only factors you have direct control of. But there are other variables, like differences in flours from mill to mill, or one year to the next. Or only an indirect influence (through the five factors above), as in what species and strains will become dominant in your starter. There are many factors in play.

The ones working for you:

  • Using a small inoculum in maintaining the starter, and large inoculum in the final dough. This may seem counterintuitive to some, but salt is a game-changer. The smaller inoculation in the starter favors a higher LAB to yeast ratio as long as the starter is maturing between refreshments. But because salt in the final dough has a bigger impact on the bacteria than the yeast, stacking the deck so to speak (more prefermented flour) helps to infuse the dough with more of them, and the acids they've already produced in the preferment.
  • 125% hydration starter favors a higher LAB : yeast (than a firm starter).

Working against:

  • 60-65F is very cool for starter management, and reduces LAB : yeast. This is probably enough to undermine everything else you're doing to increase sourness.
  • I would put the flour at neutral for now, because temperature is a bigger issue.

"... a liquid starter should produce more acid than a stiff starter."

A liquid starter tends to promote a higher ratio of LAB to yeast, which translates into the potential to produce more acid. It doesn't guarantee you'll realize that potential in your final dough if you're not providing the conditions they need to do that.

"A starter fed a bigger ratio, with less feedings, should produce a bread that is more sour than a starter that is fed more often."

A starter fed a bigger ratio, with less feedings, should produce a starter that has a higher ratio of LAB to yeast. Again, it doesn't guarantee you'll realize in your bread the potential you've created in the starter. These are two separate processes.

"Is it the all-purpose flour? Is it not possible to achieve a nice tang with a 100% white starter"

It is possible to create tang with a white starter---San Francisco sourdough is a prime example.

"Is it the room temperature? Is it not possible to generate sourness without an elaborate setup that maintains the starter at 90F?"

It very likely is temperature that is most holding you back. You are keeping your starter very cool which greatly reduces the ratio of LAB to yeast and your souring potential. But there is a wide range between 60 and 90. In fact, if you were to feed your starter once a day at 90F, your leavening power would probably disappear. Anywhere in the 70's would be a better choice for you than the low 60's. Save the cool temps for retarding the final proof.

Best wishes,
dw 

sournewb71's picture
sournewb71

DW,

First I'm honored you chimed in, thank you.  You have really cleared this matter up for me.  I mistook how important temperature is in creating favorable LAB/Yeast ratios. I thought having the other factors in place would be enough if given more time.  I always thought time could makeup for temperature.  I also disregarded the temperature of my starter as I was building it.  Maybe the most significant thing about San Francisco, in making San Francisco style bread, is the temperature of the region and not the flora!

So my plan of attack is to buy some kind of insulated glass container.  I will warm the water just warm enough to get a DST (Desired Starter Temperature) of around 80-85F.  I will continue to feed my starter at big ratios, or as you put it small inocculums.  I'll have to montior the starters activity and might have to feed it twice a day.  I'll have to experiment more with preferment % amount, but will continue to use larger amounts of preferment.

I'll update you on my progress.  Thanks again.

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Time does help, but temperature plays a big part---a few degrees can sometimes make all the difference. If you're locked into this temperature, you'll need to alter your approach with the other factors a bit. I don't see any real benefit to increasing the hydration any more, but you can play with feeding rate, fermentation time and/or flours. I can't really tell from the photos how mature your starter is at feeding time. One thing you might try is reducing the feeding rate so that it will reach maturity sooner and let it continue ripening to 24 hours. It probably won't hurt your leavening power that much, and would give the LAB the opportunity to gain some ground. It's a roundabout way to get the effect of more time by letting it lean towards over-ripe. That and longer bulk fermentation that you mentioned above. If those things don't increase the sour satisfactorily, you're left with adding whole grains into the mix, or finding a way to increase the temperature.

In comparison, the San Francisco process is almost the exact opposite of what you are doing---high inoculation, frequent feeding, very firm, very warm. The high temperature favors LAB so strongly that the rest serve merely as counter control measures. Please understand though that this regimen is what selects for the characteristic microbial profile, which along with the rest of the San Francisco bread process, gives San Francisco Sourdough its unique flavor. If that is what you are after, I don't think you can get there without increasing the temperature.

Best of luck,
dw

P.S. Something I forgot to point out last time: 30% by flour weight of starter isn't the same as 30% prefermented flour, and 5g starter, 62g water, 50g flour (1:12.4:10)--- 23.4x ---isn't a 1:10 ratio. You might want to revisit your numbers to be sure you've done what you intended.

sournewb71's picture
sournewb71

DW,

Thanks again for your insight.  You maybe right on the maturity of the starter.  I can lower the feeding amount, and try to catch it when it starts to recede and before it starts forming hooch.

Thank you for explaining the San Francsico method.  I'm not particularly looking to recreate San Francisco style sourdough bread, but I'd like to be able to eventually touch different spectrums of flavors and choosing one that meets my taste rather than be stuck in one place.  While flavor is important to me I'm also interested in producing a bread that is healthful as well, which I assume would be one with more total acid produced.  I will try feeding at lower amounts, using over-ripe starter, higher preferment %'s and longer bulk fermentations before manipulating temperature.  However if I find a practical vaccum insulated vessel that won't react to acid (ceramic or glass) that isn't overbearing in price, I think that maybe an easy way to regulate the temperature of the starter.

Oh and my mistake, I meant 30% prefermented flour in the bread recipe.  You are again right about the 1:10, I meant to say 1:10 starter to flour ratio, not as a whole ratio.  Hammelman's builds for his recipes are usually a 1:5 ratio of starter to flour.  I don't consider the water portion because water will always be constant, hydration wise, (flour * 1.25).

P.S.

I'm not sure on the extent of your sourdough baking adventures, but have you ever experimented with sourdough pastries, as in like sweet yeast dough (I guess you would call it sweet sourdough dough? lol).  I enjoy the sweet side of baking as well and hope to one day be able to produce sourdough versions.  I'm going to be busy this winter lol.

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Nico is your guy for naturally leavened sweet breads. He likes pushing the envelope there, and like you, is thoughtful and creative in the choice of methods. He is especially fond of panettone, which conveniently ties into this discussion to illustrate a point:

Maintenance of the starter is only part of the equation for naturally leavened breads like traditional San Francisco sourdough and Italian panettone. As I wrote earlier (and again, I cannot stress this enough), there are two separate processes and both need to be in alignment with what a baker is trying to accomplish. The starter is just the beginning; it provides a certain microbial profile---the potential, as I call it. But on its own, it does not guarantee that any particular characteristics will come forth in the bread. It's like a lump of clay to a sculptor.

That is where the other, the bread-making process, takes over. These two breads make the perfect illustration pair, because they are made from essentially the same starter. They are perpetuated in much the same manner, so it is no coincidence that they have been found to possess the same microbial profile---Lactobacillus sanfranciscesis growing alone with yeast. But beyond the starter, the San Francisco sourdough process is very different from the process for making Italian panettone, and these evoke extremely divergent qualities from the same culture. Among other differences, one bread is very sour, the other very mild. So process is just as important as microbial profile.

Some others here have made nice looking cinnamon rolls with their sourdoughs:

Click here: Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls | The Fresh Loaf

Click here: Billowy Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing | The Fresh Loaf

Enjoy,
dw

sournewb71's picture
sournewb71

DW,

The differences between the SF sourdough and the Italian panettone is a very clear example.  So would it be fair to say that we have 2 chances to minipulate the flavor profile, one at the starter build and one during bulk fermentation in terms of microbrial population and their acid outputs?  Let me see if I got this right: In essence we are building the starter twice, with the second build giving a slight advantage to yeast because of the lower hydration dough and the salt added to the dough.  I assume that by the time we get to the final proof, the microbial population in the dough is pretty much set in terms of LAB/Yeast ratio?

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

You can look at it as discrete chances, however, try and also see it more fluidly as a continuous process, where each part picks up from where the last left off; and there's a limit to how much you can compensate in the dough for shortcomings of the starter. For instance, if you fail to build an adequate population of LAB to start with, you may not be able to coax the acids out later. And the flip side---if you let the yeast population dwindle or get too sluggish in your levain, it's doubtful you can produce a light loaf without adding commercial yeast.

Salt slows LAB more than yeast, so in that way, yeast have an advantage. However, hydration could go either way. I think in general, the final proof will be too short for the populations to increase by very much, and that is one of the reasons it's difficult to make up for a deficiency so late in the process. You can't steer it back on track once you've gotten too far off course.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Where are you?  Maybe one of us lives nearby and can send you a sour starter or trade with you for one.  Use the personal messages function.

I think trying to make your sweet starter go sour is a waste of time.  Keep it as a non-sour starter.

sournewb71's picture
sournewb71

Are you able to maintain a high hydration starter at 60-65F and produce loaves of bread with some sourness to them?  I'm located in Ohio.  

The reason I was questioning the raw honey was because I know that with other food fermentation, say such as sauerkraut, you can innoculate the raw cabbage with say kefir whey and you'll get a faster fermentation but the microflora of the finished product will be different, and the taste will be less satisfactory.  It is argued that a superior product is made by the natural LAB on the cabbage itself, as those LAB are different then the ones in the kefir whey.  So I was thinking maybe it was a bad thing that I added the raw honey to the flour and water because maybe instead of the LAB population coming from the dormant LAB on the flour itself, it came from the active LAB that was alive in the raw honey.

 

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

You are smart to keep it more liquid but I would not be discarding to small amounts to feed (1:10:10).  I am not maintaining a high hydration starter at the moment to be honest with you.  But there are those who do and some info can be found in the site archives.  My thoughts:

If sticking with the cooler temperatures during the entire starter feeding, it sounds more like the type of sourdough starter that is geared for a wet & large jar (the method before central heating) you scoop out what you need for a recipe (1 to 3 cups per loaf) and then replace what you removed not letting the starter drop below a certain level (say half or one third max) so that it can defend itself from invasion.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with it, it's just another method.   In keeping your feeds low, you may end up with more than 125% hydration.  The volume recipe of one cup flour to one cup water sounds more like it would work best in these conditions.  That's about 190% but heck, go for 200% and see what happens, the math is easier.  Now if you warm up this starter (watch out for spring and summer or any warm location you park your starter)  it should be going like gangbusters if you get the feedings about right but you only want that to happen when making dough.  Keeping it more liquid may also keep it from rising too much and you will have to check more on smell and tiny bubbles rising up the sides as to when it is ready to leaven and whether you wait or not to feed.  Stir between feeds and before removing starter.  You may end up with days between when you feed and when the starter is ready, be very fleible here and let the starter tell you when it is ready.

Now about the sour...  warmth adds a great deal to the equation and so does added LAB.  I would suggest finding the LAB you like and introduce it to the dough recipe and then get flavour going during proofing.  (more experiments!)   Yogurt, buttermilk, cream cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta, sour cream, all have slightly different tastes and if you purchase one with a live culture and use a proofing box (because they all like warmer growing temps) you might only need a spoonful to get the flavour throughout the dough.  Then for the future loaves, it might be a good idea to freeze an ice-cube tray of the desired LAB.  Pop a loaded ice-cube into the warm sponge and away you go!  

...and another option: get a sour starter (feed it at 80% hydration) and baby it keeping it on your body for a few hours (for warmth) and then refrigerate for two or three weeks.  Take out a spoonful when needed and add it to the other starter to make the dough.  When the fridge starter is almost depleted, let it run thru a peaking cycle and build it to about 200g (or whatever you need for 2-3 weeks of baking)  keep it warm until it expands about 1/3 and then chill.  ...if no refrigeration (lets go off the grid) then make a bigger batch at 100% and when ripe, dry almost all of it thin and break into chips.  Pulverize.    Use this sourdough flour to flavour your dough recipe.  note:  With temps around 60 to 65°F the air will have more humidity and starter will take longer to dry.  The remaining undried starter can be mixed with just flour until it barely holds together (firm ball starter) and stored (as it) in a cool spot with a little flour until needed.  Maybe up to a month easily depending on temp.  The lower the temp, the longer you can keep it.  I would not let it freeze. Keep it from drying out.   

What do you think?    -Mini

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

You can find more under: 190% hydration starter  or  liquid levain

here is one that looks interesting too

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/11746/liquid-levain-vs-stiff-levain

sournewb71's picture
sournewb71

I'm not sure mini.  I am trying to attack this like being off the grid.  I don't want to have to rely on some kind of electronic equipment to produce what I'm looking for.  Water is going to be my weapon.  I took some pics with my cell of my ripe starter this morning:

 

 

 

The last picture is with flash on, it gives a better look at the bubbles.  To see full resolution, go here: http://imageshack.us/g/838/starter1.jpg/

I tasted the starter and it tastes like a diluted sour cream.  Smooth, creamy, with a tiny wince of acid.  Once again this has been fed once in a 24hr period, 5g starter : 62g water : 50g KAF all-purpose unbleached flour

Grenage's picture
Grenage

I tasted the starter and it tastes like a diluted sour cream.  Smooth, creamy, with a tiny wince of acid.  Once again this has been fed once in a 24hr period, 5g starter : 62g water : 50g KAF all-purpose unbleached flour

That's what my starter is like when I've seeded a large amount of flour/water with a small amount of starter.  It takes a while for the maturation to complete.  I only feed mine once every 24 hours, perhaps 48 hours if I'm being lazy.