The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough starter question

Ria's picture

Sourdough starter question

I've been using the Carl Griffith starter and love the flavor. My question: is there a different flavor associated with a "homegrown" starter vs. the one I've been using? Or do all starters produce the same flavor in the finished product?


Kuret's picture

There are as many opinions on that matter as there are sourdough bakers, I for one do not belive that there are significant differences in starters due to their origin. What I do belive is that it matters how you treat your starter.

Loose starters are said to give less sour bread than firm ones, but fermentation techniques are as important as the starter from what I can gather.

My advice is, just keep the starter you have and do not add in the hassle of feeding two or more wih will probably end up in neglection of one or more of them.

jambuckley's picture

I tried my first starter from flour and water..."levain'.  The first rise went great, the second feeding and rise seemed a bit sluggish and when i gently knocked it down, the result was weak and not liquid - but certainly fluid.  I suspected the yeast had died.  I completed the third feeding and rise anyway....and now it looks like a smooth, beautiful ball of playdough.  ARggggh.  Any suggestions before I try again?

Yumarama's picture

What you saw was likely not yeast activity but bacterial activity. 

On your third feed, the pH levels are probably juuuuust now getting close to what the yeast needs to wake up. Maybe another feed or two. I have no idea what your formula is, so I can't say for sure what to look for in the texture but if it's basic 100% hydration starter, you'll begin to see little bubbles over the next day or two (or three - depends a LOT on room temp) and then you'll see real yeast activity.

Check my Step by Step photo blog of a couple of starters from scratch and see if any of that is similar to what you're seeing. I'm suggesting it as a comparative guide only, not a "do it exactly this way" since your environment will likely be different from what mine was in mid-August.