The Fresh Loaf

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Wild Yeast / Levain / Sourdough starter flowchart

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arzajac's picture
arzajac

Wild Yeast / Levain / Sourdough starter flowchart

I made a flowchart describing the process of culturing wild yeasts.  What do you think?


 


Flowchart v1.2


 


Right-click to save a larger version. 


I deliberately left it a little vague because I found many conflicting points of view and too many details make a relatively simple process rather confusing.  I wanted to describe a process that should succeed every time, although there may be a lot of things that can be done to speed up the process.


Please comment on it and/or improve it.  The original file is here.  It can be edited with Inkscape.


Thanks!


Edit:  I revised it to add a few corrections.


Edit 2009/01/15 - version 1.2 - more clarifications.


 

Wisecarver's picture
Wisecarver (not verified)

...Love the CopyRight. ;-)

arzajac's picture
arzajac

It's public domain.  I quoted that from the Creative Commons site.  I want people to be able to use/modify and redistribute this if it's useful.

blaisepascal's picture
blaisepascal

The intial daily feeding is to remove half and add just flour?  Not water?


 

arzajac's picture
arzajac

Some text got cut off.  Thanks for noticing. It's fixed.


 

m2scq's picture
m2scq

Very nice.  I appreciate flowcharts as I was an IT person in a very past life :)  Just a few suggestions, you might want your processes to be in rectangles, input/output (adding/taking away ingredients) in parallelograms, and decisions (if-then ?) in diamonds.   I tried downloading and editing but could not get the file to open properly.

arzajac's picture
arzajac

Sounds complicated.  Do you think the average artisan bread enthusiast would appreciate the proper use of the various geometric shapes that much?  But please feel free to modify and improve upon the original.


The file opens fine in Inkscape in Linux and Windows for me.  It probably doesn't open properly in any other kind of image viewer.  What did you use to try to open and edit it?


 

m2scq's picture
m2scq

original flowchart works fine.  the suggestion was mostly for technicality, i'm just weird like that.  i did not download inkscape as i have not reviewed the specs but just used the default viewer from my computer.  i'll look into inkscape.  thanks.

MmeZeeZee's picture
MmeZeeZee

I don't know if I'm the average bread enthusiast, but I've made much more complicated flow-charts (color coded, multi-page, with layers) and I love this chart.  I was coming here with a question and I am in love with this chart.  I could actually see myself re-doing the whole thing as per my personal style in Excel.  (Excel has a secret wonderful function of facilitating really cool flow charts- you didn't know?  Now you do... heh.)


 


But back to my question.  I'm on day three and the water is separating out from my levain way more than it shows in my book.  Will that be problematic, and what could be a cause?  Anyone?

arzajac's picture
arzajac

I edited the original post and inserted the new version.


 


Again, if anyone thinks something is wrong or should be done differently, please let me know and I will try to adjust the flowchart to include those improvements.


Also. is it too complicated?  Personaly, I had to make this for myself.  I found that  trying to follow these instructions from a printed page is hard because I kept having to try to figure out "where I was" in the process.  In that sense, I find a flowchart easier to follow. 


What do you think?


 

cake diva's picture
cake diva

Arzajac,


Appreciate the thought and effort that went into the flowchart.  It certainly goes a long way to simplify what could be a complicated process.


My perspective is that the flowchart is probably helpful to bakers who have experience in creating starters.  For those naive to the process, it provides a good overview and dimensionalizes the complexity, but leaves important gaps (e.g., when waiting, when exactly do you wait? ).


I think I would do well to read more about the subject from this site.  Your flowchart will serve as one of my resources.


Thanks.

gaaarp's picture
gaaarp

cake diva, I started a Sourdough 101 blog the other day to try to demystify the process of creating a sourdough starter.  Look under blogs on the main page. I've posted for two days so far (it's a live experiment) and added pictures last night.  I will add Day 3 this evening.

arzajac's picture
arzajac

Cake Diva, thanks for your comments.


The most confusing thing I have gone through in the process is trying to follow some of the detailed instructions out there.  With differences in temperature, flour, other ingredients the timeframe is not always exact, but some instructions rigidly make you follow things according to a schedule ("on day two, do this", or "wait twelve hours and move on to step three anyway"...)


What I am trying to accomplish with the flowchart is exactly what you describe.   For example, add flour and water and wait until bubbles are seen.  It may take two days or three.  When it happens, move on to the next step.   The same goes for the other steps, you don't move to the next loop until the starter can double in size within a certain time frame.


Now, how can I make that more clear on the flowchart?


 

MmeZeeZee's picture
MmeZeeZee

I think that having a flow chart at all just describes the non-linear nature of the process.


I know I'm 16 months too late buuut... I think simply adding that this flow chart is best used as a supplement to a more detailed set of instructions, especially if you are a beginner, is enough.

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Someone (not me - someone with graphics talents) should add maybe pale background photos of bread and turn this into a poster!


Rosalie

cordel's picture
cordel

I did see it, but now the thread is longer, it won't download, at all.

arzajac's picture
arzajac

Do you mean that since I edited the original post, you cannot download the larger version?

cordel's picture
cordel

When I open the thread, there is a white space where it should be.

arzajac's picture
arzajac

Your browser cached (kept a copy) of a bad link, I guess.  You can clear your cache.  I think pressing CTRL-F5 will reload the current page and refresh the cache.


 


If that's doesn't work, it's here:


Flowchart


 

holds99's picture
holds99

arzajac,


Thanks for posting the flow chart.  I had no problem saving the file.  Only, wish I had had this years ago.  It should be very helpful to folks trying to understand sourdough feeding and build cycles.    I like Rosalie's idea of turning it into a poster with bread photos embedded.


Howard

arzajac's picture
arzajac

Any suggestions for a photo?  Or maybe a combination of photos?


(EDIT)Here is an example: (This is just a baguette I made - not sourdough)


Flowchart with Photo

holds99's picture
holds99

Howard

TinaV's picture
TinaV

wish I would have had that when I go started 6 months ago :)


 

crazyknitter's picture
crazyknitter

Thank you.  I have had some experience so I appreciate the exactness of a "recipe", but now I really appreciate a flowchart method.


 


Thank you for your time and effort doing this.

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I'm not going to compare, but I believe the two flow charts are now different.  The first chart was tweaked, and the second was changed graphically.  Can we get the tweaked chart with background graphics?


Rosalie

arzajac's picture
arzajac

That photo is of yeasted bread, not sourdough.  Oh!  I feel so dishonest!


 


Here it is:


Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Rosalie

gnowetan's picture
gnowetan

I was trying to explain to my mom (the engineer) how to care for and use the bit of starter that I had given her.  This will help tons, thanks.

SunSparc's picture
SunSparc

Thanks for the chart. I think it sums it all up quite nicely.

LisaE's picture
LisaE

Love the chart, especially the end! If you changed the shapes, my brain would shut down in protest.