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Amateur to sourdough: Is my starter strong enough?

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Tim Farver's picture
Tim Farver

Amateur to sourdough: Is my starter strong enough?

OK so I'm new to sourdough starters and have been trying to get mine started since last week. I started out by mixing some filtered warm water, a little bit of commercial yeast and some unbleached all purpose flour. I put it in a stoneware crock with a lid and put it in my closet with a space heater to keep in warm. The by the 2ad and 3rd day I was surprised it had already began to smell nice and sour and was full of bubbles! it was really amazing.   

 

My sourdough yesterday before feeding. ^ 

 

5 minutes after feeding.^ 


One day I accidentally used unfiltered water from my kitchen tap instead of bottled water. I panicked at first but it didn't affect it to much, or so it seemed. By day 3 I tasted it and it was sour and had a sour smell still. I have been feeding it twice a day and have been trying to keep it warm (sometimes I don't turn on the space heater.)   

 

My starter today after I put it in the fridge yesterday. ^ 

 After I stirred and fed my starter with warm water ^

I'm still getting bubbles but it doesn't rise very much and it seems that the bubbles are getting smaller and less frequent.  

Also I live at 7,200 so there is a big altitude factor involved.My starter smells different and is actually tangy(it actually leaves a taste in your mouth) 

Did I mess my sourdough starter up? Is my sourdough ready to use? 

I do apologize for the large images and long post. Thank you.

 

 

 

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

If you were trying to create a sourdough wild yeast starter, why did you put commercial yeast in there?  That wouldn't generally be recommended.  All you need is flour and water.  People seem to put all sorts of things in their starters (presumably hoping to boost or shortcut the natural process) but quite often it hinders progress.   Through the constant feeding of flour and water the environment gradually gears up to nurture the kind of yeasts and bacteria you want in a SD starter and other organisms don't thrive in that environment and don't survive as well.  I think by adding yeast you've put things in the mix that will need to be weened out through subsequent feedings but I could be wrong.  Others will likely confirm.

EP

Tim Farver's picture
Tim Farver

Yes I must admit I was nervous, and i read while not authentic, adding yeast will give it a start. It really didn't make much sense to me but I did it anyways. One day it got very big then died down after that so i suspect the commercial yeast is subsiding. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

stop feeding it,  use most of it up in a recipe so you are down to about 1/4 cup.  Then let it sit there tasting it until it tastes sour.  The pH needs to drop drastically until it is about 3.6 and tastes really sour for the wild yeast that are in the flour to activate.  

That means the starter you have now will go flat, the hooch will float up and separate and then after a day or two of no activity start bubbling without feeding it.  Then you want to take some of that and feed it 1:1:1 until it peaks, levels out and starts to fall.  Then reduce again (discard) and feed again.  Same routine.  You'll get there!  I'm sure you will.

Tim Farver's picture
Tim Farver

So I just simply use up all of it and wait till the starter separates? then I feed it 1 flour to 1 water to 1 old starter? do I have to discard? 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

save a fourth a cup.     and let that fourth a cup separate darken a little bit and turn to beer.  right!     discard?  remove a portion of the 1/4 cup and feed.  so I guess that would mean you have a discard, yes.  Keep your starter amounts small and you won't have to discard every time you feed.   Ever second time might work well until the wild yeast take over.  

Save discards in the fridge for a few days, adding them to other foods and recipes.   They are rather tasty.

Tim Farver's picture
Tim Farver

Thank you very much. I'll be making some sourdough discard recipes ! 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

to lower the pH to kill off the yeast and "bad" bacteria while the lacto bacteria get a foothold and further lower the pH reading into the zone of sourdough yeast growth.  If I didn't mention it yet, adding a squeeze of lemon juice might also help lower the pH sooner.  

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

not sourdough starter after 4 days with commercial yeast in it.   With the commercial yeast it will take longer to become a stable sourdough starter. The real natural yeast strain now have to out compete and kill off the commercial yeast which cannot live in a SD culture.  It could take about 10 days making a real SD culture to stabilize but don't now how long it will take for yours to covert itself over.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

 commercial yeast which cannot live in a SD culture

I wouldn't be so sure. Proof that s.cerevisiae can survive in a sourdough starter is out there.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

yeasts that are better suited for SD communal living.  Even though I haven't seen any, I'm sure there is proof for anything in a SD culture no matter how rare - including commercial yeast :-) 

suave's picture
suave

It can convert in a couple of days if done right.

placebo's picture
placebo

What ratio of flour to water are you using? Your starter should rise appreciably after a feeding if it's thick enough. If it's too watery, it's hard to tell if the starter is ready.

Why did you put it in the fridge?

Tim Farver's picture
Tim Farver

I've heard many things about sourdough starter. I've read that putting it in the fridge allows me to only have to feed it once a week (of coarse after it starts to bubble up ). My starter is think like pancake batter. Its almost at the top of the crock so i might have to discard some. 

placebo's picture
placebo

Your starter shouldn't be pourable like pancake batter. When it's thick enough, the rise isn't something you'll miss. With the amounts you have in the crock, it should have easily overflowed the container.

The reason I asked about the fridge is because it seems like you're not sure if the starter is ready to go. If that's indeed the case, it's premature to put the starter in the fridge. The fridge is really for storage only, and there's no reason to store a starter until you know it's good.

Tim Farver's picture
Tim Farver

what would you recommend? Ive been using about equal parts flour to water. do i need to discard starter?

 

placebo's picture
placebo

Typically you mix equal parts by weight, not volume. You want it relatively thick so it can trap the gasses and expand. In the early going, it's not terribly important to measure everything carefully. Just make sure it's thick enough.

Muskie's picture
Muskie

As DA says, the commercial yeast has thrown a monkey wrench into your starter. You can either buy live starter online, or, capture one of your own. That capture is not as likely to happen in closet as it is out on your counter in the kitchen. Yes, warmer is better, but it takes a wild yeast to start a starter...so put it where that can happen first. If you can, move the space heater. If you can't do that, consider starting your stove and then turning it off when it gets to 85F and putting your starter in there with the door open, periodically turning the stove on throughout the day.

As far as ratio of flour to water, it should be 1g to 1g, which is not the same as saying 1 cup to 1 cup. Definitely use digital scales, and work only with recipes that offer you gram values.

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

Muskie,  the wild yeasts are in the grain itself and thus in the flour.  They're also on fruits, and vegetables and on our own skin.  They're not really coming from the air.  So it doesn't matter where you keep your starter.  What you need is an appropriate temperature and oxygen for the flour/water mix to "do its thing".  To high a temp will kill the organisms, too low a temperature will slow down their activity.

Tim Farver's picture
Tim Farver

I try to keep my starter in a warm location, not too hot but you see my point. i might need to have more room for the starter though. its about to overflow. 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

very active poolish for awhile:-)  I would do what Mini days for sure.  That will convert it the fastest but,  if you can home mill somew rye berries, do that and start another one - just to see which one is ready in 10 days - or if the the firrst one fails.  Use Debra Winks pineapple juice starter method found by seaching this site.   Works great.  A little acid in the beginning helps to speed things along nicely,  I always put a little orange juice in the beginning starter mix which does the same thing,

Muskie's picture
Muskie

But to make a starter, you need yeast and bacteria. While there may be some yeast in the flour, there is also yeast "in the air", whether that's from the fruit and veg, my skin, or whatever...it is in the air. In the book "Sourdough Classics" by Ed and Jean Wood, they say, under the heading "Capturing your own culture"; "It is entirely feasible to capture your own culture by simply exposing a mixture of flour and water to the air." They recommend that the mixture be left outdoors, without a lid, to have the greatest chance to capture wild yeasts in your area (which vary area by area).

"Do not cover the bowl with plastic or anything else that will exclude the organisms you are attempting to collect (wild yeast and lactobacilli bacteria). If bugs could be a problem, use a screen or cheesecloth.

So it is their advice I am offering, and I do feel they know a thing or two about sourdough.

Of course you are correct that temperature is a factor, as putting a slurry outside in the middle of winter isn't likely going to do much for you...;-]

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Oh dear...

While yeasts can be transmitted through the air, the idea of capturing them from the air to cultivate is complete nonsense! Common sense should tell you this. You'd be best to erase this idea from your mind.

A clue: These micro-organisms need food to live, where is the food..?

 

Muskie's picture
Muskie

then what is "wild yeast"?

mwilson's picture
mwilson

One which is not cultivated

Muskie's picture
Muskie

so you're saying the only way to make a different SD starter is to use a different brand of flour? I mean your initial starter, I certainly realize you can change a starter in a lot of ways once its establish...just asking about getting it started.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

There are so many factors which determine what yeasts and bacteria can grow. Yes autochthonous yeasts and bacteria are a fundamentally determining factor of what's in your starter.

A change of flour can cause a sudden halt of activity at times. Many have experienced this as have I, even with a very established starter.

Established to us just means repeated and expected growth. But who knows what kind of wars are going on in your starter...

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

The air contains all sorts of organisms and bacteria.  This comes back to the base question of "what are we trying to create?"

We can create all manner of leavening agents from different things.  Yeast waters from fruits and vegetables for example.  If however your aim is to make a sourdough starter then surely what we want are the yeasts and bacteria associated with the grains/flours we are going to be using as that is the environment those yeasts and bacteria are going to be subjected to and expected to thrive in.  Anything you take from the air is thus just one more competing organism in the mix.

You said yourself to the OP here:

"the commercial yeast has thrown a monkey wrench into your starter"

Why do you not deem the organisms in the air in the same way?  It doesn't seem a consistent view.

Muskie's picture
Muskie

So, forgive me for being skeptical. Everyone I have just read based on searching either agreed there was little to no yeast in flours, or did not specify covering your mixture to capture a starter....

http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2007/07/13/raising-a-starter/

That, together with the lengthy description in Sourdough Classics have convinced me they're looking to capture wild yeast "from the air."

Anyway, I don't have enough experience to argue this point.

I would ask, however, if flour as you buy it contains enough yeast and bacteria to culture an SD starter...why doesn't it all go rancid on the shelf, sure those consumers of flour would do so...consume the flour...and why would their be flour with "yeast added" (e.g. self-rising) and why would they sell yeast separately from flour?

I've given a book citation, and an online link, to support my belief that you can't make SD starter without exposing the flour and water to air-borne wild yeast (or adding some dehydrated natural SD starter). What's your support for your belief? I love to learn new stuff, and you've previously taught me some things...so

mwilson's picture
mwilson

rancid is something else, which wholemeal flours are at high risk. White flour basically lasts forever. I think what you're really asking is why isn't there microbial growth? Yes? Well this is why there are strict rules of moisture content in producing flour. With very low moisture content these organisms have little to no growth.

Muskie's picture
Muskie

guess I will have to try this myself with some BF I have. Sealed container versus open, should be interesting.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Lasts forever on the basis it's kept in a way where it's not exposed. Leaving a bag of flour open will surely attract pests. And you don't want weevils, you really don't!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

for treats leave the flour bag open hoping to attract some weevils for the extra protein and possible better gluten for the bread.:-) Nothing like a chocolate covered bumble bee though - my Grandad's favorite - too hairy for me but I think he ate them just to get us kids oohing and aaahhing - nothing like them for doing that:-)

These old wives tales and urban myths are hard to stomp out like stainless steel containers will kill your sourdough or that you capture yeast from the air to cultivate a SD culture. Another one is that the fresh ground cumin from from whole seed that Joe Ortiz uses for his famous starter method (with a little milk) on the first feeding was in the mix because it had some kind of antiseptic properties that kept the bad wee beastie in check so the good ones could take over faster,   Who knew cumin was such a targeted LAB killer? :-)

I remember that the first SD starter I got going was in 1973 in SF and the directions said to make sure that you didn't keep the air out of the mix so that the wee beasts would fall into it from teh sky to get the starter going,   Even famous folks like Mark Bittman said the same thing just a few years ago and also thought that a 12 hour commercial yeast poolish was sourdough too,

Of course we all know now with proven science that the yeast and LAB are concentrated on their whole grains food source (and on the whole cumin seed for Joe Ortiz) and are just waiting for some water to get other enzymes working to break down the proteins and starch in the grains so that can start doing their thing too.  Some myths are harder than others to eliminate.

I have to say that Joe Ortiz's WW French Chef method with milk and cumin is the fastest way to get a SD stater going and ready for bread baking in 3-4 days as he showed on Julia Child's Baking with Julia on PBS. sweetbird and I both posted on his method last year an hers was actually worth reading.  I still love watching the half hour show on the Internet and making that great starter - even if just for one bake a couple of times a year. For some reason that starter gets very sour too.

 

placebo's picture
placebo

Debra Wink writes in her blog entry on the development of the pineapple-juice method:

I knew, from having made so many starters by now, that this pattern does turn into sourdough if given more time. So, I looked at cultures each day in the process, comparing them to my established starter which was yeasty and stable. Everything quiets down in there and yeast emerges a few to several days later. They don't appear to be coming from the air as many people believe, because it happens even in a covered container.

Mike Avery writes on his site, www.sourdoughhome.com:

The mythology of sourdough is that you are capturing yeast from the air. However, there are many reasons to believe that doesn't happen very often. When people use sterilized flour and water to try to catch a culture, it fails much more often than not. When they don't use sterilized ingredients, it almost always works. In short, the flour has wild yeast in it.

Somewhere else on his site, he refers to a study that found similar results when researchers used sterilized flour to try recreate authentic Egyptian starter.

Unfortunately, certain myths just never seem to die out. People simply repeat what they read or heard without actually checking to see if it's true. 

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

The wildyeastblog website you linked there states the following in the process for creating an SD starter:

"Replace the container lid when you’re done mixing. If it’s a screw on lid or mason-jar type, you may want to leave it a little loose to give accumulated gas an escape route. If it is a plastic snap-on lid, you can snap it tight; the lid will pop off if the pressure inside gets too high."

If you really want to resolve your conflict of information or perceptions, just get some rye flour and water and mix them in an airtight container (or near airtight so the gas accumulation can escape) and you'll see you have an active starter in 4-5 days no problem at all.

As for rancidity etc, well nature is a clever thing or perhaps it's evolution.  A grain of wheat has such density and shape that it is more or less a perfectly sealed unit.  The germ, bran and endosperm are protected and can survive literally for years and years in that state.  It's for that very reason I hold stocks of grains and own a grain mill as they represent one of the very best survival long term food storage items.   I do vaccuum pack them to maximise their longevity but this property means I have a very cheap store of vital food should I ever need it.  A 25kg sack of wheat is about £18 in the UK.  It just makes sense and is one of natures gifts imo.

Grains I believe do contain some oils and it is once they are ground into flour that those oils are exposed and start the process of becoming rancid (others better clued up than I can probably contribute here).  So flours don't last indefinitely whereas the grains pretty much do.  I consider this a little like garlic.  As a sealed bulb, the cloves of garlic don't smell that garlicky.  It's only when a clove is crushed and chopped that the oils and compounds in the clove start to get mixed together and exposed to the air and that's when the wonderful compound of alicin is released with all it's healthy beneficial properties.

I think of a sack of flour as a huge sack of food with a relatively small number of yeasts and bacteria in it.  Without any water, that dry environment makes it difficult, if not impossible for yeasts to move around and move from one bit of food to the next.  They surely consume what food is immediately around them (otherwise they would all die and there would be no yeasts for us to work with)  but the lack of water surely hampers and restricts their progress.  As bakers, we essentially take the processes of nature, create the ideal conditions the yeasts need and allow them to do their thing.  We are the "artists", indeed perhaps the "alchemists" of the grain but all we are doing is accelerating nature's own processes by creating the right environment for the yeasts to grow and multiply.

As for self-raising flour etc, these are flours with leavening agents added.  Sure the flours themselves contain some yeasts and bacteria but nowhere near in the populations needed to be an effective leavening agent.  That's why we create starters and feed them regularly with water and flour to provide an environment for them to breed and replicate which they do every 90-100mins for a total of approx 26 generations per cell.   You could no more expect the natural yeasts in a bit of milled flour to raise a loaf than you could expect a starter to do the same on day 1 of its creation.  The yeasts have to be allowed to reproduce over an amount of time such that the mass of starter is well populated.

Any leavening agent is basically a mass in which loads of yeasts and bacteria have been concentrated and that provides convenience to the consumer who then doesn't have to waste the time it would take to try to produce the same themselves, hence commercial yeast. 

Hope that makes sense.

ccsdg's picture
ccsdg

Hi Muskie. I'm fairly new to sourdough myself. But has anyone mentioned experiments(?) where various parts of the starter creation process were sterilised to see where the organisms were coming from? To my memory the only situation that failed to create a starter was where the flour was sterilised, suggesting the yeast comes from the flour not the air.

Neither my knowledge nor memory are stellar, so anyone who can, please correct me.

GregS's picture
GregS

Hi Tim. Use the TFL search feature for "Debra Wink". She is a microbiologist and knows a great deal about sourdough beasties. She has two long and extremely useful posts on "The Pineapple Juice Solution" for getting starters going. I highly recommend them. They have a lot of "why" in them as well as "how". Many TFL users have had success with her instructions. You'll succeed whichever way you take, but if you are like me, it's always good to know why something happens. That lets you modify things for your own situation and inclination.

GregS

chris319's picture
chris319

commercial yeast which cannot live in a SD culture

I wouldn't be so sure. Proof that s.cerevisiae can survive in a sourdough starter is out there.

mwilson is right. We set the record straight on this not too long ago, 'member? The LABs have a difficult time in the presence of baker's yeast because the baker's yeast gobbles up the maltose that the LABs need to feed on. Then people come here and complain of no sourdough flavor.

the fresh ground cumin from from whole seed that Joe Ortiz uses for his famous starter method (with a little milk) on the first feeding was in the mix because it had some kind of antiseptic properties that kept the bad wee beastie in check so the good ones could take over faster,   Who knew cumin was such a targeted LAB killer? :-)

Ha ha, Joe Ortiz has no clue what's going on under the hood. He thinks his cumin and milk potion sucks the yeast out of the atmosphere, but he isn't too clear on the exact mechanism. We know yeast is non-ferrous so it can't be like millions of tiny magnets. It must be like millions of tiny dust busters. That explains the noise. It's the tiny dust busters sucking yeast from the air. Oh, and don't forget the effect of the San Francisco fog. It's well known that you can't make sourdough bread in London because London fog doesn't have the same complement of airborne critters as San Francisco fog. You can make sourdough in Kankakee, however, because the fog there is very similar in critter composition as San Francisco fog. The USDA proved it back in the '60s.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

it is a myth that LAB SF only exists in San Francisco or places like it.  It is found all over the world - even in London and Phoenix AZ.  It is very difficult for commercial yeast to take over  Stable Type 1 SD cultures.  But type 2 sourdoughs where commercial yeast is added to the mix and the fermentation temperatures are raised to 122 F has been adopted by industry.

A quote from your favorite place Wikipedia..... 

Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis was named for its discovery in San Francisco sourdough starters, although it is not endemic to San Francisco. In general, San Francisco sourdough is the same as a Type I sourdough.[45] Type I sourdoughs have a pH range of 3.8 to 4.5 and are fermented in a temperature range of 20 to 30 °C (68 to 86 °F); Saccharomyces exiguus leavens the dough, Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis and L. pontis highlight a lactic-acid bacterial flora that includes L. fermentum, L. fructivorans, L. brevis, and L. paralimentarius.[35][45][46] In Type II sourdoughs Saccharomyces cerevisiae[47] is added to leaven the dough, L. pontis and L. panis highlight the flora.[45][46] These sourdoughs have a pH less than 3.5 and are fermented within a temperature range of 30 to 50 °C (86 to 122 °F) for several days without feedings, which reduces the flora's activity.[48][49] This process was adopted by some in industry, in part, due to simplification of the multiple-step build typical of Type I traditional sourdoughs.[50]

Dutch wheat sourdough investigations found that, even though S. cerevisiae exerted infection pressure on sourdough's microbial ecosystem, it had died off after two refreshment cycles.[43] Continuously maintained, stable sourdough cannot be unintentionally contaminated by S. cerevisiae.[11] 4% salt inhibits L. sanfranciscensis, while C. milleri can withstand 8%.[39]

chris319's picture
chris319

The mythology of sourdough is that you are capturing yeast from the air.

There is a shred of truth to this. The baker isn't capturing the airborne yeast; it happens in the wheat field before it is even harvested and sent to the mill.

Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo

My guess is that the 'capturing from the air' thing, is probably because it has seemed to be that way in time gone by and I suspect that if you were working in an environment where flours were used daily there would be many flour particles in the air and on surfaces etc. all covered in wild yeasts, but that it is not the air per se, that the yeasts are coming from, it is the baking environment. Any exposure of the starter to air in that environment would mean microscopic flour particles landing on the starter bringing with them their particular wild yeasts.

Just out of interest I thought that I would try beginning a new starter the other day, I used a light organic rye and water, nothing else. I have no constantly warm place to put it, my kitchen is no more than 11c, unless I am baking. I covered the jar with the lid, but not airtight, and put it in the oven ( just to prevent chilly drafts, it comes out when I cook and goes back in when it has cooled down enough). I ignored it for three or four days, then I noticed it had actually risen in the jar, I stirred it down, fed it and sure enough it has been regularly doubling since then, slowly because of my room temperatures. I can tell it is good starter as it has that lovely, airy spongey feel when I stir it down again. 

Compare this experience to when I made my first starter, the temperatures were warmer, nowhere near recommended temperatures, but a good bit warmer than now. It took weeks to get my starter going. In the end I begged a bit from a local baker as mine just wouldn't get going. (So the starters I have now actually originally contained some of hers and I wanted to see if I could actually start one myself, but also whether I would be able to detect any difference in flavour).

My conclusion is that 1. Rye is a very good flour for starting a starter but I also suspect that 2. My kitchen is now covered in flour particles, even if I can't visibly see them. There must be all kinds of wild yeasts from all the various organic flours that I use on those particles and so it is far easier to get a starter going?

The fact that it happened without me doing anything at all really other than the original mixing, suggests to me that it is mainly what is in your flour that is going to get that starter active. So my suggestions to anyone trying to get a starter going would be to go out and buy some good, organic rye, if you can't grind your own as Dabrownman suggests. And start baking in your kitchen a lot! 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

used originally came with a caveat that said if you have not been baking some kind of bread in your kitchen, getting your starter going would take much longer bu, t it you have been baking bread the best place to keep your uncovered hoped for culture as it was getting started was in the oven for it to have the best chances of getting more airborne yeast in the mix faster :-)

I wonder how we believed theses things when the heat of the oven killed everything in it no problem and the commercial yeast used to bake bread in the kitchen before SD were the wrong ones too.

Later scientists really do prove the facts and theories of previous scientists wrong 97% of the time:-)

Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo

Yes, the last place I would expect to capture any wild yeast now is my oven! I was thinking about that the other day actually, which is what makes me think it is mainly the flour. There could be a low level of wild yeast in the oven from time to time I guess, just from opening the door and flour particles drifting in, or from the fact that other starters and doughs also get proofed in there at the same time as my new starter, although they are always loosely covered, but obviously anything in there would get killed each time I use the cooker. 

I wished that I could remember which flour I tried to start my starter with the first time, as I would be really interested to see if it worked faster now that I have done so much baking.

chris319's picture
chris319

I begged a bit from a local baker as mine just wouldn't get going. (So the starters I have now actually originally contained some of hers

Do you know if she added baker's yeast to her starter?

Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo

No commercial yeast in her starter. 

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

Well, I'm really not convinced that bakers' yeast will hinder the progress of sourdough culture formation. But, it won't really help either. Since everything we like about sourdough really comes from the LAB's then the yeast is basically a neutral party. Well, that is not entirely true, but to get as simple as possible, that is really close to the truth. The most basic, general definition you can get for "sourdough" is that it is a symbiotic relationship of yeasts and LAB's thriving together in an acidic environment where other microorganisms don't survive. A bubbling brew of yeasty flour and water will make bread, but isn't a sourdough culture.

Some people include "wild yeast" as part of their definition of sourdough, and therefore believe that commercial yeast to be an unwanted intruder entirely. For them, in order to have a sourdough, the "wild" yeast would have to somehow defeat the "commercial" yeast. I don't think nature is that precise, although I've been told that the commercial yeast doesn't thrive as well in the acidic environment created by the LAB's. But, to me, the fact that the bakers' yeast may well die out eventually doesn't change anything of the status of the culture being a "sourdough" culture.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

have shown that commercial yeast can invade a stable type 1 SD culture, they are usually wiped out in 2 feedings.  If the 2 feedings are 24 hours each then that would be 2 days but for a SD starter that isnklt nature and stable who knows how long this die off would take?  I'm guessing much longer than 2 days by some factor but only time will tell.

chris319's picture
chris319

Well, I'm really not convinced that bakers' yeast will hinder the progress of sourdough culture formation. But, it won't really help either. Since everything we like about sourdough really comes from the LAB's then the yeast is basically a neutral party. Well, that is not entirely true, but to get as simple as possible, that is really close to the truth. The most basic, general definition you can get for "sourdough" is that it is a symbiotic relationship of yeasts and LAB's thriving together in an acidic environment where other microorganisms don't survive. A bubbling brew of yeasty flour and water will make bread, but isn't a sourdough culture.

May I suggest you do some serious study of the science behind sourdough, paying particular attention to the "symbiotic relationship"? By "serious study" I don't mean posts by amateurs on the Internet.

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

chris319,

Care to point me in the right direction? I wouldn't know where to start, apparently. Thanks!

chris319's picture
chris319

Here is the seminal work:

https://www.google.com/patents/US3734743?dq=sourdough+french+bread+kline+sugihara&hl=en&sa=X&ei=3ssDU9GZAcfZoAS3qoKIBg&ved=0CDMQ6AEwAA

The reason one avoids baker's yeast in (type 1) sourdough is that the yeast strain competes with the lactobacilli for the available maltose. The strain of yeast we cultivate in our starters, called Candida humilis, cannot consume maltose, leaving it for the lactobacilli to consume. By contrast, a type 2 sourdough does contain baker's yeast.

Muskie's picture
Muskie

From your patent link, I found the following statements in the patent application that I cannot reconcile with statements which claim everything is in the flour:

  1. "This is demonstrated as follows: Ten percent flour suspensions in water were adjusted to pH 4.5 with acetic acid and separate portions were inoculated with bakers' yeast and T. holmii. After 6 hours incubation at 80 F., the count of viable bakers yeast cells decreased to less than 0.1% of the original number, whereas the T. holmii multiplied five-fold. It may be observed that although T. holmii is a known species of yeast, it was not previously known to be involved in sour dough French bread production."
  2. "On the other hand, the liquid starter of the invention is more adaptable to starting from scratch as it can be inocculated either with a portion of previous starter or with pure cultures of the necessary microorganisms."
  3. PREPARATION OF LIQUID STARTER In preparing the liquid starter of the invention, the basic ingredients are flour, water, and an inoculum.

In citation #1 above, they state the flour/water combination was "inoculated" with T.holmii...clearly stating it wasn't in either the flour or the water.

In citation #2, the patent is based on the ability to add something to plain flour and water. It makes possible the recovery of the loss of a starter, or mother, but again, inoculating flour and water. So once again, something is there other than simply flour and water.

Citation #3 makes it as clear as it can be, to make the patent, you need 3 things, flour, water, and an inoculum.

So I am sorry to be persistent about thinking that all I need is there in the flour and water, but the patent put forward by Chris clearly states 3 ingredients, not 2, so why is a 3rd ingredient a myth?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

starters have C. Humils yeast in them?

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

Chris,

This patent for a specific form of sourdough starter, doesn't help me understand how what I said is wrong. In fact, the patent even mentions that when exposed to the acidic environment, the bakers' yeast will not long survive. Of course, you could say that the bakers' yeast inhibits the growth of the lactobacilli by eating all their food, thus ensuring that no acidic environment is formed in some while. But, then, I could say that aliens invented sourdough. Where is the data that proves bakers' yeast is a hindrance? In other words, where can I learn that the yeast and LABs actually compete for their food? Simply eating the same food isn't enough proof of competition.

chris319's picture
chris319

they state the flour/water combination was "inoculated" with T.holmii...clearly stating it wasn't in either the flour or the water

It doesn't clearly state that at all.

They're not building a starter from scratch here; they're propagating their original starter or "mother sponge", just like we would "refresh" an existing starter. Early on in that patent document it explains how they remake their mother sponge/starter every 7 to 8 hours, but then they use it up right away. At least that's my understanding.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

"This is demonstrated as follows: Ten percent flour suspensions in water were adjusted to pH 4.5 with acetic acid and separate portions were inoculated with bakers' yeast and T. holmii.

That c holmii was not innoculated into the flour water combination?

Muskie's picture
Muskie

But the gist of what is being said as "fact", versus "internet people spouting theories" that there are only 2 ingredients required...flour and water. The patent says there are 3; flour, water, and inoculum.

If the inoculum was in the flour, a patent application would not call for a 3rd ingredient.

So, I say, the idea that the inoculum comes from the flour is at best stupid, at worst, an attempt to convince people that science, patents, and book stated theory is false.

You cannot build a starter that was never exposed to the air. You cannot build a starter that was only ever exposed to flour and water. So why does a U.S. patent applicant STATE you must have something more than just flour and water? Better asked, why do you think that is all that is required? Surely, if you can make a starter without inoculum, you can file a new patent...??? Why aren't lots of people here running to file a new patent for sour dough? Doing it without an inoculum would be a huge innovation over the existing patent (which was made freely available to everyone, iows they weren't trying to make money from it)

Sorry, I just want it explained...the patent IN NO WAY claims the inoculum can come from the air, but since its specifically stated as a 3rd ingredient after flour, IT CAN NOT POSSIBLE COME FROM THE FLOUR...otherwise, they'd have made the patent with 2 ingredients and specified something specific about the flour required.

Just saying...from that patent application in the '70's I can clearly see the thing that makes sourdough IS NOT IN THE FLOUR...

placebo's picture
placebo

As Chris already pointed out, the patent isn't about creating a starter from scratch, a process that typically requires days. It's about creating a liquid starter in a time frame of about 6 to 8 hours. To do the latter requires that you spike the new mixture with an inoculum, which could be liquid starter retained from a previous batch, pure cultures of yeast and bacteria, or even a conventional sourdough starter. This is essentially the same thing we do when we feed a starter. We mix together fresh flour and water and then spike the mixture with previous starter to provide a starting population of active yeast and bacteria.

Creating a starter from scratch, on the other hand, takes much longer than 6 to 8 hours, so it's not what the patent is concerned with. Dormant yeast is already present in the flour, but as Debra Wink explained in her blog posts, different microbes grow at different ranges of acidity. The yeast, in particular, don't awaken until the pH of the mixture drops far enough, and we typically have to wait several days waiting for the evolving population of bacteria to churn out enough acid for this to happen.

Obviously, if you're trying to create a liquid starter in 6 to 8 hours as described in the patent, waiting for this days-long process to play out isn't going to cut it, so you use an inoculum. This doesn't mean that flour is devoid of microbes; it just means that trying to cultivate these microbes from scratch each time would take too long.

 

 

Muskie's picture
Muskie

Citation #3 calls for 3 ingredients, you're saying its only 2. They have stated the patent does not require a previous starter to create, just an inoculum (ergo, starter and inoculum are not equal).

The reference you cite to remaking the starter, is actually the patent holders explaining why their patent is important...everyone prior to using the patent had to make their mother sponger/starter every 7 to 8 hours, but the whole point of the starter is that this is not necessary...please, read the patent you pointed everyone to read, you are not properly understanding what is in it.

chris319's picture
chris319

When you refresh a starter you have:

1. Flour

2. Water

3. Existing starter

Make sense now?

Put inoculum in position #3 and you have it.

Muskie's picture
Muskie

Chris,

I'm sorry this is true. You put the patent into everyone's view to make some point, but you clearly do not understand why the patent was granted.

If you lose your "existing starter", then what do you do??? The patent tells you how to recover from a lost starter. And it takes 3 ingredients, none of them being existing starter, and requires 1 more thing than just flour and water.

Please, don't ask me to explain this again, read your own cited patent.

My point is, if we're not using "starter" in position #3, then we're looking elsewhere...not in the flour, not in the water...

Muskie's picture
Muskie

replace the idea of "starter", or "mother", with some known and quantifiable thing. They state what that is, and they state it as being distinctly different than just flour and water. They claim it requires a 3rd thing...inoculum.

So if I have no existing starter, e.g. I am starting from scratch, can I make sourdough bread? The patent explains how you can. That you think the 3rd ingredient is in the flour is, well, just an internet theory...the patent states otherwise.

I do really feel one of the things you are failing to gleam from the patent is that they wanted to debunk the myth that you could only make sourdough out of previous sourdough (i.e. that there must be lineage). They felt they proved (and the Patent Office seemed to agree with them) that if you introduced the right "inoculum", made fresh or carried forward, you'd make sour dough bread.

But to now suggest that was just there in the flour is, well, claiming the patent is invalid and untrue. Since that patent is still valid...I would argue you are promoting an internet myth.

Muskie's picture
Muskie

Chris referred to, so please, patent your idea in the U.S., as they are better than the current patent.

adri's picture
adri

1st: You cannot patent anything that is done before. This is called PRIOR ART.

2nd: A Patent is a legal paper. It grants someone that invented a new process/method/principle to be the only legal beneficiary.

This patent therefore describes that someone invented a method of creating sourdough within 6 to 8 hours with said method with 3 ingredients.

A patent doesn't mean it is the only way of archiving the same result. Luckily it is so. If not, no one here would legally be allowed to sell sourdough breads.

If you invent a new car that will bring you from Soho to Brighton in 2.5 seconds but needs oil, gas and unobtainium, you can patent it. Bentley would still be allowed and able to build cars without the need of unobtainium.

WoodenSpoon's picture
WoodenSpoon

To start a new culture you do need three things, flour, water and time, it is that simple. Assuming (really going out on a limb here) you aren't making this attempt in outer space and that you aren't using boiling water you should have success.. Thats it.

chris319's picture
chris319

With all due respect, Muskie, I think you would benefit from a course in remedial reading.

At your suggestion I read the patent again. It's all perfectly clear to me. The points you raised are addressed clearly in the patent.

That's all I can do for you.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

about the patent link is that all the conversions to °F were off two decimal places and also the proportions of liquid sourdough to flour. (Would that not invalidate the patent?)   All the growing mixtures used to propagate either the specific bacteria or yeast is autoclaved or handled to kill everything "live" in the flour and liquids including any commercial yeast with its nutritive values.   (that assumes something is in the flour that can grow or interfere with growth)

Sour dough yeast: Torulopsis holmii  and the SanFran LAB In a pure form Is what makes the patent valuable not having it but growing it specifically in a particular medium.    

And I find it interesting that salt is used to encourage yeast growth.  We've only lately started talking about adding salt to birthing starters.  A year ago, no one mentioned it seriously on TFL unless we were trying to slow down rapid starter fermentation in tropical conditions or control run away fermentation in pre-ferments and soakers.  

I've been doing some home kitchen experiments on the side (when am I not?) and have a question about growing these specific yeasts.  Would one first have to kill off other yeast colonies in order to grow Torulopsis holmii?

placebo's picture
placebo

I think the original patent on paper was scanned in, which explains the numerous typos, missing exponents, etc. in the electronic version.

chris319's picture
chris319

As Chris already pointed out, the patent isn't about creating a starter from scratch, a process that typically requires days. It's about creating a liquid starter in a time frame of about 6 to 8 hours. To do the latter requires that you spike the new mixture with an inoculum, which could be liquid starter retained from a previous batch, pure cultures of yeast and bacteria, or even a conventional sourdough starter. This is essentially the same thing we do when we feed a starter. We mix together fresh flour and water and then spike the mixture with previous starter to provide a starting population of active yeast and bacteria.

Creating a starter from scratch, on the other hand, takes much longer than 6 to 8 hours, so it's not what the patent is concerned with.

Exactly right. Before the patent and the liquid starter process it describes, the bakeries were making new starter or "sponge" 2 to 3 times per day, every 8 hours, by propagating the previous batch of starter. This is described in the patent. As a matter of fact, I don't know that any bakery ever switched to using liquid starter. The Acme bakery in Berkeley makes a good sourdough and I do believe they use the sponge method of the olden days, rather than liquid starter.

Obviously, if you're trying to create a liquid starter in 6 to 8 hours as described in the patent, waiting for this days-long process to play out isn't going to cut it, so you use an inoculum. This doesn't mean that flour is devoid of microbes; it just means that trying to cultivate these microbes from scratch each time would take too long.

Right again. The process using liquid starter described in the patent, and the original process used for many years prior, is for a commercial bakery to have enough starter available for one or more bakes per day, every day. The starter-management regimen used by S.F. bakeries of yore is described in the early part of the patent and very closely resembles the posts of doc_dough in the thread about Larraburu (do a search on this word). The starters or "mother sponge" used by the old S.F. bakeries traced their lineage back over a century, back to the California gold rush of 1849 and possibly earlier. They simply kept propagating this original sponge.

From the patent:

A principal defect of the conventional sponge system lies in its rigidity of scheduling. When the sponge has been developed, it must be used within a short time, i.e., within l to 3 hours after reaching the peak of development

Where is the data that proves bakers' yeast is a hindrance? In other words, where can I learn that the yeast and LABs actually compete for their food? Simply eating the same food isn't enough proof of competition.

DavidEF: I think you have to arrive at this conclusion by inference. I'm sure if I searched long enough I could find something more definitive, but this "symbiotic relationship" is described in everything I've read as beneficial to the development of the lactobacilli because there is no competition for the available maltose. This is from the patent; is it any more definitive?

One of the properties differentiating this yeast [today known as C.humilis] from ordinary bakers yeast (S. cereviseae) is that it cannot ferment or grow on maltose

...This bacteria is responsible for the development of sourness in the product, and, as the discoverers, we have suggested the name Lactobacillus sanfrancisco therefor. One of the characteristics of this bacterial species is that it requires or greatly prefers maltose for its growth, and that in most cases a relatively high concentration (above 0.5%) of maltose is required for good growth.

The patent can justifiably be called a seminal work because a) it describes the manufacturing process used by S.F. sourdough bakeries of the day, b) it identifies the yeast in S.F. sourdough, and c) it reports their discovery of the theretofore-undiscovered flavor-giving actobacillus now known as l.sanfranciscensis.

chris319's picture
chris319

a question about growing these specific yeasts.  Would one first have to kill off other yeast colonies in order to grow Torulopsis holmii?

Torulopsis holmii is known today as Candida humilis. At one time it was called Candida milleri: https://www.google.com/#q=candida+humilis

As T.holmii/C.milleri/C.humilis is what we're trying to cultivate, you don't have to kill off anything.

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I was thinking there were several names for the same yeast type. 

adri's picture
adri

I don't know that any bakery ever switched to using liquid starter.

I've seen it in German and Austrian bakeries. They have something like a sourdough machine with something called "Reinzuchtsauerteig" (maybe clean breed sourdough or clean culture sourdough). Like you can buy commercial yeast, at least here you can buy a sourdough yeast and LAB (sanfranciscensis) mixture that will give you sourdough. You can buy this even in the better supermarkets. You can then continue to feed this sourdough like any other sourdough. Due to reproducibility many bakeries will create a new starter maybe every week from this "Reinzuchtsauerteig"

I'm currently living in a town with a bit less than 200,000 people living here and in this region I just know of 5 bakeries that don't use this kind of sourdough but natural instead. I don't know all of the bakeries here of course and I assume that the one's not stating otherwise use the shortcut.

Adrian

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

that the bread indiustry uses to make really fast type 2 sourdough and is only seminal to them and their FrankenSourdough.   By injecting it with commercial yeast, lowering the ph below 3.5 and raising the temprature they make a  sour tasting product they can use in 6-8 hours rather than using traditional type 1 sourdough we all hav, if we aren't using industrial sourdough fermenters and making tons of SD a day.

Some research from the Dutch and there is a lot more, is probably a little more seminal to the rest of us who have some kind of type 1 sourdough at home.  Not only does this list the various LAB and yeast found in SD cultures from North America and Europe but also the paper where the idea that commercial yeast that contaminates a SD culture is wiped out in 2 feedings = about 48 hours.   It makes for fascinating reading and Dr Vogel appears again as a researcher whose paper, a different one,  is sighted in this one .  After the trashing I got for publishing another one of  Dr Vogel's research papers on TFL, hopefully people will be more kind this time? 

http://books.google.com/books?id=eZjIfud742wC&pg=PA23&lpg=PA23#v=onepage&q&f=false   

chris319's picture
chris319

Kline and Sugihara, the authors of the patent, discovered L.sanfranciscensis (it was previously unknown). I don't know how you can get more seminal than that.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

has nothing to do with discovering that the LAB in SF SD was different strain than the one previously identified  It is a patent on how to make type 2 Frankensourdough that idustrial; bakeries can claim they fermented adn call it sourdough in 6 hours so they can bake enough crappy sourdough for unsuspecting vitictims to eat.  Seminal ? Hardly.

It was long known that some LAB and yeast combination lived together in a SD culture that made sourdough bread in San Francisco.  These guys just identified which ones they were but only after technology advancements allowed them to do so.  Seminal?  Hardly  They didn't get a Nobel did they - that is seminal.

Their supposed discovery in any other book but yours is way more like "Oh after all of these years we finnaly found out which LAB and yeast, of the many out there, actually make sourdough bread and we will name them.  It's great that new the science, invented and developed by someone else,  allowed us to finally do this uninteresting but unimportant work."

If it is that important to you, I'm all for it and I can see why you feel this way.  Still this episode reminds me of your excitement of discovering the patent for the starter of your favorite SF bakery long closed for obvious reasons but a shame non the less,.  We found out later it was just the patent for  feed and method for feeding it - if you had it.

I do like pour pluck though and that alone will take you far in the bread world and real one too.

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

My 2penneth on this on-going quest for closure of what should be a simple issue.

The "patent"

The nature of the entire patent is the development of a convenient, time-unintensive method of creating a suitable leaving agent for making Sourdough French Bread.   It states clearly that their "process" is there to create a liquid starter in the space of 6-8 hours and cites all the advantages that come with this (all of which make sense).

The process of achieving that result in 6-8hrs is possible ONLY by taking an existing quantity of the required yeasts and LABs and adding that to a slurry of flour and water.  In short, their liquid starter is nothing more than a convenient PRE-FERMENT that has lots of advantages over the traditional use of less liquid starters which they refer to as sponges.

There is no confusion here that I can see, the bottom line is if you have NO TIME and need an active starter in a matter of hours, you have to use some established, well populated / colonised source of yeasts and LABs.  It's simply a matter of speed.

None of this detracts from the undeniable and scientific fact that those yeasts and labs are already present in grains.  It is simply the case that in grain form, and in flour form, the population / colonisation levels of those yeasts / LABs are nowhere near high enough to make an active starter in 6-8 hours.  They have to be bred / cultured to increase that colonisation level to a useable point.   This is easily achieved by mixing flour with water  and NOTHING ELSE (save a little oxygen) and allowing the mix to chemically react at an optimum temperature.  It can be done in a small sealed container with very little air and the process takes approximately 4-10 days depending on a number of variables.   Once you have created an active culture of yeasts and LABs in this way it can be used to quickly innoculate larger quantities of flour and water in a matter of hours.

To try to refute that wild yeasts and LABs are present in grains (or plants and vegetables) is like standing in a large bucket and believing you can pull yourself up by the handle.

Nevertheless, here are a couple of references of which there are countless others out there:

http://enologyaccess.org/EA2/index.php/winemicrobes/918-yeastid/206-saccharomyces-exiguus.html

"Ecological Traits: A wild yeast found on plants, fruits and grains."

 

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1016/j.femsyr.2004.10.006/full

Table 1: Identity and origin of novel yeast strains isolated from different plant material

8 specific yeasts are listed in this table as being found in grains which are:

Saccharomyces cerevisiae, P. anomala, Filobasidium floriforme, Debaroymyces hansenii, Cr. humicolus, Cr. albidus, C. silvicola, C. pelliculosa,

Other yeasts are listed against barley and oats and other sources.

If I have misunderstood your position on the matter then please correct my understanding and I will try again.

ATB

Muskie's picture
Muskie

...but I am trying to get better at not doing that...;-] I am definitely inexperienced with bread making and SD cultures, so it's better to sit back and learn. But since I'm being addressed directly;

"The nature of the entire patent is the development of a convenient, time-unintensive method of creating a suitable leaving agent for making Sourdough French Bread."

Actually, as has been pointed out, another of the patent's features is identifying specific yeast and bacteria that create the unique SF SD features. So its not just a quick way to leaven bread, its a quick way to create that unique SF SD bread.

"None of this detracts from the undeniable and scientific fact that those yeasts and labs are already present in grains."

I'm sorry, but I have not seen any conclusive proof that yeasts and labs are already present IN grains, only proof that they are naturally occurring ON grains, and many other things. Your own citation at enologyaccess.org states;

"Ecological Traits: A wild yeast found on plants, fruits and grains." (emphasis mine)

In fact, in Wikipedia's "Yeast" entry, they talk about yeast found on humans, between our toes. Does that then imply they come from inside us?

"Yeasts are very common in the environment, and are often isolated from sugar-rich materials. Examples include naturally occurring yeasts on the skins of fruits and berries (such as grapes, apples, or peaches), and exudates from plants (such as plant saps or cacti). Some yeasts are found in association with soil and insects.[20][21] The ecological function and biodiversity of yeasts are relatively unknown compared to those of other microorganisms.[22] Yeasts, including Candida albicans, Rhodotorula rubra, Torulopsis and Trichosporon cutaneum, have been found living in between people's toes as part of their skin flora.[23] Yeasts are also present in the gut flora of mammals and some insects[24] and even deep-sea environments host an array of yeasts.[25][26]"

But let's go back to your contention;

"To try to refute that wild yeasts and LABs are present in grains (or plants and vegetables) is like standing in a large bucket and believing you can pull yourself up by the handle."

Let's assume you are right. Does that equally assert that the wild yeasts and LABs present in grains, are those that make SF SD, those stated in the patent? Since the patent states you can make SF SD with any flour, then should I assume you are saying the specific SF SD yeasts and LABs are in all flours? All "grains (or plants and vegetables)"?

Nothing has been put forward to suggest that any form of flour selection need be done to create SF SD, or have I misunderstood and what everyone is saying is that no form of flour selection need be done to create SD (not SF-specific)? Regardless of which of those two are true, people are still stating that the yeast and LABs withstand any and all processing methods used to create modern flour, as again, nobody has stated that specific flours are necessary (only preferred). I admit, I find this assumption difficult to accept.

 

 

Muskie's picture
Muskie

Don't know why, but only half of my message was saved, now I have to think about what I said...

Muskie's picture
Muskie

My computer or internet connection decided that my eloquent elucidation shouldn't reach y'all. I had made comments about the fact that the Wikipedia entry said yeast is found on our bodies, between our toes...so does that mean yeast comes from inside us through the spaces between our toes?

I had said, in all earnest, that much of what is being posted is based on biased observation. Honest observiation, but biased never the less. Who here ever created a culture in a vacuum? If not, then can you not honestly accept that there was a 3rd ingredient...air?

I had said that people are claiming to debunk a theory based on their own practices and true life observation. That does not refute anything, it merely affirms what they believe. Its not scientific...so its not a fact. But I fully appreciate people's fact based observations, just not as scientific-fact.

I said I was unhappy being told to take remedial reading...given my background that was simply an insult for no apparent reason. And I thanked those who have helped me with this learning experience.

Alas, I said all of that much better...oh well. I got some awesome ciabatta to go eat...;-]

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

actually saved half of your post.  Normally it just prints the subject box and everything else is destroyed never to be seen again.  As you learn about bread you will also learn to go up to your browser and hit hit edit, select all and then copy to your clipboard before you ever hit save again.  I have lost whole blogs even when doing that!!!

Back to basics - the yeas and LAB are on the grain.  If you mill your own flour then the whole grains will have the greatest inoculation possible for the grain you have,  If you use a 'whiter grain say 85% extraction where some of the bran is sifted out, then you will have less LAB and yeast remaining to inoculate your starter.  If you use white bleached  AP flour, fine for feeding an established  starter, it will have the least amount of LAB and yeast to inoculate your starter plus what little remains is beached too!  But once the whole grain is milled ine could say the LAB and yeast are  the flour no longer all of it is on exterior of the berry

To make a starter it is best to use home milled whole grain rye or wheat and get the environment a little bit acid using a fruit or citrus juice - I like OJ.  Then just follow the rest of Debra Winks instructions.   In 10 days or 2 weeks you will be making bread depending on the temperature.

happy baking

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Just to be clear. The LAB in question l.sanfranciscensis has never, ever been isolated from any other source but sourdough. So it's not scientific fact that l.sanfranciscensis is already present in the grain. There is continuing evidence that suggests it comes from us humans.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

German baking apprentice - Lucy!  Makes on wonder where the rest of the LAB found in SD cultures come from - or the yeast for that matter........

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

Thanks for the response, no worries on the computer gremlins.

You appear to me to have shifted your position slightly as this debate has progressed.   You began with your statement that :

"That capture is not as likely to happen in closet as it is out on your counter in the kitchen. "

To which I said that we are not capturing yeast/LABs from the air so it doesn't matter where you keep it and you then appeared to dispute that fundamental assertion.   You cited Ed and Jean Wood's processes from the wildyeast website interpreting their words as gathering yeasts from the air, and I then gave you a direct quote from the same website where they clearly state you should keep the starter in a jar with a closed lid with just a tiny gap to let gas escape.

We've now moved from a discussion based around the question of whether or not yeasts/LABs come from the grains or the air,  to a discussion about whether the specific SF SD yeast comes from the grain.

I'm not sure whether or not that's a concession from yourself that grains DO provide yeasts and LABs of some type but it kinda sounds like it is.

Personally, in the context of the original debate here, "are the yeasts from the grains or from the air", I'm not really interested in any specific yeast (SF or otherwise).  I'm more interested in the fundamental principle that we are creating our starters from the grain organisms, not from the air organisms.

Let's keep it simple.   We CAN make a viable sourdough starter using nothing more than flour and water and a little air (which is needed for it's oxygen which forms part of the chemical processes, not for the collection of organisms).

In doing so we are providing an ideal reproductive environment for the natural wild yeasts and LABs present in/on the flour which were formally present in/on the grain itself.  No 3rd element is needed for this process to proceed, none whatsoever.  No innoculum is needed.  Nothing.  In fact what we are actually creating IS an innoculum.

The references I provided state clearly the yeasts that are found in/on the grains.

Now, given the fact that none of us work in laboratory sterile conditions, it is obviously the case that our starters and any pre-ferments and doughs we make are bound to be contaminated with all manner of bugs, yeasts and bacteria.  Those organisms will be in the air, on the utensils we use, on our hands which we knead the doughs with and so on.  However, in creating a new SD Starter, those are not generally the organisms that we are promoting to thrive and replicate.  The temperature we maintain the mix at, it's hydration level and other factors tend to favour one type of organism over another so that over time, the yeasts and LABs we want, tend to dominate and minimise (or eradicate) the others.  Doubtless there are still some unwanted things in the mix at times, maybe some of them coming from the air, but they are suppressed to insignificant levels.

Fundamentally, what we are breeding and nurturing are the yeasts and LABs that came from the grain.

Final point.  You made reference to different flours and flour selection.  This does matter to some extent but only in terms of TIME.   Different grains and / or flours contain different quantities of the natural yeasts/LABs.  I'm not qualified to determine if different grains actually contain specifically different types of yeasts, but I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case.   Regardless, imo, any flour that has been treated is likely to contain less yeasts/LABs than one that is untreated as the treatment processes will likely kill off a percentage of the organisms.

Hence we know that a whole grain flour like rye or wholewheat has a higher population of yeasts/LABs than AP/white flour, the latter having had 2/3rds of the grain content (bran and germ) sifted out leaving just the endosperm.

Accordingly we know from both the theory and more importantly from the actual practice that you can breed a SD culture far far quicker using rye/wholewheat flour than you can with white/AP flour.

Bottom line is that either flour WILL get you to the desired end point.  But the whole grain flours will get you there quicker and more reliably as there are more "good guys" in the mix to compete against any unwanted bad guys in the mix.

In the end, as I said in earlier posts, your best course of action is to just create yourself a starter using just flour and water in a sealed container (allowing for just a little gas escape) and prove to yourself that it works.  Doing that alongside the creation of another starter that is left open to the air might also be a useful experiment, in fact I recommend it.   See if one gets active quicker than the other.  To my mind the open one should take longer as the hydration level will likely drop and unwanted orgamisms will enter the mix and compete with the desired organisms.   Go ahead and try it.  I think it will be a useful service to the forum.

GL and ATB

EP

 

 

 

chris319's picture
chris319

the starter of your favorite SF bakery long closed for obvious reasons

What are those obvious reasons?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

even though you could use one badly:-)  But, I will give you a huint -  I would start with traffic accidents invloving the bakery's delivery truck that injured a young woman.

Happy researching

Muskie's picture
Muskie

I wouldn't dare respond to any of the posts on this topic, but this one drove me to say....lolz...;-]

chris319's picture
chris319

The LAB in question l.sanfranciscensis has never, ever been isolated from any other source but sourdough. So it's not scientific fact that l.sanfranciscensis is already present in the grain. There is continuing evidence that suggests it comes from us humans.

I've heard this before. It's a mystery, all right.

Muskie's picture
Muskie

Why hasn't anyone commented on the IN vs ON thing? I mean no citations have ever said they're IN grain, but they have said their ON grain...why isn't that obvious to anyone else?

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

it's not relevant to the wider debate of whether the yeasts/LABs are coming from the grain/flour or from the air.

I'd agree with ON though in the main. They're on the skins of fruits and vegetables and on our own skin.

Muskie's picture
Muskie

Any flour can bill milled any way they want, and the yeast and LABs survive in the final product, assuming they started on the outer husk of the initial grain? Honestly, if this is true, then we have a lot of stuff in our food that we don't want. Imagine a rabid mouse runs through a grain field, so everything on it survives the processing? That might be a bad example, but it certainly suggests that our grains are covered with all sorts of stuff we don't want.

I recently bought Bob's Red Mill No Wheat Rolled Oats...how can that idea be true?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

It all makes perfectly good sense.  The grain is all shaken together and milled and sifted. Now if that doesn't dust everything together!  

And if you ever observed a field, it is never 100% pure one grain or the other unless it has gone thru special treatment of killing off everything and planting a pure seed.  Even hybrid fields can get cross pollinated or influenced by neighbouring fields.  Ever see the seed that falls to the ground during harvest? Birds carry fallen seed around and so do mice.   Wind is known to stir up trouble.  

Some seeds and other grains get mixed into the grain during combining while they grow in the field too or get mixed in during transport or at the mill.  The more organic the seed, the greater the chance of no herbicides used to clear a field of other grain and weeds, and that means more variety of plants growing in the same field.  

No wheat rolled oats?  translation: No wheat happened to be in the oat field. (Put on the pkg for those who are wheat sensitive.)  It can also mean they have a special facility to handle oats only.

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

We have all manner of "things" in the foods that retailers sell us.  Many of them they'd very much like to keep secret as people's uninformed biased phobias would see them stop buying the products.  Go see the debates I've had with DABrownman on such issues as GM crops, and most post in the "off topic" section about what is really in your orange juice.

Grains are typically contaminated with little bugs, weevils etc but processes are adapted to minimise their presence in the final product.  These are relatively large contaminates though, not microbiology.   So long as the grains are not subjected to high heat, the yeasts/LABs will survive.  That's why grain mills run slowly so as not to heat up the stones, same reason my own grain mill has an auto-shut off feature if the stones get hot from too much constant grinding.

This is all just distraction though.   I've given you references.  I've grown numerous SD cultures in sealed jars.  Are you or are you not willing to concede that the primary yeasts and LABs we are cultivating are those that came from the grains?  yes or No?

chris319's picture
chris319

I would start with traffic accidents invloving the bakery's delivery truck that injured a young woman.

What does a bakery-truck accident have to do with the bread they bake?

I know you've read the patent so you are aware that the researchers studied five different bakeries, a subset of the sourdough bakeries operating in the area at the time. The ones they studied all made bread using similar techniques.

The rest of your post has too many misconceptions to address.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Larraburu delivery truck happened to severely injure a little girl backing pout of drive.  Because of that accident, Laraburu was forced into bankruptcy so they could never ever bake bread again.  That is how it affect the bread that they used to bake.  Bakers don't make good business people often enough.  They had 2 liability polices one for $250,000 liability and one for $1,000,000 for excess liability.  But that wasn't nearly enough fo the SF jury.  The jury awarded $3 million plus court costs to the Little girl and Laraburu was no more.  They appealed but lost

Here is the link to appellate court cast that shut their doors forever.  I think Wonder Bread owns everything Laraburu now since Interstate Bakeries bought everything out of a bankruptcy court later.  But they might have lost it in one of there two subsequent banruptcues.  Very fitting:-) 

http://openjurist.org/604/f2d/1208/ca-79-3387-larraburu-brothers-inc-v-royal-indemnity-company

It doesn't surprise me in the least that you have too many misconceptions to address.

chris319's picture
chris319

Any flour can bill milled any way they want, and the yeast and LABs survive in the final product, assuming they started on the outer husk of the initial grain?

Airborne yeast is in the air everywhere. Most strains are of no utility in bread baking. Thousands of years ago people baked bread with this grain and lived to tell about it.

chris319's picture
chris319

Larraburu delivery truck happened to severely injure a little girl backing pout of drive.  Because of that accident, Laraburu was forced into bankruptcy so they could never ever bake bread again.  That is how it affect the bread that they used to bake.

A delivery truck accident  is irrelevant to the topics of starter, yeast, lactobacilli and the patent which are the subjects of discussion in this thread.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

What does a bakery-truck accident have to do with the bread they bake?

I answered your question by saying that the accident made them stop baking bread entirely - that is what it had to do with the bread they bake. And you say it isn't relevant?  What a hoot!  Hey I'm just answering your question,  If you don't want your questions answered - then don't ask them.  If you don't like the answer... too bad!