The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

sourdough starter

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toneweaver's picture

Maui travel with sourdough starter?

September 3, 2011 - 12:54pm -- toneweaver

Friends -

I'm traveling from Oregon to Maui at the end of this month and will be staying with friends I want to bake for. They've asked for sourdough, and I've seen some hints here for traveling with starter, but does anyone have advice for keeping it alive on a long plane flight?

If anyone has recommendations for bakers or bakeries to visit in Maui, I'd love those too. :-)

Toneweaver

davidg618's picture
davidg618

These are #'s 4 and 5. I've made three earlier loaves, all successful, with similar oven spring. I've been experimenting with retarding sourdoughs. I'm so pleased with my Overnight Baguette's flavor and crumb--straight dough, retarded 15 hours @ 54°F--that I've reasoned retarding sourdough loaves should add sparkle to already good flavor. Using my old starter, the results were mixed. I realized excellent flavors, but the doughs were slack, and their oven spring weak.

With Debra Wink's help, we've saved my new starter--I thought it was a goner--and, encouraged by #'s 2 and 3, also retarded, I baked these today. The dough was retarded 10 hours, at 54°F, before shaping.

As you see, I've got excellent oven spring. I'm going to post a forum Help! re the ragged slashing. I've not been able to eliminate it. If you have any good advice please post it either here or on the forum thread; I'll title it Ragged Slashing. Sorry, no crumb shots, these are going into the freezer.

Here's a crumb shot of #2, which is almost gone. It's been a great compliment to some home cured and smoked pastrami.

David G

SCruz's picture

Substituting starter for instant yeast

July 19, 2011 - 10:04am -- SCruz

I had some extra starter (who doesn't?) and remembered a no-knead recipe that suggested substituting 1/4C of starter for the 1/4 t of instant yeast. I was surprised at the wonderful very obvious difference in texture and moistness of the bread. Is there a rule-of-thumb about substituting one for the other?

Jerry

sortachef's picture
sortachef

If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a few sourdough starters lurking in your fridge. One I made from organic California grapes lovingly teased into fruition over 10 days some years ago. Another from rye flour that naturally ferments. And last fall’s brainchild, made from mountain berries plucked at 3600 feet. That last one yielded 6 lovely loaves and then promptly went into a funk.

But I’m going to be honest here: I don’t use any of my starters in this recipe. Every one of those starters is finicky and unpredictable at best, and when it comes to making bread, reliability is the key. So I’ve come up with a method that yields great sourdough loaves in a 3-day process. Very little attention is necessary until the third day, and the results are amazing. If you don’t have a woodfired oven, instructions on baking in a conventional oven are included as well. Go on, relax and make some sourdough!

 

Woodfired Sourdough Bread

 

Make 3 loaves, 23 ounces each

 

For the Starter:

2/3 cup rye flour

2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

¾ cup cold water

1 teaspoon active dry yeast

Mix these together in a large bread bowl with the handle of a wooden spoon, scraping the sides clean as you go. Cover with a clean dish cloth or a loose-fitting lid and let rise in a cool place (55-60° environment) for 12-14 hours until frothy. I do this step in the early evening and let it go overnight.

 

First replenishment:

½ cup rye flour

½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

3/8 cup cold water

Add these to your starter to ‘feed’ it in the morning. Scrape the sides again, put on a loose-fitting lid or a piece of plastic wrap and let it sit in a cool place for another 10-12 hours.

 

Second replenishment:

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

½ cup cold water

Feed the starter again, this time with wheat flour only. Let sit covered in a cool place for 10 hours or overnight.

 

Make the dough:  By morning, the starter should be bubbly and somewhat risen. It will also smell sour, which is the smell of active lactobacillus fermenting in the mix. This is good. Now add to the starter

2 cups of water at 105°

½ teaspoon of active dry yeast

4 cups of unbleached white bread flour (I use Pendleton Mills ‘Morbread’ with 12% gluten)

3 teaspoons of salt

2 Tablespoons of flaxseed meal (optional)

Mix the dough well, scraping the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the ingredients, and then knead for 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface. Return the dough to a clean bread bowl, cover and let rise for 5 hours at room temperature (68-70°).

Deflate the dough, turning it over as best you can and leave to rest for a further 1 to 1½ hours before shaping into loaves.

For Baking in a Woodfired Oven: For best results, bake this bread in an oven that has been heated for 2½ hours by a medium-sized active fire. In the last hour, move the fire from side to side to allow even heating of the floor tiles. After this time, move the active but non-flaming coals to the back, throw on a fistful of hardwood twigs and sweep the floor clean of ashes. Once the twigs have finished burning, you’re ready to bake the bread.

For Baking in a conventional oven: Line the center rack with quarry tiles or a pizza stone and preheat at 450° for at least half an hour. When the loaves are ready for baking, drop the heat to 400°.

Form the loaves / final rise: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. (note: if using a conventional oven, you can only bake 2 at a time; put one of the pieces back into the bread bowl for another hour.) Form a ball with each piece by stretching the longest skin of dough across the surface and tucking it underneath.

Line 3 baskets with cloth napkins or dish cloths, and sprinkle generously with flour. Plop the dough balls into these, toss on a bit more flour, cover with the corners of the cloth and let rise for 1¼ hours in a warm place.

Once risen, turn the unbaked loaves onto either a wooden peel or the back of a cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Brush loaves lightly with an eggwhite mixed with 1 Tablespoon of water and slash as desired.

For Baking in a Woodfired Oven: Slip the unbaked loaves into the oven in a semi-circle about 12” away from the coals. Close the door all the way and bake for 1 hour, turning several times to bake evenly. Loaves are ready when the crust is medium brown.

For Baking in a conventional oven: Slip loaves 2 at a time directly onto the tiles or pizza stone. Bake for 20 minutes at 400°, lower the heat to 350°, and bake for another 40 minutes, turning the loaves as necessary to ensure even baking. Loaves are ready when the crust is medium brown.

See original publication and more photos at http://www.woodfiredkitchen.com/?p=2289

Copyright 2011 by Don Hogeland 

jennyloh's picture
jennyloh

I finally tried this recipe and I certainly was happy with the result. Thanks to Eric for the recipe.  It one of those that are on my repeat list certainly.  


 



 


www.foodforthoughts.jlohcook.com


 


 

jcorlando's picture

Whole Wheat &/or Flax Seed Starter????

January 19, 2011 - 1:41pm -- jcorlando

Chefs,


I'm making a Sourdough starter, rather small at 15g flour and 15g water.


What are you thoughts on using King Arthur Whole Wheat
or fresh Flax seed ground to a flour?


It would probably change the tastes, but would it work??


Also, I live in Annapolis, on the water.
It's cold here (mid January), but air smells clean and fresh
(unlike my condo which is warm but smell like a bachelor  LOL..


So I'm leaving the starter outside to pick up whatever
fresh yeast is blowing out there.


 

lynnmichael's picture

When should I feed my starter? Beginner here...

December 3, 2010 - 8:17am -- lynnmichael

Hi there, 


I'm an absolute novice, who inspired by "Tartine Bread," mixed up my first starter two weeks ago. I used the formula of equal parts lukewarm water to 50/50 mix of WW and AP flour. Although my starter bubbled now and then after daily a.m. feedings of equal parts water and 50/50, it never doubled in volume.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I've been slowly brewing away with some thoughts over the years....  Starters and their differences.  Why is it that sometimes a weak rising sourdough starter culture will bounce back quickly (too quickly) and suddenly "stabilize" after chilling or a near death experience?


I have a timing theory thinking the yeasts might have syncronized their life cycles through temperature control and also the idea that perhaps getting the desired yeasts to spore (hibernate) and then wake up the correct yeast using the same selected bacteria group to do the job.  I have always (still do hopefully) kept my ears and eyes open for explanations. 


I was pointed to a podcast on research extending life spans recently and the mention that yeasts were also affected perked up my ears.  Why not?  I began to think about it more and more and it made sense.  Maybe this was one explanation for what I was observing.  Longevity of yeast perhaps.  That the yeast were living longer budding more and producing more gas in their life spans before dying letting the next generations take over.  The peaks that stay peaked for longer periods of time after feeding the neglected starter.   Hmmm.  Puts the expression "never starve a starter" into question.


There is also lots of other information in the interview like a quick mention that 2% sugar intake shortened life span by 20% which also could be applied to yeasts.  I wonder what the details are there?  The BBC Podcast features Prof. Cynthia Kenyon, director for the Hillblom Center for Aging, Univ of Calif. San Fran.   Topic: Latent capability to extend lifespan.


http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/worldservice/discovery/discovery_20101027-1032a.mp3


Toward the end of the interview, I was struck by our own TFL member diversity and how contributions from so many have enriched the site.   Listen and enjoy!


"Lay back and bake at TFL!"

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