The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Lactobacillus in Starts

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Mylissa20's picture
Mylissa20

Lactobacillus in Starts

In my recent research on start chemistry, I read that lactobacillus is one of the main bacteria that is captured in a start to produce a good start.  If that is true, would it be beneficial to your start to add a few granules of lactobacillus?  I should probably just give it a try once I've gotten into the swing of sourdough and am ready to experiment with my own start but I just wondered if anyone else had thought about this.

karladiane's picture
karladiane

Hi there:


I'm not sure adding a dose of Lactobacillus to your starter is really a good idea.  Remember, they are acid-producing bacteria, and acid inhibits yeast growth.  Since you're really aiming for a nicely symbiotic, happily coexisting mixture of yeast AND bacteria, artifically tipping the scales may not be wise for the poor little yeasties, which take time to come to equilibrium.  You may also see a huge spike in "rising" activity with too many acid-producers, and think that you've arrived at a completed starter, when really it was just a large population explosion of bacteria.


Also, remember that the term "Lactobacillus" is the genus name of a whole group of bacteria.  Therefore, each sourdough culture will take on a mixed community of various strains, depending on where they came from - hence sourdoughs started in different places with different materials have unique characteristics.


I hope this answer wasn't too long & snooty sounding.  I actually am a microbiologist (card-carrying).


However, with all that said, it might be a fun experiment to try anyway.  Who knows what you might come up with!  Good luck and have fun.


peace,


karladiane

Mylissa20's picture
Mylissa20

Thanks for your long and very non-snooty reply :), you made some very good points that I never considered and I really appreciate the professional info.  I love that something as simple as bread-baking can connect people from such varied backgrounds!

irishLoafer's picture
irishLoafer

It sounds interesting.  I'd say give it a try on a side batch (definitely not the mother starter!) once you've become accustomed to the frustrations of modifying starters. I'd be personally interested to know how it stabilizes.


The sourdough purists might remind you that this is not "pure sourdough" philosophy (which consists of only flour and water).  But, if it turns out tasty, who cares? I have several starters, but my favorite is fed with flour and (gasp!) active buttermilk.  I started it from scratch and it's been going for over two years now.  It has a wonderful mild tang.  I've certainly never had any complaints from anyone who's had a slice.

Galamomof1's picture
Galamomof1

starter in?  Do you store the starter in the refrigerator or in room temperature?  Do you have bacterial touble in the heat of the summer?  Our summers in Texas are can get very warm.  Day time temps usually in high 80's or 90's.  Will my starter go bad?


Gala from Texas

irishLoafer's picture
irishLoafer

Although not quite Texas-warm.  When I lived in Southern California, daytime temperature would often get into the mid-80s in the summer.  Since the humidity is so low we didn't need air conditioning and the kitchen was just as warm as outside. 


It would be extremely active in warm weather- I had to take care to feed it regularly (2x a day during the summer).  I imagine that if you left it unfed at room temperature for several days things could get out of balance.  I usually put it in the refrigerator if I know I'm going to be busy or out of town (i.e., not baking!).  Then I feed it about once weekly, but I could probably get away with less.  Like I said, though, it's my favorite starter!


When I originally started the batch it was during the winter so it acheived the symbiotic balance before the warm weather arrived.  Overall, it's been pretty resilient to temperature, weather and occasional neglect.

pjaj's picture
pjaj

There is a method of making a starter that I found works for me, when relying on random air born yeast and bacteria failed.


The starter begins with water, rye and white flour to which are added some dried fruit, for example rasins, and live low fat yoghurt. I presume the bloom on the fruit contains wild yeast and the yoghurt has the required Lactobacillus.


By all means try to let nature take its course, but if all else fails ...


See my comments in http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/11188/greetings for a bit more detail.

Mylissa20's picture
Mylissa20

This is my first start, and we'll see whether or not it survives my very non-reliable "mommy brain."  If not, yours is a great idea!

Mylissa20's picture
Mylissa20

This is my first start, and we'll see whether or not it survives my very non-reliable "mommy brain."  If not, yours is a great idea!