The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rye Starter Collapse is Fun

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Rye Starter Collapse is Fun

Does anyone else get excited when they shake their rye starter and it collapses like an underground nuclear test? 


I sure do!


I think it's why I keep a voluminous one going in a big bowl almost full time.


White and whole wheat starters are nowhere near as entertaining.


I'm easily amused.


My apologies!


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Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I like to peel back the top skin and look at the bubble structure.  Somewhere between oozing and falling.  High time to feed it.  Have you tried feeding with rye altus crumbs yet?  Wonderful aroma!  Tell me if the crown holds out longer before falling!  (it should)


Mini

wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

I haven't.


I didn't even know what altus was until you mentioned it.


You've come to the rescue of my old rye remnants.

Altus. n. 

Altus according to George Greenstein's "Secrets of a Jewish Baker", altus is the secret of good rye bread. Altus is left-over ground-up rye bread, soaked in water. To make altus, cut the crusts from a loaf of bread, soak it in water for several hours, or overnight, under refrigeration. It will keep several weeks under refrigeration. Use small amounts in bread dough, pressing water out of it. This will intensify the taste of the rye bread, make it a moister bread. You will have to adjust the hydration of your dough when you use altus, probably adding a bit more flour. (SOURCE)

I use rye bread mostly for Reuben or pastrami/rye sandwiches. I've considered just making the loaves in loaf pans. Reason: I'm always left with end cuts or remnants that I can't use for sandwiches (or anything else).

I'll try making some altus and feeding the starter with it and see if the holds out longer.

-

I tried the "peel back top skin" on a levain I made with hi-gluten flour. I almost jumped back in horror. It was alive! It was like a tissue system, like I'd pulled back someone's skin and peered inside.

I could see little gnomes in mining yeasts!

OK, maybe too many mushrooms that day, but the crumb/webbing was really neat.

wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

I just fed the rye starter with altus crumbs (from the crust of a loaf of the Izzy's New York Rye baked on Monday).


I pulverized them in the food processor.


That was fun!

wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

Or maybe it's faux-altus, as I didn't soak the crumbs overnight in the refrigerator.


There's water in the starter; they'll soak there overnight. That should do it. Or not?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I just fed mine too.  I had about two heaping tablespoons full and couldn't decide to discard and feed, so I added water and stirred in lots of rye crumbs.  Put it back in the fridge.  It will be good for a couple of days when I need to bake again or until the end of next week when I have to feed it again. 


Mini

wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

A rye bread that tastes good right out of the oven. That was novel.


Me and Altus are buds, now. ;D

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

...until death parts you, may you be happy.  To borrow a phrase...  "Live long and prosper."


Mini

wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

Nein. It's rather boring right out of the oven. It comes into flavor after it basks in the excitement of my kitchen for 24 hours.


I need to source other rye flours. 


I suspect I'm missing wonderful flours of rye, dark and light.


Beam me up.

wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

 

A story about the altus in the rye starter:

I added plenty, probably more than I should have.

I went away to do away things, returning to a very active rye starter, the kind that inflates the plastic wrap covering the bowl into a taut dome.

Remembering that you (Mini) mentioned "Wonderful aroma!" re: added altus to rye starter, what did I do but peel back the plastic wrap ever so slightly, stick my nose in the bowl, and take a deep breath?

OMG! Baaaaaad idea.

I inhaled a bowl full of gasified alcohol. It went right into my nostrils and burned like a mouthful of wasabi.

I almost passed out from the intoxication.

It was quite a blast.

It ranks up there with opening the 550 F oven and sticking my face inside, having the water on my eyes vaporize and my eyebrows seared off!

 

wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

The crown does hold out longer with the altus, like you said it would.


I rather miss the nuclear concavity.


It made a wonderful loaf of 66% medium rye. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

some keep a "big bowl" of the stuff!  I guess I might have warned you.  Although I was also making reference to the room aroma as well.  I like to stir it and let the aroma rise up to meet me. 


I remember the first time I took a big whiff, inhaling my lungs full at a bakery, it took my breath away!  Literally!   I big vat of rye sourdough!  The baker was quick to cover the vat before I started coughing! 


My little starter here in the kitchen I sneak up on.  It's wild remember?  One has to sneak up on wild things...  


Are you ready for Bread Spices?


The one I fed altus and chilled right away is still rather half way to using it.  See ya in a week.


Mini

highmtnpam's picture
highmtnpam

Hi!  Ahhh, we baker's have sooo much more fun!    Pam