The Fresh Loaf

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Grapes in starter, just experimenting here

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elissabee's picture
elissabee

Grapes in starter, just experimenting here

My starter (Tartine method) is 4 days old now and sluggish. I happened to buy some grapes at the supermarket today. While snackin on them I just crushed up a few and threw them in there. My thinking is that I'll innoculate the goop with some yeasties and perk up my starter quite a bit. Once I get some good growth happening, should I remove the grapes and go back to regular flour and water feedings? Thanks in advance.

cranbo's picture
cranbo

hi elissabee,


It can't hurt.


BTW, some people seem to believe that the "yeasties from grapes" is a myth. Some of the fruit water threads that I've been seeing suggest otherwise. In any case, I do believe that the sugar in the grape juice provides food supports the environment for natural yeast to grow. 


more importantly, if it's only been 4 days, what's the room temp where you're keeping your starter, and how often are you feeding it?


 


 


 

rhaazz's picture
rhaazz

The same species of yeast grows on grapes and on flour -- saccharomyces cerevisiae.   It's the same organism used for millenia to produce beer, wine, other alcoholic beverages, and bread. 


When you add grapes to your starter, you're adding sugar (which yeast love to eat) and you're also adding a few more wild yeast that were growing on the grapes (unless you washed the grapes).


But if you really want to rev up your starter, what works is increasing the acidity.  That's because there are other organisms growing in your starter as well -- bacteria like lactobacillus -- that are competiing with the yeast for water, oxygen, and carbohydrate.  if you want to give the yeast a competitive edge over the other organisms, make the medium more acidic by adding a teaspoon of vinegar.  You could also add a little sugar + acid by adding a little lemon juice instead of vinegar.


However, I personally am opposed to doing anything to accelerate a starter.  I think the starter (and the dough) develops more flavor the slower it grows.

flournwater's picture
flournwater

I've tried the grap injection thing.  Can't say that it did anything remarkable, but it made me feel a bit more creative.  I took the crushed grapes out after the third or fourth day.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

JustinB's picture
JustinB

Our starter at work was originally created with grapes. Let the grapes mold in water, then remove grapes, use water to make the starter

rhaazz's picture
rhaazz

I'm sorry, I didn't read your original post carefully enough.  A four day old starter should not show much activity.  Not enough yeast can possibly have multiplied by then to generate bubbles.


Some bakers refuse to use anything less than a week-old starter because anything younger than that may have too many other organisms growing in it.  (As the yeast gain a competitive edge, the bacteria start to die off; a more mature starter is safer to use.)

elissabee's picture
elissabee

Thanks for the replies. After I added the grapes at 11am I left the house for the rest of the day. Just returned and my starter has grown more in the last 6 hours than it has in the last 4-5 days combined. I would like to assume the juice and skins from the grapes are helping here. However, there is one other thing I did differently today--I used spring water instead of tap water to feed my starter. Aside from baking I also enjoy my aquarium, and knowing that the chlorine in tap water kills the beneficial bacteria in my aquarium filter, I decided that tap water can't be good for growing yeast, either. So it's spring water from here on out. I suppose that change could also be the reason for today's success.


To answer the questions asked above, I am keeping the jar in my kitchen cabinet. Temp in the kitchen is between 68 and 71 during the day and I suppose cooler at night. I've been feeding it once a day, in the morning.


 

elissabee's picture
elissabee

Just to update, my starter doubled for the first time overnight. Could be the grapes, could be the spring water.