The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


mikeofaustin's picture

Using commercial yeast with starter... and other questions.

October 25, 2007 - 10:38am -- mikeofaustin

I noticed there are some recipes that require commercial yeast in addition to making an overnight biga, While others don't use commercial yeast and depend only on the starters yeast. Why is this? More of a rise? would there not be a trade off between taste?

Also, what's more preferrable, a biga or a poolish (I'm guessing it would depend on your desired final hydration level?)

mikeofaustin's picture

another starter problem. Mine only likes pineapple water.

October 18, 2007 - 12:44pm -- mikeofaustin

1st starter. So I've got a white flour starter (14 days old today) that I've been building for some time now. It smells good, with the occaional 'berry smell'. When I feed, I'll keep half old starter (stirred well) and half white flour, with spring water. Well, I will only see about 30 percent rise. But everytime I use pineapple juice instead of water to re-feed, it will double in volume at around the 7 hour mark. If I go back to plain spring water, it only raises 30%. Strangely enough, I don't get any 'houch' from this starter.

KipperCat's picture

Salt in Starter

October 6, 2007 - 1:42pm -- KipperCat

There has been some discussion here on salt in starter.  I think the point was to have the starter last longer between feedings.  For those of you who do this, how much salt do you use?  What is the overall effect?  I'm particularly interested in a firm starter.  I've been keeping mine at 60%.

Noodlelady's picture

Apple Starter

October 3, 2007 - 5:04pm -- Noodlelady

I've recently begun an apple starter. I let the apples sit in water and sugar for about 4 days. It was getting dark and very strong in smell. I added most of the liquid to bread flour to begin the starter. The day after it began bubbling. On the second day, however, I noticed what I thought looked like mold on top. I skimmed this off then placed it in the fridge. It has some bubbles even in the fridge and doesn't look like it has funky stuff on top. It does have a very strong apple scent.

Do you think that it is safe to continue with this starter?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Many many months ago, in Austria far away, a sourdough starter was supplied from a baker, good and qualified. The Austrian starter was dried and traveled to China where part of it mixed and grew nurtured in the presence of Chinese all purpose flour and later with Austrian Rye flour. Sometimes it sat out to grow, sometimes it sat in a refrigerator, one time even froze but it lived long and prospered and provided many a loaf of bread. Then it was dried. This happened at various times in the last few months.

It might be interesting to compare the starter 6 months ago and now, making two identical loaves and see if the SD has changed in flavor. Two very different environments. A change in starter flours and water not to mention treatment. Will they taste the same? Will they rise the same? Have I changed the characteristics of the starter from the original?

First part of experiment requires re-hydration of dried starters, then feed and stabilize, keeping them separate but treating them alike. Then to use in a recipe and do blind taste tests. Mad scientist has her baggies of dried starter ready and they are February dried starter, April, and August, a control has been made using no starter. 10g of each dried starter was placed into a jar and 40g water was added, after 10minutes 15g of rye flour was stirred in. Each is covered with butter paper and just sitting there waiting for action. One interesting observation...April dried starter smells like cream cheese. (it should be noted that this sample was stored in glass for a long time and the others in plastic baggies...hmmmm)

Rosalie's picture

Starting the Starter

July 14, 2007 - 5:18pm -- Rosalie

Now that I've invested in a NutriMill and tons of whole grains, I figure I'm going to be baking bread more often now.  I'm trying to adjust my eating routines so I can eat more bread and still lose the 10 pounds I need to lose.  Maybe just bread and water.  No, I need some fruits and vegetables too.

Anyway, I thought that I might try another sourdough starter.  My past ones have been failures due to extreme neglect.  Now's the time to try again.  But I want to start my own starter.  There's no fun in using someone else's starter.

umbreadman's picture

Thoughts on a non-specific starter?

July 11, 2007 - 9:11pm -- umbreadman

First I'd like to say hi to everyone here, I've been perusing the website for some time now and finally decided to join in. I'm excited. I've only been baking bread for a month or so and the only real book I've looked at is Hamelman's "Bread", and the rest I've learned from TFL and I've got a sort of hybrid starter going, and that's what my question is about.

bwraith's picture

I would like to compare notes on starter maintenance routines. Hopefully others would find this interesting as well.

To best understand each starter, please include the following if you post your starter information.

  • Hydration (water as a percent of total flour in the starter)
  • Feeding ratios used, fermentation times, temperatures used (please specify how the feeding ratio is measured, e.g. by weight or volume)
    • When storing
    • When refreshing in anticipation of a baking session
  • Type of flour used
  • Refrigeration or other storage methods
  • Any other interesting aspects of the starter

It doesn't matter what kind of starter you have. I'm just interested in collecting as many examples as possible in as much detail as possible. Anyone who has done this for a little while discovers a routine that works, so please share it if you have a moment. I'm guessing that the range of hydrations, feeding ratios, flour types, temperatures, and other aspects of these routines vary over a huge range.

I'm doing this as a blog entry, so we don't clutter the front page with too much detailed starter discussion.



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