The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

sourdough starter

ques2008's picture

starter has risen and now...

December 22, 2009 - 12:43pm -- ques2008

i made my very first sourdough starter based on gaarp's tutorial.  I started thursday.  i had problems in day 3 and onwards, but today, I think I managed to revive it.  It did rise, started at 1 cup and it's now up to 2 cups.  i refreshed it  2 hours ago.  will it get bubbly and frothy in a few hours, and should i leave it on the counter longer?

ques2008's picture

can't wait till new year, started "starter" tonite

December 17, 2009 - 3:55pm -- ques2008

Hello folks,

I said  would venture into sourdough bread next year after almost a year of making soft rolls, loaves and sweet breads with yeast in 2009.  I am now graduating into sourdough as part of my education.  I planned to start after the new year, but i just can't wait.  So I started tonite and used the tutorial by gaarp.  I am mentally prepared to have all kinds of oohhs and ahhhs and aha and OMG, what went wrong type of reactions.

ques2008's picture

spelt flour to start a starter

December 3, 2009 - 8:41am -- ques2008

has anyone ever used spelt flour to make a starter?  i read somewhere that whole wheat and organic flours are usually best.  i have some left over spelt and would like to use it before it expires.  i am starting my sourdough education next year, so just wanted to know if spelt flour is recommended or is a big NO, or "it don't really matter what flour you use"?


DonD's picture

What does your Sourdough Starter smell like?

December 1, 2009 - 12:56pm -- DonD

I have read so many different descriptions of the smell of sourdough starters that I do not think that there is a concensus as to what it should smell like. I guess because starters raised in different areas impart different flavor profiles to the finished bread that it is natural that they would smell differently in their raw state.

Thaichef's picture

Sourdough starter problem

November 13, 2009 - 1:44pm -- Thaichef

Hello Everyone.

I am starting a sourdough starter again since my old one "die" due to several problems.  Anyway, I choose the "pineapple juice "formular of the "sourdo lady".  It is now on it 8 days and doing poorly.  On the 4 days it double and I was very excited that it is on its way to maturity.  After that day it went down hill and now appear "puffy" but never rise!  I religiously follow the instructions.  What is wrong?  I use rye flour which I just bought from the Natural foods store .  Please, please help.


boathook1's picture

Once I've made a starter how long should I keep it before trying to bake with it? Does it continue to get more sour with age? MY AIM IS TO BAKE A REALLY SOUR LOAF...

I could not be much newer at this... I'm seeking two things:

1. VERY SOUR tasting results.

2. The simplest recipes.

Could I be asking too much? Is there hope for me?! !... I'm willing to learn... My baking history consists of a cookie mix that came in a cardboard container from the freezer dept. of the local Piggly Wiggly [?]... Oh yeah.. I did a few potatoes once too but if I recall correctly I ended up burying them in my back yard.... {late at night too}... I guess it's also worth mentioning that in the divorce papers I was served, my kitchen antics were a key factor in chasing the little woman from my loving embrace... {Have you ever tried reading fine print when your glasses are all clouded with flour powder?... And you're up to your arm pits in dough that is heavier than you can lift?}... A nasty rumor has found it's way to me as well... According to a recent ruling by the courts I'm not allowed to bake within 500 feet of my former wife......

I remain, your humble and curious student..


AbbySue's picture

Refreshing a sourdough starter

August 4, 2009 - 12:00pm -- AbbySue

I am new to this website, and I may be posting this in the wrong place.  If so, would someone please help me.

I have a sourdough starter that I received from a friend in California, it traveled back accross the country with me to Georgia.  I have tried to refresh it a few times, and I tried to make a pizza dough with a recipe my friend sent me, and I seemed to have failed.

davidg618's picture

Folliwing Dan DiMuzio's guidance (and others) re creating a more sour levain I prepared a 500g, 50% hydration levain, and then fed it every 12 hours for two and a half days. I maintained it at 55°F, in our wine closet, thoroughout. Subsequently, I used DiMuzio's Pain au Levain (firm starter: 480g, 60%) formula with two changes. 1. The aforementioned 50% hydrated levain vs. the formula's 60% levain; and, 2. I encreased the whole-wheat flour percentage to 20% vs. the formula's 10%. Yes, I knew the increased whole wheat flour content would alter the flavor, but I reasoned the whole-wheat alteration wouldn't effect the sour component of the finished bread. My objectives were threefold. Maintain the same excellent ovenspring with the stiffer levain as I've been experiencing with the 60% hydrated levain. Increase the perceived sourness in the flavor profile. Finally, I wanted to practice batard shaping and scoring, a shape I haven't made very often. Except for the batard shaping, as nearly as possible, I replicated all the mixing, bulk fementation, final proof, and baking steps I've used before baking the basic formula.

Just for fun, while the stiff levain was fermenting after its final feeding, I used the 250g of levain that would otherwise been discarded to make a single, all white flower batard.

The results of both bakes are shown in the photos.

As hoped for, the pain au levain is distinctively sour, but not to the extent of many of the commercial San Francisco sourdoughs I've tasted. The ovenspring was preserved, and I'm satisfied with my batard shaping and scoring.

The leftover starter loaf.

and its crumb--closed more than usual.

David G


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