The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Starter Question

sonofYah's picture
sonofYah

Starter Question

I am going to get an authentic San Francisco Sourdough starter in a week or so.

My questions are how long will the particular strains of Lactobacillus and wild yeast remain viable in the starter before a wild yeast from around here takes over the starter?

Do I need to keep the ph within a certain range?

Will this help or is it not necessary or useful?

Gordon

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

There is a lot of controversy on this subject. Many people insist that any starter will succumb to the local wild yeasts in the area after a period of time.

Ed Wood, of Sourdoughs International, says that he doesn't believe this is a significant problem. He states in his book, "Stable cultures are characterized by organisms that have become dominant over extremely long periods of time with symbiotic relationships that are difficult to disrupt. The symbiosis between wild yeast and lactobacilli is very stable, but it can be destroyed by man-made yeast mutants or chemicals. Avoid contaminating the culture with commercial yeasts or chemical leaveners."

I currently have seven different starters that I am using. I have noticed that they each have their own characteristics. For instance, they smell different from one another, and the color of the hooch that forms varies from pale yellow, to tan, to grayish. I am convinced that they haven't reverted to local yeasts. Some of mine have been in my possession for as long as 5 years.

Where are you getting your SF starter? Is it going to be in wet or dried form? I have heard that SF bread that is not made in the SF area will not have the same flavor, even if the starter came from SF.

sonofYah's picture
sonofYah

Quote:

SourdoLady wrote:
There is a lot of controversy on this subject.

I was beginning to see that on some of the sites I have read.

Quote:

Ed Wood, of Sourdoughs International, says that he doesn't believe this is a significant problem. He states in his book, "Stable cultures are characterized by organisms that have become dominant over extremely long periods of time with symbiotic relationships that are difficult to disrupt. The symbiosis between wild yeast and lactobacilli is very stable, but it can be destroyed by man-made yeast mutants or chemicals. Avoid contaminating the culture with commercial yeasts or chemical leaveners."

Seems like this is the prevailing thoughts. I'm not a chemist or scientist in the true sense of the words. But when two organisms create a symbiotic relationship in nature, they tend to predominate and keep impurities out. The key will be keeping the starter stable.

Quote:

I currently have seven different starters that I am using. I have noticed that they each have their own characteristics.

This seems to show Mr. Wood's theory to be true. At least on the surface.

Quote:

Where are you getting your SF starter? Is it going to be in wet or dried form? I have heard that SF bread that is not made in the SF area will not have the same flavor, even if the starter came from SF.

An individual from one of the bread newsgroups I am on. I don't have his permission to share his personal info. But once I get my start up and going, I will be willing to share.

He says he is sending it as a "dough ball big enough to get threee starts from." This is in case one or two don't take off like they should he told me.

Yes, I have heard that SFSD doesn't taste the same unless made in SF. Something about the water. I also found out yesterday that, in Indiana, you are not allowed to have a live sourdough culture growing in a restaraunt or bakery. It is considered a mold. I think you can keep it in a seperate building and bring it in. Not sure yet how the code reads. Need to find out so I can make sourdough breads when I start my dream bakery/deli/coffee house/health food store.

I had a good start of Carl's Oregon Sourdough. But didn't get it dried in time for Passover. Didn't feel right selling it to someone and then buying it back after Passover. Kinda 'straining a gnat and swallowing a camel" to me personally. (My family and I are Messianic) Wouldn't condemn others for doing it though. Think I will send another donation and get another start.

Have also thought of going to a local vineyard and getting some grapes to start a local sourdough culture. We have an organic vineyard nearby in the historical town of New Harmony. At least I hope it is organic. The owners have changed managers. If the flavor is good, would be a selling point. "Historic New Harmony Sourdough" made by Beit Lechem. Beit Lechem is Hebrew for House of Bread. What I will call my bakery.

Enough for now.
Gordon