The Fresh Loaf

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Sourdough starter in hot and humid countries

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teojen77's picture
teojen77

Sourdough starter in hot and humid countries

Hi there..


After reading about sourdough, I was very interested and went ahead to try out a sourdough starter. I have never tasted sourdough and neither do I know how a sourdough starter should smell like.


So there I go, trying my luck with my sourdough starter. On the first day, I fed it 8 hourly (based on this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cusjbAtGzvg&feature=fvw). On the 2nd morning, my starter began to have bubbles and smell like vomit / spoilt yogurt, and I fed it once in the afternoon. On the 3rd morning it smelled a bit like nail polish. However, it is still able to rise and a lot of big bubbles are forming. As I researched on the internet that the nail polish smell could be due to underfeeding of the starter. Hence, I quickly fed it on a 1:1:1 (starter:breadflour: water) ratio for 3 more times. However, the smell just couldn't go off and it was turning very dense. In the end, I decided to throw the starter away...


Could it be due to the weather where I stay, where temperatures can go up to 33 C in the afternoon, and humidity is always above 90%, or is it the way i am managing it? By the way, this is the 2nd time i tried. The first time i tried with AP flour and waited 24hrs - nothing happened and mold formed. Night times in my location is 29 - 31 C. I read some articles on the Internet that yeast will die if temperatures goes above 60 C, and lactobacillus bacteria can grow as long as temp is between 15 C and 55 C. That is why i decided to go ahead with the "experiment". Did I get anything wrong from my research? If not, is it possible that people like us living in such hot and humid countries grow sourdough starters from scratch and maintain it at room temperature (i.e. 33 C) ?

Your help is most appreciated!


My references:


http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_survival_temperature_of_Lactobacillus_bacteria


http://www.theartisan.net/dough_fermentation_and_temperature.htm


 


 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Here is a read for you (be aware there are others under Debra Winks blog as well worth reading.


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10901/pineapple-juice-solution-part-2


Tropic heat presents some problems in that the warmth and humidity makes yeast and other beasties grow like crazy.  One way to control them is to feed them plenty and give them a pinch of salt with the flour to slow them down, but first you have to establish a starter.  AP will sometimes work but if you can get ahold of some raw grains with hulls, that might speed up the process.  Many imported goods have been radiated to control pests and spoilage.  This kills the natural yeasts that leave spores.  If you can get natural rice with hulls for example, that might help (or some whole coriander seeds from the market just for the first 24 hours)  you would only need a handfull to get started and combine with the AP.  Crush the grain a little with a hammer and get some unsweetend Pineapple juice, fresh works too instead of starting with water. 


You'll be glad to know that you are not the only member from Singapore!


Mini


 

teojen77's picture
teojen77

Thanks Mini,


Will give the pineapple juice method a try. Do you think I can try using brown rice?


Jen

tempe's picture
tempe

Hi Jen,


I am a newbie sourdough baker and I'm with Mini on debra winks pineapple juice method, it worked beautifully for me, I now have a very vigourous healthy starter.  Debra Wink is one smart lady, her posts are great reading.  I also used some organic rye flour while making my starter I found that really got it going as well.  In regards to humidity, I have yet to experience that, it will start getting humid here in Queensland in a month or so.


Can't help you with the brown rice query I'm sorry :(


Best of luck with our new starter :)


tempe

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

or flakes?  Brown rice might be too clean already.  You could go for a country walk and pick some clean dust free grasses (not near a road.)  Try the AP with pineapple juice and be patient, it might take a day or two longer.  You can throw in some brown rice, it certainly can't hurt.   Plastic wrap and a rubber band over the top of the culture is a good idea and stir the culture a couple times a day.   Helps you get to know it better.   Good luck!

teojen77's picture
teojen77

Hi Mini,


Just managed to find wholewheat organic stone ground. Hope this is ok? I will take note of your advise to stir the culture a couple times a day. Going to try over the weekend! ;)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Mini

Candygirl's picture
Candygirl

After months of making my own sourdough starter (made from Rye flour) and breads, my breads have been improving.  I used to follow everyone's timetable (those of you living in the US) and each bread turned out to have less oven spring than expected.  Turns out I've been overproofing my dough because of the ambient temperature in my part of the world (Manila, Philippines).  I don't really know how to calculate the time accurately but lessening the time I let the dough proof by an hour or more produced more oven spring - my breads have a more open crumb and not as dense and rubbery as my previous breads.  Regarding my sourdough starter, I often feed it more often or just let it bubble for about 4 hours when it has tripled before using it in a recipe.  In between bakings, I have no choice but to store it in the fridge. 


Of course the quality of my breads can still be improved, nonetheless I am hopeful! 


Best regards,


CG

teojen77's picture
teojen77

It is very true. I was trying the Jim Lahey's no knead bread, which requires 10-18 hours of proofing. First time, I used 18 hours - and I realised that the entire dough seems like over-proofed. It couldn't "firm up" when I was trying to shape it, and keep spreading out. Not sure if it could be due to humidity. Second time round, I used 10 hours of proofing instead, and it worked! - at least I can do the same like what I saw on the video in Martha Stewart's website. hahahah!


By the way, did you start your sourdough starter from scratch? If so, what did you start your sourdough starter with?

Candygirl's picture
Candygirl

I followed Susan's instructions and made a starter from Rye Flour.  http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2007/07/13/raising-a-starter/.  Halfway through I thought it wouldn't work but I carried on and was rewarded with a starter that I still use.  Goodluck!