The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Blueberries instead of grapes?

JIP's picture
JIP

Blueberries instead of grapes?

So I have been reading Breads From La Brea Bakery and she suggests for a starter to use organic grapes to help the starter get going because the bloom on the outside will help kick start some fermentation.  So my question is this bluberries seem to have that same kind of bloom on the outside ant it is I would assum from things in the air so would they be an acceptable substitute for grapes in her starter I like blueberries and I also think organic bluberries might be a little easier to come by this time of year. 

Kate's picture
Kate

I made my starter according to Nancy's directions in that book, too, except I didn't use anything. Just a cup of water and a cup of flour. I fed it on the days that she recommended and it didn't seem like anything was going to happen at first but then after a week or so bubbles started forming and now the thing can't be stopped. The idea of tying up grapes in a mesh thing and swirling it around and then fishing it out and dealing with it all was too much for me and it worked perfectly without it. So, I say don't worry about it and try it without the berries.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

The easy thing that is widely recommended for getting a starter going is to add some whole grain rye or wheat to the starter in the early going. The idea is that the right organisms are living on the grain and will be introduced to the culture. Any flavor of blueberry or grape would disappear from the culture very quickly as you feed and therefore dilute any original ingredients with regular flour and water, so unless there is something particular and different about the organisms introduced by the grapes or blueberries that remains stable in the culture, the flavor of the culture is probably not going to be much affected by them.

JIP's picture
JIP

Well I guess I really did not think any flavor would come through I was mostly wondering if the berries would be an ok substitute.  In her book she suggests using grapes I want to go by her recipes for this particular time so I want to try and follow them as closely as I can but right now I dont think the grapes she was calling for a very available right now imy area but berries are.

Squid's picture
Squid

She mentions in her book that you can use regular grapes, you just have to wash them. My preference was for organic grapes but they didn't have them at my HFS at the time so I bought conventional grapes. Of course, 2 days after making my starter, lo and behold, organic grapes were on the shelves.

 

zolablue's picture
zolablue

I have read that it is preferable to start a sourdough with grains rather than fruit, for the reason that its microflora are already well adapted to doughs and will produce flavors more natural to bread, stating, again, the best grain to begin with is rye.  However, as we know, there are many philosophies on this and we all latch onto a different theory and method.  So sometimes it is fun to experiment and see for yourself how something tastes or changes using another method.  I think we always have to keep an open mind no matter how ingrained (no pun intended) we become in certain methods and recipes so by all means give it a try.  Just know that by the time a starter using fruit is ready to make bread there is very little, if any, fruit flavor to remain. 

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

If you're eager to try out the La Brea method to see how it works, go for it. I did the same thing with Laurel's Desem bread (10 lbs flour, cool temps, stiff dough, etc.) myself, just to see what I ended up with.

But if your goal is simply to get a starter, I'd recommend using SourdoLady's starter instructions. You'll use a lot of flour with the La Brea method, and it's a bit messy to boot. Not that it won't work, but SourdoLady's is about as foolproof as it gets, and it also won't require a truckload of flour to get it going.

pumpkinpapa's picture
pumpkinpapa

I've used grapes to make a starter, I used a 1/4 cup of flour and hand squeezed the juice out of 200 grams of grapes and adding skins and seeds to the flour, then adding enough water to make a smooth paste. Every day add 2 T flour and enough water to keep up the paste. On the 4th day I strained out the skins and seeds, and baked with it 2 days later.

The grapes make for a more alcohol starter especially with whole wheat flour, very bubbly, foamy, and volatile.

Let us know how your starter turns out. 

JIP's picture
JIP

O.K. I give up I guess I'm going to just use grapes. I'm going to try and buy some today theyre just hard to find this time of year. I also figured out blueberries, organic or not are a little on the pricey side so if I needed a pound like the formula says it would be pretty expensive.

crumb bum's picture
crumb bum

Hey JIP

If grapes are hard to find just use organic raisens.  I think 1 cup of raisens in 2 cups of tepid water (not to warm.  Soak for an hour, strain out raisens and add to flour.  This is how Reinhart does it in his crust and crumb book.  Good Luck.

Da Crumb Bum 

JIP's picture
JIP

Well I got it started today 3/11 the book says it should start cooking in 3 days we shall soon see.

Squid's picture
Squid

I just baked my first loaf with Nancy's starter. It was very nice.

JIP's picture
JIP

Was it one from the book? if so wich one.  For me the actual ultimate goal is to try the Normandy rye and the Fruit and nut bread of course I want to make some of the white breads in the book as well those 2 are the ones that intrigue me the most and yes I know I have to make the rye starter.  That leads me to another question there is a point in the making of her starter I think it is about 4-5 days in where she says you can technically make bread with the starter but she advises not to I was wondering if I can use what is disposed of at this point to get the rye starter or do I have to wait till later in the process I am going to try but I wanted to know if anyone knows or is familiar. 

Squid's picture
Squid

Yes, it was the recipe she recommends that everyone start out with. The Country White.

I'm pretty new to this stuff, this is my first homemade starter so I'm not sure how much help I can be. However, Nancy recommends switching to a different starter after the 2 week period, when the starter has been fully developed. It makes sense since you really don't begin feeding it until Day 10 - you've only fed it once, on Day 4 previous to then. Although you could probably experiment and split your starter around Day 10, keeping one white  and the other rye.

I don't know if you read what she wrote, but she mentions that if you aren't making rye bread on a regular basis, to build a new starter every time you want to bake (white starter + feed it rye flour for 3 days before baking). She mentions that you shouldn't keep rye starter dormant in the fridge for more than one week.

 

Tess's picture
Tess

 "I was wondering if I can use what is disposed of at this point to get the rye starter"  Since it takes a awhile to switch over to a rye starter, I would give it a try if your new starter seems to be active at this point.  Are you going to leave the rye starter on the counter until you switch it over? 

JIP's picture
JIP

Well I want to have both a rye and a white and I guess I did read the part about a rye starter going rancid before too long so I guess I will have to use it right away.  Now if I could just find some dark rye flour........

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

Bob's Red Mill is a good source..

JIP's picture
JIP

I was just looking at Bob's online this morning and saw they have dark rye flour for ordering a five pound bag is only $3.89 but one problem shipping is $11 I think I will look around a little more.

pumpkinpapa's picture
pumpkinpapa

Come to Ontario where all I can find is dark rye flour. It's nearly impossible to find rye chops or pumpernickel. And now a friend in Saskatchewan just sold her rye crop to Bob's.

These catch-22's are too much!