The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Oat Starter only

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Oat Starter only

Submitted by Mini Oven on June 17, 2006
Taking a tip from SourdoLady and since I had a little orange juice (that I didn't mix with Campari) I tried mixing it with oat flour. I'm curious if it is any faster than the process I used for my wheat starter. Smells like breakfast (like the OJ got poured into the cereal). What do you think of "Breakfast in China?" Smell it once a day. It is three days old and maybe I'll add more orange and oats. I'm very patient and it helps to park it out of the kitchen. I refuse to "watch the pot." My other starter is on holiday... no name. No guilt when i pitch it.
Bought more wheat flour and I'm back to step one. Seems like every bag has it's own idea of how it should be baked. Yesterday, hocky pucks, today I added oat flour and they came out super. It's enough to drive me crazy sometimes.

Strong Oat Starter

June 21, 2006
Breakfast in China or Chinese Breakfast is officially a starter. I added more flour and orange juice and within the hour it had gone thick, bubbly and doubled. Smells wonderful. Now the orange juice can go back into the Campari. In this heat, 44°c the ice cube tray is wearing out but my Chinese Breakfast is keeping cool in the living room. I think the name is too long... Chuzhou Sourdough is also a possibility and our ancient nearby park including Lang Yashan Mountain. O heck, let's be Chinese and call it: "Sourdough Breakfast with SourdoLady on Lang Yashan Mountain with Oat flours in her hair" in honor and praise to SourdoLady.

Tonight I will add one cup white wheat flour and 8 oz water, beat it and mess with it in the morning
Next Day: Mixed it real good and Took out one cup starter for the fridge. Then one cup for my recipe (780gm loaf) and the rest went into dry dock taking dulke's advice and pouring it out on baking paper on a tea tray to dry.

June 22, 2006
I didn't use any baker or commercial yeast but did a 3/4 cup each flour and water poolish using my Chinese Breakfast bowl with some of it still clinging to the sides ( as I moved the starter to a bigger bowl). Today as I came back from the market, the dough had trippled and still on the go. (It wouldn't degas by dropping or banging the bowl.) I shaped some rolls aprox. 95 -100gm each and will have some fun with my scissors.

Today I will test out my new stainless stone. Now I know some of you will think it's not "earthy" but steel doesn't come from outer space and this particular plate was fashoned with lots of TLC. I bake with baking paper because of the fantastic non-stick lift I get, and it doesn't breathe either. As the bread lifts, it also separates from paper and "stone" so I think the major point of the stone is to give that continous concentrated heat right there at the bottom center of the loaf and has less to do with "breathing." I'm curious, did anyone ever try baking a loaf on a hot cast iron pan or griddle?

Yep, Oat Starter
Submitted by Mini Oven on June 25, 2006
Yes, Oat starter and it formed rather quickly too!
Well I don't know if it is the heat or air pressure, my dough in the air-condition room or because of the nature of the yeast but it seems to produce a lot of rise in the first 3 hours and then get lazy. By the time I want to bake it, it gets down right sleepy. I got a picture of my Barley loaf (later please) and granted it is a little flat. Seemed the longer I let it rise, the worse the skin tention, it developed rips and tears and wouldn't hold a shape. I did use a lot (over 50%) of barley flour, like I would with rye and also white wheat and oat flour. I kneaded with wheat. It also stuck to my heavily floured cloth when I tried to basket it. So it did get knocked around.

The next loaf, will be a white wheat/oat one with pure oat starter. If it acts the same, then I'll have to skip the doubling rise and shape after a 30 minute rest from kneading. If that doesn't work, I'll add comercial yeast to stabilize it. I'm at or just below sea level and I need all the lifting help I can get! The bread does taste sour enough and barley has a slight bitter taste that I'm not used to. Make better bread sticks snacks for beer and the next Argentinian game! Now, That's an Idea!

And the next loaf...
Submitted by Mini Oven on June 27, 2006
And the next loaf is taking it's dear sweet time. Isn't it funny, just when you think ya know something, your dough has other ideas? But I think I know why, I'm always experimenting and what I did last time with my starter was to feed it and pop it back into the fridge. a couple of days have past but I guess that just wasn't long enough for my cold (5°c) starter. I will go back to my old habits of leaving my starter out till it rises and falls. But I think there is still something funny going on and will figure it out.

While I was waiting, I whipped up a batch of Sweet Corn Raisin Bread and like the recipe with only two changes: honey for sugar and nutmeg. I used real medium ground cornflour and also added the flour very slowly, very slowly, with lots of beating in between. Very nice skin this time and you are soon to see what my scissors has done. (If I can only get my picture to be accepted by this program.)The house smells lovely! It was fun to see something rise the way it should.

Barley flour 25%
Submitted by Mini Oven on June 29, 2006 - 8:18am.
At the moment, I've got problems and I think it's the Barley flour. Seems everytime I use it, my yeast refuses to cooperate. I was noticing that barley can be full of alpha-amylase. Could too much of this be killing my yeast? My loaf has been sitting in a 23°c living room since noon yesterday. It never really doubled so after 8 hours, I did a final fold and shape and put one in the fridge and left the other one out, covered to rise. It's now morning and nothing. Pulled the loaf from the fridge and set them both outside where it's warmer. We are expecting thunderstorms soon.

The oat starter on the otherhand is brewing away. How can this be? I cut the loaf to look for bubbles and some are there, not what I'd expect. Reshaped into rolls, and stuck into a plastic bag to rise. I am going to start a serious experiment to test my starter and the reaction of the flour to it. I will take two spoons of starter, put into two small bowls and mix one with barley flour and the other with oat. Could it be that barley neutralizes the pH? Add to my experiment: two more spoons of starter, two bowls, barley, oat, but with a little orange juice in each. I need a control so one bowl gets only starter. Covered all five bowls with plastic wrap and wait for a reaction.

My husband is telling me to stop breaking my head over it and go back to adding comercial yeast. Looks like this batch are doggy biscuits. Is there anything I can do without overworking the dough?

Letting the whole grain flour soak for an hour helped a great deal and the satiny texture looks good. Even now the surface is intact and smooth. Unfortunately it just lies there. :(

11:00 ....Dough 1 cm higher. I just baked the buns, cut them through first to look for bubbles, a few. Then stretched them into sticks. After one hour, baked them. they did puff up in the heat. Broke one open, does have air pockets. Taste? Bitter but rye like with aftertaste like chewing on aspirin. Crumb? Still hot but not bad, no soggy or heavy spots, little tiny bubbles. Suggestion? Forget Barley bread and leave it for beer and whiskey production. If I bake with it, then in very small quantities under 10%.

Oat/barley experiment looks so far like this: after 3 hours, nothing much going on in all 5 bowls and hard to see bubbles. So at 11:00 added to all bowls: 2 tsp water, tsp white wheat flour, pinch of sugar, stir one minute. Plastic wrap back on and wait.
15:00 Looks like no bubbles in barley-water, and very little action in control starter with white wheat flour... AHA! Barley with orange is thick and bubbly, so is oat and orange, pulling up second is oats and water. What does this mean? What did I do? Develope an oat starter that only works with oats or orange juice? (And I complicated matters by alternating oat and wheat flour when feeding my starter.)

For all practical purposes, since I'm not about to add orange juice to every recipe, the starter I made only works with oat flour. White wheat & Oat Sourdough Bread recipe will need oat starter for the oat flour and commercial yeast for the wheat flour. But will the sour have a chance to develop? Guess I should bring my wheat starter back from holiday. Then if I want pure wild yeasts I would have to use TWO starters for my sourdough bread. Does anybody else have a combo going on? I was looking through the write ups and can't find anything specific. Is this covered in Bread Baking 101?


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

OK, last week was real crushing with the barley, and I did some reading around (quite an unaccustomed luxury) and found out some major facts: one; the white wheat flour I'm using is low gluten, grown and blended for steamed buns, and cakes, and two; gluten seems to deplete with long fermentations. Using these facts, it is obvious that even with added yeast, I will end up with a flat loaf unless I use 90% low gluten flour or find a way to add gluten. When I add milk powder to a recipe, it does help to raise the loaf, also poolish mixing technique helps and letting the dough "soak" or rest before kneading. I had made a white loaf and after all the sourdough, my husband started chewing the doggy biscuits from last week. So I have to add something! I made a loaf using oat and barley and white wheat, sourdough and com. yeast. So far so good, but couldn't get any rise in the oven. Today I added egg whites to the white bread buns, no milk, and the dough looks good and rising, seems to need the added protein whether it comes from milk or egg white.

Meanwhile: I have taken out the barley brick (the loaf that tasted of aspirin and rye) from the fridge. It's been there since, well, 6 days, cooling. I took it out and started cutting it up for the dogs. The smell was good so I tasted some. The aspirin taste was gone and a fruity bitter nutty sour was left, and moist, the spices had also bloomed. Much like the heavy full corn (grain) bread sold back home or the kind you can sometimes get, thinly sliced wrapped indiv. on a Lufthansa flight. Reading Garrick's description of his loaf, jarred my memory too. So I thought I would share that with you all. I do think the commercial variety is a little sweeter. I checked for strings, the loaf is in order. Barley gets better when it stands.

To solve my rising whole grain bread problem, I will purchase an oven/range proof caserole, one that will release my loaf nicely and give it a rounded bottom shape. There is a large assortment and cheap too, in good quality. Also dark and light colors, all glazed....?.... with lids, could be used upside down as well.... I hope that works. Now I'm off to fold my little kaiser rolls. Good inspirational posting, thanks. Lots of pics.! :) Mini Oven

zhi.ann's picture

I actually don't know what a starter is to begin with... can you direct me to a basic resource (seems like there must be something on this site :-D it's so filled with info!)


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Sourdough Starter. What is it? I guess the best way is to refer to a definition first:

Click on this: Sourdough starter

If you type the word starter in the site search machine, you will find tons of info. Na ya, where to start....have you made bread before?

Mini O

zhi.ann's picture

Hullo! I have made bread before in the states, but that was when I had all the exact ingredients the recipe called for :-) I always used the same recipe (a honey whole wheat) over and over, every Saturday morning. I never paid any attention to what the yeast was doing or how ingredients reacted, I just followed the step-by-step instructions exactly as they were worded and with the exact ingredients - except I've always used applesauce instead of half the shortening with no damage to the final results. I used packets of instant yeast.

I can't access wikipedia, but in a minute here I'll look up starter on this site.

Thanks a bunch for helping me! 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Hope you read it while you had the chance.  It takes up lots of memory.

zhi.ann's picture

Yup, I did. Thanks!