## Converting 100% hydration starter to Reinhart's stiffer mother starter for his sourdough bread recipe (ABED)..

Hello,

I've been successfully maintaining a 100% hydration starter this past month and finally made my very first sourdough loaf. We were pleased with how it tasted (not ready for my first photo shoot though given my poor scoring abilities.)

Now I'd like to experiment by trying a different recipe, this time from Peter Reinhart's book, "Artisan Breads Every Day". I fed my 100% starter this morning and this evening, I took 4 oz of it and combined it with 12 oz AP flour and 8 oz water. It's now fermenting in an oiled bowl and needs to ferment 4-8 hours - or longer - until it doubles in size and is ready to use.

I'd like to bake bread tomorrow night, but I see that Reinhart's San Francisco sourdough recipe calls for me to make a wild yeast starter (2 oz mother starter + 8 oz AP flour + 5 oz water) that needs to ferment before adding to the final dough (14 oz water + 20 oz AP flour + .63 oz salt).

So if you're bearing with me so far here is my question: Do I need to make this wild yeast starter? Why can't I just use 15 oz of the mother starter that I "started" this evening and add that to the final dough?

thank you for your advice!

Mira

Your question is confusing at several levels...for you seem to differentiate betweeen "your" sourdough starter and "wild yeast" starters. First question would be "What is your starter?" Is it wild or from a purchased starter package, or is it based on commercial yeast. There is a difference though it is not an important consideration in converting your 100% starter to stiff.

I keep a 100% starter which I use for everything. I don't worry about stiff or liquid other than making sure the total water and total flour in the final dough are correct. This does involve doing calculations but it is a lot easier to calculate the amount of flour and water in a 100% starter and a 100% first expansion than dealing with a variety of hydrations. I have experimented with other hydrations and don't find the benefits (change in results) distinct enough to justify changing my practice. Others no doubt will disagree. My suggetion is simply keep track of water and flour and don't worry about what hydration is called for - it is certainly not a killer if the final hydration is right.

Good Luck!

Jay

Hi Mira,

In this formula PR calls (what other people might call) the "levain build" the "wild yeast starter", so this might be the source of the confusing terminology.

As for your question about skipping the "wild yeast starter"... If I recall correctly, in Bread Baker's Apprentice PR talks about skipping this step and adding mother starter directly to the final dough (I think it's one of the notes to a pain au levain or SF sourdough---sorry, I leant this book to a friend so I can't be more specific). In the final dough use mother starter instead of the "wild yeast starter", and then adjust the hydration of the dough accordingly because the mother starter and "wild yeast starter" are at different hydrations. (You'll need to add less water because your mother starter has higher hydration than the "wild yeast starter".) I haven't tried this variation on this particular formula though, so maybe it will be a complete disaster. I'd recommend making the bread according to the formula a few times before messing around with it.

Jay - sorry for the confusion, I'm using the terminology in Reinhart's "Artisan Breads Every Day book". My original starter is 100% hydration (I used Debra Wink's pineapple juice method) and I converted a part of it into a "mother starter" as per Reinhart's book, which is a stiffer blend. I, too, was confused, as to why I would have to build a portion of that mother starter into what he calls the "wild yeast starter".

CPC - yes, I was wondering why I couldn't just add my mother starter to the final dough instead of adding it to a new "wild yeast starter", which is, as you say, the same as a levain.

I've decided to follow Reinhart's instructions exactly. We'll see how this turns out for me. Right now I have two starters taking up valuable real estate in my refrigerator; I've read some posts that suggest a stiffer starter might be better for sourdough bread and that's why I'm experimenting with this one. I would prefer to just keep and maintain my 100% hydration starter, seems easier to convert, once I wrap my head around baker's percentages...

thanks to both of your for responding!

Mira

Following Reinhart is perfectly appropriate, but I would strongly urge you to try the 100% starter as well. My experience suggests you will find the differences minimal and thus not worth the trouble of keeping two starters. There are two key approaches, one is as I do and simply adjust the hydration at the end (I do my first expansion at 100% also for simplicity.) My approach would be to take the three ounces of starter because I typically do my first expansions to 5X the starter amount) which being 100% contains 1 1/2 ounces of flour and 1 1/2 of water. So I would add 6 ounces of flour and 6 ounces of water in the early evening and mix. Then leave it out overnight and it should be reaching peak activity about 7 am. Then I would add the remaining flour and water. When I add up the flour and water I get a total of 29 ounces of flour and 20 of water. So I would add 21 1/2 grams of flour (29 minus 7 1/2) and 12 1/2 ounces of water (20 minus 7 1/2) and the salt. NOTE: I like this approach because it fits with my schedule - mix the first expansion after dinner and make final dough first thing in the morning.

The other choice would be to adjust the starter in the first expansion. Peter seems to want the preferment to contain about 9 grams of flour and 6 of water. The two ounces of starter is 1 ounce of flour and one of water. Simply add 8 ounces of flour and 5 of water as he says. And the rest of the recipe is as he wrote. The difference between starting with 2 ounces of stiff starter and 2 ounces of 100% is not a big deal when it is such a low percentage of the total bread. Your final hydration will be off by about 1 percent which is within the margin of error/variation in flour moisture content on mixing.

Let us know how it works! Good Luck!

Jay

25 ounces of Reinhart's "Mother" consists of 14.5 ounces of flour and 10.5 ounces of water.

Divide it all by 25 and you get 1 ounce (28.35g) of his Mother = 0.58 ounces (16.4gm) flour and 0.42 ounces (11.9 gm) water

If the recipe calls for 2 ounces of Mother that consists of 1.16 ounces (32.88 gm) of flour and .84 ounces (23.8 gm) of water

Since 2 ounces of 100% hydration starter consists of 1 ounce (28.35gm) flour and 1 ounce (28.35gm) water, when substituting your 100% hydration starter for Reinhart's Mother, you need to

add0.16 ounces (4.5gm) flour (to get to 1.16) andsubtract0.16 ounces (4.5gm) of water (to get to .84) from the "wild yeast starter" (as he calls it).Pretty sure the math is right - and it seems, as always, easier to use metric -- add 4.5 grams flour and subtract 4.5 grams water to the 2 ounces of your starter and you are good to go. Of course, this post was years old and therefore your dough is over-proofed.

That would therefore be 2 ounces (56.7gm) of your 100% hydration starter, plus 8.16 ounces (231.34gm) of flour and 4.84 ounces (137.21gm) of water to make the wild yeast starter, for a total of 15 ounces of wild yeast starter.