The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Crazy Sourdough Starters

  • Pin It
stonebakedbreads's picture
stonebakedbreads

Crazy Sourdough Starters

hello everyone, I am new here beginning today.. I've been pondering on extremely different sourdough starters to play with, but wanted to check with all you talented people here, first. I read a book not too long ago, Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdaine, and there's a chapter in his book about a bread baker that worked for him for a bit. He says that the guy would have a mother starter with rotting red peppers and sometimes mushroom pieces just decomposing along with his barm. Now he doesn't go into much detail on how he does it of course, but it intrigues the hell out of me! He also mentions grapes, which I've managed to find on this site, but no luck with any other fruits or veggies. I'm mainly wondering if any of you guys/girls know something strange that I could possibly try, or if I wanted to try something strange maybe you have an idea of how I can do it? I'd hate to grow some terrible bacteria on some rotting produce for nothing.. Thanks for taking your time to read this, I look forward to hearing from someone.

rockfish42's picture
rockfish42

All the fruit and veg additions are pretty much nonsense, they may initially help along fermentation with extra sugars or introduce some more bacteria that drop the pH enough for the real starter organisms to take over.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi stonebakedbreads,


Welcome to the site.


Did you catch this thread on yeast waters? http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/6012/baking-natural-wild-yeast-water-not-sourdough


As it says it is not sourdough but a well developed technique used in Japan and elsewhere for obtaining leaven from fermenting fruit and veg. Further information on these blogs http://originalyeast.blogspot.com/ and (in japanese but with amazing pictures) http://weekly.yahoo.co.jp/13/countrylife/pan_handmade1.html (pages 1 and 2).


Also the TFL thread describes how other bakers on this site got on using this type of leaven.


These starters are not kept anywhere near as long as sourdoughs. It seems to be around a month, but I guess that gives room for experimenting with seasonal fruit and veg.


As 'originalyeast' blog says, proceed at your own risk but I think this would be a less risky approach that cultivating rotting vegetables in sourdough as Bourdain claims his baker did!


Have you tried conventional sourdough and want a twist or have you not tried a conventional sourdough yet? If the latter trust me they can be more almost more fun that one can bear, without even incorporating the odd stuff.


Kind regards, Daisy_A


 

stonebakedbreads's picture
stonebakedbreads

Thank you for your replies.. DaisyA, thank you for giving me those links and for the advice! I have tried conventional sourdough, I used Peter Reinhardts formula in Bread Baker's Apprentice. I've tried a few different breads with them, ciabatta style with black pepper and oregano, plain sourdough, whole wheat,and jalapeno and blue cheese (my favorite). I just know that I'm not getting the taste I'm looking for, do you know what I mean? It may be the way I'm refreshing it, I only use it every 3 days or so I end up using all of it and only keeping a cup of the barm and refreshing with 4 cups of bread flour and 3 cups of water. I honestly haven't been doing them for that long though, maybe a month or so.. The thought of the odd flavors that those starters might have had made me want to find something close. Should I maybe try doing a stronger whole wheat sourdough starter instead? It sounds like it might have a stronger sour flavor to it.. 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi stonebakedbreads,


There are quite  a few threads on producing sourer flavours with your starter. Here is one to be getting on with http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/1040. Search will turn up more.


Many posters suggest that adding some whole grains to a starter will give it a boost as they are host to more micro-organisms. If you go to 100% rye the starter might need to be prepared slightly differently for some formulae as rye has less gluten in than wheat. There are lots of really skilled bakers posting on rye on this site so a brief search is sure to turn up lots of information.


A 1:3:4 ratio of starter, water, flour sounds fine, although several cups at a time is a lot. You could try adding the same ratio in smaller amounts and more frequently if the starter is young, for example 10. 30. 40 grams or 20, 60, 80 grams 2-3 times a day for a while.  That will also help to build it up.


Part of the development of flavour rests with the recipe, particularly those that use pre ferments. Have you tried Pierre Nury's rye? I was able to make this as a beginner and all bakers who have made it have commented on the great flavour. Formula on this blog http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/5500/pierre-nury%E2%80%99s-rustic-light-rye-leader


Wishing you happy baking!  Kind regards, Daisy_A

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Welcome to this site!


In principle it's nothing wrong with keeping a cup of (risen) dough from the last bread you made as barm for the next bread in the refrigerator. I did that for several years, as long as I baked only for myself, and only one kind of bread.


But my starter had longer time to develop (since I baked no more than once a week).  I think you have rather unrealistic expectations about how soon your starter should have the "right" sour taste. That develops only over time and definitely not within one month!


Karin


 

yozzause's picture
yozzause

i have recently  taken the sludge from the bottom of my brewing keg where i put through a batch of cider and built up the culture it is now fairly lively and reliable and a little different from my 1 year old culture, i am looking forward to trying a new one from a stout brew too


The dough was made at home in the early morning and baked at work in a mini oven one after the other part of an experiment on lengths of bulk fermentation period prior to baking. Regards yozza


stonebakedbreads's picture
stonebakedbreads

Thank you very much guys.. Yozza that bread looks great, the crumb looks nice and moist, how did they taste?


Daisy_A, thank you again for your thoroughly informative replies! I am definitely going to try Pierre Nury's rye bread, those pictures are quite amazing, as I'm sure the dough is.


I also began a new rye sourdough starter last night, along with some grapefruit yeast water! We'll see how they turn out, hopefully I'll get around to posting them to show everyone my treasures.. Take care

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi,


Yeah, Pierre Nury's rye is great. Wishing you good baking. Look forward to hearing about the grapefruit starter in particular!


Kind regards, Daisy_A

Stuart Borken's picture
Stuart Borken

Grapes are a good start. Use organic grapes that have not been sprayed to kill yeast on the skins. Don't wash them. Place a handful in a cheese cloth and tie it up. Place it into a flour and water mixture and dunk it in and out to moisten it and let the yeast on the skins wash off onto the mixture. Dunk the grapes in and out of the flour mixture for a few days. Allow it to sit there for days and you will see the starter start to roil/work/ferment. Then remove the grapes and you have your starter. There is not a lot of yeast in it, so, you will have to allow your breads rise very slowly.....like a turtle, that slow.....I think that is how a local backery in Minneapolis, Mn. got it's name by it's founder, Pam Sherman..of blessed memory.

foodslut's picture
foodslut

.....William Alexander, who wrote the book "52 Loaves", has this recipe for getting the natural yeast that settles on apples into a starter here.


Good luck with the different variations!


 

yozzause's picture
yozzause

They tasted really good and just had the last this morning as toast, the experiment showed that the dough was able to hang in there with a window of about 2 hours with no great noticable difference  in the end end result even though the small loaves took it in turn to go into the oven from left to right in the picture


regards Yozza  

reddragon's picture
reddragon

My first sourdough disaster happened the first time I tried to get a starter going. This was decades ago, probably before any of you were born, so I don't remember where I read the instructions. It involved potatoes. I have also forgotten whether it was potato peels, or the water in which the potatoes were boiled, or the potatoes themselves. Put it up in the evening, and we woke up to the foulest, most horrid smell. I don't mind hooch smell, but this was intense. And in less than 10 hours, the starter had risen to the top of the jar, spilled all over the counter, then onto the floor, forming a huge puddle. I think I lay off sourdough for a while. Or maybe my husband made me. But smells are eventually forgotten, and I went back to it. My next starter involved nothing but flour and water.