Growing starter in the refrigerator is said to minimize the sour taste of sourdough. It also enables us to reduce the feedings from 3 times a day to twice. I find my starters ferment very quickly these days making me wonder if I have enormous invisible colonies of yeast and bacteria in my kitchen. I also ferment water kefir, milk kefir, and kombucha so I assume there is quite a bit of activity going on.
A friend of mine, Peggy, likes to tinker in the kitchen. She experiments with many recipes and techniques and documents them in great detail. She tried growing a starter in the refrigerator, something I haven’t had time to see all the way through.
Here are her notes:
“I decided to go with a simple loaf of bread using quinoa and sorghum flours.
I had a small amount of rice-sorghum-teff starter left over from making multigrain bread and fed it for four days with alternating and equal amounts of quinoa flour and sorghum flour. I chose to use these because they were what I had on hand. I also was going for a lighter colored bread.
I gave it a little boost with 1 tablespoon of water kefir to perk it up on the second day.
After 24 hours of feedings I put it in the fridge because it was very bubbly and soupy! I didn’t want a strong sourdough flavor this time as I just baked two batches that were strongly fermented.
I continued to feed it 3 times a day continuing to keep it in the fridge.
36 hours later, I removed it from the fridge because it looked flat and dead But four hours later, when I next looked at it, it was furiously bubbling away!!! I had been deceived by the chilled mixture. I fed it and returned it to the fridge.
8 hours later when I took it out to feed it, it was actively bubbling even though it was so cold. I think it liked the fact that I had taken it out that first time for a few hours.”
She said that the finished bread had just enough sour taste to let you know you were eating sourdough. Not overpowering at all!