The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

firm starter HELP!!

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jcamador's picture
jcamador

firm starter HELP!!

Hi all- so I am a sourdough newb, but I recently made Prof. Calvel's starter which looks like it'g going to make it :) But...I do have a couple questions that I would really appreciate help with. I consider myself a pretty good internet researcher, but I haven't found anything to help me out..


 


Can a firm starter be used in place of a liquid starter? Is there a way to calculate this?


If I were to transform my firm starter to liquid or vice versa, should this process happen over a few feedings to let the beasties aclimate to their new surroundings or do I just feed one time with the appropriate percentages then use in the recipe?


 


Thank you so much in advance for the help...this site really has me excited to start my baking adventures. Thanks!


 


jason

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

if a firm starter or a more liquid one is used, just looking at the starter amounts is informative. 


A firm starter asks for small amounts 10g up to 50g for a household recipe and builds the starter before adding more ingredients (but not always.)  If the recipe asks for more, say 250g or more of 100% hydration and you have a 50% firm one, then add enough water to your ready to use starter to make it half water and flour (by weight).   Problems arise when making a firm starter from a more liquid one, then a few extra flour feedings are needed to increase the yeast strength.


I keep a firm starter in the refrigerator and remove about 10g or a heaping teaspoon from it to make 110g of 100% hydration starter (often called for in recipes) by adding 50g of water and 50g flour and let it sit covered overnight at room temp.  Your mixture may vary and mine does too depending on how much starter is needed and the ambient temperature.  A ratio of 1:5:5.  With a little playing around you will come up with your own mixture of what works for your time schedule.  For that same 250g of needed starter, I may mix 23g or 24g firm starter with equals amounts of water and flour (115g each) to make 250g letting it sit overnight.


Mini


Try searching the site using:  firm vs liquid starter     or    firm starters  or  firm wheat starter    for more information.

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

Mini ...Can you compare flavor and 'sourness' results using your firm starter versus using a starter with higher hydration?  Do you see any differences, and if so, what are they?


Thx,


Brian


PS: It was traditional in Alaska for people, e.g. miners, mushers, to use a firm starter since it could be rolled up in cloth and kept inside your parka with you all the time.  Kept it alive.  Leaving it in a cabin that freezes up while you're out and about all day doesn't work.  Past that, I don't know too much about this particular piece of history but I'm betting that they used methods similar to Mini Oven's to prepare for a bake.


 


 

jcamador's picture
jcamador

ahhhh! Mini- you are the best! Thank you for the clear and concise answer to this question that has been keeping me up at night! On with my adventure!!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And now I'm off to Austria.  Gave my hubby a crash course in bread baking, left him my probe thermometer and some firm starter. He did mix the last loaf, a 50% rye and commented on how easy it was.  He did admit he was more terrified of the oven than the starter.  I must agree with him.   He had taken off so I ended up baking it. 


Jeff Hamelman's baguette recipe came out of the oven as he returned.  He carefully observed the steaming on the second tray.  I chickened out and made rolls instead of French sticks.  I managed to get a 8 hour ferment into the final dough recipe!  Blog will be written at the Seoul airport.  They have so many hot spots there it's great!


Mini


 


 

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

Now THAT's dedication! 


Scared of the oven?  Hmmm... I've had my share of burns, hot steam in the face (instantly blinding 'cuzza my glasses fogging over), broken oven door glass and other oopses.  What's to be scared of?  Painful injuries and $$ in repairs?  :)  Live and learn ...live and learn!  The darn wood stove taught me a few lessons too...


Brian