The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Substituting starter

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Carl Bergensis's picture
Carl Bergensis

Substituting starter

Can one author's starter be substiturted for another? I have several books, all with different formulations and one good starter I made using Daniel Leader's. What happens if I use that with someone else's recipe? I'm guessing maybe I have adjust the hydration, which may be beyond my tiny little brain.


 


 


 


 

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

I've adjusted for starter hydration so you can do it too. Don't make this rocket science and you'll be fine. if you were doing bulk commercial quantities it make take the use of a small calculator but for home baking, a pencil and a pad ought to do it.


A starter is a starter once it's a going thing. It doesn't matter where you got the recipe. How you maintain your starter makes a bigger difference. Don't forget to have fun.

MommaT's picture
MommaT

Hi,


I maintain one 100% hydration starter and use that as the "seed" for all my breads - this includes ryes (although I only make light rye right now), whole wheat, those that call for stiff levain and those that call for liquid starter.  I use this starter interchangeably across all my bread cookbooks - this includes Leader, Reinhardt and Hamelman.


I find that the amount of "seed" starter used in preparing the overnight starter or levain for a couple loaves of bread is so small that it doesn't affect the hydration significantly enough to matter.  Frankly, I find that the humidity and time of year affects my hydration far more than the hydration in my 1 Tablespoon of 'seed' starter.  (This time of year in Boston, I've had to add extra water to all my recipes because the flour seems to be much dryer.


Sometimes I strive for perfection, but most of the time I just tell myself not to worry too much!   The bread almost always tastes great no matter what!


 


MommaT


 


 

MommaT's picture
MommaT

Hi,


I maintain one 100% hydration starter and use that as the "seed" for all my breads - this includes ryes (although I only make light rye right now), whole wheat, those that call for stiff levain and those that call for liquid starter.  I use this starter interchangeably across all my bread cookbooks - this includes Leader, Reinhardt and Hamelman.


I find that the amount of "seed" starter used in preparing the overnight starter or levain for a couple loaves of bread is so small that it doesn't affect the hydration significantly enough to matter.  Frankly, I find that the humidity and time of year affects my hydration far more than the hydration in my 1 Tablespoon of 'seed' starter.  (This time of year in Boston, I've had to add extra water to all my recipes because the flour seems to be much dryer.


Sometimes I strive for perfection, but most of the time I just tell myself not to worry too much!   The bread almost always tastes great no matter what!


 


MommaT


 


 

saraugie's picture
saraugie

In his new book "Artesian Breads Every Day" says YES, if you have one already and are happy with you can definitely use in any of the formula's in this book.  I cannot remember if he says, adjust for the hydration of your own starter to the recipes called for hydration, he probably does.


I'd look it up and quote his words but I'm on Tsunami watch.