The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Firm Sourdough Starter

FINEART's picture
FINEART

Firm Sourdough Starter

What is a firm sourdough starter and how do you make and use one?

Tess's picture
Tess

http://www.faqs.org/faqs/food/sourdough/faq/index.html

Above is a great link that answers many basic questions about a sourdough starter. I use a liquid starter and convert it to a firm starter for specific recipes.  Good luck.

zolablue's picture
zolablue

 

Fineart, I would urge you to buy a copy of Maggie Glezer's book, Artisan Baking Across America and/or A Blessing of Bread where she goes into great detail to explain her philosophy on creating and baking with a firm starter.

I have both those books but have never taken the time to type the instructions.  I should try to do that.  I'm very new to sourdough, only having created my "mother" on January 4, 2007.  I have learned much however in that time which just tells me how much, much more there is ahead to discover.

I have only my firm starter so I'm interested to know how the batter would differ but it just seems to me it would be so much more of a hassle to deal with.  If you maintain a firm starter it is so easy to convert it to a liquid starter by adding water to it.  In addtion, Glezer has a super one-night conversion of the stiff or firm starter to a rye starter for recipes that call for that.  I made a fabulous sourdough raisin bread from Dan Lepard's book, The Handmade Loaf that called for such a rye leaven and with Glezer's method it worked fabulously.

nomorecolors's picture
nomorecolors

i started my first starter just 6 days ago, trying to combine two of the excellent guides this site provides. I have a couple of newbie questions, first is it wise to go straight to a firm starter, instead of preparing a wet one and turning it into a firm one on demand. Then, how do i tell it's ready for refrigerating? I keep a diary of what i do, here it is: (the temp is 17 celcius) Feedings: Day 1: 6g 6% vinegar/24 bottled water - 5g rye flour/25g white flour Day 2, Day 3, same as Day 1. On Day 4 the thing was bubbly (yay!) and i turned it into a firm starter by adding flour (following the 1 rye/5 white ratio) to reach 50%, about 90g flour. Day 5, i kept 1/4 of the stuff and threw the rest, added a feeding of 15g water, 30g flour. Day 6 same feeding as Day 5, but i didnt throw anything away. I am thinking that maybe i should stop feeding it daily, and go every other day, and start keeping only half of it every second feeding or something, for the next 2 weeks. Anyway, i have read through many guides but i am really a newbie when it comes to practice, please help!

FINEART's picture
FINEART

"i started my first starter just 6 days ago, trying to combine two of the excellent guides this site provides. I have a couple of newbie questions, first is it wise to go straight to a firm starter, instead of preparing a wet one and turning it into a firm one on demand. Then, how do i tell it's ready for refrigerating? I keep a diary of what i do, here it is: (the temp is 17 celcius) Feedings: Day 1: 6g 6% vinegar/24 bottled water - 5g rye flour/25g white flour Day 2, Day 3, same as Day 1. On Day 4 the thing was bubbly (yay!) and i turned it into a firm starter by adding flour (following the 1 rye/5 white ratio) to reach 50%, about 90g flour. Day 5, i kept 1/4 of the stuff and threw the rest, added a feeding of 15g water, 30g flour. Day 6 same feeding as Day 5, but i didnt throw anything away."Bless thee in all the work of thy hand which thou doest" - Deuteronomy 14:29"

Is there anyone out there who can translate percentages and grams into cup measures?  I guess im just dense, but my head spins when I try to read things like this.  I intend to look for the book that Zolablue suggested, so thank you.

Dina

andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

Dina,
My starter (now a couple of years old) has always been a firm starter - made from Maggie Gleezer's book "A Blessing of Bread" Her advice is excellent - EXCEPT when she says how easy it is to kill a starter by using it before it has crested. I have never found the starter to be at all temperamental.If you remove some of the stiff, refrigerated starter to use for a loaf (or several) the original can go straight back in the fridge. But usually, at this stage, I'll use it to make 2 new starters - 30 grams starter, 30 grams water, 50 grams flour.  Mix, cover with transparent wrap, amnd when it is beginning to bubble up quite well - usually 3 to 5 hours, refrigerate. And Maggie Gleezer is right here too - it can sit, untouched, in the fridge for several months and remain viable.Regarding weights versus cups etc - I have the opposite - I have always used weights in the UK and can't cope at all with cups and things! It seems so near to guess work, especially with so many contributors to this site reporting different weights for a cup of flour!!
Happy baking!!
Andrew

zolablue's picture
zolablue

I was hoping you'd see this thread, Andrew, since you also use Glezer's starter.  I was also going to mention to Dina that I bought Glezer's later book, A Blessing of Bread, and she cuts down even more the amounts she uses for the stiff starter.  I'm having really good luck with mine now.  I wanted to give some more info but my timer just went off so have to finish mixing some bread.  I will return later...

andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

 Zola,I do really like this book. I haven't yet tried all the plaiting etc - and am fascinated that the dough nis best used fairly well risen for this. No need to slash, then!!
Andrew

zolablue's picture
zolablue

I've only had this new book of Glezer's a couple weeks or so.  She's added some info about the starter that has really helped me.  Btw, I have permission to post her recipe so I'll do that in a new post.  Perhaps some people would like to try it.

Anyway, I have not baked anything from the Blessing of Bread yet but I'm going to soon.  There are a ton of recipes - very interesting stuff.

shericyng's picture
shericyng

HELP.....I am using Maggie Glezer starter that I refridgerated for a few months but when I followed her refresher advise nothing seems to be happening it has been 15 hrs and it is not triple the size not even close......Should I worry? should I wait? It smelled like a nice sour fragrance when I took it out of the fridge but I didnt do 30-30-50 but followed her metric info on pg. 93 of Artisan Baking   PLEASE ADVISE