The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Potato sourdough starter

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sweetiepea's picture
sweetiepea

Potato sourdough starter

Hello, all. This is my first time here at this site. I've had a starter made from potato flakes, sugar and water for years and have used the recipe my husband's aunt gave me to go along with it.  I wanted to find other recipes I could use, but I've noticed that most starters are flour based instead of potato.  Can I use my type of starter with any sourdough recipe?  Thanks for the advice!

RonRay's picture
RonRay

I made a test starter from water, sugar, and potato flakes - originally from Jeff's aunt. Just wondered if it was the same Jeff?

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello, I am not sure if you can swap potato for sourdough starter, but I am aware of an article in Fine Cooking magazine (#2 Apr/May 1994) entitled "Conquering San Francisco Sourdough" that discusses using both types of starter. I am attempting to paraphrase the details here, in case you or other readers are interested in this method.


The author (Phil Van Kirk) writes the sourdough starter has its best rising ability right after it's been fed, and as it sits, loses its rising ability but develops a more sour flavor. The author found that using both types of starter worked to his advantage: good rise and good flavor - the robust potato starter contributed a good rise, made a light loaf with a dandy brown crust and a spectacularly moist and chewy texture.  The sourdough starter contributed the flavor and tang.


The author feeds his potato starter every two weeks with boiled Idaho potatoes, sugar and water, put through the blender, to the consistency and sweetness of a milkshake. The potato starter often doubles in volume while it eats, and stays active and bubbly for 24 hours. When it stops bubbling, he puts is back in the fridge. (The author says he seldom makes bread within 24 hours of feeding his starters; he waits two or three days until the starters settle down so the dough will rise slowly overnight or while he's at work.)


I'm going to try converting some of my sourdough starter into potato starter by  feeding my sourdough starter with the potato puree as he instructs, instead of my usual flour/water feed. If anyone has any tips/success stories on creating a potato starter from scratch, I'd love to hear!


His bread formula is: "I mix together 6 cups of unbleached bread flour, 2 cups sourdough starter, 1 cup potato starter, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, 3 Tablespoons nonfat dry milk, 1 Tablespoon of salt, and knead; let rise rise until it's 2.5 times its original size (8-12 hours, depending on ambient temperature and starter activity); degas, divide in half and shape; let rise 4-6 hours or retard for a longer, slower rise; preheat stone 45 minutes 500F; five minutes before baking, turn temperature down to 425F, preheat a pan for making steam, slash loaves, load oven and steam; bake until crust is very dark, about 50 minutes to an hour."


Thank you for your post - it was a good reminder to me to dust off this article and give this method a try!  Regards, breadsong


 


 


 


 

Ian Brooksbank's picture
Ian Brooksbank

I live in a small Scottish town, where Campbell's the local family run bakery has been in operation from the same site since 1830.  I bought a "polish sourdough loaf" from them last week just to try it, and when I asked about how it was made I was told that they used a potato starter.  I was a bit sceptical about this, so I was interested to read this post, especially as Perthshire is big potato growing country!


I would be interested to see instructions on how to make a potato starter from scratch, and to know if it can be used on its own, and whether there are any real advantages, or difference in how the loaf tastes.  I must confess that the loaf we had last week had no obvious sign that it had potatoes involved in its baking.


Regards


 


Ian

RonRay's picture
RonRay

There is a series of videos on YouTube, by "Jeff" on making a potato starter and on baking his bread made with it. I tested starting the culture and it worked without any difficulties. I have not yet tested it in a bread, my flour based cultures have been more than enough to keep me occupied lately.


I may be wrong, but I believe that at least some of the commercial "fast rise" yeast had their start from yeast found on the skin of Irish potatoes.


At any rate, here are two links to the referenced YouTube videos:


Potato Starter:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkZ-q6P-ioA


Sourdough Bread from Potato Starter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnXZCuQoeio


Also, yesterday, a posting here on TFL sounded as if sweetiepea may be the wife of "Jeff" that made those videos, that posting was  "Submitted by sweetiepea on August 15, 2010 - 11:04pm
Potato sourdough starter"


There was a lot of sugar in the patoto starter, and in general, I personally try to minimise any added sugar in my breads.


Ron

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Ron, thanks for posting the videos. Regards, breadsong

RonRay's picture
RonRay

I hope they were of use to you.  (ºuº)



Ron