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Sourdough question, and one other...

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Jennie Beth's picture
Jennie Beth

Sourdough question, and one other...

Hi all, 

Sourdough question first:

I was given some sourdough starter, and am trying a loaf now. It will do a long slow rise overnight and I will bake it tomorrow afternoon. So, I have followed the instructions the baker (my dad) gave me, and saved back some dough to continue my starter, but I don't under stand WHY I am doing what I am doing. Why feed? Why that amount? Can anyone point me toward a good Sourdough for dummies source of information? I have found instructions for what to feed, when, etc, but I want to understand why I am doing what I'm doing. It is hard to experiment when I don't understand why what is happening happens.

And number two :

Tested a variation of the Jim Lahey No Knead bread recipe. Have had reliable success with the original, so I made a batch with rosemary and green garlic. Full bulb of green garlic, and about three 6-inch long sprigs of fresh rosemary, needles only.  The dough was much more sloppy wet when it was ready to come out of the bowl and be formed, almost unworkable.  Took a fair bit of flour to get it off my hands enough to form a loaf, and was a pretty squatty pancake as it rose. It baked up amazing!! Excellent crust color, nice crackle, best  interior so far (crumb?) nice and airy, full of big holes.  So, why? More moisture, does it necessarily yield more airiness?  Airiness have anything  to do with garlic or rosemary? Same tub of flour as other batches, same container of yeast, similar house temperatures...

Thanks,

Jennifer

PS testing a cheddar and chive no-knead, too...

 

cranbo's picture
cranbo

Nice loaf pic. Which one was that? 

Two tutorials on the how and why of sourdough: 

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10251/starting-starter-sourdough-101-tutorial
http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/233/wild-yeast-sourdough-starter

Feed frequency and amount for keeping your sourdough going relates directly to how active it is, and how high it will leaven (raise) your dough (and how long it will take to do so!) 

More moisture, does it necessarily yield more airiness?

The short answer is yes. More moisture = bigger irregular holes in crumb, assuming you don't knead your dough too much. The long answer is it depends on how you define airiness. Txfarmer makes fluffy sandwich loaves on this forum that I consider airy, but they have tight holes in the crumb, more like cotton candy texture. Also search tang zhong for examples of airy bread. 

Ford's picture
Ford

Mike Avery has a great section on sourdough at: http://www.sourdoughhome.com/index.php?content=sourdoughfastrack1.

Ford

Jennie Beth's picture
Jennie Beth

Cranbo, that is the garlic rosemary loaf.

I started two loaves at the same time yesterday, one regular no knead with cheddar and chives added, one sour dough. This afternoon, after living on the counter all night, the regular recipe about half filled the bowl, pretty usual from my experience with this recipe.  The sourdough was trying to escape the bowl before I left for work this morning. So starter is pretty active, yes? 

Thanks Cranbo and Ford for the links. If I can figure out how to add a pic to my comment, I will send you one of the difference in rise.

Jennifer

Jennie Beth's picture
Jennie Beth

Sourdough vs cheddar chive dough

cranbo's picture
cranbo

Yes your sourdough is definitely active enough!

hanseata's picture
hanseata

The wild yeasts and bacteria in the starter need food to multiply and survive, otherwise the will starve to death. How often and how much you feed depends on where you want to keep your starter and how firm or liquid you want to have it.

Rule of thumb 1: the warmer the environment your starter is kept, the more feedings it will need. If you want to keep it on your countertop you have to feed it every day, if you keep it in your fridge it can go without food for 2 weeks.

Rule of thumb 2: the more water your starter contains, the more often you have to feed it, in a liquid (100%) starter the amount of flour/food is only 50%.

I maintain 3 starters (because I bake breads for sale), a 75% hydrated whole wheat (my default), a 100% whole rye, and a 75% white starter. They are all in the fridge, and live a happy, active life.

Happy Baking,

Karin