The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

more questions about sourdough

msbreadbaker's picture

more questions about sourdough

Question regarding the apparent changing taste of products made with PR sourdough starter, 100% hydration. My starter is about 4 months old, while I had trouble on day 2 & 3 of the seed stage, MrFrost encouraged me to perservere. I did and it turned out wonderful and I have made some killer breads with it. It really is a thing of beauty. The question I have is how does one regulate the change in the taste of the bread using the starter. Same recipe, same KA flour, good oven, but sometimes I get a twangy taste that is not pleasant to me and I am attributing it to the starter. One time the bread will be excellent, next time have that little taste. I know PR says he adjusts by mixing more refreshement versus starter, but how do you know how it will taste until after the bread is made? I usually have about a cup of starter to begin with. I do weigh and add equal amounts of high gluten flour and water. Could the taste be caused by the high gluten flour? PR said that is the best to use in the refreshment so I have always used KA Sir Lancelot. I use KA bread flour in the actual recipe. I would really appreciate any advice for me in determing how to eliminate this taste. Mild is good.

Thanks so much in advance, I have learned so much from this site and I love it. Jean P. (VA)

pmccool's picture

I'd guess that perhaps the variation is due to temperature and/or length of ferment.  Both are very closely related with sourdough, of course.

That guess, however, assumes absolute consistency in ingredients from one batch to the next and careful, consistent weight measurements, which it sounds like you are doing.

If you start keeping notes of the temperatures your dough encounters during fermentation, and the dough temperature itself, you may begin to identify a correlation with the flavor of the finished bread.  

The other thing to watch for is how you maintain your starter.  If there are variations in maintenance or storage, you may be inadvertently affecting the microflora that populate your starter.  Some conditions may favor one portion of the population, others may favor different portions.  You may only be able to detect the skewing as a result of the flavor of the bread.

Just some thoughts.