The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

An Introduction

  • Pin It
GourmetJeannie's picture
GourmetJeannie

An Introduction

Hi


 


My name is GourmetJeannie and I am pleased to be here.  I joined up several weeks ago but I have been lurking.  I shall now come out of hiding and introduce myself.


I love to bake bread.  I do not own a bread machine only because I prefer to follow some "old Fashioned" techniques.  There is nothing


wrong with bread machines - trust me.  It is just that - for me - I prefer to bake my bread differently, I guess.


 


I purchase all my bread baking flours through King Arthur as I have loved their products for quite awhile.  I did visit the place last summer and I was in "7 th Heaven" with that store.  Oh my gosh - what a place. !


Well, I do have a question about Sourdough bread baking which I will post in another topic.


GourmetJeannie

GourmetJeannie's picture
GourmetJeannie

Hi !


I have a question concerning the mixing of a Sourdough Starter.  Just exactly what tool should you use to mix in the feeding ingredients of your Starter ?  I heard that you never-ever use anything metal (like a wire whisk or metal spoon) to stir with.  You should only use a wooden spoon.  Is this correct?


 


I find that sometimes it is a bit difficult to get everything mixed unless you use a wire whisk. 


Can someone help me?  Many thanx


GourmetJeannie

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Glad to have you join.


The caution about never using metal to stir your sourdough culture is a myth.  Keep on using your whisk - gosh, I can't imagine refreshing my stiff levain without the help of my dough whisk.


Here's a good site on sourdough myths and folklore by TFL member Mike Avery.


Looking forward to seeing your favorite breads.

GourmetJeannie's picture
GourmetJeannie

Hi !


Thank you so much for the quick response to my question.  Now I realize that I can safely beat away and not have to worry.  All the lumps that are now evident will soon disappear!  Hurray !!  GJ

Zeb's picture
Zeb

Hi GJ, I am new here too, been baking bread a couple of years now, but still a beginner:)


 


I use anything that comes to hand, sometimes my hands, sometimes a wooden spoon, sometimes a danish dough whisk,  if it is only a little bit of feeding going on then a teaspoon. my starters are still alive after two years.  I know that it is not a particularly good idea to store the starter in metal, I have seen pictures where the acid has eaten through aluminium foil!  So I store mine in glass usually, and I mix in either earthenware or melamine, or glass but that's because I don't have any metal bowls.    But I have never heard of the no metal rule at all... I wouldn't have thought it would do the sourdough any harm....


where did you hear that rule? It sounds interesting and there must be a reason behind it


zeb

GourmetJeannie's picture
GourmetJeannie

Hi!


 


Where did I hear that "dumb" rule ?  I read it in a newspaper article.  This appeared in our hometown paper about four years ago.  There was no real solid evidence to support it so I always wondered if there was any truth to it.  Thanks for the quick reply  GJ

davidg618's picture
davidg618

...most of my sourdoughs in a stainless steel bowl; the first ingredient usually introduced is the levain. Yesterday, I'd measured my Rye Sour into the bowl when I was called away for the rest of the day. I didn't bake until this morning. My rye sour sat in a metal bowl  for 24 hours with no ill effect; like LindyD says it's a myth. Short of using your son's  or brother's old tennis shoe, I think you can stir sourdough starter with just about anything that seems reasonable.


David G

GourmetJeannie's picture
GourmetJeannie

Hi !


Using an old tennis shoe ???  Just teasing of course, but I now realize that i can use anything.  Thanks for the swift reply.  GJ

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

expecting an overripe starter, that the Stainles Steel slowed down the fermentation in your starter?   That is the claim, that yeast is slowed down or retarded by stainless.  


David, I would be very much interested if you would try that again and put starter in a glass or plastic bowl and the ss one and leave them next to each other and repeat the situation.  Bake up identical loaves and report back.  Everything the same except the two bowls.   I would be very interested in the results.  Try to duplicate the room temp too! 


Other Q's:


1)  What is the SS quality of the bowl, is it stamped in? 


2)  Does a magnet stick to it?


Just to keep to the main theme, I've never let a metal bowl or spoon or whisk bother me.  But I do not store my starter or dough in stainless or metal.  It can change flavors thru oxidation.


Mini

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Here's a little background. I built the rye sour according to Greenstein's Secrets of a Jewish Baker. I reached stage 3 about 8PM Saturday night, refreshed the sour, and put it in the refrigerator, in a Pyrex bowl, planning a Sunday morning bake. If you're not familiar with this recipe, the Rye Sour is initiated with commercial yeast; technically, it's not a sourdough starter as we use the term here in TFL.


Sunday morning I removed the sour from the refrigerator and immediately measured out the formula weight and place it in the wide, stainless steel bowl I use for hand mixing. A few minutes later, I was beginning to pour water into the bowl (a couple of tablespoons of water were already poured), when the phone rang. I was needed elsewhere immediately, for the rest of the day. I covered the bowl with plastic wrap, and placed it back in the fridge. When I came home--late afternoon--I checked it. It had re-domed slightly, and it showed a few gas bubble holes on the surface.


I was weary, and dusty; I decided to put it off until Monday AM. but I checked the sour occasionally until I went to bed. Next morning the sour looked about the same: still domed, maybe a few more gas venting holes. I proceeded with the bake. here's the result


Jewish Rye: second baking
As I stated in my blog write-up I didn't see much difference with the a bake I'd done a few days earlier. In essence, I think I've already done the experiment you asked for. Read the details in the two Jewish Rye blogs, and get back to me. Whenever I bake a repeat formula I consciously try to replicate the same temperatures, times, and procedures. If I tweak, I only tweak one thing. Further more this recipe relies on the Sour for flavor, not leavening. The final dough is spiked with commercial yeast. Nonetheless, I think this particular sour could have been used as the levain.

Let me hasten to add, I am not endorsing leaving levain in metal bowls, SS or otherwise. This incident was caused by happenstance. Had I had the time, and if the sour hadn't been already measured into my prep bowl, I might have transfered it back into the Pyrex bowl. I religiously keep my seed starters, including left over Rye Sour in either glass, or acrylic plastic containers. I prefer glass.


The bowl is nonmagnetic (as it should be). There are no markings indicating its alloy mix, or place of origin, but judging by its inexpensive price I'm guessing Asia: probably Thailand or China; both make good stainless steels.


David G

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I was surprised with one of my ss bowls, I take advantage and use magnet handles to remove it from the oven.  


Mini

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Now that's a thing I've never seen. By the way, one thing that can damage SS is a strong bleach mixture. Many homebrewers have learned this the hard way sanitiziing Cornelius kegs with bleach.


Are you content that repeating this serendipetous experiment as you asked me to do, isn't necessary? I'm willing to do it, but I doubt it will reveal anything new.


David G.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I haven't had time, just got my chores done, to read and compare but if you think there's no difference, then there is no difference.  I thought it stayed out on the counter for 24 hrs in a SS bowl.  I'm going to try to overproof two starters anyway using stainless/glass.  I want to see if it prevents it from maturing.  (not today)



Yes, there is SS that you can stick a magnet to.  To quote Wiki...   Martensitic stainless steels are not as corrosion-resistant as the other two classes but are extremely strong and tough, as well as highly machineable, and can be hardened by heat treatment. Martensitic stainless steel contains chromium (12-14%), molybdenum (0.2-1%), nickel (0-<2%), and carbon (about 0.1-1%) (giving it more hardness but making the material a bit more brittle). It is quenched and magnetic.



Even the hardest and the best SS can corrode, one of the biggest problems with hydropower in Sea water.   You can even get your household SS to rust by rubbing it with the wrong tools (steel brush or pad, regular screwdriver) or get tableware to rust if your enameled racks in the dishwasher have nicks or cuts thru the plastic coating. 


Mini

davidg618's picture
davidg618

My underwater acoustic work took me to sea, frequently, for more than three decades. Although not my discipline, I thought I'd become a pretty good material scientist. We put many esoteric (and expensive) systems into sea water, and a major challenge was choosing the right materials for encasements, gaskets, valves, etc. but I've never heard of Martensitic, at least not under that name.


You're never to old to learn something new!


David G.

Zeb's picture
Zeb

there was this post on Dan's forum about sourdough and foil ..... http://www.danlepard.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2517  maybe time to see if the experience can be repeated? I tried at the time, but it didn't do it for me. I wondered at the time if it was retarding a pate fermentee or the yeast or salt that combined to give that rather scary result!  I might have another go.....

GourmetJeannie's picture
GourmetJeannie

Hi !


 


Like wow !  All of you bakers are soooooo knowledgeable on Sourdough.  I am such a greenhorn when it comes to this. 


It will take me 1000 years to catch up to you.


May I ask:  Where did you learn to be so expert in the Art of SourDough Baking?


Also:  What books should I look into purchasing to learn all the tircks that you bakers now know?   GJ

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Local Breads by Daniel Leader, chapter 3 of this book is devoted entirely to creating and maintaining sourdough.


Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman has an excellent and complete section on sourdough in the appendix.


The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book by Laurel Robertson thoroughly covers the subject of Flemish Desem bread which is unique in it's creation. Creating a desem starter is a bit intensive and well worth the effort as desem has a fantastic and unique flavor. The regular sourdough instruction, in this otherwise great book, is a bit misguided in its suggestion of the addition of commercial yeast. I would skip those instructions in this book.


Jeff

GourmetJeannie's picture
GourmetJeannie

Hi:


 


This is great information.  Thank you so much for such a quick reply.  I really appreciate your advice.  GJ

davidg618's picture
davidg618

...in my opinion is collective. No one, or three, or fifteen know it all, but as a community TFL is brilliant, the website of bread baking genius genius.


Want to know the tricks to build a good starter? Read Debra Wink's


The Pineapple Juice Solution, Part 1
The Pineapple Juice Solution, Part 2
Want a formula for basic sourdough?
Search dmsynder's blog, or Susan's, or SylviaH's.
For a mix of artistry, poetry, creativity, and even a touch of spirituality, and, not to mention, examples of superb home baking (with formula provided) visit Shiao-ping's blog.

Want to know the best tool on the website? Left hand column : Search! it's the door to everything on the TFL website.


I'm not certain, with this website as a resource, you need books for reference. But most of us have a shelf-full. Check the poll I ran eight months ago for what's available, and the pros and cons of each.


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/12680/poll-if-you-could-only-have-one


Want to ask one of the baking author's a question? Send a message to dghdctr, he recently published bread baking: An Artisan's Perspective. He visits this site regularly and offers good advice, a professional baker's point-of-view, and is a great source of knowledge.


Want to see how easy it can be when you just "go with the flow"? Watch pablo's recently posted videos.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCBxX42GQmU


And two other tips:


Ask questions. You'll always get at least three opinions. None will agree with the other two;-)


...and practice, practice, practice.


Oops! a third: Learn to take and post pictures. It's a great way to support a cry for help, and, better yet, a super way to boast!


This is only a small sample. Want to know the best tool on TFL...Oops. Already gave you that one: Search!


Good Luck,


David G.


 

GourmetJeannie's picture
GourmetJeannie

Hi !


Gracious - that is alot of helpful information.  I never knew that this website had sooooomuch to offer. 


I cannot thank you enough for this information and for such a quick reply.  I shall make a nice cup of herbal tea and get to reading and researching.   Thansk so much for everything.    GJ

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Jeannie,


Even if your checkbook register is a shambles, and words like algebra, and trig make you shudder recalling high-school memories,


learn Baker's Math. If nothing else, it's a remarkable communications tool used among most TFLer's.


Ok, now my "mouth" is shut; well, at least for now.


David G

GourmetJeannie's picture
GourmetJeannie

Hi David:


 


Don't you dare keep quiet - not now now never.


Your advice is priceless, especially to me.


My gosh, your family must live like royalty when it comes to breads at meals.


GJ