The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

sourdough

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Roscoe's picture
Roscoe

sourdough

I have a beautiful local yeast sourdough starter that is extreme in it's power. Still it is delicious, yet just almost too much.

I recently made a whole wheat loaf with Craisins. BOMB! sour whole wheat with that touch of sweetness was marvelous.

I am concerned about cold storage. I don't bake everyday. Three times a week on average. I have cared for my baby/mother at room temp. feeding everyday.  I'd love to try refrigerated storagge so I might skip daily feedings.

Please advise me all you with experience in this.

Thanks,

Roscoe

adm's picture
adm

Storing the starter in the fridge works fine. I have left mine for several weeks with no issues. Just make sure to take it out the day before you plan to bake, discard most of it and then feed it up once or twice at room temperature to get it back to full activity. 

I make sure to feed mine about an hour or so before I put it in the fridge, to make sure it has plenty of fuel while it's in there. I normally mix 50g of active starter, 100g of WW flour and 100g of water and this seems to work well.

You may find grey liquid "hooch" on the top of it after some time in the fridge. Just pour it off.

Why not try an experiment? Create another starter from the existing one, stick it in the fridge for a week, then take it out, feed it up and do a side by side comparison....

cranbo's picture
cranbo

Fridge storage definitely changes the flavor profile. I hadn't noticed it with my white flour starter, but I noticed this distinctly with a WW firm starter that I stored in the fridge for just 1 or 2 days after several months with daily feeding at ~74F room temp. It did recover but it took 5-6 days of feeding before it had the same flavor profile. 

It will likely retain its character if you manage to feed it the same way when it returns to living at room temp. 

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

what is now whole multi grain starter at 66% hydration in the fridge. I bake 1 or 2 loaves of bread out of it a week using 10-20 g of starter each time.  After 4 loaves and about 2 weeks it needs to be replenished which I do on the counter.  I don't use it for 2 days after it hits the fridge again.  No muss, no fuss, no waste, no problems.  The multi grain and cold temperature really bring out the sour as opposed to white flour liquid starters kept on the counter and fed often where the sour is quite mild.

Happy baking

Syd-a's picture
Syd-a

Very interesting. So do you believe the sour develops better when a starter is primarily kept in the fridge opposed to the counter? I am wanting to get a "good" sour taste from my young starter and not sure if I should switch to weekly feeds in fridge (apart from baking periods) or maturing in the fridge?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Both Labs and yeast reproductive rates are greatly reduced from room temperature but Labs are reproducing at 3 times the rate of yeast.  At room temperature they reproduce at the same rate and at 88 F Labs also reproduce at 3 times the rate of yeast.  At 36 F, after 36 hours, you have roughly the same amount of labs as you would get at 1 hour at 70 F.   So a 3 day retard of the starter will allow you to inoculate your levain and eventual dough with 6 times the amount of Labs as you will with a room temperature starter and levain.  In conjunction with a 1 hour final proof at 88 F you end up with 9 times the Labs .  More labs = more sour.

 

adm's picture
adm

Not sure if this is correct or not.....but I remember reading that the lactobacillus is more active in the cold fridge temperatures than the yeast. So it might make sense that refridgeration would increase the sourness profile of the starter over time.

I do know for sure that after a few days in the fridge, my starter certainly has a very funky sour tang to it.

Syd-a's picture
Syd-a

Thanks. I have a very nice, sweet smelling starter that is going well after 2 weeks but thinking of switching to less feeds in the fridge to save flour and reduce some costs. I will after my first bake tomorrow, move my starter to the fridge and try and develop my sour taste some more. Maturation if a starter needs more understanding on the forums I think. There is a massive emphasis on starting a starter, but I want optimal sour :-)

Thanks

bruneski's picture
bruneski

adm, this is indeed true as you can check in this enlightening dabrownman's comment:

www.thefreshloaf.com/comment/258546#comment-258546

Take care.

 

adm's picture
adm

And makes sense to me. I am currently mainly bulk fermenting my dough at 13C, so the labs will be growing a fair bit faster than the yeast. Then I am proofing at around 20-22C, so at that point they are reproducing at around the same rate. I'm getting a nice sourness, but not too assertive.

Looks like I should then be able to dial in sourness primarily by attention to temperature and time of bulk fermentation. Excellent!

 

 

Syd-a's picture
Syd-a

Thanks for the reference. That is a pretty good answer to my question for maturing a starter, the fridge it is then :-)

For me, the point of the sour dough is the sour tang, although I know essentially it is about the procedure used centuries ago without instant yeast that made old bread making what it once was compared to our more modern quick doughs.

Roscoe's picture
Roscoe

I'd be very surprised if your starter is anywhere near eady at that young age. You also reffered to a sweet smelling starter. It is SOURdough, not sweet dough!

Syd-a's picture
Syd-a

While I agree that the starter is at a very immature and young age, it's activity and capability to be used as a levain in an experimental first bake for a beginner bread baker as myself is unquestionable. I would be very interested to hear if many others have SOUR smelling starters. A starter is supposed to smell pleasantly yeasty and not be too overpowering. Yeasty smells do not necessarily have to be overpoweringly sour. In the end it is in the taste that the sour should come forth and that will undoubtedly increase as it matures. So I doubt I will have SWEET dough on my hands.

adm's picture
adm

In my starter, the first few hours after feeding it does indeed smell sweet and fruity. The sour smell becomes more apparent over time as the yeast and labs eat their way through the starches. By the time it needs feeding it smells sour again. After a few days in the fridge, it smells very sour!

You can pretty much tell where it is in it's cycle by smell alone. 

Syd-a's picture
Syd-a

Thanks for the extra input Adm. That would probably explain the smell I have as I am regularly feeding and right now it is at peak for my first batch of bread. As I have not yet put it into the fridge (which I am going to do for a couple of weeks to mature it further), I look forward to a more developed sourness in the smell between feedings. 

Thanks