The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Gift from a Facebook friend

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Martyn's picture
Martyn

Gift from a Facebook friend

I recently joined this forum after beginning to bake my own bread after Christmas, I also became a friend of the TFL Facebook page. A friend who also uses Facebook recognised me; and as a keen bread maker herself decided to get in touch. I was very pleased and suprised when yesterday, my friend turned up with a gift of the exess half of their own sourdough starter. "Sourpuss" was born several months ago to organic rye flour and water and is usually fed on Saturday mornings.


I'm now reading up and researching recipes prior to my first attempt at this dark and mysterious art. Any ideas for simple, foolproof sourdough recipes greatly appreciated.



Sourpuss makes herself at home next to a jar of mango chutney :-)

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

unless the mixture is so thin that the flour and water have separated.  A layer of hooch on top usually indicates that the yeasts and bacteria in the starter have consumed all of the readily available food in the flour.  Try taking Sourpuss out of the fridge for one or two feedings at room temperature before returning to the fridge for storage.


Paul

Martyn's picture
Martyn

Yes, the mixture is very thin. The liquid on top looks very much like water and disapears if I give the jar a quick swirl. Do you think it's worth adding a little more flour to thicken it up?

Martyn's picture
Martyn

I've read a lot this afternoon and I've been thinking (always dangerous in my case). My gifted starter must be almost half a litre in size. I have never seen it active, so I don't know if it's alive or not. It's very runny as if my friend has been adding equal parts of flour and water by volume rather than weight. So, for better or worse, here's what Ive done:


1. Given the starter a good stir up.


2. Disposed of all but one cup full of starter.


3. Measured out half a cup of bread flour (weighed in at 70g)


4. Measured out quarter of a cup of water (adjusted until it also measured 70g)


5. Mixed flour and water into a paste and added it to the cup of starter.


I will leave the new mixture out of the fridge over night and assess it's progress tomorrow. I've stuck tape on the side of the jar to mark the level.


What I hope to acheive by doing this is to benefit from the yeast culture that already exists and produce a starter that has 50% water and 50% flour. This will enable me to work out how much flour and water I am adding to any recipe I choose to make up.

Nymphaea's picture
Nymphaea

You're still starving the sourdough ^-^;;


Generally, you should feed equal mass or more of flour  to the sourdough, you are currently feeding half. I would suggest coming up with a formula that will work with you baking bread, to minimize waste, and still feed the bread plenty. Mine is 1:4:6, 10g of starter, 40g of water and 60g of flour, a 66% hydration starter(yours is 100% hydration, with equal weights like that) that I use 100g of in a bread, and then feed the remaining 10g the 40g of water and 60g of flour again, no waste :)


Just remember to try feeding more flour than starter, as they will run out of food very quickly with what you have said.

Martyn's picture
Martyn

Thanks for putting me right on that, I think I've read so much stuff that I got myself confused. There are so many different ideas out there.


Today I fed the starter again exactly how you suggested and now, five hours later, there is signs of life wit a few bubbles begining to form on the surface. Should I be repeating this feeding regeim every day as long as ithe starter is out of the fridge? Then once a week when it's in the fridge?


I must admit to finding this Sourpuss a little disapointing. My friend told me it was a mature starter that has been used frequently for baking. She said she split it in half to pass on to me instead of throwing the excess away. It would maybe have been easier to start from scratch, but at least it's getting me interested in sourgough.

Nymphaea's picture
Nymphaea

Every day might be good enough feeding like that if it stays out, and once a week in the fridge is common. Just remember each starter is different, and you may find(like I am finding with mine lately) that it starves even with one a day, and you need to feed it twice a day. Keep up and you'll find how yours is :)


Curious, how far does this friend live from you? Another thing to remember is that a starter will change based on its environment, no matter how mature it was. If you live far away, that starter will slowly change into your own unique one. This could also be part of the reason its growing slowly, it could be a drastic change in its usual living conditions.


Give it a week or so, and you should see some improvement :)

CeraMom's picture
CeraMom

I quite wish someone on my facebook would show up with a Sourdough Starter! As of yet, no one has one!

Oldcampcook's picture
Oldcampcook

CereMom,


Where do you live?  I have quite a number of dried starters I would be happy to share.


If you live in the US, send me your address to: oldcampcook (@) yahoo.com


 


Bob

CeraMom's picture
CeraMom

Bob,


I am in Canada. Your offer is MUCH appreciated! My starter today had itty bitty bubbles of life, and I'm quite excited!


 


Martyn, how is sourpuss?

Martyn's picture
Martyn

Hi Bob. I'm sorry to say that Sourpuss has been very sick and had to be put down :'-(


I continued to feed daily, there was signs of life but the smell was awful. It just reminded me of when you take the lid off a tin of paint; an oily greasy film on the surface and the strong smell of turpentine. I decided it would be better to put her out of her misery and stert again.


I had wholemeal flour so I used that as a basis for a new sterter and since I didn't have pineapple juice, I used the juice of two oranges. It's been going for three days now and there is definate bacterial activity. Smells much nicer too.

Oldcampcook's picture
Oldcampcook

Ah, I can afford one additional postage stamp.  If you still want starters, just email me.


 


Bob

Martyn's picture
Martyn

That's very kind of you Bob but I think I've got it all sorted with this new one I've got going. Besides, I'm in the UK; I wouldn't want to get you arrested for putting strange substances into the postal system :-P

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I start my starters with just 2 tbsp of AP flour and enough warm water to make a thin pancake batter consistency in a small jar. I stir it several times a day and wait for some bubbling. Leave the jar open to the air but make sure it doesn't dry out or form a skin.Keep it in a warm place. I actually keep it at my desk at work-it is always warm there.I just bring a tbsp or 2 of flour to work in a small container for feeding.


For the next phase you will  need another small jar.


When it looks like there is definitely some bubble action, I scoop out a tablespoon into the second clean jar,feed it about a tbsp of AP flour and a little warm water and let it sit some more. Again,stir several times a day and make sure it doesn't dry out.


Wash out the first jar because you will go back and forth for a few days.


Over the next few days,it becomes sour tasting (doesn't hurt to sample),bubbles more and defintely starts rising after a feeding. It's never taken me more than 6-10 days to get a good starter going. It will take much longer if the temp is under 70F.My basement office may have an impact on the ease of developing a starter-it is a bit musty.Not all the yeast comes from the flour.


When I think it's starter-i.e. it's rising consistently after a feeding- I start building a bigger volume. I might take a few tbsp of starter and add 1/4 c flour and water or this may be when you start doing equal flour/water by weight so you get a 100% hydration starter.Discard half and feed daily for a day or so and then bake with it.My recipes call for about 1/2 c active 100% starter per loaf so build the volume you'll need for your planned bake. When you are ready to store it in the refrig for the week,save a few tbsp in a jar,feed, sit for an hour  and put in the refrig.


To bake next time, take it out of the refrig in the morning the day before the bake (Friday am before I go to work for a Saturday bake) and discard/feed/set in a warm place initially and then feed again (no discard) at bedtime.It will be ready to go in the morning. Or just feed again Saturday AM for a Saturday evening bake.(Sometimes I throw  dough together after supper Saturday for an overnight rise in the refrig and bake Sun AM) Plan the bake because the starter can grow quickly!


Enjoy! Have delicious fun!

curvyrivergal's picture
curvyrivergal

Hmm. My starter was smelling a bit strong early today when I put a sponge to work. I keep my starter at room temp. Probably about 65-68 degrees F. It usually smells rather sweet and yeasty, and has made lovely bread...but today the smell was more sour, less appealing. I proceded with my baking plans anyway and the dough is rising now (in the nice warm microwave) and smells better already. Is a little 'off' smell perhaps a plea for more food?

Yumarama's picture
Yumarama

But you didn't mention seeing any. It may have just been getting hoochy (please, no Charo impressions) so perhaps possibly maybe a bit starvy yes. 


What's your feeding schedule & ratio been of late?