The Fresh Loaf

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Wild Yeast Sourdough Starter

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SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Wild Yeast Sourdough Starter

I have been baking with wild yeast sourdough for the past 5 years. It all began when I purchased a starter from Sourdoughs International. One starter led to another starter, until I had 5 different ones. Recently, I felt up to the challenge of making my own wild yeast starter from scratch. I had tried this once before, many years ago, with no success at all. At that time I knew next to nothing about wild yeast and how it works.

This starter recipe is awesome because it really works, and it explains why it works. The starter I made is very good. The flavor is amazing and it rises very well. I purchased rye and wheat berries at my local health food store and ground them in a coffee grinder to make flour for my starter. It was kind of tedious to grind but I only needed a few tablespoons. I'm sure that you could just buy freshly milled flour at the health food store and it would work just as well. The wild yeast is on the grains and you just need to provide the right conditons to wake it up.

Procedure for Making Sourdough Starter

Day 1: mix...
2 T. whole grain flour (rye and/or wheat)
2 T. unsweetened pineapple juice or orange juice
Cover and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.

Day 2: add...
2 T. whole grain flour
2 T. juice
Stir well, cover and let sit at room temperature 24 hours. At day 2 you may (or may not) start to see some small bubbles.

Day 3: add...
2 T. whole grain flour
2 T. juice
Stir well, cover and let sit at room temperature 24 hours.

Starter at Day 3:

Day 4:
Stir down, measure out 1/4 cup and discard the rest.
To the 1/4 cup add...
1/4 cup flour*
1/4 cup filtered or spring water

*You can feed the starter whatever type of flour you want at this point (unbleached white, whole wheat, rye). If you are new to sourdough, a white starter is probably the best choice. All-purpose flour is fine--a high protein flour is not necessary.

Repeat Day 4:
Once daily until the mixture starts to expand and smell yeasty. It is not unusual for the mixture to get very bubbly around Day 3 or 4 and then go completely flat and appear dead. If the mixture does not start to grow again by Day 6, add 1/4 tsp. apple cider vinegar with the daily feeding. This will lower the pH level a bit more and it should wake up the yeast.

Starter at Day 7:

How it Works

The yeast we are trying to cultivate will only become active when the environment is right. When you mix flour and water together, you end up with a mixture that is close to neutral in pH, and our yeasties need it a bit more on the acid side. This is why we are using the acidic fruit juice. There are other microbes in the flour that prefer a more neutral pH, and so they are the first to wake up and grow. Some will produce acids as by-products. That helps to lower the pH to the point that they can no longer grow, until the environment is just right for wild yeast to activate. The length of time it takes for this to happen varies.

When using just flour and water, many will grow a gas-producing bacteria that slows down the process. It can raise the starter to three times its volume in a relatively short time. Don't worry--it is harmless. It is a bacteria sometimes used in other food fermentations like cheeses, and it is in the environment, including wheat fields and flours. It does not grow at a low pH, and the fruit juices keep the pH low enough to by-pass it. Things will still progress, but this is the point at which people get frustrated and quit, because the gassy bacteria stop growing. It will appear that the "yeast" died on you, when in fact, you haven't begun to grow yeast yet. When the pH drops below 3.5--4 or so, the yeast will activate, begin to grow, and the starter will expand again. You just need to keep it fed and cared for until then.

Once your wild yeast is growing, the character and flavor will improve if you continue to give it daily feedings and keep it at room temperature for a couple of weeks longer.
After that time, it should be kept in the refrigerator between uses/feedings.

My First Loaves From New Starter:

Comments

Teresa_in_nc's picture
Teresa_in_nc

SourdoLady,
I recently made this starter from directions given to me by another baker and was amazed to get a very active whole wheat starter using pineapple juice poured and strained off a can of pineapple chunks. It took several days for the starter to get going and I was getting impatient with it. But it did jump to life on about the fourth day and I was thrilled! I never would have thought to mix whole wheat flour and pineapple juice together to make a starter.

Thank you, SourdoLady!
Teresa

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Wondering if the idea is to get some fruit acid if meyer lemon juice would work? I always have so much lemon juice hanging around and never have any orange or pinapple. Although, oranges are easy to come by, just drive down the road this time of year and i can pick some up..

donica's picture
donica

Maybe, but it wouldn't work as fast.  I think one of the other added benefits is the sugar that the fruit juice provides.  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Although it is possible to start a starter in the low 70's°F,   Temperatures below 75°F or 24°C take longer to get started.   Try to find a warm place (not in the sunshine) and out of a draft (not near a door or window) for best results.   A few degrees can add days to your waiting.  

ktz84's picture
ktz84

Is there an upper temperature range as anywhere I've checked so far in my house has temperatures below 24C excep the airing cupboard which has a temperature nearer 30C. Would it ok in here? I've also used organic wholemeal spelt flour. Does anyone see any problem in using that?

cassieanne's picture
cassieanne

I've found that the really ripe Meyer Lemons have higher sugar content and much less acid-I get mine from our Garden, so I am not sure if that is ideal-but am thinking I will have to try it out! 

HIppieDave's picture
HIppieDave

I hope this thread is still alive! 


I too had great initial success with this starter, and by day 7 it looked exactly like the picture of Day 7.  On day 8 or 9 I took some out and made the best sourdough waffles I have ever had!


However. its now been about 11 days, and I've been feeding it daily as recommended (for up to two weeks) and it is SEPARATING.  I don't know if this is the same thing as "going flat", but it bubbles and looks ok for a few hours, and then a brownish liquid separates out on top of the flour.  I stirred it back in and added a little vinegar, as recommended, but that didn't help. HELP! What is going on, and is there anything I can do?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Sounds like your starter needs more fooood not acid.  Take about a tablespoon and feed it, When it responds (rises and falls) feed it again.  Feed twice a day or double or triple the amounts of flour you are feeding it.  The separation you discribe sounds like hootch.


It will be back on track soon.  You can feed it more flour from now on.  Your yeasts got stronger!

HIppieDave's picture
HIppieDave

Thank you...I guess I instinctively reached the same conclusion, so I added double the flour to water this last feeding.  We'll watch it over the next couple of days.  I stirred the "hootch" back in first...should I just pour it off?

curlygirl2U's picture
curlygirl2U

OK....I'm really a greenie when it come to soudough....this is my second attempt....I'm using 1/4C total flour with 1/8C Sprouted Rye & 1/8C sprouted Whole Wheat...and 1/4 pure water.    Today is day 7 and I have bubbles on top and the starter smells like a nice merlot....not yeasty but winey.....doesn't that mean yeast too? 


Also...the sides of the jar that I made the starter in has crusted flour on it....can I change my starter to a cleaner jar or does it matter that flour is on the sides?


Also I haven't noticed that my starter mix has grown at all...it hasn't double in volumne....does that mean it's not good or does it mean that it needs to sit longer?  thanks....Curlygirl

placebo's picture
placebo

It's easier to see changes in volume with a thicker starter. If the starter is too thin, the bubbles of gas will rise to the surface through the liquid rather than causing the starter itself to rise like dough.


With a thick starter, you should see a definite doubling or tripling in volume. Can you see bubbles of gas trapped inside when you look through the sides of the jar? Note that after being fed, the starter will peak and then deflate. If you only checked it once a day, it's possible you just didn't see that the starter did in fact double in volume.


Crusted flour on the sides of the jar shouldn't be a problem — it's pretty hard to avoid completely — but you could always move the starter to a cleaner jar if you desire.


 

cjack99's picture
cjack99

I tried this starter and the bread recipe a short time ago.  The starter is just absolutely amazing to me, like a magic trick or something.  I don't know how it works, but it sure does!  Patience is the key I think, I ran with step 4 for almost 2 weeks, and now it looks just like the picture!  Thank you Sourdough Lady!


My first loaves didn't turn out great, but acceptable I think.  A little too dense, I wish I could have gotten them to raise more.  But this leads to my questions, perhaps I can get some help?


Must you leave it in the fridge overnight?  I took mine out next morning, and it took till noon before they stopped feeling fridged, what if I just left them out to rise overnight instead?


The recipe calls for lemon juice, and I stumbled upon lemon juice packets at the store, can these be substituted for lemon juice?  It says so on the packets...... :)  What do you think?  They sure look like they would last in the cupboard for a while!


Thanks


cactus


 


 

Mikisas's picture
Mikisas

Congrats on the new starter! You will want to use it to mix up your dough when it is very active and bubbly, at it's highest peak before it starts to fall, for the best results. Come back and tell us how your bread comes out. Good luck!
http://directory2009.com/

marusca91's picture
marusca91

But it did jump to life on about the fourth day and I was thrilled! I never would have thought to mix whole wheat flour and pineapple juice together to make a starter. ben 10

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Thank you, Teresa, for your nice comments. I am passionate about sourdough and I really love to help people learn how to make and use their starters. The pineapple juice makes the starter just about foolproof as it eliminates the possibility of mold growing and ruining it before the yeast gets going. The other factor I can't stress enough is, make sure your whole grain flour is REALLY fresh for the best results.

earth3rd's picture
earth3rd

Thank you for your enthusiasim. It makes me try harder. I'm pretty knew at this, done a few loaves... Need the encouragment I guess. Thanks again.


Mike

earth3rd's picture
earth3rd

 


I've always wondered how the early settlers managed to make such nice loaves of bread in the olden days. It seems that more or less modern yeast didn't come out until after 1850 or so with Fleishmann's innovation. I guess that is probably why you all like this topic. Bread is great. Keep baking.

andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

Sourdolady, very interesting starter method and excellent explanation! I also believe that the yeasts etc we want are on the grain rather than just floating about in the ether. There are lots of things in the air - mould for a start - but I want those kept OUT of my starter, not included in it!
I've seen a starter recipe very similar to yours, but using live yogurt with water to lower the pH level. It also introduces some lactobacillus which assists the sour flavour later in the bread process. Mine was just water and rye - and as you say, it looked very perky by day two, then went dormant for almost a week before the yeasts got going well and it really developed. Excellent starter though, made last May, and it seems to just get better and better.

Andrew

Arianna21's picture
Arianna21

I wonder how you got so good. This is really a fascinating blog, lots of stuff that I can Get into. One thing I just want to say is that your Blog is so perfect! Desenhos Colorir

Bernie's picture
Bernie

Well Sourdolady, after four or five abortive attempts over the years I've finally got a lovely sweet-smelling yeasty starter - your starter recipe worked first time (oh, by the way, I incorporated Floyd's tip about using raisin-water) so many thanks. Bread in the next few days I hope . . .

Bernie

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Congratulations, Bernie, on your new starter! I'm glad it is working well for you. When you start baking just remember to be patient. Sourdough takes longer to rise than commercial yeast. Don't rush it. Have fun and good luck!

Mahlon's picture
Mahlon

Hello,
I'm very new to sourdough starters and have a question. I've tried to make the wild one above with your measurements, but 2 tablespoons rye and two tablespoons juice creates a thick paste. I assume it should look more 'liquidy' like in your photo, but mine is just a thick paste which invites mold. I feel I should add a bit more juice, but don't want to destroy anything. Why equal ratios?

Thanks so much,
Mahlon

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Yes, you can use more juice if needed. When I made mine I used half rye and half whole wheat flour and mine was not thick and pasty. Different flours will absorb different amounts of liquid. Rye especially absorbs more moisture. The mixture should resemble a thick batter.

shazron's picture
shazron

Hi is it possible that the starter got contaminated? It seems nessesary to wash and dry all utensils thoughly at the start.

dulke's picture
dulke

Once the yeasts start going, it will appear more liquidy and be more liquid. You can manipulate the flour/water ratio, but I tend to use a little more flour than water, as I find the starter maintains itself better in the fridge - in the summer I don't bake as often, so I am not refreshing the starter very often. It should not be getting moldy. Be sure that the dish you are using and utensil you are stirring with are meticulously clean.

andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

Just to reiterate that there isn't really a pressing need for juice - just flour (rye for choice) and water will make an excellent starter, using sourdo ladies method as above. Rye isn't required after about the 3rd feed, unless you want to make a specifically rye starter.

The bacteria which make the bubbles by about day 2 or 3 will lower the pH perfectly well and then the it will go dead looking. If you continue to feed though, it will come back by day 6 or 7 and then it is the yeasts you need for bread. I'm quite sure the sourdours produced over the past 6000 years or so in Europe and the middle east didn't use pineapple juice or anything other than water! The bacteria and yeasts needed are present in the flour - especially rye to start it off.

happy baking!

sphealey's picture
sphealey

> I'm quite sure the sourdours produced over

> the past 6000 years or so in Europe and the

> middle east didn't use pineapple juice or

> anything other than water!

 

Interestingly enough that might not be the case. King Arthur Flour is doing some research on bacteria which indicates that a non-sour bacteria might be growing more common [no pun intended] on flours, even organic flours. This bacteria crowds out the sour-forming bacteria and prevents a true sour culture from developing. This work is preliminary and I have only seen references in forum posts, but their testers are recommending that if you can't grow a sour culture with plain water you should try using an acidic juice for the starter and first feeding to create a better environment for the sour-forming bacteria.

 

sPh

andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

Of course, we have no way of knowing how sour, or otherwise, cultures from tens, hundreds or even thousands of years ago were.... perhaps a better terminology would be naturally leavened bread?
It is quite possible that lots of naturally leavened breads, using a starter which could have been kept going for generations, produced breads which were well flavoured, well rising, but not at all sour.
And of course, the starters could have been originally made using plain water, or pomegranate juice, apple juice, grape etc, or even yoghurt - many variables which would have produced a vigorous and viable starter.
Perhaps it is our present fondness for a sour taste which is out of kilter??!

shazron's picture
shazron

I have several startes happening as im trying to get a particular flavour unknown to me yet! But one is made from adding a small bunch of very somewhat fermented graps taken from the vine and placed into my starter. I was able to use it to make a loaf within 4 days. I will experiment a little more with this.

andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

I agree with Dulke - a thicker starter keeps better in the fridge. It can go WEEKS without feeding, then when you refresh, it's ready for baking after 2cnd feed. I use quite a lot more flour than water- typically 30 grams starter, 30 grams water and 50 grams flour, which makes quite a thick paste, but it slackens off after a couple of hours as it begins to ferment, at which stage I put it back into the fridge.

freshmilled's picture
freshmilled

I used this recipe for starter using freshly milled hard white flour and fresh squeezed o.j. I am currently on day 8 and it is bubbly and yeasty. But I need the actual bread recipe. I will be using freshly milled flour and will adjust the recipe to accomodate that unless you already have one using freshly milled flour. I'm so excited to have an active starter on my first atempt. Thanks for the help. freshmilled

cambridgejen's picture
cambridgejen

I'm making my very first starter using the flour and pineapple juice method. Today (Day 4) everything looks absolutely perfect, except at the top of the bowl near the saran wrap, there was a little dough residue stuck to the side of the bowl that now has mold spores on it. Does this mean I have to throw the whole batch out? The main dough itself doesn't show any signs of mold so I'm wondering if I can wipe off the sides of the bowl and keep it going.

Thank you!

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Don't worry about the mold. Just scrape it off and clean the bowl. It will be fine. Good luck with the starter! How is it going? It should be getting active by now, since it has been several days since your post.

merchina's picture
merchina

Hello everyone!


I'm new to this site. Just tried making this starter & it's now day 2 but already has a carpet of mold (white & black) growing across the entire paste! I live in Singapore where it's hot & humid.


Is it safe to peel this layer off & continue with day 3 using a new bowl? (I have already peeled it off n the remaining paste is totally covered with bubbles! It still smells as sweet and I can still get the faint whiff of citrus in it.)


Or should I just discard the entire batch & start anew?


 


please advise.

teojen77's picture
teojen77

Hi there,


Did you eventually managed to make a starter your own? I live in Singapore too and is trying out too...


 

ojuice's picture
ojuice

I'm currently on Day 3 of your recipe and there still aren't any bubbles. It does smell deeply of alcohol though (which indicates to me that there is yeast in there). I'm using Bob's Red Mill Dark Organic Rye Flour and Dole Pineapple juice. Am I doing something wrong, or should I just be patient?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Be patient! Day 3 is much too early to start worrying. It generally takes an average of 7 to 8 days to get it going good. It will probably start bubbling and then it will appear to be dead for a day or two and then it will start to bubble again. The first bubbles are not the yeast growing, but just bacteria. Keep us posted on how it goes!

Rick2u's picture
Rick2u

Hi SourDoLady.

        I am in day 5 so I am discarding all but 1/4 cup and adding 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup water repeating this for day 6 and day 7. (making 3/4 cup) Then how do I get to 1 1/4 cups of starter for the recipe and still leave enough to keep starter going. Do I add 1 cup flour and 1 cup water on day 8? Sorry for probably a lame question but this is my first starter.

To do it right, do it yourself.

dpnync's picture
dpnync

I've been following the starter recipe by Eric at Breadtopia. Eric talks about a alcohol he calls Hooch, and he advises to pour off the alcohol. It has happened to me a few times, usually when the starter is not showing much fermentation. When I see that brownish liquid, I smell to verify, then pour off gently without disturbing the starter so the solids stays at the bottom. 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Everybody has a different experience with getting a starter up and running, but slow starts seem to be pretty common.  It always feels longer, too, when you want it to be ready right now.  So, hang in there.  Yours will bubble and froth, when it feels like it. ;-) 

Just look at it as a practice round for the long, slow ferments you'll be doing with your sourdough breads.

Good luck and happy baking!

PMcCool

NahikuRay's picture
NahikuRay

Hi, all.

 I followed the above recipe for a starter, and, much to my surprise, I have one.  In a one quart mason jar, I have about a cup (or a half a cup if you knock all the gas out of it) of whole wheat starter that I am still developing with daily feedings; saving out a quarter cup, cleaning the jar, replacing the reserved quarter cup, and feeding it with a quarter cup of bottled water, and a quarter cup of whole wheat flour.  It is about 8 days old and I would like to bake with it this Sunday, in about two days. 

.

Should I increase the amounts of water and flour for the feedings, and, if so, by how much, to get a greater amount to work with, or will the quarter cup left after I reserve and feed be adequate? 

.

What I have read on this site suggests that the quarter cup should be good enough, if you do not mind long ferments/proofings, which are supposed to be good for flavor development in low sugar, or sugarless, breads.  The recipe I'm using is just water, yeast (or starter, in this case), flour, and salt.  I have no problem letting things take their sweet time in the risings.

Thanks,

Ray

Somewhere under the clouds,

Nahiku, Hana, Maui

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Great looking loaves of bread, you guys! Keep up the good baking.

 

Ray, you can feed the starter as much as you want in order to increase the quantity for your recipe. You can also adjust the amount of flour to water to get the consistency of starter that you prefer. Keep in mind that when you use a recipe the original baker's starter may have been either wetter or thicker than yours so adjustments are often necessary. It is always better to err on the side of wetter dough as too much flour makes for tough bread.

ericrx's picture
ericrx

Hi SourdoLady,

A few weeks ago I decided to learn about making sourdough bread. I located your starter procedure after doing a Google Search.  I was able to find a box of whole grain, stone ground rye flour at Wal-mart, oddly enough, made by Hodgson Mills and I already had some small cans of pineapple juice on hand so I gave it a try. It worked perfectly! Before I went to sleep at the end of Day 2 there were one or two little bubbles and I thought it would probably take a while, but when I woke up the morning of Day 3 the level had doubled in volume, was FULL of foamy bubbles, and smelled heavenly. I'm on Day 4 and will continue working with it.

Now the hard part, learning to make the bread. I'd love to make something like the beautiful loaves at the top of the page that you made with your first attempt at your new starter. Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Eric

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Congratulations on your new starter, Eric! Sounds like you've got a great start. The recipe I used for my bread is posted on my blog on this site. It is called "Deluxe Sourdough Bread". It is quite simple to make, so give it a go. The only way you are going to learn is to jump in and do it. Every time you bake you will get better at it. It's one of those things that just take practice. While your first loaves may not look perfect, they will still taste good. Remember, sourdough rises slower than commercial yeast, so don't rush it. Good luck!

mnkhaki's picture
mnkhaki

Sourdolady.

Your post is excellent. Your bread pictures looks good enough to buy it off the web! BUT, I have a question which has been bothersome for a while. I believe floyd answered something to a similar question based on a specific recipe. But now I have 3 general questions.

Question 1: Let's say I have a starter dough. I have a recipe that doesnt call for the starter dough, but for some baker's yeast (instant or active, etc.) What and how do I substitute the starter dough for the yeast? The size is relative to the amount of loaves I need to bake, therefore it is not a set size.

Question 2: How did your loaves turn out this way? I bake mine on a flat pan. Do you use a spray for steam?

Question 3: My risen dough is usually difficult to transfer from the second rising on the sheet that it is on, to the oven in another sheet pan. I find the dough too flaccid and it may loose some of the 'scars' I put. Should the bread rise the second time on the actual baking pan/sheet?

I am positive I'll have questions when I actually start the starter dough itself :) But certainly, you have been phenomenal in explaining thus far. Thanks!

Nazir

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Hi Nazir,

Thanks for all the kind words. There are several ways to convert to sourdough and I am all for using the simplest way I can find. Here is how I do it:

 

Converting to Sourdough
The easiest way I have found to adapt a recipe without altering the ingredients too much is to take all of the liquid from the recipe, stir in 2 Tbsp. starter, add the same amount of flour as the liquid. Let this sit, covered, overnight (room temp.) Next day, continue by adding the rest of the ingredients, remembering that you already used the liquid and part of the flour. If your recipe calls for milk rather than water, use water but then stir in some dry milk powder after the overnight proofing is complete and then mix your dough.

 

Your second question, I'm not sure what you mean when you ask how did I get my loaves to turn out that way. I shape my loaves free-form and then after letting them proof I bake them on a preheated baking stone. You could also bake on a baking sheet if you don't have a stone. Yes, I use spray for steam. I spray Immediately upon loading into oven and once every minute for the first 5 minutes. I also place a pan of hot water on the bottom rack of the oven while preheating the oven and I leave it there for the first 10 or 15 minutes of baking, after which I remove it.

 

Third question, I place my shaped loaves on parchment paper. Once they are proofed I just pick up the ends of the paper to transfer the loaves to the baking stone. It works better than sliding them for me. Any more questions--just ask!

andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

Remember also to look after the starter! The flavour / activity just get better and better as the months go by - so treat it as an heirloom in the making!

boltzst's picture
boltzst

I've learned so much in the last week wandering this site, and now it's time to ask the dumb question:

 I'm on day 4, and everything is going well with whole wheat/pineapple juice starter.  I've used a paper towel over a 1qt mason jar to allow breathing and kept it on the fridge.

 Question 1:  can I put this outside, uncovered in an attempt to capture more wild yeast?  

Question 2:  When I'm ready to bake...if following directions, I have a 1/4 cup worth of starter.  Can you walk me through the point where I just discarded all but 1/4 starter and making the dough for the bread (use your recipe, as an example).  I'd assume I'd add more flour and water to make the recipe.  Say I add enough flour and water for 2 cups of starter.  How long does this need to set for?  Overnight?  2 days? At room temperature or in the fridge?  Then, once baking, I take out 1 and 1/2 cups starter for the recipe.  Do I discard all but 1/4 at the same time and continue with the starter feedings like before?  

 

Question 3:  How long can this be left out to develop before going bad?  you mention a couple weeks, but is there a time that's too long before being refrigerated?

 

Thanks for all your help!

Shaun 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Sorry I missed your post in December. How's the starter going? Leaving it out at room temperature for 2 weeks is just to get it established and growing well. During that time you must feed it at least once daily, but every 8 hours is better. Before feeding, dump out all but a very small amount. I would recommend saving only a tablespoon and then feeding it with 2 oz. each of flour and water. At this stage you don't need large volumes of starter. Once it is performing well and you have baked successful loaves of bread with it you can start storing it in the fridge between bakings and feeding once a week or so. You can go much longer between feedings, and especially if you keep your starter thick, but your starter will perform better if you keep it fed frequently.

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

Hi,I've been trying to make a starter since Jan. 10th. I started with Bob's Red Mill Organic Med. Rye and orange juice. On the 4th day I poured off all but 1/4 cup and added to that using white flour and water. So far I've had a couple of days of small bubbles (very small) or no action at all. Today I added 1/4 tsp. of cider vinegar as you suggested on another post and 1/4 cup flour and water. It smells winey. Any idea what I can expect? Will it ever bubble up? My kitchen is cool but I keep the starter in the warm corner. Thanks for any suggestions or help. weavershouse

demegrad's picture
demegrad

I've only made and have since maintained one starter in my life, so I can't speak from to much experience but it sounds like it's going fine.  It's only been a week.  Just keep throwing half out and feeding it with flour and water.  I personally don't believe there is any reason to use anything but white flour or vinegar/oj.  My feeling is that if it can be done without vinegar or oj, than there is no reason to put them in there at all.  But there is a million ways of making/maintaining a starter out there and nearly all of them will work.  If your leaving out on at room temperature I think it's best to feed it daily even if it appears to not be doing anything.  But if it smells winey like you said, it should be well on it's way. A few more days and it should be ready to store in the frig, if that's what you plan to do with it.

demegrad

http://www.demegrad.blogspot.com

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

Patience is a virtue that I think I have with everything except this starter. I stare at it for longer than I care to admit hoping to see some life. Tonight I'm going to pour off half, feed it and be patient. Thanks for the help. weavershouse

demegrad's picture
demegrad

I guess temperature could have a big effect at this early stage of starter development.  I started mine in this past summer and I started using it after a week but the first two breads I made with it I had to admittedly knead in some instant yeast because it was taking longer than I planned out.  But now it's several months later and I couldn't be happier with it.  I think wild yeast does better in colder temperatures than instant yeast so it's kind of perfect for baking in the winter.  I think since essentially my sourdough starter "lives" in the frig that the yeast that has developed and is especially suited for cooler temperatures, I could be wrong, but your starter will become a good friend and your jar of regular yeast will get pushed to the back of the frig near some old store bought fruitcake someone gave you for christmas.

demegrad

http://www.demegrad.blogspot.com

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

You were right demegrad, a couple of days after my last post the starter was working good. I did throw half out (which kills me to do no matter any explanations given) and I made the starter a little thicker. It worked, I'm happy. I've made bread since and while it's been very good I hope the flavor will improve more with time. Patience again.Thanks. weavershouse

demegrad's picture
demegrad

I'm right there with you.  It kills me to throw out starter but don't worry once the culture is healthy which it sounds like it is you can really choose your own way to do things without ever having to throw any out.  You just have to do the whole throwing out thing at the beginning because you want to feed it with enough fresh flour and water to help the yeast grow and this just eventually leads to having to much.  I've find I'm keeping less and less starter around and ever once in a while making pancakes or dog treats or something recipe that uses a lot of it.  If you have any questions just let me know. 

demegrad

http://www.demegrad.blogspot.com

hoerlel's picture
hoerlel

This is my first time posting and I have lurked for over a year.

I am on day 5 of the sourdough starter with the pineapple juice and I am not seeing any activity as yet. Since tomorrow is day 6 and a bit of vinegar could be used to step up the process, I am wondering if I can use another type of vinegar instead of the apple cider vinegar. I seem to have every other type of vinegar that is available except the apple cider vinegar.

 

Help!

Lucy

Rick2u's picture
Rick2u

 

Re SourDoLady Starter

        I am in day 5 so I am discarding all but 1/4 cup and adding 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup water repeating this for day 6 and day 7. (making 3/4 cup) Then how do I get to 1 1/4 cups of starter for the recipe and still leave enough to keep starter going. Do I add 1 cup flour and 1 cup water on day 8? Sorry for probably a lame question but this is my first starter.

 

 To do it right, do it yourself.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Rick, once the starter is bubbling well and obviously active you can increase the amount you feed it to obtain however much you need for your recipe. In the early stages you would just be wasting flour if you fed that much. Many people like to feed their starters by weight, for instance = 4 oz. flour and 4 oz. water. That would make a starter with 100% hydration. You can feed it as much as you want to in order to make the quantity that you need. Your starter doesn't care if it is thick or thin--it just likes to be fed regularly. Do it how you prefer, but always dump out most of the old starter before feeding. You still have a few more days to go before you will have an active starter so be patient!

TerryB's picture
TerryB

I started a new starter using your recipe with pineapple juice. I am on my Day 3 and when I went to feed it tonight it had mold on it. I scraped out the starter that looked like it did't have any mold on it and put it in a clean bowl and fed it. Was I right to do this or should I throw it away? I had very few bubbles in it and I'm hoping to see more tomorrow.  TerryB

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

You did the right thing. Just keep a good eye on it in case the mold comes back. I am surprised that it molded as the acidity in the pineapple juice usually prevents that from happening. Stir it good several times a day. The day 3 bubbles are usually not the yeast growing, but bacteria. The yeast doesn't kick in until about day 5 to 7, but that depends on the temperature of the room too. Good luck and keep us posted!

TerryB's picture
TerryB

TerryB  The starter is now on day 5 and it is bubbly and slightly risen. It seems to be doing well. Will see in a few days how it is doing. I will let you know. Thanks for the recipe. I have tried others and just could not get them to work. Terry

jim2100's picture
jim2100

Hi

Well I just started mine. But have a question or two.

"Once your wild yeast is growing, the character and flavor will improve if you continue to give it daily feedings and keep it at room temperature for a couple of weeks longer.
After that time, it should be kept in the refrigerator between uses/feedings."

Qt. What are the daily feedings?

The same as day 4, Stir down, measure out 1/4 cup and discard the rest.
To the 1/4 cup add...
1/4 cup flour*
1/4 cup filtered or spring water

or is it; 2 T. whole grain flour
2 T. juice
, as in days 2 & 3?

Is it this again and again?

Jim

 

 

 

 

I enjoy cooking with wine. On occasion I even include it in the recipe.

sadears's picture
sadears

SourdoLady,

 

So are you saying that you shouldn't use a citric juice?  I do only water and flour.  At first I tried equal amounts, but because of the altitude, I had a bit more water.  Just as I have to increase my liquid when I make the dough.  I tried adding commercial yeast, but (as S. John said would happen) some "sourdough snobs" pooh-pooh'ed that saying 'NEVER add commercial yeast to your starter.'  And that's okay, since I didn't get great results from that either.  When I finally got my patience, or lack thereof, under control, it finally performed as desired.  After using it, I inadvertantly (I wasn't paying attention at the store) used bleached AP flour.  It would double, then die.  Some said use it anyway.  I did when I made my stromboli.  Worked well.  I still don't know why the bleached AP died, but oh well.  Anyway, I've seen recipes using honey, sugar, commercial yeast, and orange or grapefruit juice.  If the acidic juice brings down the pH, isn't that a bad thing?

 

Steph

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Steph, the juice is only used in the first few days when you are creating a brand new wild yeast starter. Once the yeast wakes up and starts to grow you should switch to water and continue to use water thereafter. As for the bleached flour, I really can't say much. I only buy unbleached. I have read that the bleaching process can leave residues that are harmful to the yeast, but I am sure that once your starter is well established it wouldn't kill it. Sourdough yeasts thrive at a low pH (3.5 to 4), so NO, the juice isn't a bad thing. After your starter is established it will naturally maintain a low pH all by itself with no juice needed.

Sarathebakerrr's picture
Sarathebakerrr

Hi Sourdolady, I'm a Baking student here in Orlando Florida and I actually came across this recipe for your sour dough starter and decided to use it for my class test grade. We are being graded on making and maintaning a sour dough starter and then bringing into class and using a recipe to make a loaf. I would really  like to do well and my professor chef mackie wants us to be creative and use a new an interesting recipe with our starters. Well here's my question what recipe goes great with this starter. Something fruity and sweet or what? Please help! I need an A badly!

 Thank you & Hope to hear from you soon, Sara

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Hi Sara,

Sorry I didn't see your post before today. How is the starter coming along? If you have a camera, I would suggest you take pictures of the progress to include with your presentation. As far as a recipe to make, I'm not sure. You can make virtually any type of yeast dough recipe with sourdough. Oh, I just had an idea--what about a cinnamon swirl bread? It is a bit more creative than just a plain loaf and looks very impressive. Also, many people when they think of sourdough, think that it is not for sweet breads and they are very surprised that non-sour tasting breads can be made with sourdough. I can provide you with my favorite recipe for cinnamon swirl bread if that sounds like something you might like. Maybe some of the other posters will have some ideas for you also.

Sarathebakerrr's picture
Sarathebakerrr

I would really like to try your recipe as well. Just get back to me...thank you! -Sara

mnkhaki's picture
mnkhaki

Hi Sara,

In addition to what Sourdolady suggested, I think sourdough may also work well with Naan Bread. I also am in Culinary School and recently finished the baking section - I made the bread and it turned out quite well (I used yeast).

Naan bread can be mixed with coriander, garlic, red pepper flakes, or you can even sprinkle nigella seeds or sesame seeds on top prior to baking. I'll be happy to furnish a recipe that helped me!

Sarathebakerrr's picture
Sarathebakerrr

I am new to this site so I don't know if this is how you reply but I would really like to try your recipe. Thank you for getting back to me. -Sara

mnkhaki's picture
mnkhaki

Hi Sara

Following is the recipe for Naan. Weight is all relative, I prefer the bakers percentage method:

Measurements:
Bread flour: 100%
Water: 42.9%
Olive oil: 14.3%
Plain yogurt: 14.3%
Sugar: 7.2%
Salt: 1.8%
Some olive oil to brush after baking.

Good to know
Preferable topping: Black seeds (kalonji).
Preferable method of baking: Stone, preheated oven to 500 degrees F. Or use a sheet pan. Sheet pan must also be preheated.

Rest:
Ferment: 1 hour or until nearly double
Bench rest: 15-20 minutes

Optional:
Add fresh chopped garlic, or coriander, during the final mixing phase.

Method:
Using 2 tbsp starter, follow SourdoLady's suggestion of combining all the water with equivalent amount of flour the night before.

Mix using straight method about 4 minutes on low speed. Dough should be slightly wet but elastic. Ferment as above.

After fermenting, punch down and divide and preshape into approx 3oz rolls. Let rest again for 15-20 minutes (bench rest).

Then, take each roll starting with the first one you preshaped, and stretch to make a flat bread into a tear-drop shape. Alternatively, you can begin by using a rolling pin to flatten it a bit, then stretch it after you rolled to approx 3-4 inches circle.

Cover the stretched naan's as you continue. By the time you reach the last one, the first Naan should have sufficiently rested again. This time, stretch it slightly, not for shaping as you did before, but to sprinkle some black kalonji seeds, and then release it so it shrinks back to when it was first stretched.

Bake in the oven for about 7-9 minutes or until golden brown and puffed. After removing, brush with olive oil, and you can also sprinkle red pepper flakes here or freshly chopped coriander (if you did not do it before).

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Sarathebakerrr's picture
Sarathebakerrr

Both recipes the cinnamon swirl and the Naan Bread sound great...I doubled this started required by my teacher so I can try making both. Can I please have those recipes...thanks for your help guys!

hhollyd's picture
hhollyd

Today is day number 6 for my starter. So far it has not gone flat. The original instructions say:

"It is not unusual for the mixture to get very bubbly around Day 3 or 4 and then go completely flat and appear dead."

As I said, this is day six and it's still quite bubbly, it's never gone flat. It smells nice, tho not exactly 'yeasty'. Is this normal?

Thanks, 

HH 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Sounds like it is doing great. It doesn't always do the 'going flat' thing, but it is very common. Your flour must have had some good wild yeast in it. Feed it for a couple more days and then try baking with it.

hoerlel's picture
hoerlel

Tomorrow will be day 6 with my starter and I am not seeing much activity so I want to add some vinegar.  Do you have to use apple cider vinegar since I have every other type of vinegar that is available except the apple cider vinegar?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Yes, you can use any kind of vinegar. It doesn't take much and you will never taste it.

marleesmom's picture
marleesmom

My starter is performing very nicely as of Day 7.  On day 11, I have to go out of town for 5 days.  If I give it a good feeding before I leave, will it survive in the fridge until I get back?  Should I do anything special to revive it when I return?  Thanks.

-Pam

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

By day 11 your starter should be well established if you keep it at room temp and feed it two or three times a day. It will keep just fine in the fridge. When you feed it for the last time before leaving, add more flour so it is quite thick. Let it sit out for an hour or two before refrigerating. When you come back, just take it out and let it warm up and then discard most of it and feed again. It should bounce right back.

Sandaidh's picture
Sandaidh

I've been following the directions given here for making the wild yeast starter...and trying to be patient.  Last night was Day 11, and the starter had lots of bubbles in it, and had risen (at one point) a little bit (maybe 1/8 inch) above the mark I put on the side of the container.  This is the first time I noticed any rising.  It also tasted nice and sour.  Anyway, I fed it as mentioned in the directions (as per Day 4), which I have been doing all along.  I've noticed that it gets more bubbly when it's thicker in consistency, ie. I mix in a little less water than flour when feeding.  It's been sitting on my kitchen counter, where the temperature stays pretty much at 70° to 73°, maybe a little higher, like 75°/76°, if I use the oven.  I've not yet put the starter in the refrigerator.

Some questions -

At this point, should I be feeding it more than once per day?

Is it at a point where I can use it for baking?

How do I get it ready for use in baking?

Thanks in advance.

Sandaidh's picture
Sandaidh

when, after 17 days, and following all the directions above (except adding the apple cider vinegar, I haven't done that yet), my starter has less bubbles than the Day 3 picture and has never risen?  I'll probably add the vinegar tonight when I get home from work, but at this point I'm not really holding out much hope for any change.  And to answer questions, before they're asked...

Yes, clean utensils and containers.

Plastic container.  Plastic and/or wooden spoon and spatula.

Stable temperature, 70° to 73°, with an occassional short-term rise to around 75° when I use the oven.

Starter was started with whole wheat flour and pineapple juice. 

Water used is bottled and basically distilled water.

I've had these same results when in CA.  I'm now in NY.

I'm at a total loss and very frustrated that my starter isn't doing anything it's supposed to be doing.  I'd hoped to be baking bread soon, but...I don't see that happening.  What am I doing wrong?

sphealey's picture
sphealey

Personally, in that situation I would throw it away and start over. It took me three tries to get a good rye starter working; it was frustrating to throw the first two away (esp the 2nd one that was going OK and then molded) but that is what it took.

You might consider trying a different brand of (organic) flour.

sPh

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Sandaidh,

I'm not sure exactly what feeding schedule you have, but here's my way of working with a starter that won't take off but has some sluggish activity after 4-5 days.

Feed it 1:4:4 by weight of starter:flour:water. Let it ferment for about 12 hours at room temperature. Then, refrigerate it for 12 hours. Repeat this cycle until it starts to "take off". The same cycle can be used for a few more days after it becomes active. After a few days, you can refrigerate it after feeding it and letting it ferment for a few hours and it should keep for weeks.

If you have the time, I would suggest splitting the culture in two. Add acid (vinegar) to one, and not to the other. I've found that the acid can help, but often it delays the process yet a few days more, depending on the cause of the sluggishness. If you notice the culture is less active after the acid is added to the feeding, then stop the acid addition and just continue the feeding/refrigeration cycle.

Bill

leemid's picture
leemid

I have wanted to get some of their starters from around the world, but wanted to know if their claim that the starters will persist as when purchased is true, or do they morph into what ever you would end up with if I started my own in my own little corner of the world? Another way of saying it is, will the San Francisco starter remain the SF starter for years/ever, or will it not?

Sandaidh's picture
Sandaidh

I tossed the first try, bought all new flour and started over.  I also put it in a smaller container to make it easier to see any rising.  And I'm happy to report that on Day 6 the starter had bubbles and froth, and smells faintly like beer.  LOL  So it's working.  I also got my San Francisco sourdough starter (purchased from Sourdoughs International) going, so for the past few days I've been able to compare the two, side by side.  The wild yeast isn't as...active as the San Francisco, but then the SF starter has been in a proofing box, where the wild hasn't.  Am I correct in guessing that this may be part (most?) of the difference between the activity levels?  At any rate, I'm looking forward to my first loaf of sourdough bread, which I began last night using the SF starter.  It'll help me be patient while the wild starter gets going enough to begin using.  Thanks for all your help.  And SourdoLady, I think I may know you from another cooking forum I used to participate in a couple years ago.  My name is the same in both.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Yes, I remember you from the other forum. I think I once sent you some dried starter, didn't I? Sounds like your wild yeast starter is going well. Just keep on feeding it for a few more days and it should be strong enough to make some bread. The proofing box does make a big difference. The warmth makes the yeast grow faster. How did the SF bread turn out?

Sandaidh's picture
Sandaidh

Yes, you did send some dried starter.  Unfortunately, due to circumstance both in, and beyond, my control, I had problems with it.  No fault of yours, or the starter, at all.  My bad.  Putting the wild yeast starter in a smaller container has helped me to see what it's doing.  In the other container, all the risings and such were going out (ie sideways) instead of up.  Smaller container and they're going up now.  Much easier to see. 

The San Francisco bread was, in a word...wonderful.  The flavor was exactly as I remember from so many years in the Bay area.  I used the no-knead recipe, which fits very well around my crazy work schedule.  It didn't rise as much as I'd have liked, but I think that has more to do with my inexperience working with sourdough than anything else.  And the crust is a bit too hard.  But when I first tried the no-knead recipe using commercial yeast, I had the same 'hard crust' problem.  It took some fiddling with the cooking time to fix that.  I'm guessing the same will apply with the sourdough.  I'm looking forward to making more.  Thanks for all your help.

cente's picture
cente

Hello,
Can you tell me how much this makes and how to grow it large enough to make two-cups of output every week or so?
Thank you

smartdog's picture
smartdog

I am a newbie on this forum. I've posted a few pics of the Challah's I've made with success, but have decided to jump right in and try your starter tonight and hope to use it in a recipe after it's ready. I thank you very much for your starter recipe. I hear it's a good one to use, soooo, wish me luck. :)

Luv4Country Soaps
http://www.luv4country.com/catalog

mluciano's picture
mluciano

A simple question: The consistency of the sourdough in the pictures is like that before you stir it or after? Before you added the daily feeding or after? Is just that I've been feeding my sourdough for 7 days and doesn't have that much bubbles on it (and I see the bubbles only when I stir it, sorry for the "simple" question).

With the 7th feeding (yesterday) I added 1/4 tsp of organic apple cider vinegar as suggested, but I don't know if my sourdough is behaving like is supposed to.

Oh, by the way, I've been feeding my sourdough with organic whole wheat flour...

Thanks for the help...

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

as quickly as they should have.  I was just reading along and realized nobody answered your questions.  That happens sometimes.   I think the pictures were made before stirring and before adding the daily feeding.  Stirring tends to pop bubbles.  But they soon come back again.  How did your starter come out?  --Mini Oven

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I missed that post! Your answers are correct.

yeastArt's picture
yeastArt

With great advice from you all, I have now fed my starter for 14 days.  In the middle i had to switch from rye to unbleached bread but it's still rising and falling.  Since the recipes were for rye, I forgot my generalizing skills and decided I needed to find a recipe for white.  I bought the Bread Bible and, OH NOOO it calls for stiff starter.  Deciding to forgo the challenge of reviving my once above average math skills long hidden and probably disintegrated into brain dust, I just kept kneading in flour until the starter was a stiff dough.

My question is... now that I have JUST made stiff starter, can I act as if this is the first feeding of the starter as if beginning the bread recipe, (wait 8 hours or doubled and then do the second feeding, then put together the rest of ingredients for risings)) or do I have to feed this stiff starter for a day or 2 every 12 hours and then start the recipe?

In the meantime I have made the millet-sunflower seed bread in King Arthur's Whole Grain Baking book and it is fabulous; tastes like bread is already spread with nut butter! 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I think you would be fine to count your newly stiffened starter as the first feed, as you described. I do not have the "Bread Bible" so I am not familiar with her recipes and techniques. I most often use a liquid starter but on occasion I have thickened it up and made it into a stiff one for specific recipes.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

due to less moisture, It might take longer to double than expected.  When I mix mine very stiff, it takes 3 to 5 days to ripen before I use it.  The point is: make sure it's ripe before you feed or refresh it.   --Mini Oven

RUCHIR's picture
RUCHIR

Sourdolady, I am new to sourdough bread making.I am on day 3 of the starter.The starter has no bubbles and there is something white & mouldy looking on the top.But the starter is smelling yeasty..Should I throw the starter away?Should I keep it?Please suggest. Thankyou-Ruchir.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

No, don't dump it just yet. Scrape the moldy looking part off the top carefully. Do you live in a very warm climate? Stay with the pineapple juice and don't switch it out to water just yet. Stir it briskly several times a day, as this will discourage mold growth. See what it does in a couple more days. Good luck!

RUCHIR's picture
RUCHIR

Actually, I have the starter made from just wheat flour & water.I live in India, so  I couldn't get the pineapples as they are not in season,& finding canned pineapples in Pune is not that easy.They are  available in the malls.But the can is prohibittingly expensive(may sound strange to you!).As it is the rainy season, it is very hot and humid before the rains, and cold after it rains.It rains heavily every day.Then can I use the whey which comes with yoghurt after making it, or do I use diluted yoghurt?If so, how do I adjust the proportion of water? Thankyou-Ruchir.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I would not use the yoghurt in the starter, but it would be nice in the dough when you mix a batch--just use it in place of the water or milk called for.

I'm sure your climate is what is causing the mold. With all the rain you have there must be lots of mold spores in the atmosphere. If you can't get the juice, try adding 1/4 tsp of vinegar to the starter. This will acidify it and control the growth of mold. Are you getting any bubbles in it yet?

sam -the-dane viking's picture
sam -the-dane viking

Can I use a vinegar instead of the juice?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I really wouldn't recommend it. Vinegar is very strongly acidic and it would be easy to get your starter too acidic and then it wouldn't grow. You might be able to get away with adding a tiny amount just until you get past the beginning stages where bad bacteria can get a foothold. Do it at your own risk--you're only out some flour and water.

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Do you have oranges or lemons available?  I used packaged orange juice to start mine.

Somewhere you might be able to find the information for diluting vinegar with water to match the acidity of the pineapple juice. 

ChrisB's picture
ChrisB

Either I am *lucky* or just a purist at heart.  I've always  had success using just unbleached all purpose flour and well water to get a culture.  I think today's lifestyle of *fast food* has ruined the majority of people's attitude toward taking their time to develop a good starter.  It takes some work and some nurturing, but it is well worth the time and efforts.  Sourdough is not a fast food, if someone makes it out to be so.. then it isn't really sourdough, it is then a non-traditional mutation.  Real sourdough goes through several stages and this takes a couple weeks to capture the yeastie beasties and get the right ratio of yeast to bacteria for a good healthy starter.  Sourdough is part of the Slow Food Movement, let's fight to keep it that way.  :-)

Enjoy the week and happy baking to everyone!!!

Chris 

neferset's picture
neferset

Actually, I think the method of using locally mill ground flour is probably more like the way things were originally done, with or without the pineapple juice. Maybe I come at this from a brewing standpoint, but it makes better sense to get the organisms from the grain (the way wines can get yeasts from the skins of grapes--btw, there is a grape sour dough starter out there which is supposed to be really good, also natural/wild yeasts). A lot of the time producing with whatever is floating in the air will give you undesireable results. And, supporting local mills is a good thing.

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Hi SourdoLady,

Do you continue to feed your starter equal parts water and flour?  I'm saving a copy of your deluxe sourdough bread recipe, and want to have my starter about the same consistency the recipe expects. 

Also, for the lemon juice - is bottled OK?  I keep fresh lemons around when I can, but not always. 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I'm afraid I'm bad and I just dump flour and water in when feeding my starter. I know from looking what the consistency should be for my preference. I would describe it as thick pancake batter. The freshly mixed dough is quite soft and sticky immediately after mixing but it strengthens up nicely if you do a couple of folds spaced 45 minutes to an hour apart.

I always use bottled lemon juice also, because I seldom keep fresh lemons on hand

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Thanks SourdoLady.  Thick pancake batter I can manage!  I'll make a note on your recipe.

spike@exoticvessels.com's picture
spike@exoticves...

Hey there,

 This whole Sourdough thing is new to me but I just have to try.

Not sure if it's going to work or not as it's the end of November and colder (mid 40s) this time of year. We keep the house on the colder side as well. 

Anyway, here is how I am starting.

I did not have Orange juice, so I thought I could just use freash.

I put 2 Tbs of each in the jar and mixed. (it's more of a paste).
I put the lid on the jar.

I guess I wait until tomarrow to do the same?

 


 

 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Hi Spike,

Sorry I forgot to answer your post last nite. I was a bit distracted. Yes, you are doing it right. Fresh orange juice will work just as well. You can add a bit more juice so it is not quite so thick. It is better in the early stages to not have it real thick because it ferments better if it is more like a thick batter. Is your flour rye or wheat? The picture is too small to see. Good luck with the starter, and keep me posted as to how it goes.

spike@exoticvessels.com's picture
spike@exoticves...

Hey there,

 It's Wheat.

I started another starter a few days before this one on Friday 23rd. (using a different method).

They both seem to have a nice alcohol smell and are both bubbling a lot.

As it's cold, I have been putting the jars in a bath of warm water a few times a day.

When should I expect them to be ready? and do you use the starter before you feed it?

 

Spike

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

The water bath is a great idea. I have done that before, myself. It also works well to warm up dough that has been in the fridge.

As far as when the starter is ready to use, that can vary a lot. Most generally I'd say a week and a half to two weeks. After being fed it should be very active and bubbly for several hours. When it reaches the point to where it starts to fall, or dip in the middle, then you either need to use it in a recipe or feed it again. A starter that is kept quite liquid may not double, but if you keep it on the thick side it should double in 5 or 6 hours. If you are not used to sourdough, be aware that it will take several hours for your loaf of bread to rise. It's not fast like commercial yeast, but the slow rising allows the flour to ferment and that is where the flavor comes from.

spike@exoticvessels.com's picture
spike@exoticves...

Thanks for the great info.

Looks like I will need another 6 days or so then...... Can't wait!

 So when it's ready, I use what I need, feed the rest and put it in the fridge for another day? Or just put it on the counter top?

Spike

spike@exoticvessels.com's picture
spike@exoticves...

Oops

"After that time, it should be kept in the refrigerator between uses/feedings."

I just re-read your blog... Doh!

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I know, it is a lot of stuff to remember when you are just beginning. After you get on to it though it will be really easy. It doesn't hurt anything to try a small loaf of bread at any time once the starter seems to be good and active. The flavor and strength will continue to increase over the next few weeks, though.

spike@exoticvessels.com's picture
spike@exoticves...

Just checked both this morning.

The younger one (yours) is already smelling sour. The older one is not there yet.

I think the juice realy helped get it going faster.

At this rate, I will have bread by the weekend... Yeah!

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

The juice definitely does help, even though many people from the "old school methods" refuse to admit it or even try it. Peter Reinhart even uses this method in his new book, "Whole Grain Breads".

spike@exoticvessels.com's picture
spike@exoticves...

Can't wait any longer :)

 

I am making some now...

 The kitchen is filled with that sourdough smell as the bread rises.  Love that smell!

I know it won't be as good as it should be, but I just have to have some tonight.

Yum!

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Well......? How did it turn out? Was it edible? (I'm sure it was) I'm dying to know how it went. Don't be holding out on us now!

spike@exoticvessels.com's picture
spike@exoticves...

I'm still full from dinner lastnight :)

Ate too much bread

We made a cheese fondue and had the bread with it.... Yum!

Checked on the babies this morning and fed them..

S1 (the older one) is now starting to smell good.

S2 (yours) is smelling even better!

I have been feeding them 2 times a day.  I think I am going to start a 1 a day program and see how they do. Also I am going to stop the daily bath. I think their old enough now :)

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Spike, congrats on your successful bread! Now you are addicted!! Regarding feeding of the starters, now that they are quite active you will need to feed them more often when you are keeping them at room temperature. Two or even three times in a 24 hour period. Also, I'd thicken them up some because when they are thicker there is more food and they can go longer between feedings. After another week or so at room temp they will be good and strong and ready to be stored in the fridge between uses.

spike@exoticvessels.com's picture
spike@exoticves...

Ok, Will do.

 I am making more bread now.

I have been using a bread machine in the past (including last night).

Tonight I am not using the bread machine and this will be my first time making bread the "real" way.

Right now the two loafs are in the oven with the light on and have more than doubled in size so far.

They look so cool.

Bread

Next time I will make a better shape

 

spike@exoticvessels.com's picture
spike@exoticves...

Both my starters have seem to stop growing the same time I stoped giving them a daily bath in warm water.

Is this normal for them to grow slow when sitting on the counter during cold weather?

It got down to around 49 lastnight and during the day we keep the house around 66

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Spike,

I hope Sourdolady won't mind if I pipe in here. I've spent some effort experimenting and also just reading about how fast starter organisms grow under various conditions, and temperature is definitely a big factor.

With my starter I find that at 66F everything would happen in about twice the time it would at 80F. For example, my starter would normally double in 4.5 hours at 80F after a feeding of 1:4:5 (old starter: water : flour, ratio is by weight). If the temperature were 66F (like it is now), then it would take 10.4 hours to double. At 49F, it goes very, very slowly and might take something like 48 hours to double.

That's one of the interesting things you have to adjust for in making bread, as well. A recipe can go very differently in the summer vs. the winter. My kitchen hovers around 76F in the summer, and drops to more like 70F during the day and 66F at night now that it's cold outside. The difference in how long I have to let my fermentations go, if I don't make any adjustments, is many hours.

However, I have discovered some warm spots in my kitchen, as I think most people eventually do. Next to my espresso machine, if I leave it on, it hovers around 75F in the winter. I have a shelf above a different coffee maker (do you think I might enjoy a cup of java once in a while?) that sits at 78F. The trick is to be careful not to unevenly heat or in any way overheat. A very common mistake is overheating in an effort to get dough to rise. The heat source has to be very gentle and fairly even. For example, I don't put my dough right next to the espresso machine, and I have some pot holders to insulate the shelf from my dough above the other machine.

I've also used JMonkeys trick and put my dough or loaf in a cooler with a bowl of warm water. Another one is to put your rising dough in a Ziploc Big Bag with a bowl of warm water.

Bill

spike@exoticvessels.com's picture
spike@exoticves...

This is all great info!

 

Thanks again

vidsan's picture
vidsan

Hi! I just discovered your site, and really enjoy reading it. I've just today made my first sourdough starter, and am anxious to see the result.

Though I didn't use your recipe, i thought maybe someone here might be interested in following the progression.

I cleaned a plastic container with boiling water and added:

1/2 cup sifted rye flour

1/3 cup of rough wheat flour (sry, don't know what it's called in english)

1 tsp of corn flour

2 tbs of shredded wheat shell (again, dunno what it's called)

2/3 cp of lukewarm water

1,5 tbs of turkish yogurt, made from fresh sheep's milk.

 

I mixed it to a thickish paste and placed it in the container sealing it so it's air tight. 

Playing_With_My_Food's picture
Playing_With_My_Food

These directions were really great.  I have made a successful starter and baked a loaf of sourdough bread with it:

sourdough bread loaf 

 To see more of what I'm baking with sourdough, take a look at my food blog:

http://playingwithmyfood.blogspot.com

Tyson88's picture
Tyson88

I started a starter using a slighlty different recipe: just flour, water, and a bit of sugar.  It is only pre-milled all purpose flour, but I got the recipe from a friend who had brilliant sucess with it---she still has the starter and it is 3 years old!  It has been 7 days now, and nothing is really happening: it definatly smells sour, and produces a yellow layer of wine-smelling hootch, but absolutely NO bubbles or rising.  It is covered with a tea-towel to prevent large things drifting in. 

Could it be the time of year?  Its the middle of our Pacific Northwest winter.  Average termperature inside, with the fireplace going all day and night, is about 15C.

Any suggestions?  Have I killed it somehow?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I answered  your question in the other thread that you posted it in. How is the starter doing now?

Tyson88's picture
Tyson88

Sadly I cant remember which other thread I posted in :S

It is doing ok, I think.  It definatly smells like sourdough, and now bubbles a little after being fed, but there is still no great rising action.  It will be 2 weeks old on sunday (jan 13).  It has spent the whole time on the counter because I dont want to refrigerate it untill I know for sure that it is alive and well.

How do I know when it is done?  Pictures I have seen, show that the whole thing looks "gassy" and rises up in the jar.  Mine bubbles, but definatly no rising.

 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Don't know where that post ended up! Here is what I would recommend that you do

1. Use bottled spring water

2. Feed with bread flour (higher gluten)

3. Feed with enough flour so that your mixture is a thick paste and not a runny consistency.

4. Keep it somewhere warm. There are several ways to do this. You can put it in a microwave along with a cup of boiling hot water (don't turn the microwave on!). You can fill a good sized bowl with hot water and cover it with a lid or a plate and sit the starter container on top of that. You can sit it in the oven with the oven light on for warmth, but beware that this is dangerous because someone could turn on the oven and forget to take it out first (I tape a note to the control reminding myself that it is in there).

5. Stir the mixture often, vigorously.

6. Feed it when you are going to be around so that you can watch for activity.

7. Always dump out all but a couple of tablespoonsful before feeding. The feeding doesn't need to be large. About 1/2 cup of flour and enough water to make a thick paste is fine.

8. Once you start seeing good activity, feed it twice a day until it is active enough to be stored in the fridge.

Follow  these instructions and I'll bet it will take off in a day or two. Keep me posted on how it is going.

Tyson88's picture
Tyson88

At last!  On day 13 it bubbled tremendously and rose up by a good 2cm!

Now can I store it in the fridge, feeding it once a week, until I need it?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Congratulations! I wouldn't refrigerate it just yet. It needs some time to build strength and mature. Up your feeding schedule to twice daily (morning and evening) and give it a few more days before you store it in the fridge. Like I said before, you don't need to keep lots at this stage. When you are ready to bake bread, then you can give it larger feedings to increase the quantity so you have enough for your recipe plus a bit left over to save.

amx's picture
amx

Hello

I'm at day 6 of the sourdough starter (wholewheat flour then white strong flour). Everything has been going fine.  However now my starter is separating and it has a layer of liquid/water on top.  The mix does not look frothy anymore, althought it has some bubbles.  It smells yeasty.  Is this normal?  When can I use it?  I want to make no-knead bread (which I usually make with instant yeast). 

Thanks for you help

amx

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Keep up with the daily feedings. It is normal for it to slow down and then start getting active again. You are only on day 6 so give it a few more days. Keep it in a warm place and it will activate quicker.

hankjmatt's picture
hankjmatt

Greet the authors of the site. Want to express thanks for good work.Your article very useful and interesting.online game

pfviniard's picture
pfviniard

I am on day 4 of using sourdoughladys starter receipe of fresh wwflour and pineapple juice to get a sourdough starter. I have a white fuzzy mold growing up the side of container. I will starte over today. If anyone can tell me what I did wrong or how to prevent this I would be greatfull. I am new to baking and have never done sourdough befroe.

Thanks,

Paula

Well, I should have read more post before I wrote the above. I read sourdoughladys answer to someone elses mold problem. I had not thrown out mine yet so I was able to get 1/4 cup that was not touching the mold and put it in a diffrent clean glass container, I then added the 1/4 cup AP flour and 1/4 cup water. I used my well water. I also used a clean damp paper towel to clean the sides of the dish so no dough smears were there. I have it covered with the glass lid of the bowl. Is that ok or should I use a clean towel?

Marni's picture
Marni

Sourdolady,

I wanted to thank you directly for the great starter recipe and for your help.  The starter is taking over my kitchen and I'm thrilled.  I made my first loaf of bread last night- also using your advice- I converted a recipe I use to make sandwich bread. It was delicious and is GONE!  I have some rolls rising now and plan to make your Deluxe Sourdough tonight.

Thanks again,

Marni

MKnoll's picture
MKnoll

Hey Sourdough lady,

Thanks for all the great insights.  I started a starter by your directions with rye flour and orange juice last Friday and have been feeding it regularly with half water and half high protein bread flour.  So last night was day five, and my starter looked very much like the day 7 picture you have posted here.  One thing though, when I smelled it it smelled VERY strongly of beer, like a dark beer smell, and the fumes caused an almost wasabi like effect on the sinuses when I first opened the container.  It about knocked me over.  Am I cultivating something besides regular wild yeast here?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

That's a normal smell of fermented sourdough. It  just needs to be fed (dump out most of it before feeding). If it is growing well you should probably start feeding it twice a day instead of only once. Do this for a few days before you start storing it in the fridge.

MKnoll's picture
MKnoll

Thank you,

I used it this weekend to make a light sourdough rye.  I was happy to see that the bread rose nicely, but it wasn't a very sour sourdough.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the flavor gets more potent as it ages.

jeremiahsbread's picture
jeremiahsbread

I have two starters currently failing (or so they appear). The first I started approx. 9 days ago, just bread flour and water. It looked like it was working around day four, but since then, it hasn't changed at all. I feed it every day. What's going on here? Also, should I taking some of it out of the bowl? I was doing 1/2 cup of each for a while, now I tried dropping down to 1/4 cup just in case I was overwhelming any yeast that might reside there. (I also tried adding a pinch of active dry yeast to kick start it...)

My Second starter is your recipe for the wild yeast. I'm on Day 3, and I haven't seen any bubbles... am I a yeast killer? I long to have 4 year old yeast growing in my fridge (four years from now) but I just can't seem to get it going.

HELP!!

 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Day 3 is too soon to expect much. Give it a few more days. It usually takes about a week to get it going. Patience is the key with sourdough. Oh, and by the way--don't add commercial yeast to a wild yeast starter! It won't do you any good and it will probably just cause you more trouble. Wild yeast WILL grow, you just need to be very patient.

jeremiahsbread's picture
jeremiahsbread

Ok, I can be patient. At what point, after adding 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 water (if it takes a week of doing so, every day) should I save 1/4 cup and throw the rest away? And how much starter equal 1 package of yeast? How much do I use in a typical french bread recipe. And this wild sourdough yeast starter can technically be used in any recipe, right?

 

Thanks sooo much for all your time and help!!

 

 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

From Day 4 onward you should be discarding all but 1/4 cup and then feeding that 1/4 cup. When your starter matures enough so that you want to start baking with it, then you can increase the feeding amount so that you have a larger quantity of starter to make your recipe.

I would recommend that you start out by using a recipe that is written specifically for sourdough rather than trying to convert a non-sourdough recipe. It is just a lot simpler for you and there are several posted on this site that you could use.

afjagsp123's picture
afjagsp123

Very interesting and helpful posts! I am on day 6 of the posted starter method. (I used whole wheat). My starter smells great, isn't growing so I'm being patient and have added the vinegar

I use very clean utensils for adding. However, am ***I supposed to be washing my container each time I discard before I replace and add back in? I have not been doing that.***

FYI, I'm using a rigid plastic clear container with a vacuum seal type lid (from Target - you may have seen the type...Michael Graves-designed with the butterfly-type closure on the lid to create a seal.)

Stephanie in Very Hot Almost Mexico
Visit my blog: http://bikebookandbread.blogspot.com/

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

How is that starter coming along? Sorry I missed your post earlier. No, you don't have to wash your container every time you feed it. Just wash it when it starts to get build-up around the top. It is important to keep it clean and free of unwanted contaminants and always keep it covered.

afjagsp123's picture
afjagsp123

Thanks for following up! I have a healthy starter, and it is now in the fridge (which reminds me, I need to feed my little bread baby).

 I have made one batch of sourdough. It was NOT great, but it was a start -- seriously I chose the wroooooong recipe -- it WASN'T yours or even from this site...read my blog entry regarding my recipe choice and you'll understand: http://bikebookandbread.blogspot.com/2008/08/first-sourdough.html. Texture was horrible but the flavor and level of sourness was quite good...at least I know I have a healthy starter!

I will be beefing up the starter tomorrow morning for a loaf on Monday or so.

Stephanie in Very Hot Almost Mexico
Visit my blog: http://bikebookandbread.blogspot.com/

newtobreadbaking's picture
newtobreadbaking

Hi, SourdoLady and thanks for the recipe. Do you cover the bowl with plastic wrap, aluminum foil or a tea towel? If you use a towel does it need to be damp or dry?   Your loaves are so beautiful and the crust is so shiny and crispy looking. That's just what I'm trying, very unsuccessfully, for. Do you coat the loaves with eggs or something just before you put them in the oven to bake? I notice some posters are talking about emptying and re cleaning the container the starter is in. So, do you have to take the entire thing out of the container or bowl it's in every time you feed it and transfer it to another (very clean) bowl and then clean the original container or bowl you had it in, dry it and place the starter back in the original container or bowl? Also is cleaning the container you're going to keep the starter in with dish liquid soap and hot water enough or do you have to rinse it with boiling water or something? Sorry for all my questions. I'm brand new to bread baking, sourdough or yeast or any kind of bread baking. My first two attempts, one a whole wheat bread made entirely in a bread machine and the other a rye kneaded and left to do one rise in the bread machine and then baked in the oven, were failures. Both came out itty bitty. They hardly had any rise and the crusts were nothing like any bakery bread I've ever had. Then I found this site and I'm going to try making bread all by hand and retire the bread machine.   Thanks again for all the help you're all giving people, especially newbies like me that really have no idea what the heck we're doing.  

 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Thanks for the compliments. You will be baking great bread in no time, too. There are lots of people here who will help you. Have you started making the starter yet? I just cover mine with a plastic lid. Foil is not the best thing because it is a reactive metal. Plastic wrap would work fine. I wash my container when I feel it needs it--it will get caked on build up of starter around the top. Just wash it like you would any dish and rinse it well. No, I don't wash the container every time I feed it.

The two most common mistakes that people make when new to bread baking are adding too much flour to the dough and compacting the flour too much when measuring in the cup. Both will result in a heavy dough that will not produce a nice, fluffy loaf. Also, do not kill your yeast with too hot of water. The water only needs to be room temperature.

The shine on my loaves in the picture is simply butter brushed on the bread fresh out of the oven. The shine will dull after it sits awhile and the crust absorbs it. The butter will also soften the crust, so if you are after a crispy crust it is not the way to go. An egg wash brushed on the unbaked loaf just prior to going in the oven will produce a nice shine also.

newtobreadbaking's picture
newtobreadbaking

YW SourdoLady, :). Thanks so much for more tips. I haven't done the starter yet. I want to try to bake some more bread probably next Thursday or Friday and I didn't have everything I need yet so I think I'll start the starter tomorrow or Tuesday. Sourdough bread is my favorite so I can't wait to make another attempt. I think too in an attempt to maximize the fiber and nutrition of my loaves I went too heavy on the whole grain (KA white whole wheat and Bob's Red Mill whole grain rye) and too light on the KA AP flour. I'm going to go with much more AP flour this time and go for taste first and then nutrition and fiber. I think it will be a fair compromise.

 

I think I did kinda push the flour down into the measuring cup when I leveled it off. Thanks again. I'll be careful not to do that next time.

 

I followed what my bread machine book said and used water, tested with an instant read thermometer, between 80 and 90 degrees. The book said the water must be added first and the yeast should never come in contact with the water. Now I wonder if the about 85 degree water I used could have cooled too much by the time I added all the other things and turned the machine on. I'll also be careful not to get it too hot. I guess 100 degrees is about right. I see people on this board talk of using water 100 – 110 degrees, but never as cold as 80 – 90 degrees. I think the bread machine book must have been wrong. Also I'm going to do it all by hand and oven bake it. Bye bye to the bread machine.

 

But for the next one that I'll do at the end of the week I'm going to follow your recipe exactly. That is the kind of bread I'm looking for.

 

I appreciate the encouragement. I really want to become a good bread baker. While I love my chocolate chip cookies, more than baking anything else there is just something so fulfilling in baking bread. Supermarket breads have become just too filled with chemicals and awful things like high fructose corn syrup to buy and bakery breads are too expensive and you still never know what is really in them.

 

Thanks again!

  
newtobreadbaking's picture
newtobreadbaking

First I just reread your recipe and I realize it takes about a week, not just a few days, so I won't be baking with it until maybe a week from this Thursday or Friday. This week I may try a yeast bread only proofing the yeast first and being really careful about how I place the flour in the measuring cup and careful about the water temperature. Thanks again for those tips.

 

What I want to ask is once you've discarded all but ¼ cup and then add more flour and water how much of this batch of the starter do you use for one 2 lb loaf of bread? Do you use it all and make a fresh starter about a week before you want to make your next batch of bread or can you make a bigger batch by say tripling the ingredients and only use 1/3 of the finished starter and keep the rest in a covered plastic container in the refrigerator? If you can make extra and keep it, about how long does it keep in the refrigerator? Oh I guess I'm assuming it can be kept cold. I guess if it has to be kept at room temperature than it doesn't keep long.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

How much starter you use in a recipe varies according to the recipe you are using. The starter should be fed and proofed before you use it. I usually pull my starter out of the fridge the day before I want to bake. I feed it as much as is needed to make the quantity of starter that the recipe calls for. I don't measure, but I make my starter about the thickness of a thick pancake batter. I usually do this in the evening and let it proof (covered) overnight. In the morning I mix my dough. The dough can then be put in the fridge to retard for a day or two, or you could proof the dough, shape, rise and bake the same day if you prefer. The flavor will improve with the retard.

The extra starter will keep well in the fridge for long periods of time, but should be fed occasionally. Always discard at least half of it before feeding. Always feed and proof the starter before making dough with it. Never use it directly from the fridge without feeding and proofing first. It is not necessary to keep a large amount in the fridge for storage. If you make it very thick (almost like soft dough) it will keep for quite awhile in the fridge without feeding.

Keeping the starter at room temperature is not recommended unless you are baking with it every day. When kept at room temperature it will consume the nutrients in the flour very quickly and you will need to feed it 2 or 3 times a day.

Good luck with your bread! It's really not that difficult. Don't worry a lot about the water temperature. As long as it is not hot, you will be fine. I just test it with my finger and if it feels neither hot or cold, it's just about right.

newtobreadbaking's picture
newtobreadbaking

All the information you've given me is very helpful. I will begin the starter this week to bake with next week. I'm very allergic to animal dander and I have really bad asthma so I can no longer have a cat or dog but will all this feeding and tending to the starter it'll be almost like having a pet again, lol. I may even begin to talk to it like I do plants. On second thought I'd better not. I attempted to grow an herb garden and after talking to them as they grew I did not have the heart to eat the herbs once they were ready.

 

Thanks again so much SourdoLady.

TheMadWookie's picture
TheMadWookie

I have just finished reading all of the posts to sourdolady's starter recipe.
I have seen everyone talking about various juices and vinegars and a couple of mentions of water.

My question is, I live in town, have a water softener, and connected to that a Reverse Osmosis water filter. Can I use the RO water or must I use bottled spring water?

I use the RO water in almost all of my cooking, but in feeding a starter, is there anything nutrient or mineral -wise that the starter needs? Is the suggestion of bottled spring water simply to avoid chlorination and other chemicals added by the local city water handlers?

Thanks,
Chuck

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

The starter does need the minerals in the water, so if RO removes them I would not use it. Also, hard to medium hard water is best for sourdough (I think that is mineral-related too, isn't it?)

Sorry I didn't see your post sooner.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

that RO water makes for slack dough when used in bread recipes and many have had problems getting the dough to act like dough.  It just turns into a puddle of goo.  More can be found searching for Reverse Osmosis  or RO water in the site search machine.

rmrjwieger's picture
rmrjwieger

 

I have a regular water and flour sour dough starter .... it has great smell and the loaf tastes good and rises well.  My question is can I make what I have more sour with adding a little pinapple juice and rye flour in place of feeding it with unbleached flour and water?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Feeding your starter with rye flour will likely give it more sour flavor. The pineapple juice is probably unnecessary, though. That is just to make the starter more acidic to ward off the bad bacteria until the starter gets established. You also might want to try using some rye flour in your bread doughs. You can sub 1/4 cup of rye in your white doughs without anyone being any wiser to it. That will also give a good flavor boost.

Try retarding your dough in the fridge for 1 to 3 days before baking to increase the sour and the overall flavor. This allows the dough to ferment and really improves the bread.

Brigette's picture
Brigette

Not sure if you will actually read this as original post was 2005, but I just wanted to say a bit thank you to Sourdolady for this recipe and all the advice from others as well. Even though you placed this recipe in 2005 it's still reaching new people!

I am completely new to sourdough, never knew what it was before, thought I'd try it as I like homemade bread but don't like the smell/taste of normal shop-bought yeast.

I started my starter using Doves Organic Strong Wholemeal flour - I actually did three:
one started with pineapple juice
one with tap water
one with bottled spring water.
Infact in the end they all seem to have worked although the water ones were definately much more sluggish to get going.

It was quite cool here (in UK) when I did my starters. My kitchen room temp was about 13C (56F) during the daytime (colder overnight). I had tried standing them on a plate above a saucepan of hot water, when I could, but as I'm at work most of the day I'm not sure that made much difference.
By day 8 the starters never seemed to have risen, so in a panic I put the starters into an airing cupboard one evening and noticed they soon sprung into life but by morning they'd gone flat again. That's when I properly understood your reason for
a) discarding most of the starter before feeding
and
b) frequent feeding.
I should have paid closer attention!
 
I then found that sitting my jars of starters next to the fridge, which gave out some residual heat, was the best place during cold weather.

I've now made some sourdough scones (biscuits) from a recipe online to use up discarded starter, which were very  successful.
And last weekend I made my first proper sourdough loaves using your milk powder/potato flakes recipe.
(The remaining starter has kept fine in the fridge now.) 

Fairly pleased with the sourdough loaves, but I think the inside was undercooked.
I have a fan-assisted oven and, although I kept the temperature lower to compensate, the loaves were getting too dark so only spent 20mins in the oven. I'm going to try another recipe this weekend and adjust oven temperature down further.

If anyone can offer advice on baking sourdough loaves in a fan-assited oven I would be grateful!

Brigette's picture
Brigette

(Hangs head in shame ... I hope you understand that my comment above should have said "a big thank you", not "a bit thank you"!)  

Second attempt making bread with this starter was a lot more successful - used it with a plainer bread recipe this time. Baked it in fan-assisted oven at 180C (350F) for 7 mins then down to 150C(300F) for 32min for medium loaf (6 mins longer for larger loaf).

Dough a lot puffier this time, hardly had to knead at all, it was raring to go - clearly the starter is better established now after 4 weeks.

It's back in the fridge ready for the next baking day. Definately recommend this starter recipe.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Glad to hear you are having some success, Brigette! Sourdough is just so much fun, and oh, the flavor.

I try to check this thread from time to time but sometimes I forget for awhile. The other day I tried to post several times and the site kept freezing up on me. Hopefully with the new upgrade things will be better.

Shelcan's picture
Shelcan

Hi,  I have been doing the feedings for 8 days of 1/4 cup white flour + 1/4 cup purified water and have added the 1/4 teaspoon of cider vinegar for the last 4 feedings and the starter looks like it has a few bubbles when I open the container, but there is also a yellowish liquid on top of the mixture, so I am wondering if this is normal and if I should just keep at it until I start to see more action and bubbles + a volume increase?  I have been pouring boiling water over my stirring spoon + in the 1/4 cup measuring cups and into the container when I clean it after removing the 1/4 cup of mixture to be sure everything is clean.  The mixture smells kind of sour and yeasty so it seems like it should be working but I still don't see a volume increase or a lot of bubbles.


 


Thanks for the help!

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Sounds like you are almost there. Stir it vigorously 3 or 4 times a day to mix the liquid back in. Continue with your feedings and if you have some rye flour, give it a spoonful of that. Sourdough loves rye. Keep it warmish (80° to 85°). If you don't have a place that warm, improvise by filling a plastic bowl with a snap on lid with hot tap water and then set your sourdough container on top of its lid. Keep me posted on how it is going, and good luck!

Shelcan's picture
Shelcan

Hi.  Thank-you very much for the tips...this is exactly what the started needed.  The rye flour and keeping it at 80-85 F kicked the starter into gear.  It looks great now and I baked my first loaf of sourdough French Bread which tasteed excellent!  I have put the starter in the fridge and will be using it frequently...


 


Thanks again!

dsmjm's picture
dsmjm

This was my first attempt at making a wild yeast starter.  I'd seen a Food Network show about creating a wild starter and when I decided to try to make one, I found your receipe.  It looked easy, but I didn't have any of the ingredients handy, in particular the whole grain flour.  I did have grapes.  Knowing grapes are usually covered with yeast, I improvised and used about a dozen grapes in place of the whole grain flour for the source of the yeast and juice.   To this I added 2 T of all purpose flour and 2 T of filtered water.  It's now about day 6 and my starter is looking pretty good.  It's bubbly and quite yeasty smelling.  I hope to try using it soon.


Thanks for the great receipe.

liamatos's picture
liamatos

I read about the sourdough starter, and it looks like a great thing to do! Here in Brazil, there's no such tradition on sourdough bread making, so I've never heard about it before till recently (internet is such a great thing, LOL).


 


But i have one question: how does the process behave on really warm weather ? I live on a place where the average temps are around 85-90 °F , plus really humid (think something like Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia).


 


Also, how does it smell? BF got interested on the process, but was afraid it would smell bad, so he didn't let me make it on his place (here at home would be really hard to explain to mom what i'm doing, LOL).

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I have never lived in a climate such as yours, but I'm sure it would work just fine. You will find that your dough will rise faster because of the warmer temps. You may have to use a bit more flour in your doughs because of the humidity. Breads that rise fast have less flavor but you could counteract that by refrigerating the dough and baking it later. There is no reason to worry about the smell. Sourdough does not have a bad smell. Give it a try! 

GraceBakes's picture
GraceBakes

Hi SourdoLady,


Thanks very much for sharing your starter. I began mine yesterday and so far I have a few bubbles. Sourdough rye is my absolute favourite bread and I cannot wait to make my own!


I have found that my mixture is a lot drier than 'thick pancake batter' so I added extra juice yesterday and again today. Is this going to be a problem?


Thanks again,

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Hi Grace,


It is not unusual that you mixture was dry. Rye flour can absorb a lot of liquid. Adding more juice is fine. It will work either way, but wetter will start the yeast growing faster. Be sure to keep it in a warmish place, too, for a quick start. Good luck! Let me know how it goes.

GraceBakes's picture
GraceBakes

I have been using whole wheat flour. Tomorrow is day four and I will start feeding it plain white flour.


I went with your first timer recommendation figuring that I would be able to use a white starter with rye flour to make a mostly rye loaf. Is this right?


I'm in Australia and it is summer here so it's warm.


Thanks for your help and such a quick responce!

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Yes, you can make rye bread with a white starter. Most rye breads have a mix of flours anyway. You could also take the white starter and feed it with rye flour for your rye bread, if you prefer. It's fun to experiment.

eusebius's picture
eusebius

Hi SDL,


I started my starter with water and rye.  With 24 hours it was really bubbly and rose quite a bit (almost doubled).  I've read that the initial rise is often caused by  "bad" bacteria.  It doesn't smell to good (not sour). Do you think I should keep feeding it as outlined above and wait for the wild yeast to take over?  At what point do you think it'll be ready?  Other than activity, what signs should I be looking for?


Eusebius

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Yes, keep up with your feedings. This first bubbling is not yeast. When it is actually yeast growing, it will smell yeasty at first and then winey or alcoholic as it ferments further. Since you didn't use the fruit juice, I highly reccomend that you add 1/4 tsp. vinegar now (only the one time). It will lower the pH and make your starter activate quicker. It will also deter the growth of bad bacteria that can foul your starter.


Don't be surprised if your starter appears to be dead for a couple of days now. When it starts to bubble again, it is the real yeast starting to grow. It will start as a few very small bubbles on the surface, which will continue to grow in both number and size. From the time you first see them begin to appear it may take a couple of days before you see a lot of activity. You will know when it happens. Keeping the starter warm (80 to 85°) will accelerate activity. Have fun, and good luck!

GraceBakes's picture
GraceBakes

I feel very silly. Yesterday, in a fit of vagueness, I put sparkling water in my mixture instead of still. The bottles looked the same!


The mix smells like it's fermenting. It's day 7 today and the second day of adding the vinegar. It bubbled a little bit today after feeding but it hasn't grown. It bubbled a lot yesterday but that was probably just the carbonated water! Do you think I might have ruined it?


Thanks for your help!

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I doubt that you ruined it. Keep up with the daily feedings, but only do the vinegar the one time--don't keep adding more every day. You should be close to getting the starter active.

GraceBakes's picture
GraceBakes

Thanks SourdoLady,


I am happy to report that it's working. I am going to try baking this evening. I will let you know how it turns out!


Grace

pixy's picture
pixy

Hi, I just found your recipe and this great discussion on sourdough.  I started a sourdough 3 days ago or so with flour and water.  I have a question about your method.  Do you keep feeding it juice and flour forever or just for the first couple days?  My big question is how often can you feed sourdough?  My kids and I are doing our sourdough together.  They wanted a pet and so we are starting out small, with a micro-organizim.  We named it "Yeasty the Beasty".  The kids are enjoying feeding our little "pet" and I look forward to baking bread.  We fed it in the morning and then we fed it at night.  The kids have been asking me why doesn't "Yeasty" eat lunch?  How often can you feed your sourdough? Can you feed it 3 times a day, or would that be bad? 


Happy Baking!

Poverty_Gulch's picture
Poverty_Gulch

I really liked the rationale behind this process and thought I'd give it a shot, but thought I'd punish myself by going all the way with a quasi-wild culture (mistakes are good for my learning process). <grin!>


Started two cultures about 5 days ago.  Bread-flour was the base for both, to one I added 1/4 cup organic rye (Bob's), to the other I added 1/4 cup whole wheat (King Arthur).  Then I got inventive.  The rye got 2 blueberries that had survived the last snow in our garden.  On an impulse I scraped some white yeast from the bottom of a pineapple leaf and mixed it into the whole wheat culture.  Unfortunately I didn't have any pineapple juice left, so I used just a little bit of squeezed lemon juice instead.  My reasoning on both was that the ambient yeasts on the blueberry and pineapple may be the sort that would thrive in acidic conditions, but we'll see how it works.


No results to speak of on Day 1, but small bubbles by morning of Day 2.  Subsequent feedings were only in bread flour, resulted in barely perceptible increase.  Evening of Day 4 showed a doubling in volume and many bubbles, with a bit of a head on the top of both.  The rye/blueberry combo is extremely viscous, thick, and almost gluey.  Scent is extremely fruity, hint of esters, and a little sharp.  The wheat/pineapple combo is much more liquid and very sharp. 


The smell in both is vaguely like the yeasty gack left at the bottom of a carbuoy when racking homebrew at high krausen.  I might test the cultures on a guinea pig before proceeding when they're finished.


Has anyone else experimented with "wild" sourdough cultures in this fashion?  I'll keep playing with it and will update by the weekend.  /not a chemist.  //works in pizza

Klutzy's picture
Klutzy

Hi SourdoLady,


I'm new to baking and have no experience with sourdoughs, so I'm following this thread with great interest. I have some starter in the freezer and am ready to give it a try, but I have a few questions. What's the best way to revive it? Should I refreeze the leftovers or how long will it keep in the fridge? Why discard most of it at each feeding? Instead, could you use the extra to make more starter? For a whole grain loaf, do I need more starter? I like a very sour, chewy, moist San Francisco-type bread. How can I get that result? How did you make your first loaves so shiny? They're beautiful!


Thank you for everything you do for us newbies. Happy New Year to you and everyone!


Klutzy

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

First of all, I will say that I am not a fan of freezing starters. Many will not survive freezing. It is not really necessary to freeze a starter because they will keep for months just in the fridge, even without feeding, if they are healthy going in and are kept at a thicker consistency (more like soft dough).


Since you have already frozen your starter, take it out and discard all but a couple of spoonfuls. Feed it with flour/water to the consistency that you like and set it in a warm place. If it is still viable, it will get bubbly. It could take 24 hours or more to wake it up, or it may bubble within a few hours. What was the source of your starter? Did you make it, or was it given to you?


The reason for discarding old starter is that is has used up all the nutrients in the flour and no longer has any food value to the yeast cells. The yeast cells have multiplied by great numbers so you now have WAY more hungry yeasties to feed. Discarding gets rid of most of the waste and also thins out the number of hungry yeasties so you don't have too many of them competing for food. If you never threw any out, you would be feeding buckets of flour to keep them happy. Yes, you can use these discards in any other baking that you want--add to pancake batter, quick breads, etc. You don't need to save much starter for storage in the fridge. I generally only save 1/4 cup. When you want to bake with it you can build the quantity with a couple of feedings. When maintained this way, you will not be throwing out a lot of starter.


The amount of starter used in a recipe will determine the length of time it takes from mix to bake. It will also have an impact on flavor. Less starter=longer fermentation=more flavor and tang in finished bread. Whole wheat or rye included in the dough will also add more flavor and tang. Sour flavor can be very elusive sometimes. I get my best sour when I make a dough and then fold the dough every hour until the yeast starts to make the dough spongy, shape-rise-bake. You can also refrigerate the dough just before it is ready to shape OR shape and then refrigerate. Take out and continue the next day. This can add a lot of additional flavor to the bread. You just need to play around and experiment until you find the right technique to give the results you are after. For the chewy, moist bread you need a softer, wetter dough.


The shine on the crust of my loaves is simply butter brushed on the hot bread just out of the oven. This also softens the crust, so if you like crispy crusts, don't do it!

Klutzy's picture
Klutzy

Thanks so much for your help, SourDoLady. I took it out of the freezer; there were bubbles, so I figure it's OK. It's in the fridge now; I've yet to do anything with it and I realize two things: it takes a lot of nurturing, and I'm afraid of ruining it! Someone referred to their starter as their Beasty Baby and I feel it is kind of like having a baby--much easier to take care of before it's born! LOL 


I received it as a Christmas gift. I'm very grateful but it seems like a lot of responsibility. I am going to my mom's for a few days so I feel I shouldn't start the feeding process now, yet if I'd done it back when I first asked the questions I could take a loaf of bread with me. Oh dear. Maybe when I get back....

GraceBakes's picture
GraceBakes

Hi SourdoLady,


I was too dissapointed to admit it, but my first loaf was a failure - I was entertaining and forgot to take it out of the oven! Then I went away on holidays. Today I baked again and the bread tastes wonderful. It didn't rise much though. I'm already looking forward to next time. Do you know why they may not have risen much? I gave them 3 hours to rise and then 2 hours to shape rise.


Thanks again for sharing.


Here are todays loaves:



SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Sometimes sourdough can take more than 3 hours to rise before baking, especially if your kitchen is cool. Looking at your bread, there are a couple of things I can suggest. Try folding your dough to better develop the gluten, which will give a better rise. After mixing the dough, pat it out into a large flat shape, then fold it into thirds like a letter. Rotate the dough piece a quarter turn and fold the ends in thirds again. Let the dough rest 20 to 45 minutes and repeat the folding sequence two more times. Each time you fold the dough you will feel it firm up a lot.


The color of your bread suggests that your oven is not hot enough or that you aren't baking long enough. The crust of your bread should be a dark golden brown. 

TeaIV's picture
TeaIV

I'm currently on day 2. last night, I mixed 2 tbs. whole wheat flour and 2 tbs. of lemon juice mixed with some warm water. is this okay? I didn't have oranges or pineapple juice, and I figured lemon isn't too acidic if we can use vinegar (which has a very close pH level). still, I was reluctant, so i dulled it out with some water. I hope it works.


 


also, should I leave my container a little open, or should it be closed tightly?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

How did the lemon juice work out? I have never used it in a starter. It sounds like a lot of acidity, but I'm just going by how sour lemon juice tastes. I have no idea what the pH level is.


Your container should be covered, but not so tight that gasses can't escape.

TeaIV's picture
TeaIV

I'm almost at the end of day 4, and yesterday I started getting that alcohol smell and bubbles. It only worked after i dilluded the lemon juice WAY down. lemon juice has an acidity of 2 (pH). day one I put 1 tbs of water and 1 tbs of lemon juice, and on day 2, I put 1.5 tbs of water and .5 tbs of lemon juice (that seemed to work better).


 


Thank you for Your guide!

cake diva's picture
cake diva

I am attempting to make starter from fresh pineapple after watching the Nancy Silverton PBS video where she talks about doing the same with fresh grapes. She gave no further instructions after submerging the grapes in the slurry.  My questions: 1)Is there a different treatment for this type of starter? 2) When do I start feeding? 3) Should I have been stirring the slurry once in a while?


I have just completed 3 full days with no feedings nor stirrings.  Since day 2, there have been tiny bubbles on the glass walls. The odor smells like that of fermenting pineapples and is not unpleasant.


Appreciate your help.


 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Now all you have to do is add some flour and let it rise.  Then add to a recipe when it starts to smell yeasty again.  It will do it.  This reminds me I started Kiwi starter more than a week ago and forgot all about it...  ...it doesn't look good.  Looks really bad in fact.  Once it gets bubbles and starts smelling fermenty, better to park it in the fridge or keep cool.


Mini

TeaIV's picture
TeaIV

I'm just now finishing day 9, and I'm a little worried. I'm getting a LOT of bubbles, but no rising. the alcohol-like smell ceased to exist several days ago. I changed my starter from whole wheat and lemon juice to unbleached AP and water (except for 2 days in which i used bread flour, because i ran out of AP).


 


does this mean I'm doing something wrong?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I'm not sure about the lemon juice. It may have lowered the pH too much. Don't add any more of it. Do you have any rye flour? If you do, add a T. of rye with each feeding and see if that doesn't get it lively. If you don't have rye, and can't get any, then use a T. of WW instead. Bread flour is fine, and won't hurt anything. Are you using unchlorinated water? Are you keeping it in a place that the temps are in the mid-70's? If it is cooler than that, it will take much longer to start. I'd give it a few more days before you get worried.

TeaIV's picture
TeaIV

i dulled out the lemon juice, and it worked after that... no rye, so i'll add WW. temp should be right, I'm just leaving it out on the counter (I live in western washington state). but how do I find out about the water? I'm using tap water.... (the tap water in washington is pretty good, though).

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Glad it is working better. To find out about your water, either call or go to your city water plant's website. Ask them if they use chlorine or chloramine to treat the water. Chlorine will dissipate if you let it stand several hours. Chloramine is stable and will not dissipate--it is harmful to growing sourdough. Another alternative is to use bottled spring water. Don't use distilled water because distilling removes the minerals and you want the minerals there.

TeaIV's picture
TeaIV

I tried looking for the info about the water, but i give up. I have no clue where to find it.


 


I added the whole wheat, and I got better bubbles. when I asked for a second opinion on its rising, I was told that it rose a little. (I couldn't see it)


 


I'm thinking about adding some honey. I read that in Rinehart's bread and crumb.

BreadHound's picture
BreadHound

O Mi Goodness, I shocked myself! Both starter and bread were very successful!  I was a little shaky in places not knowing how things are supposed to go but tried not to panic and just follow the steps.  Amaaaazing! I followed her bread recipe almost exactly except for the potato flakes (used potato water for my water) and replaced some of the total flour with organic rye flour (1/2 cup and 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour) then King Arthur whole wheat bread flour for the remaining flour.  Kneaded in approx 1 tsp. caraway seed towards the end of the kneading period.  I used a 38 degree garage as my "refrigerator" overnight. Worked great!  my room temp is only 60...I am one cool cat, ha! So I put it in the oven on warm very lightly to rise the next day to kind of raise that temp a bit but not too much bec as she says you want it to rise slowly not as fast as regular bread. 


I shaped it into one big round loaf rather than two smaller ones. It turned out soooooo good, I am just thrilled and stuffed to the gills with that oh so wonderful tasting bread that I never thought I would be able to make! This has the crusty chewiness that I love. Cheers to Sourdo lady.  Hope all will use her techniques.  


Tha BreadHound

lucio's picture
lucio

Hello Peopl!!


I am quite new here and i am trying make my own starter for secondly begin baking. I am now at day 6 or 7 and my experience shows that till when i was using an acid juice made by sultanas (till day 4 i guess) the activity of the starter was fantastic. Exactly when i´ve change the acid juice for spring water the activity has got down and there is no more bubbles and/or any sign of activity. My questions are related to this: (i)to have good results when we make bread is it necessary to havbe a strong starter with high activity right?? with  (ii) to have an always strong-high activity strater could i food it always with acid juice or in some time i have necessarily to change for water?/ What are the incoveniences of use always and acid juice instead water?? Thank you very much in advance.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

You only want the acidity in the very early stages of birthing a new starter. It prevents molds and unwanted bacteria from taking over before the yeast has a chance to get a foothold. Once the starter gets going it will produce plenty of its own acids. Too much acid in your starter can actually be harmful to the yeast cells. You should only be feeding with flour and water after the first few days. For a strong starter, always discard excess old starter--saving only a very small amount, and then feed it frequently. Keeping it on the stiff side will help it to last longer between feedings if you keep it in the fridge. 

notherdigger's picture
notherdigger

     Well thank you for your info, it just so happens that everything you said I must be doing wrong is everything I'm doing wrong lol.  And it is sluggish and really sour.  So I might need to either discard and feed back up or start a new one.  This has been very helpful indeed as my learning curve is just beginning.  I have Carl's dry powder so if it doesn't reconstitute I will start another one.  I have used some but never discarded and keep two-three cups on hand so I have much more direction than before.  Again thanks for taking the time.

notherdigger's picture
notherdigger

   Well I started with a potato starter a couple weeks ago and it did start to work well.  It still gets bubbly when I feed it but I learned from reading various posts that I have not been feeding twice a day but every few days instead.  I haven't refrigerated but I have made biscuits once and hotcakes several times which are/were good.  My question is this, should the starter when the "hooch" gathers on top be so strong that it burns your nose when you smell it?  I've had no ill effects but am still learning and wanted to make sure.  Thanks for any advise in advance.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

That is very normal for a sourdough starter that needs to be fed. The smell comes from the acidic by-product of fermentation (hooch) and it gets stronger the longer it ferments (similar to vinegar). Ideally, for your starter's health, you should be feeding it before it reaches this highly acidic stage. These acids are very hard on your yeast. If your starter is getting this strong just overnight, then you are either not dumping out enough before you feed or you are not feeding enough quantity of flour to it to keep it healthy. If you continue this course of action, your starter will get more and more sluggish until you don't get a good rise. I only save a spoonful or two of old starter before feeding and then I don't need to feed large amounts of flour to maintain it. When I am ready to bake with it I usually give it one small feeding to get things going and then a larger feeding to build the quantity so I can use it in my recipe. I don't dump any between these two feedings because they are so close together.

maxwelldodge's picture
maxwelldodge

I wanted to throw in my two cents worth on starters since I've been baking artisan breads for about three years now. I tried a couple of drops of vinegar instead of the pineapple juice and cultivated a very good starter in about a week. I've also discovered that environment plays a big role in successful cultivation. A well used kitchen, especially where you bake a lot of bread seems to be the key. I live in a one hundred year old house that hasn't been well maintained. 

edtopia's picture
edtopia

Hi!  I am truly frustrated with my sourdough starter.  I've followed the troubleshooting instructions using vinegar, I've switched back to a little rye flour from my white flour to try to get it going, I've kept the starter in a warm cooler, I've stirred it, I've been patient for days!!...I don' know what else to do.  My starter is going on it's 10th day with almost a week of discarding to a 1/4 cup and then adding 1/4 cup...It sometimes smells sour but has not grown at all and I only ever get just a few bubbles.  Could it be because I'm using boiled tap water (then cooled to rm temp) instead of bottled?  Please help.  Should I start over?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

It sounds like you are doing everything right. It might be the water. Is it city water or well water? If it is city water, it is possible that your water treatment plant uses chloramines to treat the water and that is what is causing your problems. Try using bottled spring water or mineral water. Do not use distilled water because the starter needs the minerals that distilling removes. Do not use bleached AP flour. Keep me posted how it is going, and good luck!

Dice's picture
Dice

how long can I leave my mother in the refigerator without feeding it?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Ideally, it should be fed once a week for optimum health and vigor. Realistically, it can go for quite a long time between feedings and still survive. Every starter is different and what works for one might not work for everybody. I once had a starter that went a whole year in the fridge without feeding. I was amazed that it came back to life in 48 hours.  The thicker the consistency of the starter, the longer it can go without feeding. I would say that to be safe, never go more than a month without feeding.

chrisinweare's picture
chrisinweare

I'm on day 4 of my starter and it smells a bit cheesy. Not particularly good cheese, but not awful cheese either. I did not use pineapple juice, because I didn't have any. I used just flour and water.


I'm going to do the refreshment this evening, but wanted to see if this is a lost cause. I did get some pineapple juice this evening and will start another batch.


Chris

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

It is nothing to worry about. In the early stages starters can have unusual smells. They will go away after the starter activates well. You really don't need to start over with your starter. I would just give it a feeding with the juice now, and maybe again tomorrow--then continue on with the flour and water from then on.

pupsicle's picture
pupsicle

Thanks so much for this starter recipe. I've had one going for about six days now and oh lord, it smells GREAT.


Can you suggest a good recipe for a sourdough loaf? Thanks much.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

There are many good sourdough bread recipes posted on the site. I'd just pick one and try it. Everyone has their preferences as to what they like, so it's best to experiment until you find your favorite. Keep in mind that sourdough takes longer to rise than commercial yeast, so be patient and let it rise long enough. A soft, tacky dough will give you better bread than a firm one, so don't add too much flour.

Link's picture
Link

SourdoLady,


Thank you very much for this thread. I do have a couple of questions.


I have a 7 year old starter that seems to be losing some of its depth of flavor.


So I want to get a second starter going and I am going to try this method.


I will be doing the day 3 feeding this evening. No bubbles yet.


I will be patient, but I was thing about temperatures. It is still cold in central Ohio and my house runs at mid to upper sixties. I am using OJ, and out of my fridge, it is also very cold.


Should I maybe let the juice warm up to room temp before feeding tonight?


Should I move the starter upstairs where it is a little warmer?


If I get no bubbles tomorrow, should I still continue with the juice or go on to the normal day 4 feeding?


Thanks, Link

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Keeping the mixture in a bit warmer location will definitely speed things up. Once it gets established then your cooler room temps will not be a problem. It won't hurt it now to have it cooler but it will just take longer to get it going.


Continue your feedings as the directions are written. Are you using rye or wheat flour? If you aren't getting any bubbles, I'd stay with the wholegrain flour until you do (preferaby rye, or a mix of both). Good luck!

Link's picture
Link

Sourdolady,


FYI, after day 3 I kept up the rye/wheat mix, not much more happened on days 4 and 5, just very small bubbles, no expansion. But, the morning of day 6, it had easily doubled with lots of big bubbles. Oder was very mild sour, slight alcohol oder, but this evening I'm starting to get a more yeasty smell. I think I'm well on my way.


 


I have started several starters for me and friends, some worked 1st try, some we had to try several times. I'm impressed with this method, it was the easiest start I have ever done.


 


Thank you very much and happy baking,


Link

cassieconrad's picture
cassieconrad

Dear Sourdo lady:


After about the 3rd or 4th day of making my starter, it smelled great (just like sourdough bread), but it did not become frothy or rise. After that it "died" and did not bubble, rise, or smell at all (it looked like pancake batter). On about the 8th day, it started to smell like alcohol and it almost doubles whenever I feed it. I'm now on day 12, and it still smells like alcohol but it MIGHT be starting to smell yeasty and sour again. I've been doing so much research that I'm confused. Some sites say this is the way it should be, others say I should throw it out. What do you think? Thank you so much!

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Your starter will be fine, so don't throw it out! The reason it smells of alcohol is because it is fermenting, and alcohol is a by-product of that. To get rid of the alcohol smell, you need to feed it more often (always discard at least half of the old mix before feeding). Try feeding it every 8 hours and see if that doesn't sweeten it up. It will probably be more active, too. Once you get it healthy, you can now start storing it in the fridge until you need to use it. When stored in the fridge, a feeding once a week should be enough to keep it in good shape.

drfugawe's picture
drfugawe

May I carry this "alcohol" smell discussion a bit further?  Please forgive if this is too far off topic, in this incredibaly long thread.


Over the past sev years, I've been influenced by the sourdough, and the long, slow fermentation movements.  But there have been times when my fermenting dough may have sat too long in my refrigerator - the situations I'm describing are periods of say 2 or 3 days or longer, of fermentation rests in the fridge - after which when removed, the dough would exhibit a strong alcohol/chemical odor, and a very slack character - almost no apparent yeast activity present. 


My first question is, What causes this?  There will be times when the dough is left in the fridge for the same time period, and it will be nicely risen and fermented when removed.  So, there must be other factors at work here - ???


Second question is, Is there any way to save this dough when it has reached this stage?  I have not been successful when attempting to re-introduce new yeast, or to use half of the affected dough in a newly made dough, where it seems to negatively affect the resulting loaf.  Is it best to simply toss it?


I know that sourdough is a complex and mysterious science, and my own knowledge of it is severely limited - but I'd really like to avoid ruining my future loaves, but to build in all the flavor that a long, slow fermentation will allow.  Any insight will be much appreciated.


jm


 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

You've turned your dough into an overripe mature starter.   Alcohol smell is a sign of advanced fermentation and underfeeding in the case of sourdough.   The yeasts and LABs have used up the food in the dough and exhausted it.  The gluten will not hold and the gases are long gone.   It's no wonder it's gone flat and won't be cooperative. (But flavor it has!)


Influencing the maturity of the dough are variables such as temperature; temp of the dough itself, room temp and/or placement top or bottom in the refrigerator.   It might be worth a try to use less starter in the recipe  or refrigerate the dough shortly after mixing to slow down the fermentation.  Maybe the fridge is warmer than 39°F or 4°c.


Saving it?  Think of it as starter and go from there.  I think a 1-2-3 sourdough would be a good idea.  Going half on a new dough sounds risky (the 3 day dough sounds very mature) but try adding a good dose of instant yeast to speed it up, since the dough already has lots of flavor.  Prepare yourself for quick rise times.


Another idea,  thin all but a tablespoon (for your next starter)  with a little water and spread thin on parchment and dry it, crumble it or reduce to powder in a blender and use as a flavoring in a straight dough (everything mixed at once) and one made with instant yeast.  Replacing maybe 1/2 cup of flour in a recipe.  :)


Mini


 

Mavericke's picture
Mavericke

Hi there I am in the UK and only recently discovered your site and have spent the last two days scanning through and am fascinated.


One question - in the UK we use gr / ozs not cups (although these are not difficult to convert) but the T in the recipe has thrown me, is this a Tablespoon or a Teaspoon or something else completely.


Your help would be much appreciated and you never know I might be in a position soon to join in and send some pics.


Kind regards

Link's picture
Link

Capital T is Tablespoon


little t is teaspoon

peppy65's picture
peppy65

I have not found this question above and am new to the site.  I tried sourdough with flour and water and it seemed to die.  Maybe i did not wait long enough. I tried for at least a  month making flat hard loaves that did not rise, so i got rid of it.  I would like to try your method but what kind of cover - my other was a towel moistened with purified water.  thanks

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I just use a container with a plastic cover, such as a recycled container from sour cream.  You can also buy plastic storage containers such as Rubbermaid, Gladware, etc., in various sizes. Good luck with your new try at starter. Remember to use fresh wholegrain flour for the best results. When you switch it over to white flour, do not use bleached flour--only unbleached.

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

Hi Sourdolady, I have followed your instructions to make my own wild yeast. I live in NW Canada and needless to say it's very cold and dry here. Today is day 10 and I am getting more bubbles but the volume has not yet doubled. I am hoping if I keep feeding it, I will be able to use the starter next week.


How do I post a picture here?

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

Oh, I figured that out. Day 10 of my wild yeast starter using rye flour and pineapple juice.


Wild yeast starter, day 10

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

That's looking pretty good! Are you planning to keep it a wholegrain starter, or are you going to switch it over to unbleached white flour? Wholegrain won't rise as high. Now that it is actively growing, I would start giving it two feedings a day. Don't forget to always discard at least half of it before feeding. You will also get more rise if you make your starter thicker in consistency--more flour than water. Just because it doesn't double doesn't mean it isn't capable of rising a loaf of bread. I'd give it a couple more days of twice daily feedings and then try baking a loaf.

Deonia's picture
Deonia

I have just successfully made a sourdough starter and am anxious to try the Deluxe Sourdough Bread and your recipe using dry milk powder/potato flakes as mentioned in some of the posts, but, I don't know where to look for the recipes. Can you tell me where/how to find them? Thanks for the help

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

The recipe is here on my blog:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/257

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

Thanks, Sourdolady!  I have started feeding the starter twice a day and today I put some unbleached flour in it.  Instead of throwing away 1/2 of the starter, I saved it for an experiment.  I fed half of the starter with the same amount of flour and water.  For the other half, I used less water (as you had suggested).  A few hours later, the drier starter did rise more than the wet one.  The wet one got more bubbles but didn't rise as high.  Truly interesting.  I use the wet starter to make a sponge and I am going to use it to make pancakes and maybe even a loaf of bread tomorrow.  Will see if the new starter have enough strengh to rise a loaf.  I am getting pretty excited.  Thanks again.  I will keep you posted.

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

I did it!  The wild yeast looked pretty good last night so I made a sponge.  Then this morning I made this huge loaf of Russian Black sandwich loaf.  I allowed it to rise 4 hours the first time then 2 hours the second, totally 6 hours.  It rose a lot bigger than I thought but the texture was soft like white bread, with the nice rye flavor.  We had some for dinner and loved it! Thanks Sourdolady!


 


 


SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

You did a really good job on your bread! You should have taken a crumb shot, also. I'll bet it was really nice on the inside, too. You will notice that the flavor will change as it ages over the next couple of days.

cake diva's picture
cake diva

The volume of the bread and your description of the crumb are 2 characteristics that I'd like to have in my bread.  Is the recipe here somewhere? I may have missed it.  I'm inspired to try it.

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

Thanks SourdoLady!  Next time I will take the crumb shot.  I am not sure if we will get to find out about the new flavor of this loaf.  We loved it so much that we ate half a loaf as soon as it was cooled.  LOL


Cake Diva, I actually modified a breadmachine recipe for this loaf.  It's so massive that it created a muffin top upon baking.  Here's the original recipe:


1-1/2 C water (I used less, depends on the wetness of the sponge)


2 T cider vinegar


2-1/2 C bread flour (I used whole wheat)


1 C rye flour


1 tsp salt


2 T margarine (I used sunflower oil)


2 T dark corn syrup (I used molasses)


1 T brown sugar


3 T unsweetened cocoa powder


1 tsp instant coffee granules (I used 1/2 T)


1 T caraway seed


1/4 tsp fennel seed (optional, but I use 1 T)


2 tsp active dry yeast (of course, I used the sourdough sponge)


The recipe says 12 serving,  an 1-1/2 pound loaf.  Believe me, it's a lot bigger than 1-1/2 pound loaf.  Next time I will either reduce the ingredients to make a smaller loaf or make two medium loaves.  The loaf I have is so big that it couldn't fit into a regular whole grain bread bag.

cake diva's picture
cake diva

I'll try not to change a thing.  I love it the way it looks, and from the ingredients, it must taste good and a bit on the sweet side, which is just the way I want it.

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

are you using only 2 tsp starter in lieu of the active dry yeast ? 


Maybe you can help here with the original recipe or explain it a bit better for this newbie, grin....  


 


Thanks !

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

Thanks SourdoLady!  Next time I will take the crumb shot.  I am not sure if we will get to find out about the new flavor of this loaf.  We loved it so much that we ate half a loaf as soon as it was cooled.  LOL

Cake Diva, I actually modified a breadmachine recipe for this loaf.  It's so massive that it created a muffin top upon baking.  Here's the original recipe:

1-1/2 C water (I used less, depends on the wetness of the sponge)

2 T cider vinegar

2-1/2 C bread flour (I used whole wheat)

1 C rye flour

1 tsp salt

2 T margarine (I used sunflower oil)

2 T dark corn syrup (I used molasses)

1 T brown sugar

3 T unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp instant coffee granules (I used 1/2 T)

1 T caraway seed

1/4 tsp fennel seed (optional, but I use 1 T)

2 tsp active dry yeast (of course, I used the sourdough sponge)

The recipe says 12 serving,  an 1-1/2 pound loaf.  Believe me, it's a lot bigger than 1-1/2 pound loaf.  Next time I will either reduce the ingredients to make a smaller loaf or make two medium loaves.  The loaf I have is so big that it couldn't fit into a regular whole grain bread bag. 

Loraleigh's picture
Loraleigh

Hi, I am on my second attempt.  The first try I used a store bought packaged starter, it went moldy right away.  This time I am trying the pineapple juice one.  So far so good.  Just wondering for Day 4 the instructions say to: keep 1/4 cup and discard the rest; just wondering why you have to discard and if there is something I can do with the discarded stuff?  Thanks for the tips, still learning.


 

neferset's picture
neferset

When I started mine, I used a packet of dried San Francisco sour dough starter sent to me by mail from a friend who started hers out on the west coast, so it may (or may not) have started out a bit quicker, but what I did was ignore all instructions to "discard" and I simply divided the starter into two containers and made a second one to give to a friend (who baked her first loaf a couple of days before me).


It was interesting being able to compare our experiences (our methods differed slightly and our breads were very different! One wonders how "related" our starters turned out to be, also) like that and she is very happy with her starter. We likened it to the Amish Friendship bread, although being bread rather than a product that had to be sweet, we agreed it was better.


I have heard some people say that you can use the discard for pancakes or waffles (I'd add some baking powder if it's early on) and I've heard people say there is absolutely nothing you can do with it. I've also heard people say that in the very early stages, something bad might be established in the starter that later gets overcome by the preferred yeast and bacteria.


Me? I regularly use rancid milk in baking. The idea of a few of the wee beasties don't really bother me, as long as they die in the baking process and don't leave anything unpleasant behind.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

The reason you have to discard is because the yeasts digest the flour and there is no food value left in it for them. They are literally wallowing in waste and starving. You can use your discards in other baking if you like. Besides pancakes, it works well to add 1/2 cup to quick breads. Use your imagination and you'll come up with other ideas. Just about anything made with a batter could have some starter added to it.

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

Hi Loraleigh, I am glad to hear that you are not giving up.  Cultivating you own yeast could be a challenge yet a lot of fun once you got it right.  I could be wrong, but I think if you kept all the starter and fed it once or twice a day, and each time the volume doubled, you would soon have a huge batch to feed.  That's a lot of flour and you would need a very large container to do so.  By keeping only 1/4 cup, you only need to come up with 1/4 cup of flour for the next feed.  There may be another reason behind this but at least this is why I discarded mine in the beginning.  Once my starter begins to look active, I saved the rest and used it to make pancakes for the next morning.  We have been having a lot of pancakes for breakfast and my fmaily is loving it.

sallam's picture
sallam

sourdoughLady,


First, thanks so much for this wonderful article. I failed a year ago to make my own starter, using flour and water, that developed mold and bad odor. Then when I read your steps here, I decided to try again, using flour of wheat that I milled myself, and OJ. At day six, it began to smell like yeast, with bubbles, and doubled in volume after only 2 hours, then 3 times its volume 6 hours after the second feed. Its amazing how your steps work very successfully the first time. I'm now on day 7, and fed 1/8 cup starter with 1/8 cup tab water and 1/4 cup white flour. This made it rise 4 times its volume in 6 hours!


btw, I found a nice idea to warm the starter: I put my glass jar behind the fridge, on top of its heating dissipation pipes, which seem to provide continuous perfect temp for the starter.


I have one wish. I noticed that, in this lengthy thread, you have revised some of the instructions that you originally gave in your starting post. This is of course natural, as you gain more experience over the years. My wish is that you write us your revised steps, so that it include any modifications that you have settled with now. This would greatly help a lot of people, specially those with limited time to go through all the posts (it took me a week to read it all).


And I also have a few questions:

  • I put the lid lossely on my glass jar. Is that correct? or should I tighten it?

  • should I keep the same ratio (1:1:2 in volume) and same quantities I'm currently using (1/8c yeast, 1/8c water, 1/4c flour) unchanged for the whole 2 weeks? This gives me a firm starter. So, in that case,
    • 1- how many times should I feed per day during those 2 weeks? and
    • 2- must I stir the starter between feeds? (since I started making the starter firm and thick, liquids stopped forming/separating on top). In other words: as long as bubbles are still forming, and no liquids on top, can I leave it without stirring or feeding, and feed it only when I notice the formation of liquids or the stopping of bubble activity?
I figure that it would be better to allow it to fully develop, as long as it has enough food, before I disturb its cycle and throw most of it away and force it to start over with a new feed. I could be wrong, but I compare that to when you're having a nap, and in the middle of an ongoing nice dream someone comes around and disturbs your slumber. How does that sound?
SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

If you will tell me what you found in the way of revisions, I would be happy to adjust. I read through the original post and I really don't see anything that I do different now. If you are referring to the hydration level of the starter, that is just a matter of personal preference and can be changed to suit your needs.


Answers to your questions:


1. Yes, keep the lid not quite tight so gasses can escape.


2. You can make your starter either firm or liquid, as you prefer. If it is more liquid, you will need to feed it more often.


3. Feed the starter at least twice a day, possibly three times during the two weeks. The starter will tell you when it needs food. When you see that it stops bubbling as much and it falls back, it is time to feed. The appearance of hooch means that it is past time to feed.


4. You can stir or not. It doesn't make any difference. I usually don't stir.

sallam's picture
sallam

Thanks so much SourdoughLady for your detailed response


What I meant was this part:

Quote:
Once your wild yeast is growing, the character and flavor will improve if you continue to give it daily feedings and keep it at room temperature for a couple of weeks longer
It would be great if you add details to that part. Me and other newbies may get the impression that we repeat the same quantities and ratio as the days before. But further down the posts you mentioned that we need only a tablespoon (or is it 2?) from the starter, and discard the rest before feedings. And regarding the hydration level, newbies like me don't have personal preferences yet, so we rely on your detailed instructions. I noticed that lots of questions here evolve around that part of the 2-weeks improving period.

What is your recommendation regarding the part of starter that we keep when we do feedings during the 2-weeks period?


You're right, I should feed it twice daily, because I noticed after 12h that it went down from 4 times its size to 2 times, plus a mild alcoholic smell, so it did tell me that its hungry and needs a new feed. I did feed it again, and will continue feeding twice a day for the rest of the 2-weeks period.

Poulish's picture
Poulish

I'm a week into creating a starter and I think it isn't working, but I really don't know what it should look like. I used whole wheat flour and oj as my starter. Each morning it has liquid on top. I followed your directions and recently added the vinegar, yet still this fluid topper by morning. Isn't it supposed to be bubbly? Should I not be mixing in the liquid before I measure out 1/4 cup?


Also, once I get it going (if I'm ever so lucky), is the feeding process to keep only a 1/4 cup and replenish with same? Isn't the volumn of starter supposed to increase in size? Mine is still not much more than it originally started.


Frustrated... Do you think I should just toss and start again? Thanks for any suggestions!

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

No, don't throw it out. It will work if you give it time. Yes, stir in the fluid (hooch) first, then discard, then feed. Try keeping it in a bit warmer place (85 degrees F is ideal). Is your WW flour fresh? Are you using unchlorinated water? Don't give up on it--it will work soon.


Once you get it going, you can feed it more than 1/4 cup flour to increase its volume. At this stage feeding it more would overwhelm it and cause it to take longer to activate.


 

Poulish's picture
Poulish

Thanks! I'll keep at it. I fed it too much this morning so will feed a more appropriate amount this afternoon. 85 degrees will be hard to manage. Our house is rarely above about 65. The flour I've been feeding lately is AP (though I started with WW the first 4-5 days). The AP is fresh (week old), but perhaps I should use the WW I keep in the fridge...or would this aggrevate an already "cold" situation?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

If you are feeding it too much, that will actually slow down the process. If you fed it this morning you shouldn't feed again until tomorrow. In the early stages you only want to give it small feedings every 24 hours. Once it becomes very active and bubbly, then you can increase the feedings to twice a day or larger amounts.


There are ways to create a warmer place for it. Try placing a bowl of boiling hot water in your microwave in one corner and then place the sourdough in there too and close the door. It will stay cozy for quite some time. You can reheat the water periodically as it cools off.


I would also recommend that you use a mixture of WW and AP flour until you see some growth and bubbling going on.

Loraleigh's picture
Loraleigh

I've made my first loaf and I'm thrilled!  It turned out fantastic and took me right back to being a kid having frish bread and jam for a snack.  Yipee! 


I'm ready to try again, so do I throw out some of my starter even after it's established?  Or can I just take it from the fridge and give it some flour and water? 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Yes, you always need to discard most of the starter before feeding it. If you don't do this it gets too acidic and will become sluggish and not rise your bread well.

Grateful diabetic's picture
Grateful diabetic

Thank you for your sourdough starter recipe. Being a diabetic, sourdough is one of the few breads I can enjoy without a sugar spike. I have tried others without success and thought I would give yours a try. I grind my own wheat, so I used ww flour and fresh squeezed orange juice. Rather then throw out the excess starter I put it in a second container and fed accordingly, cup of flour for each cup of starter. I made it like a thick pancake batter. By the end of the first week I had a lot of starter and tried my luck. I  added  flour, water and salt, I also added a bit of wheat gluton to get a very stretchy dough.  I was delighted with the results, I got 3 large loaves of french bread that I shared with my nieghbour (also diabetic) She was also impressed and I gave her some stater. The next time I went for ww bread, to this I added half white and half ww flour, again adding wheat gluton, a T of honey, 1/4 cup of melted shortening and a t. salt. Again I had 3 large fluffy loaves.  My goal was to make a loaf as good as you would buy in the bakery, my friends and family think that this is much better then what you buy. Very light, with a tender crisp crust. It does not have a very sour taste though.  I am still having a hard time believing that I made bread without adding commercial yeast and it was better then the bread I previously made with commercial yeast. I tried to submit a picture, but I am better at baking sourdough then running the computer.

bubblegurl's picture
bubblegurl

I posted this on the main bread baking page by mistake.  Here it is again. I started my Sourdough Starter and on day four I measured 1/4 cup and added 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup flour.  On day 5, 6, and 7 I did the same.  I measured out 1/4 cup and added the same in water and flour.  I don't understand how I am supposed to increase the amount of dough if I keep throwing out all but 1/4 cup.  Am i missing something?  How do I get enough to make bread?  I hope this is not a silly question.  Please advise

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Once the starter is good and active you can increase the amount of feeding so that the quantity is large enough for your recipe. For instance, you could start with 1/4 cup starter and feed it 1 cup of flour and enough water to create the consistency that you like to work with.

bubblegurl's picture
bubblegurl

Thank you for your reply.  Please let me make sure that I understand.  So, today, I'll measure out 1/4 cup and add 1 cup flour and 1 cup water.  Then tomorrow, do I just add the flour and water and not measure out the 1/4 cup?  This is where I get confused.  I think you're saying start to feed only but do not measure out and discard. Right?

winsey's picture
winsey

The starter is to be used in a similar way to regular yeast in a recipe. You use some of it for a loaf of bread, in this case 1/4 cup and mix it with the flour and water.


You also keep up the feeding and discarding cycle with the starter until you are ready to bake another loaf of bread.


 

bubblegurl's picture
bubblegurl

Thank you Thank you Thank you.  I think I get it now.  You are incredible.  Keep up the good work.  I'll let you know how my first loaf turns out.


 


Brenda

winsey's picture
winsey

I'm on day four and things are looking good. Mostly, I want to thank you for a starter recipe that doesn't waste loads of flour. I found others that called for two cups to start and adding two more cups every day. Why waste so much flour?

awadiallo's picture
awadiallo

Hi,


first of all thanks a lot for the recipe sourdoughlady!


I'm on day 5 right now, and I had the impression that everything worked quite well so far, except..... -well I used Orange juice for the starter, and I have the impression that the starter smells quite sour now (for a couple of days already), but not sour like sourdough, more sour as if the orange juice fermented and went bad.


I know that the whole idea of sourdough is the fermentation.... but I wonder whether that smell is normal. It smells like having left orange juice outside of the fridge for a couple of days. (I mean that's basically exactly what happened ;-) ).


Is that normal? And supposed to be like that? Or are there some bad bacteria(?) in there which are not supposed to be in there?


 


Thanks for your help!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

when it starts getting foamy.  Is your starter getting foamy?


I grew one with orange juice, took me about 5 days too.  Keep it out and feed with water instead of OJ.


Mini

awadiallo's picture
awadiallo

Hi Mini,


thanks for your reply!


Well my starter is not really getting foamy... just bubbly. at the beginning there were many smaller bubbles, now there are less but bigger bubbles.


I also thought about switching to water, so that's what I did on day three or so.


But now the smell is already getting better too.... so I guess everything is just alright :-)


I'll wait another two days and see what happens, maybe the "bad" smell will have disappeared then.


Cheers,


Eva

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

You are doing just fine. It sounds like things are progressing just as they should. Those few bubbles will gradually increase and then one morning soon you will look at it to see tons of bubbles and lots of expansion. Have patience--you are almost there!

rony_sha's picture
rony_sha

I am trying to use barley as the flour for your starter. I am not alowed other kind of flour.


Should I change the ratio of liquid to flour?


would you sugest any otrher changes?


Thanks


Rony

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I have never made a starter with barley flour, but the ratio of liquid isn't critical. You just want it to have a batter-like consistency--not runny and not stiff. How are you planning to make bread if you can only have barley flour? I don't think barley contains gluten so making bread with it will be difficult. I'll be very interested to hear how your starter and bread turn out.

rony_sha's picture
rony_sha

Thanks for the reply.


Barley contains gluten. People who suffer from Celiac are not allowed to eat it. I am using it today to make flat breads and it is OK.


The starter is 4 days old today and smells as bad as my wife  thinks it should. I see no bubbles though.


I used apple juice for the liquid for the first 3 days.


I will be more than glad to update you as I go along.


Breadfully yours


Rony


 


 

WannabeBreadGirl's picture
WannabeBreadGirl

Hi, and thank you so much for all the information you've provided here!


A quick intro to my "story": I have always enjoyed cooking and baking. I recently was diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic, and to my temporary horror, I thought I'd never enjoy cooking or baking again. That set me into a whirlwind of reserch and learning about ways to do things differently. To my surprise, sourdough bread is actually very beneficial, and I can tolerate that much better (glucose wise) than I can regular breads. I've actually gotten the diabetes under control through diet, and am now returning to the kitchen armed with new recipes and skills. And, I've found I can still have FUN in the kitchen.


All that said, I want to begin keeping starter around so that I can bake my own fermented sourdough bread. In all my research, I've learned that grains such as Spelt, whole wheat, and Kamut are better options than white flour. I have taken all the information you have here - and I'm attempting a starter with whole wheat and spelt. I used half of each - with water. I did not opt for juice (as I got excited and didn't have it here and couldn't resist putting a starter together).


I am curious if you know anything about a spelt starter. Would the fact that I blended whole wheat and spelt together hinder or help the process? From what I'm gathering here, using water may make my result either - fail - or take longer. So, I'm going to be patient. After regular feedings, how many days would I wait before I decide it's not going to work?


Again, many thanks for all the wonderful information you've provided!!!


Casey

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Any whole grain will work for making the starter. Since you didn't use any juice, I would recommend that you add 1/4 tsp. vinegar into the mix. This will acidify it enough so that molds will not take hold and it will also help to lower the pH so the yeasts can begin to grow more quickly. Most often starters take a week to 10 days to become fully active. I wouldn't give up the ship until it is two weeks. I am sure it will start just fine.

WannabeBreadGirl's picture
WannabeBreadGirl

Thank you, SourdoLady! I am on day two, and have a few small bubbles appearing on top. As I understand - this is bacteria and not yeast activity. I will add the vinegar - I do have that on hand!


By the way, I think it's terrific that you've managed to stay connected to this same thread since 2005! You sure are a committed lady! Thank you again.

Grateful diabetic's picture
Grateful diabetic

sourdolady,


I am confused and need your help, you have said that after the starter is working any flour would be good. Is it ok to alternate types of wheat flour? I read on another sight  that it is best to use the same kind of flour all the time for best results, something to do with keeping the same bugs present. So far I have been very lucky and have a very active starter, I thought that it would be good to feed with the fresh ground as it should keep the wild yeast very strong, but at times when I have not had a chance to grind I use all purpose. Do you think that this could cause a problem?


So far I have had great results with breads, pitas, waffles and buscuits. Thank you so much for your excelent starter recipe and tips.


Sharon

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

You can feed your starter any kind of flour, but sometimes they will "pout" and take a few days to adjust to the new flour. I always feed mine unbleached AP flour, but I almost always stir in a spoonful or two of white whole wheat along with the AP. I do occasionally get lazy and only feed AP for a couple of feedings. My starter doesn't seem to mind. I'm sure yours won't mind, either. Starters are very tough and it is hard to hurt them. Glad you are enjoying your starter!

jimbodeuxe's picture
jimbodeuxe

Hi, I hope this does not come through as a double posting -- my previous one seems to have disappeared.


I started 2 weeks ago with pineapple juice and ww flour. Day 4, looking good, I jettisoned half and commenced with 1/4 cup each white flour and water. I did not read to throw any more away, so I just kept adding every day. It seems pretty dead and there is separation, with a watery layer on top. pH is below 5.


Do you think this can be resuscitated or should I just start from scratch. Thank you!

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Jim, you should always discard (or use in a recipe) most of the old starter before feeding it. The only time you wouldn't do this is if you are doing several builds to increase the volume of starter.


There are several things that may be causing your problems. Don't throw it out--it just needs some tlc. Are you using water that is not chlorinated? Is your white flour unbleached? Are you keeping it in a warm place? This is very important to getting it off to a good start. If you have any rye flour, try using a spoonful of it along with each feeding. If not, then use your WW for awhile longer before switching to the AP, or even a 50/50 mix of WW/AP. Stir it well several times a day.


Since you have been feeding without discarding, you must have quite a large amount of starter built up by now. The problem with this is that you are literally drowning it with food and the yeast cells haven't multiplied enough to consume that much.

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

SourDolady, I came here for help two months ago.  With your help I made my first SD loaf and have never looked back.  Now I bake mostly sourdough.  I have been experimenting on making different types of sandwich breads with my whole wheat starter.  So far I am lucky and all turned out very well.  Now, I am interested in making a rice flour starter.  Have you or anyone else done that before?  I would like to try using a rice flour starter to make gluten free breads.  Do you think it's doable?


SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Yes, you can make a starter out of rice flour. I have never done it, but I have read postings by people who have made them. I also have no experience with gluten free baking--sorry. You might try posting a thread asking for help with gluten free sourdough baking. Someone who has some info may come along and help you.

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

I will post a thread to see if someone else will jump in.  Thanks again.


Deonia's picture
Deonia

I absentmindedly picked up a stainless steel teaspoon to add some rye flour and water to my starter I had sitting out on the counter. Do I have to throw it out and start all over? I had been using it for about a month and was getting really nice sourdough bread with it. What will happen to it from using the SS spoon? I'm not gonna chuck it until someone tells me I absolutely have to. Will Sourdough Lady or someone  please advise me?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

It will be fine. Stainless steel is a non-reactive metal and is perfectly safe. Metals that would NOT be safe are aluminum and copper, for instance. I always use SS spoons to stir and SS bowls to mix.

Deonia's picture
Deonia

Thanks for the response SDL, I had a hard time finding my way back to your blog. But now I have another problem. While my starter was acting so nicely for the last month, all of a sudden it's not doubling itself when I feed it. The weather has gotten cooler, but i've tried sitting it in warm water, putting in the oven with a pan of boiling wter in with it to create some warmth ( no light in oven) I've even taken it outside and sit it in my car on warmer days and still not much activity. I even added about 1/2 teaspoon vinegar to it, afraid it might start growing mold since it wasn't "working" like it had been. I'm at my wit's end, any suggestions?


Well, after posting the first part of this post, I was reading some more of your blog that I had missed while I was making bread with my starter and discovered , maybe , the answer to my dilemma. I read that if you don't throw away some of the starter each time you feed it that when you have so much the yeast can't keep up with the "meals" and that slows it down. Soooooooo, I took out some of my starter and put it in another jar with the 2T of water and rye flour and set it in the "nuker" with some boiling water. I will check it in a few hours and, hopefully, I have solved my problem. If not, and this is not the answer, I will still need some help from you. You are such a patient person to answer all our questions when I know it's repetitious to you.

sarahbakes's picture
sarahbakes

i have not tried sourdough baking before, but I am looking forward to my first attempt!!

noirtexas's picture
noirtexas

I'm a sixth grade science teacher who also likes to cook.  I'm playing around this summer with sourdough, and discovered your wonderful site.  I've just started six starter cultures, and will be maintaining a daily log with pictures.


 


Protocol

24 ounce clear plastic containers with blue lids.

All dry measurements in tablespoons.

All liquid measurements in ounces.

Bob's Red Mill Organic Dark Rye Flour

Arrowhead Mills Organic Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour

Delmonte Pineapple Juice from concentrate

Generic bottled water


Day 1

Kitchen  temperature 72-75 F.

Culture 1--3 oz juice, 4 tbsp wheat flour

Culture 2--3 oz juice, 4 tbsp rye flour

Culture 3--3 oz juice, 2 tbsp rye flour, 2 tbsp wheat flour

Culture 4--3 oz water, 4 tbsp wheat flour

Culture 5--3 oz water, 4 tbsp rye flour

Culture 6--3 oz water, 2 tbsp rye flour, 2 tbsp wheat flour

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

How is the experiment coming along? Are you posting the daily log and pictures online?

pietro79's picture
pietro79

hello


 


my friend gave me two sour dough starters (in two different containers)


 


I'm curious if I can combine them into one container... will there two cultures combine properly into one state, or is there a good chance something will go wrong


 


I ask this because they appear a little different from each other. He made them the same way, but one is bubblier than the other, which in turn smells cheesier than the first


 


-p


 


 

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

pietro, I recently combined two starters, one started with yogurt and one using SourdoughLady's method. They had both performed well but it seemed silly to keep two "pets" so I stirred together 1/8c of each and mixed with 1/2c water and 1/2c bread flour. For all I know they might have had completely different properties, but as far as I can tell nothing "went wrong" and my starter is doing just fine. As yours were made the same way they should be even more compatible. Try a small amount first if you are concerned - of course then you will have three! A.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

When you combine two different starters, I believe that the stronger of the two will take over and the weaker one will die off.  It won't harm anything to do it, though.

pietro79's picture
pietro79

Thank you AnnieT and SourdoLady!


I have another question.


My starter is vigorous. If I want to multiply it's amount faster to obtain more starter for a large recipe, I've read I can up the water/flour to starter ratio.


I suppose the only consideration is that the more feed I give it, the longer I need to wait, right?


If I add 10 and 10 parts of flour and water for every part of starter... I suppose the starter won't mind but that I'll need to wait longer for the yeast to eat the extra feed... or are there other problems to consider?


 


Thanks!

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Giving a starter too huge a feeding can overwhelm it and make it take a long time to get back to peak activity. It is much better to give it successive feedings, increasing the amount each time until you have the amount needed. A good rule of thumb is one part starter to two parts flour and then however much water you want to achieve the level of hydration that you prefer. When building this way to increase the quantity, you wouldn't discard any between feedings but you would need to refeed as soon as you see the starter receed (or soon thereafter) to keep the level of activity at its highest. 

williem's picture
williem

I am just a beginner and want to make a batch of starter. Can I use any all purpose flour with this recipe or must it be freshly milled?
Thanks,

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

It is really beneficial to use a wholegrain flour to begin a new starter. The reason for this is the fact that most of the wild yeasts live on the outer layers of the grain, which are removed in all-purpose flour. The flour doesn't have to be fresh milled, but it does need to be fairly fresh, as in not something that has been sitting on the pantry shelf for a year. After the first few days of feeding with the wholegrain flour, you can then switch to unbleached all-purpose flour. I like to add a spoonful of wholegrain flour to my starter feedings occasionally, just to keep it strong.

williem's picture
williem

Thanks for the advice. I have been struggling for a week with a brew of Caputo 00 and nothing is happening. I have added King Arthur AP, but at this point I will dump the lot and start a new with a whole grain.


Bill

hollyetz's picture
hollyetz

When I feed my starter in the fridge, If I'm not planning on using it do I just mix in the flour and water and leave it in the fridge or do I have to take it out/warm it up each time?

salma's picture
salma

Althetrainer's Russian Sandwich bread looked so irresistable that I had to try it right away.  The question someone had asked was how much starter you used instead of the yeast.  I kept looking for the answer but didnt find one, so I tried to fudge it.  I figured a little extra starter wont hurt.  I think I used about 30g white and 30g w/w starter.  The dough didnt seem to rise much, so I gave it some folds a couple of times but there was very little rise.  I started at 2:30 pm so I should have been able to bake it by 8:30 or so, but by 10 when it still had not doubled, I left it out overnite.  By 7 am it had come a little over the loaf pan and I would say it had doubled.  So I baked it with steam for 8 minutes at 450F and then without steam at 400F for 30m.  At which point it sounded hollow and quite dark, so I took it out and it is now resting.  It looks good but feels heavy and I didnt get any ovenspring.  I will have to wait and see how dense or airy it is.


Q1.  Is there a formula for 1t yeast = ? starter.


Q2.  Does steam create crust or ovenspring or aids in both?  If you wanted a soft sandwich loaf with no crust, would you omit steam?


Salma

aprilwordwolf's picture
aprilwordwolf

I've just started making my own bread in the last couple of weeks and I have to say it's pretty fun and a lot easier than I expected.  I did have a few hicups in the beginning because I got confused in terms of the different types of yeast.  But I got it sorted out in the end.


I had no idea that there are other ways to make up the yeast other than using a packet bought from the supermarket.  I would like to try out your recipe over the weekend because I don't feel that my bread is rising as well as it should.  Although, perhaps that's because I've become so accustomed to the airy fairy bread from the supermarkets.


April

naemsmommy's picture
naemsmommy

Once my starter is in the refrigerator, can it have a lid on it?  I have a glass bowl that has a lid, but would that be too tightly covered?


 


Thanks!


Danielle

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Yes, it should have a lid on it. If it is a screw-on type of lid, do not turn it completely tight. You want the gasses to be able to escape.

Rew's picture
Rew

I'm on day 14 and have gotten slightly frustrated with my starter.  I've had a few days where it doubled in size, but this was always after a feeding with pineapple juice.  i then switch to water/flour on the next feeding and it shows little/no activity.  


 


 I've had activity on the past two days (pineapple/flour) and I'm wondering when and if i should switch to just water and flour.  Also, when can i start to refrigerate it?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

You shouldn't be using pineapple juice anymore at this point. Is your water non-chlorinated? Do not use distilled water because the minerals are removed from it. Use either bottled spring water or non-chlorinated tap water. How much and how often are you feeding and are you discarding before feeding? What kind of flour are you feeding? (do not use bleached white flour). Are you keeping the starter at room temperature or have you moved it to the fridge? I'll bet your starter is just hungry and needs a larger feeding.

Rew's picture
Rew

I was using wheat and recently switched to unbleached APF.  I'm keeping the starter at room temperature.  Using chlorinated tap run through brita (should remove most of that, right?).  Dumping little more than half and using 1/4 cup flour per feeding.  Since I've been seeing some better activity, I've tried to feed it twice a day.  Seems to have stabilized with just water/flour during the past 4 days.  No robust doubling of volume, but visible bubbles along the sides of the jar and top of starter.  


Should I keep this up until I have stable high activity or can I start to refrigerate it?


UPDATE


I think i got the hang of it.  Thanks for the help and sweet guide.

misterspiffy's picture
misterspiffy

I want to try making this starter and I'm wondering how much you use in recipes...what is the rough equivalent to a package of active dry yeast?  And how do you replenish the starter?  What do you use to replenish it and how much?  Thanks.

RonA's picture
RonA

  I started out using whole wheat fluor and pineapple juice afer 4 or 5 days it dried out so I added moe pineapple juice and fluor then it rejuinated and began to smeal like beer with the bubbles and all so now do I pour it all out and except, for 1/4 cup and add more fluor to it I was planning on using bread fluor and warm water less than 100 deg farh. How much flour and water do I need to add and can I store in the frig. When I remove from frig do I need to add flour and water to the starter to make the spounge and let sit out at room tempature for 8 - 10 hrs before making Bread. Also should remaing starter be kept n frig and feed once weekly.


                              Thanks


 


 


 

spiffmo's picture
spiffmo

After my starter was complete, it smelled perfect for the first couple weeks I was baking breads with it (daily).  As the weeks have gone on, my starter has started to smell progressively less sour and progressively more flour-y.  It still bubbles, rises and falls a little over the course of the 12 hours after feeding, and still seems to make reasonably sour breads.  Why does it smell like flour instead of yummy sourness and should I be seeking to make it smell more sour?  If so, how?

winemaker01's picture
winemaker01

Dear spiffmo, I found that starter is a complex mix of yeast and bacteria and the key is to create conditions that both do well in. This means that I leave it on the bench to warm up for a few hours before taking out the levain. Then again when I build it up. If I am using it the next day I would leave it out for 6 to 8 hours. If I use it once a week it stays out for 1 to 2 hours before going to the frig.

moonpearl's picture
moonpearl

Hi Sourdough Lady,


I would like to thank you for the sourdough starter recipe. This is my third try to make a starter and your recipe was the best. I started my sourdough starter last Sept. 14, so this is my 7th day. Yesterday, my starter was looking so bubbly so I thought its about time for me to use it for the first time. I made a sourdough pancakes, and it was successful and good. Then I also tried to make a sourdough bread, using your sourdough bread recipe. I followed all instructions, and I saw it rise to more than double after 5hrs. Then I punch it down, folded it, placed it in a greased loaf pan to rise again. It did rise again, so after 4hrs i put it in the oven to bake at the rquired temp. To my dismay, as soon as it reached the oven it started to collapsed. I continued baking it for 30 mins but I got a hard bread that collapsed to its original size while it cooks.


My question is, whats was wrong with my bread? Did I do something wrong that it didnt turned out as it should be? Do you have any suggestion for me to make a successful sourdough bread?


I will appreciate very much if you can help me make a good bread. Thank you.


Moonpearl

trcvrs's picture
trcvrs

I too have a sourdough starter that was very active for the first 2 days, but "died."  It is now day 4, and still no real activity.  To decrease the pH, I just added about 1/2 tsp of white vinegar, since I didn't have pineapple juice. 


What I want to know is, when you say we should continue to feed the starter, should we just add a little flour and water every now and then?  Or should we throw out half and add more like a "normal" feeding?  If so, how often. 


Thanks!

kittery1's picture
kittery1

Could anyone give me the EASIEST way to make sourdough.  I am new at this, and it looks very complicated.


 


Thank you.


 


Ellen

RobynNZ's picture
RobynNZ


I suggest that  you go to the top of the page here and look at the banner outlined in black, you'll see Home, Forum, Lessons, then Handbook. Click on Handbook, then on Section II Bread Basics, then Ingredients, then Sourdough Starters.  There you will find an easy to follow method for establishing a sourdough starter (it's the same method as that shown at the top of this thread, with more detail and photos)


As it will take a couple of weeks for your starter to be well ready for use (patience is the name of the game when it comes to sourdough baking, it begins with making the starter!),  you will have time to go back to the top of the Handbook and starting from the Introduction to read & learn some basics. Take time to look at the videos too. Maybe do some practice by making some yeast based breads from the Lessons section to get used to some the techniques. Have some fun!


Once your sourdough is ready,  choose one of the simple sourdough your reading has helped you find and practise making it using the techniques you have learned about .


Also don't forget the search option top left too, there is a lot of useful information to be found here.


 


 

mrsmambo's picture
mrsmambo

Hello, I've had a starter going for two weeks now and I think I may have killed it when I was trying to feed it. Actually, I'm not even sure if I ever had it going or not. I thought it looked like I had some activity because I had these nice bubbles (as seen in the picture below) and when I stirred it, it had that springy texture that dough often has. It had quite an alcohol smell but I don't think I ever smelled a yeasty smell. Are the bubbles that I was seeing in the picture below the result of the alcohol gases alone or does it look like I had a starter going? If this looks good I will try again in the same way and just be careful not to kill it by what I did before.


Thanks for the advice!

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

It doesn't look dead at all to me. I see lots of small bubbles in it. I am guessing that you just aren't feeding it properly. Try discarding all but 1/4 cup of it and then feed it with 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup flour (unbleached). Adding a spoonful or two of rye flour will give it a big boost, also.

mrsmambo's picture
mrsmambo

Oh this is great to know! At least I know I had a starter going. The only problem is that since this picture I think I killed it or it has been laying dormant for a while. I started adding some whole wheat flour to it instead of the white flour. I also discarded all but 2 cups of it and then was feeding it with 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water. I've read some other people's posts that seem to have the same situation where the starter is great at the beginning and then looks like it is dying. I'm at that stage right now. If I can't get my starter back to what it looked like in the picture, I'll just start a new one and be more careful about my feedings (I'll keep this one going in the meantime just in case!).


I'm happy to know that what I had going was looking good! I thought I was a complete disaster with this starter stuff!


Thanks for your advice! I may post again if I encounter more difficulties .. or maybe to show a nice starter!


p.s. how do you know when your starter is strong enough to start using it?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

You are keeping way too much quantity of the starter. Get rid of all but 1/4 cup of it before you feed. Also, there is no need to have a large amount of starter when you aren't ready to bake with it yet. It is just a waste of flour. When you keep 2 cups of the old starter and only feed it 1 cup of flour, you are starving it. It also will become too acidic, which is detrimental to the yeast. Feed it like I told you before and I think it will be fine. It should be fed two or three times a day once it gets real active. It is ready to bake with when it consistently doubles in volume within a few hours (4 to 6) after being fed. The flavor will continue to develop over time, though. Once it gets good strength built up, you can keep it in the fridge and just feed it once a week or so.

mrsmambo's picture
mrsmambo

Thanks for your help!!! :)

mrsmambo's picture
mrsmambo

Just wanted to update you that my starter has been doing great since increasing the amount of flour when feeding it! This morning it had doubled in less than 5 hours and this evening I fed it at 8 pm and by 9 pm it had already doubled! I'm so excited .. it's like my baby!


Thanks for the great advice!

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

That looks wonderful! Are you itching to bake some bread with it? Just remember that sourdough takes longer to rise than commercial yeast doughs do, especially when they are young. I'll be anxious to see  your first bread!

mrsmambo's picture
mrsmambo

I was definitely itching to bake bread with it but want to leave it for a little longer first. I still couldn't resist trying, however, so I used some of the starter that I discarded before feeding to create a little bun. In retrospect I think I used too much starter to other ingredients ratio but I was still proud of how much it rose! Here's a pic of it. Not perfect but not bad for my first try!


mrsmambo's picture
mrsmambo

teketeke's picture
teketeke

I just want to thank you for your picture. I was looking for the one which is fully grown and it is ready to put in a refrigerator. Mine is bubbly but it is not enough.


Happy baking,


Akiko

Murasaki Shikibu's picture
Murasaki Shikibu

I really just mixed water (tap water put through Brita) and AP flour (Carrefour brand even) and followed the instructions here:


http://www.io.com/~sjohn/sour.htm


I didn't do anything special other than follow his instructions carefully and I baked my first sourdough bread on the 7th day.


I live in a relatively dry area (southern Spain) so even when the humidity is high we're talking about 40-60% or so.  I'm not sure whether humidity as high as 80% is still good for sourdough cultures.


70-80 F or 21-26C is also deemed to be ideal so it might be too warm in many parts of the world as well.  You might be more successful if you tried making one in a room with 24/7 air conditioning depending on where you live.


Once you've got the starter going it can thrive in much warmer climate - but I think the trick is to create an environment where the wild yeast can win against other bacteria that might try to grow and get themselves established first.

Laddavan's picture
Laddavan

Dear all


Interesting topic, I did try my starter couple of time sometime worked some time didn't work out. I almost give up do starter until I found this web by accident. I'm so greatful to join your community. Next time I'll share my experience. I have to run.


:)

bj's picture
bj

my starter is 2 weaks old, plenty of bubbles but no lift, i have done every thing instructed   it smells like yeast i feed twice a day i did this the same way last year had a good one but let it die ,so i am not new to this, should i start over i add rye and organic wheat that I grind ...............thank for any info bill

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

No, you don't need to start over. Try thickening up the consistency by adding more flour when you feed it. Usually that will increase the rise.

christina_king's picture
christina_king

Hi, Just last night I combined pineapple juice with the whole wheat flour, and today it is not a consistent beige color throughout, rather there was a darker brown color on the top, is that due to it not being wet enough? I gave it a good stir hoping it would dissolve..any advice? thanks in advance!!

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

From your description, I'd guess that the top had enough exposure to the air to either dry slightly or to oxidize.  Are you keeping it in a closed container?


I have a new starter going here in South Africa using the same method, although I had to use grapefruit juice instead of pineapple juice.  I'm keeping it in a smallish plastic container with a snap-on lid (think Tupperware, Rubber Maid, Gladware or something similar)  The volume of the container is large enough to allow the starter to expand without overflowing, but still small enough that the starter doesn't lose moisture and form a crust.  The actual container type doesn't matter, as it could be plastic, glass, or ceramic.  The key is some kind of cover to prevent excessive drying.


I hope that helps.


Paul

Murasaki Shikibu's picture
Murasaki Shikibu

If I'm not mistaken that's hooch.  You get that when your yeast are feeding.  Just carry on with feeding your starter normally.  You can stir the hooch into the rest of the starter when you're feeding it or you can throw it out if your starter gets too watery.


By the way, there is no need to stir the hooch back into your starter between feeding times.

droidman's picture
droidman

I don't show a lot of bubbles, but there's been a visible layer of hooch for the past couple days. Is that a good sign?

mrsmambo's picture
mrsmambo

I'm no expert but I did manage to make a pretty good starter after failing the first time. When I tried making my starter the first time I had a layer or hooch with no bubbles. The second time I made my starter and increased the amount of flour I was feeding it (thanks to the help of sourdough lady!), I got the bubbles with an alcohol smell but not a layer of hooch. I would try adding a little more flour to your mixture and stir it vigorously. I also found that if I put my starter in the oven with the light on (not the oven on), this provided a nice warm environment for it to prosper! Good luck!

droidman's picture
droidman

Temperature, I'm sure is a biggie. And I wonder about geography.


I tried sourdolady's procedure, and gave up after eight days and nothing was happening. Tried Maggie Glezer's procedure from Artisan Baking Across America. After three days the starter was decorated with colors that shouldn't exist in nature and fuzz.


Then, three days ago, I took another shot with The Bread Baker's Apprentice, and I've got what appears to be a viable starter. I'm going to feed it for a week or so, and give it a try in a recipe.


 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

If you gave up after 8 days, you gave up too soon! You were just at the point where a few more days would have made all the difference. Sometimes these starters start quick and sometimes they take awhile longer. A lot depends on the flour you use and the temperature of the room it is being kept in.


Regarding your BBA starter, I would not expect it to give the best results until it is at least 2 weeks old, and it will continue to develop for several weeks after that. If you are now at day 3 it might appear to go dead for a few days and then begin to grow again. Like I said before, don't give up the ship for at least a couple of weeks. Good luck, and have patience!!

DarkRaven's picture
DarkRaven

I had started a new and my first starter just using 1 c tap water and 1 cup flour and on 2nd day I had action (feeding every 24 hrs) but by the end of the second day it slowed down to nothing and by day six no change,,, I wondered about my water and then found your page.. I was also using flour that was in my fridge for a very long time... ok it was off to the store.. I bought organic white flour. organic wheat flour, and a can of pinapple juice. I then went to the water section and had quite a choice,, I settled for something different.. I went home and used 1/4 c of the organic wheat flour and an 1/8th cup of pinapple juice to an 1/8th cup of Mineral Water. Ok now will the slightly bubbly water mess it up? I will call my starting starter the first feeding, 12 hrs later time for 2nd feeding, nothing... Ok 1/4 wheat flour 1/8th pinapple 1/8th mineral water and back in oven with light on... 12 hrs later time for 3rd feeding oh my it has doubled in size! ok maybe wrong critters,,, so time for a stir and lost half down drain (hated that)... 1/4 c wheat 1/8th pinapple 1/8th mineral water and back in oven with light on (yes oven off lol)...


4hrs later just took a peek and lots of bubbles and rising again by almost a quater a double...


who says a 51 year old mans luck wears thin :) was so happy I had to bake but not sourdough not yet but a nice 2 loafs of white bread sounded wounderful! ok my arms hurt a bit.. kneed kneed kneed... formed french bread style but just white... topped with butter that was melted with garlic powder and basted onto both loafs 3 times durring baking and ummmmmmm HEAVEN... cant wait for the sourdough!!!


<Update> Ate white bread all day and I am stuffed like a turkey. O the starter? Well it had flatened up a bit but was 4th feeding time a few hrs ago so gave it 2 1/4 tbl org wheat and 1 1/2 tbl spoons pinapple/mineral water mix and 2 hrs later back to almost boiling bubbles guess it was hungry very nice sour aroma begining to show it's self.. end of 2nd day... ( I cant help but wonder if mineral water / pinapple mix is a great match.. Sourdough Lady you might wish to try it! My starter day 2 looks like your day three picture and a tad more.. Tomarrow I will dump half and intro the org white flower with a pinch of pinapple..)

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I have never used sparkling water so I can't say what it will do. I doubt it will hurt anything, as the carbonation will dissipate fairly quickly.


I don't want to burst your bubble, but if you are on day 2 I highly doubt that the activity you are seeing is from yeast growing. It is more likely just bacterial growth (which is harmless). Don't be surprised if your mixture suddenly goes completely flat and appears dead. This is normal. Keep up with the feeding schedule and in a few days it will start to grow the yeast cells. Good luck!

DarkRaven's picture
DarkRaven

I have wondered that too.. I woke up and it was about flat and 5 hrs away from feeding time but last night did not feed it much so just droped in 2 tbl wheat flower to 1 1/2 mineral water, umm where is the spoon? Oh there it is turned back to stir it and the bubbles were a going with out stiring but did so anyway... this might be bacterial but it sure is persistant... has a definate sour beery smell but no hootch at all...

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I think the instant bubbles are from the carbonation. Do you have any plain spring water, or dechlorinated tap water that you can use? Does it continue to show bubbles after a few hours? If it does, then that is what you are looking for.

DarkRaven's picture
DarkRaven

mineral water is not that bubbly but the answer is yes it stays bubbly and rises quite alot... i fed it this am and guess I did not quite get out half cuz when I came home it had risen to the point it bubbled over and down the sides a bit lol... well no signs of slow down at all and has small and quite large bubbles on top I took the almost half I dumped this am to a friend who wanted some and when I got there we fed it spring water and reg all purpose flower and an 2 hrs later it was quite bubbly and almost doubled... it sure smells sour and beery today... just gets stronger and stronger... I think I got lucky

DarkRaven's picture
DarkRaven

well just wanted to update ya on 7th feeding (day 3) I dumped half into a stonewear crock and feed it white organic flower and mineral water and by next feeding time (feeding twice a day) it had doubled and very frothy on top, fed and stired it up.. as for the orig jar of just org wheat i feed it wheat and it rose some by next feeding but has lots of bubbles all thru the jar fed it again and put that in fridge which I will feed weekly...

Ryeblossom's picture
Ryeblossom

At day 11, it smells a bit like alcohol, has some bubbles, but starting to separate more and more every day. It's kind of warm in the laundry/boiler room, where I put it. It wasn't there all the time and it's about 67 in the kitchen, where it was before. 


I've made preferment before, and I remember it separated, but worked well. I don't know if it's supposed to smell the same or what.


Thanks in advance for help!

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

It sounds like you are not feeding the starter enough. At 11 days, it should be active and hungry. You should now be feeding it 2 or 3 times a day if you are keeping it at room temperature. Try thickening it up by giving it some extra flour and then feed it every 8 hours. Be sure to also discard most of the old starter before feeding.

Ryeblossom's picture
Ryeblossom

After just few feedings, there's so much improvement!


I was feeding it more flour, but I guess it wasn't often enough. Now it looks so much better, and I think in a day or two will be ready. 


(Now I have to wait for the oven to get fixed.........)

DarkRaven's picture
DarkRaven

Day 6,


Heres a pic of my starter


Sourdough Starter day 6


Me

rhtulis's picture
rhtulis

Well I thought I'd give sourdough a try.  I started with some millet grown on my land which I ground and mixed with enough whole wheat flour to make 2 tbsp.  I have been using whole wheat flour throughout the process.  My goal is to be able to call this Willington Sourdough.  I am now on Day 5 and I appear to have a very healthy starter going with a good yeasty smell.  This afternoon will tell - I threw together a small batch of dough using the leftover starter from Day 5's feeding just to see what the outcome might be.  Might be too soon, but I'm anxoius to try.


I enjoy making the Eastern European holiday breads this time of year, and have been trying to copy our local grocery chain's Snowflake Rolls (no luck yet though).  These rolls are just heaven on day 1 or 2 - so light & airy.  At day 3 or later I just put them in the oven set at 350, turn the oven on, and when it's up to temp I take them out.  This restores the internal texture and give them a nice crusty outside.  Now if I could only figure out the recipe ....


Thanks for the primer on sourdough - I will keep you posted on my progress.

rhtulis's picture
rhtulis

Baked my first loaf of whole wheat sourdough this morning - what a pleasant surprise.  My starter is going on 7 days old.  The last few days I have been using the excess from each feeding to make rolls (mediocre results).  With yesterday's excess I made a sponge in the morning, let it proof most of the day, made my dough, then shaped the loaf and let it rise overnight.  This morning it looked like an overly-thick pancake!  After baking the result was a wonderfully shape loaf - nice and tall, with a wonderful flavor.  This was a very basic bread - wild yeast starter + flour + water + pinch of salt + tsp of sugar + dash of vitamin C.


I have split my starter into a whole wheat version and a white flour version.  Time will tell which is better.


What a wonderful and easy process!

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Sounds like your starter is going to be a good one!

rhtulis's picture
rhtulis

Sourdolady - I used the discard from yesterday's feeding to try to get a white flour starter going.  My whole wheat starter easily doubles in volume within 4 hours of feeding.  The white flour version just sits there after feeding and does nothing.  I did add a dash of cider vinegar, but it still seems to be dead.  Would the container have an impact?  My WW starter is in a glass container, and the white flour starter is in a plastic container.


Any thoughts?

rhtulis's picture
rhtulis

Still working on the white flour starter - quite suspect at this point.  I made a dough yesterday using the discards from both starters.  Put it in the fridge overnight.  Took it out this morning and let it warm up.  Around Noon I folded it a couple of times, shaped it into a loaf, and let it rise all afternoon.  Baked it this evening at this is what I got:




SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Your pictures are not showing up--wish I could see them! I'm not sure what is going on with the white flour starter. Plastic container should not be an issue. I use plastic all the time. How are you feeding it? How often and how much? Are you discarding most of it before feeding? You aren't using bleached flour, are you?

rhtulis's picture
rhtulis

SourdoLady,


Yes, I am discarding all but a 1/2 cup of the starter, feeding it with 1/2 cup KA bread flour + 1/2 cup filtered water.  The dough I made yesterday seems to have some life to it - I kneaded & shaped it this morning.  It's now sitting in the fridge waiting for my turn with the oven.




foolishpoolish's picture
foolishpoolish

For what it's worth, I've had similar problems transitioning a rye starter to white recently when I decided to make a new batch of starters.


Over about 4 different starters (some using orange juice, some not, some using whole wheat, some rye) the initial activity was great but as soon as I started transitioning to white flour things started getting weird. 


The first thing I noticed was a very bad smell during fermentation - somewhere between rotting vegetable matter and hydrogen sulphide. This didn't seem to clear with successive feeds. I tried to keep the feeding on a 'low ratio' of 1:2:2 or 1:1:1 and used a number of different white flours but all suffered the same bad aroma.  I don't believe the source of the unpleasant aroma is 'bad' bacteria (it's not at all like the leucs I've dealt with in the past) - but something to do with the way yeast and/or bacteria in the culture having difficulty with white flour. 


Anyway, I kept feeding these unpleasant starters hoping the problem would eventually clear...and I suppose eventually it kind of did - but not in a good way! The smell diminished but so did the activity until I was left with a culture that would sit there on a 1:1:1 feed doing hardly anything (barely souring at all) and no discernible rise.


Wondering if anyone else has experienced this 'transitioning to white' problem?


Cheers,


FP


 

rhtulis's picture
rhtulis

Well, I gave up.  After several more feedings with little activity and a rather rancid smell beginning to develop, I tossed it onto the compost pile.  Now I'm using white whole wheat flour - and now my whole wheat starter seems like it is dying.  Go figure.


I have a huge loaf in the oven right now - from the discards (of both) from 2 days ago.  I added 1/2 cup of flour & 1/2 cup of filtered water into the discards, let it sit for an hour or so, then before I went to bed I made the dough.  Left it in the fridge all day yesterday, took it out this morning, kneaded & shaped it, and let it rise most of the day.  It more than doubled in size, but not much oven spring.


My best results seem to come when I "wing it" - throw some flour, a bit of water, suger, olive oil, and a dash of salt into the starter discards and go from there.  I hope as time goes on I'll develop a consistent result.  My wife is getting annoyed though - a new loaf every day!  We'll be dealing with carb overload soon.

rhtulis's picture
rhtulis

I may be getting the hang of this sourdough starter thing.


Here is a pic of the cinnamon raisin bread made tonight from my semi-successful white flour starter:


http://webpages.charter.net/rtulis/RaisinBread_012010.JPG


Still can't get enough raisins into it to satisfy my bride.  My whole wheat flour starter is now on a weekly feeding schedule.  The white flour starter is still on daily feedings as I don't think it's robust enough to go longer.


 

bigjoe13's picture
bigjoe13

i live in the northwest and its very cold around this time of year im on day five of the starter and it is kind of bubley, and smells a little yeastie, but it hasnt grown much at all, i tryed puttung it in the mircowave with some warm water to keep room temp, but nothing is really helping it grow... what do i do???

bigjoe13's picture
bigjoe13

i live in the northwest and its very cold around this time of year im on day five of the starter and it is kind of bubley, and smells a little yeastie, but it hasnt grown much at all, i tryed puttung it in the mircowave with some warm water to keep room temp, but nothing is really helping it grow... what do i do???

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Joe, I answered your question in a private message, but in case others are curious--your starter sounds like it is doing just fine. Five days is not long enough for it to be a concern. If you keep feeding, it will soon get active. A week to 10 days is pretty normal.

Janwa's picture
Janwa

I'm into day 2 of making a starter for the first time ever and I am so excited to see a lot of frothy bubbles forming! I used Bob's Red Mill unbleached White Flour and unsweetened pineapple juice and placed it on top of my refrigerator near the back where it's relatively warmer than any other place in my house.  This morning I opened and whisked it for a few seconds and smelled it and it does smell like yeast! I will be feeding it another batch of flour and juice in a few hours and I can't wait to see the results the following day! It's such an exciting process if you see results like these.  Hope I will be able to sustain this starter. 

utahcpalady's picture
utahcpalady

I followed your directions and thought I had created a successful sourdough starter about a month ago.  I made pancakes with it 2xs and when adding the baking soda, it didn't bubble.  Now the starter will make successful sourdough bread (that doesn't taste sour) rises regularly and behaves fine, other than no reaction to the BS.  So through a thread I started it seems to me my starter isn't acidic, right?  I had one person suggest adding vinegar, 1 tsp, to the starter to get it more acidic.  I did that this morning, and then fed/discard 2 xs today, then I tested a tiny amount with BS tonight and still now bubbles. 


Can you please advise me?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I'm not sure what the reason could be. Try lowering the hydration of the starter so that it is almost like a dough. This usually favors the acids. It could be that the starter is simply just still young and needs some time to develop.

utahcpalady's picture
utahcpalady

Okay, I will try to make it a more firm starter and just wait it out.  I did try the cider vinegar addition, but it hasn't helped yet.  So, now I have a couple starters going.  thanks for the reply.

Otterboyy's picture
Otterboyy

Well it's day 7 and I was very encouraged through day 5.  Nice smell, bubbling going on and even the wife commented "wow! I can smell that over here!".


 


Now it's day 7 and it's got this odor that is, well, bad.  I'm not giving up yet and I'm continuing to feed it, but I'm concerned about this smell that is nothing like the yeasty, alcholol smell that it had before.   Should I be concerned or start over?


 


Thanks!


 


 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Don't give up--just keep on with the feeding and it will come out of it. Usually with the pineapple juice you don't get the 'stinky stage'. If it is bubbling nicely, feed it a couple of times a day and stir it frequently.

Otterboyy's picture
Otterboyy

Thank you for the reply.


I actually put a closed lid on it lastnight to see if anything was going on and the lid nearly popped off this morning when I touched it so there is something going on.  Tempratures have dropped around here this week as well as a lot more moisture so I'm wondering if that has attrributed to it slowing down.


I was feeding it once a day with 1/4 white flour and filtered water.  Should I go back to the Tablespoons a few times a day?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Your starter will let you know when it needs fed. If the bubbles recede, if it has a layer of liquid (hooch) on top, or if the consistency gets more runny--these are all signs that it needs food. Once the yeasts get going you will need to feed it two or three times a day when kept at room temperature. Lower temperatures will definitely slow it down.

Hal LePino's picture
Hal LePino

I started my starter last night around 4.


I used organic rye flour and some canned pineapple juice. I woke up this morning and noticed I had a bit of bubbling already.


 


I've tried a couple times in the past to make a starter and never does it work out. It'll be going along fine and then POOF!! It's dead. I'm very excited about the prospects of this one.


 


Hal.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Don't be surprised if it again goes "poof" and appears to be dead. This is normal behaviour and after a day or two of playing dead it will suddenly wake back up and grow. You weren't giving it enough time before. Sometimes it can take a good 10 days or more to get it going and sometimes it will be lively in less than a week. The key is patience!

Hal LePino's picture
Hal LePino

Okay, I just gave it it's day 5 feeding.


When I stirred it down for the day 4 feeding it was very much like a sponge that melted as soon as I whisked it. There was a small layer on the bottom, then a layer of liquid and then the sponge stuff.


 


Today the sludge on the bottom was thicker so the sponge part wasn't as big. It has only been about 18 hours between feedings though. Not much I could do about that part.


 


I'm definately gonna stick with this. I'm very anxious to make a good sour dough and having a coach will help.


 


Hal

rhtulis's picture
rhtulis

Hal,


Don't give up on it.  My starter never really doubled in volume until week 2 or later.  Mine was the consistency of panvcake batter.  Yet once I started to see some activity, I tried used the discard from the feeding to make a dough.  I would add an equal volume of flour & water to the discard, let it sit overnight, then proceed to make an ordinary dough with it.  Usually got a good rise, and sometime got a terrific swell when baked.  My sourdough does not rise quickly - it can take 4-5 hours to almost double.  I can force it by the 'hot water pan in the oven' routine, but the boules seem to spread as much as the rise.  The resulting bread was pretty good, and it continued to get better as time went on.


Ralph

mgsebenoler's picture
mgsebenoler

I'm on day 6 of the new starter creation process.  My starter is very active, but has gone from smelling yeasty to smelling like wine.  I am feeding it King Arthur AP white flour every 12 hours now and it is doubling each time (I used King Arthur Whole Wheat for the first four days with pineapple juice to lower Ph).  Am I on the right track?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Your starter sounds perfect, and the winey smell is from the fermentation process. You might want to lower the hydration now (more flour, less water) or feed it 3 times a day. Do this for another week or so to build its strength and flavor before you move it to the fridge for storage.

mgsebenoler's picture
mgsebenoler

Hey SourdoLady!  Well, after about 4 days of pretty good stuff, my starter went limp on me.  Now it hardly has any activity at all and it has lost the yeasty and winey smell and now smells like something altogether different (mostly smells like plain 'ol flour and water with something else mixed in.  Help?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Something isn't right--a few days ago it appeared to be very healthy. Are you discarding most of the old starter before you feed? If you don't do this it will become too acidic and that will cause it to lose its vigor. How much are you feeding it each time?

mgsebenoler's picture
mgsebenoler

I know - it seemed to be going fine and was very active.  I switched to KA AP white flour on day 5 (started with KA Whole Wheat for first 4 days).  I toss half the "old" starter and then feed it two heaping tablespoons.  I mix in enough water to make a thick dough.  I do this every 12 hours.  I keep the starter in a glass mixing cup (4 cup) and the starter ends up being a cup after all of this.  Thanks for your help!!!

CTang's picture
CTang

Help!  My poor yeast.  :(


First of all, thank you for continuing to attend to this thread.  I can't believe you're still helping out FIVE YEARS IN.  That's so awesome.


Secondly, I really need to make this work, because I found out that I'm allergic to commercial bakers yeast.  I panicked until the lab that did my bloodwork told me I can still try and eat wild yeast.  I've tried to make a starter 3 times and it won't ever rise for me.


Here's what's happened so far:  First 4 days, I used Rye and Orange juice, all was well.  Days 5-6, I switched to King Arthur AP, and Spring Water, but I continued to add a little Rye. (I was scared.) By day 6 it was doubling when I fed it (yay!).  Day 7 I was so excited that I baked a loaf of bread (with a little rye for insurance).  It rose half way, but I baked it and ate it anyways.  Good flavor!  I decided to stop cheating, and quit adding in the extra rye.  From that day forward, it's never risen.  It froths, it bubbles, it smells like wine, but no rise.  I've tried adding in Apple Cider Vinegar twice (a few days apart).  I've tried making it a little thicker with more flour.  I've been feeding it twice a day for the last few days.  Everything is clean, I've never had mold, I keep it in a little plastic container with a loose plastic wrap lid in a 72 degree kitchen.  It's probably been a week since I stopped adding in the extra rye and it went flat.  What am I doing wrong? :(

CTang's picture
CTang

So, the two times I have added vinegar, nothing happened that feeding, but the second feeding after vinegar it rose a little, and then never rose again after that.  Happened both times.  Is my starter not acidic enough?  Should I go back to once a day feedings?  It's probably 2 weeks old now.


Still need advice.  :(

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I would go back to adding a small amount of rye (just a spoonful) with your feedings and give it some more time. How warm is the area you are keeping it in?

CTang's picture
CTang

Okay, I will try.  My kitchen is about 72 degrees.  I took the temperature of the levain and it said 72 degrees.


Will I ever be able to go to just a white starter, or does King Arthur All Purpose (unbleached) just not have enough 'oomph'?


-CTang


 

rhtulis's picture
rhtulis

I had the same problem.  Started with a WW flour and was able to get a seemingly healthy starter going.  A few weeks later I tried to get a white flour starter going from the discard.  Went okay for a few days, then died.  I was using KA bread flour.  I tried again using KA AP flour and now I have a healthy white flour starter going that seems to be quite robust.  BTW, my WW starter is now on weekly feedings - I keep it in the fridge, taking it out to feed it and returning it to the fridge after it's doubled in volume.  Best advice - be patience and don't give up!


 

RachelJ's picture
RachelJ

Does this mean like the juice from a fresh pineapple? :) I hope so, cause I would love to make some sourdough starter.

utahcpalady's picture
utahcpalady

I just used juice from a can of pineapple tidbits and it worked just fine.  Now, my starter isn't acidic, haven't figured out why yet, but I can't imagine it is because of the canned juice.


My starter is over a month old now.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I can imagine it could very well be the juice, even after a month.  Were the bits packed in only water? Or packed in light syrup?


Here comes my "why" speculation (with no scientific facts to back it up) combined with maybe applied reading and mention of this happening with converted Amish friendship starter which also starts up with sugar.  Ready?  I suspect the sugar in the pineapple syrup has triggered some switches on the genetic code of the beasties somehow telling them they should either feast and produce gas before the normal acid level is reached or they are being told not to produce too much acid.  How many generations of beasties it takes for the switches to switch back, I don't know.  I can't begin to guess. If we starve them long enough, to the point of forcing them into a dormant stage (where there is more acid) and then revive them, will the starter then be more sour?  Will they have switched back to sour producers?   Maybe.  On the other hand, maybe just adding some acid to the starter will encourage the beasties that like a more acid environment to increase in number and the ones that like a less acid environment to fade away.  Either one of these experiments would take at least few days.


The starter may be more acidic than you know.  Enjoy your non-sour wild yeast.  You could add sour your dough by adding buttermilk, sour milk, yogurt or lactose to the dough or see if you can sour it by dropping the rising dough's temperature down to 50°F for a few hours to trigger acid production.


Mini


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/15445/nonsour-sourdough


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/15543/less-sour-startersbreads

utahcpalady's picture
utahcpalady

Mini,


Good advice, I had MrFrost tell me to try to add some acid in the form of lemon juice/vinegar to make the acid increase, but that didn't work.  Really the only problem with no acid is when I make pancakes with the throw away starter, and add the baking soda, it doesn't bubble.  My pancakes taste good, but they are pretty flat, good for pigs in blanets. 


On the juice, I don't remember what it said it was packed in.  Maybe after tax season (I'm a CPA) I will try another starter with actual juice and see what I get.  Interesting though....


My kids don't really like the sour taste, so that is not such a problem, but I would like fluffy pancakes.


Thanks,


MW

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Because the fluffy or rise is caused by a reaction between acid and base, try adding some baking powder instead.  Soda needs an acid mixed with it to rise.  The other alternative is to stiffen the egg whites before mixing into the batter, results in very fluffy pancakes!


Enough said, I don't want to hyjack the thread.


Mini

RachelJ's picture
RachelJ

I plan on starting a sourdough starter today, and see where it goes from there. It seems everyone is back into sourdoughs... at least from what I've seen. Sourdough pizza crust, bread, rolls, ect. there's so many recipes out there! I think this one is the easiest I've seen yet.


 

Hal LePino's picture
Hal LePino

Hey Sourdo Lady


 


Okay, I just did my day 6 feeding and I'm just not sure what it is I've got.


 


Here are two pictures taken right before I stirred it.


100_2367.JPG


That's a film on top of liquid.


100_2370.JPG


This next one is immediately after I fed it.


100_2371.JPG


Am I on the right track?? I think maybe it's bit watery. It's got the consistency of cream. Very wet.


I'm feeding once daily with filtered (Brita) water and organic AP.


It doesn't double in size and in fact, it doesn't seem to "Grow" at all.


What's my next step??


 


Thanks


Hal

Hal LePino's picture
Hal LePino

Okay, day 7 feeding.


I'm pretty sure it's too wet. So what I did was set up an experiment. I feed the started as per the usual. 1/4 c water and 1/4 c flour.


 


This time though, I saved a 1/4 cup of the starter that would usually be discarded. I added 1/4 c of flour, 2 T of water and 1/4 t of cider vinegar.


 


DT

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

It shouldn't be runny. Add enough flour so that it is like thick pancake batter. The picture looks like it just needs to be fed. After the starter exhausts the nutrients in the flour the gluten will break down and the starter will get runny. Starters consume a LOT of food. You probably just need to feed a larger feeding or more often now that the starter is alive.

Hal LePino's picture
Hal LePino

I fed it twice yesterday and have done the second of 3 feedings that I plan on doing today.


It's more like pancake batter but still doesn't seem to double in size. It's foamy on top but over all, doesn't seem to do much.


When I stir it down, it creates large bubbles though.


 


Hal

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Add more flour than you have been. Make it a very thick batter consistency. If you have a scale, do equal weights of flour and water and note how thick it looks. Discard all but a couple of spoonfuls of the old starter before feeding. You can use this discard in pancakes, quick bread, etc. if you don't want to throw it out. A lot of people don't like to do the discard, but it really does make your starter stronger.

Hal LePino's picture
Hal LePino

Okay, I didn't read this until after my second feeding of day 11.


 


I have a scale so I'll put in equal weights. It's pretty thick and somewhat slimmy for lack of a better word.


 


Can I use the discard to try making bread or is it too soon??


 


If so, I'll need a sponge.



Hal

rhtulis's picture
rhtulis

Hal,


I started using my discard to make bread as soon as it seem like I had a colony of yeast going.  Add some flour & water to the discard, let it sit overnight, and use it as a starter for bread the next day.  Be patient on the rise - mine never rose as quickly as commercial yeast would (4-5 hours when the house temp was up to 70F, overnight if I didn't finish the dough until 10 pm - overnight temp is 60F).  Some loaves were pretty good - others helped feed my neighbor's chickens in return for some eggs.  But what does a loaf really cost? And look at the practice you get!


 

Hal LePino's picture
Hal LePino

Tonight when I feed, I'll use the discard to make a sponge and then bread.


 


If it doesn't work, it doesn't work.


 


Hal

ZsaOR's picture
ZsaOR

SDL, Thank you for 1) posting this spectacularly easy sourdough starter and 2) still bering around almost 5 years later to answer all our questions!


I'm on day 6 and am just beginning to do twice a day feedings.  Things are going swimmingly!  Looking forward to drying and sending some to my friend in Colorado who is having trouble creating a wild starter in the cold, dry winter out there.


Looking forward to making my first loaf in a few days - in my cool house (65 F) I think I will be testing my patience on the rises but I am ready thanks to all the posts.


Thanks again!

jcawn's picture
jcawn

I have tried twice with regular commercial bread flour. I got a few bubbles, but not much else ( I gave it a week on the second try ). Is it the flour?


Thanks

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Is this flour bleached or unbleached? I don't recommend bleached flour because I suspect that the bleaching process could destroy the yeast cells. Also, you will get quicker and better results if you use some whole grain flour along with the bread flour. It contains more yeast cells. A week is usually not long enough to develop a starter. I would not give up until at least two weeks have gone by. Keeping it warm will allow it to start much faster, but it is not a requirement if you have the patience to wait it out at cooler temps. 

jcawn's picture
jcawn

I used whole wheat and the pineapple juice and it worked. thanks

Hal LePino's picture
Hal LePino

Hey


 


Okay, after over two weeks I have a starter. I don't think it's a good one. It froths and when I took some of it and made a loaf of bread, it rose. Sorta, it's growing but not upwards. It's just sorta spreading out. It's like the starter doesn't have enough Ooomph!!


 


What's wrong?? Did I not develop the gluten enough??


 


Hal

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Give it some more time to build some strength. Try feeding it two to three times a day for a few days. Be sure you are feeding it enough, and discarding at least half of it before feeding. Thicken it up so that it is like a very thick batter. Make sure that when you mix your dough you are using starter that is very active and fed not more than 12 hours ago.


As far as developing the gluten, it is hard to say. If you are using a mixer it is possible you over developed the gluten, which can cause a very slack dough. Learn to do stretch and fold with your dough to develop the gluten. You will find lots of posts about it if you type it into the search bar.

ZsaOR's picture
ZsaOR

I've had my starter going for 15 days on the counter, discarding 1/2 and re-feeding once or twice a day.  it's active & bubbly but has a very alcohol smell- not yeasty at all but tastes fine.


I'm wondering if I'm not feeding often enough or discarding enough?   I made a loaf with the discard and it rose fine- is in the oven now.   I changed containers, discarded all but one large tablespoon and fed 2x what I normally so.  any other suggestions?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

It is normal for it to have some alcohol smell, and the longer it ferments after feeding the stronger the alcohol smell will become. More frequent feedings or larger feedings should help with that. Was it better after your most recent feeding? You could start storing your starter in the fridge now that it is very active. That will slow it down and you won't have to feed it as often. Discarding all but a tablespoon, like you did, is good because that will keep the starter healthy. How did the bread turn out today?

ZsaOR's picture
ZsaOR

Thanks SourdoLady! 


the loaf was good but I over proofed it so it was dense.  Hubby said "its like regular bread with a hint of sour." I look forward to the flavor developing!


the starter did much better after the big feeding, thank you.  I stored it in the fridge too and will feed it pretty often (for being cool).  Thanks for the reminder about BIG discards. I'll pay better attention to that. 

Otterboyy's picture
Otterboyy

Well after working with my starter for a bit over 2 weeks (thinking it was dead a few times but patience paid off in the end) I made some bread!


bread!


Obviously it was important to taste before pictures.


 


hmm good


There wern't the big holes I wanted and it felt a bit dense, but a nice sweet/sour flavor over all.


 


What I've take away from SourdoLady's method and advice.   Patience.  Feed your starter.  Discard, Discard, Discard!  And Patience.


 


 

rhtulis's picture
rhtulis

My starter is now about 2-1/2 months old.  As time goes on it starts to develop its character - I have a whole wheat version and a white flour version.  They each have their own character - the WW version has an agressive rise and a variable oven swell that seems to depend on my kneading technique.  The WF version has a much slower rise, but otherwise seems similar.  Both came from the same starter creation.


I look at the whole process as one of trial & error.  Some loaves will be great, and others not so.  I find that boules turn out great, loaves from a loaf pan turn out okay, and my initial attempt at a French Bread style was not so good.  Eventually my novice bread skills will evolve and I will stumble upon a recipe or two that works well for me and my particular starters.  I do know that my sourdough cinnamon raisin bread is great, and every other trial has producd bread that is edible.  And I've also learned how to make a decent bread pudding (out of the stale and not-so-good loaves).


Ralph

Casper's picture
Casper

Wow!  The rise on your bread is great!  It looks a little burned on the top but the bread still looks delicious.  I can't get the rise that you have.  I have thrown out 4 jars so far.  I did start another starter from using just bread flour and water and I got lots of bubbles.  Not much of a rise still, so I added 1/2 t of yeast and my bread is wonderful.


I am trying another jar of the wheat flour a pineapple juice.  Not giving up! 


 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

There's nothing wrong with that bread! It looks really great. Keep practicing and you will get the big holes, if that is what you're after. Make a wetter dough and you will see bigger holes.

Hal LePino's picture
Hal LePino

Well I now have a starter. No question.


A week or so ago I stumbled upon a perfect ratio and about 24 hours makes it double in size.


1 oz. starter


2 oz. filtered water


3 oz. flour.


I live just north of Toronto. Our house is only about 70* at it's warmest and dry but the front window faces south. I leave it in the front window and 24 hours later it's doubled.


 


So last night I took 2 oz. added 4 oz. water and 6 oz. of flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp honey and 1/2 tsp vinegar. I let it stand nearly 18 hours and have kneaded in another couple oz. of flour. It looks nice. It's a nice log shape which I'll let rise again. If it doesn't rise but spreads out, I'll knead more and try again.


I hope it works.


 


Hal

rhtulis's picture
rhtulis

Congratulations Hal.  Patience and persistence in bread making is essential.


My doughs seem to vary with respect to whether or not they simply spread out or rise.  I'm sure it's partly due to the water:flour ratio in total (starter + dough).  I have a tendency to just "wing it" when mixing my dough, so I just live with what I get.  If the dough seems to want to spread more than rise, I use a loaf pan.  When I really want boules, I line a suitable sized bowl with parchment paper and place the dough in that for its final rise.  Once the oven is up to temp, I simply lift the parchment paper + dough out of the bowl and place it on my hot stone in the oven.  If the particular dough has good oven spring, I get a very nice boule.  If not, I still get a decent shallow boule.


I'm not one for lots of kneading.  I mix the dough, let it sit for an hour or two, turn it out onto a floured surface and stretch & fold 3-4 times, let it sit for a couple hours, then stretch & fold a few more times until the dough "feels right".  Then onto the parchment paper and into a bowl for its final rise.  Seems to work well for me and really doesn't require a lot of time.  I've been making some really good cinnamon-raisin bread this way.  Being self-employed and working from home, this method fits well.


I recently learned that my wild yeast starter does NOT make a dough that can be frozen, then thawed and allowed to rise and then baked - it simply will not rise.  I suspect the yeast is killed by freezing.  Anyone else find this to be the case?


 

KT's picture
KT

Dear Sourdough Lady


I've been tending to my starter for over a week now and absolutely nothing happens that resembles anything other than settling. All i get are really small bubbles at the top of the starter  (which I suspect are nothing than the mixed in air rising to the top) and a slight, pleasant fermented smell.


It has never bubbled like the starter from your pictures or those of others and never budged from my level marks used to detect rising. Before I give up and toss the whole thing, if the character and consistency of the mixture doesn't appear to change at all between 12 hour feedings, is there any point in performing a new feeding? My starter never looks or acts any different, just maintains it's state for 12 hours, I throw half out and re-feed etc...


I'm using King Arthur unbleached bread flour, untreated natural well water from a friend and have been diligently performing the 12 hour feeding schedule for the last week. Here's what I've tried:


- A few times I added in a small amount of cider vinegar, but nothing happened. 


- Mixed in some King Arthur whole wheat flour, for a few feedings, nothing.


I haven't seen any traces of mold, so at least I don't have to worry about that issue.


Does this sound like a lost cause? Or should I stick it out for another week?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Don't give up on it. Keep up with the feedings and use a spoonful of whole wheat flour with each feeding. You shouldn't be feeding it every 12 hours yet. That comes after it comes to life and gets very bubbly. At this stage of the game you are slowing it down by feeding it that often. Try keeping it warmer--you can bring a large glass of water to a boil in the microwave, then sit the starter in the microwave beside it and close the door. The hot water will keep the microwave nice and cozy for quite awhile. When it cools down you can reheat it (don't forget to take the starter out while you reheat the water!).

KT's picture
KT

OK. Thanks. I'll give the warm water trick a try.

KT's picture
KT

After a few more days, the starter kicked into gear and now consistently doubles every 4 to 6 hours. 


I made a practice loaf today which turned out decidedly bland. Structurally, it was pretty good. Thin crunchy crust, chewy crumb, and nice big holes throughout but it had very little sour tang and I forgot to use salt so it was pretty bla.


I followed this guy's kneading technique which produced a nice chewy texture and insane oven spring. My loaf ballooned so much in the oven that it pulled away from the cookie sheet at the bottom, to the point of becoming a near cylinder and tipping over.


Thanks for the heating trick. On to loaf #2 ... with salt this time...


 


 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Your first loaf sounds really nice! Too bad you forgot the salt. For more flavor in your bread, try refrigerating the dough overnight before baking. Adding 1/2 cup or so of whole wheat flour to an otherwise all-white loaf helps a lot too. Good luck with the next loaf!

Casper's picture
Casper

I have a question about day 3, I had my jar of starter sitting on my window sill.  I think the temperature is a little too cool.  The starter smells really good and looks good but no bubbles. (maybe one or two)  My question is:  On day 4 do I still take away 1/4 cup and add 1/4 cup of flour and water? Or wait until I get bubbles?  I also added an extra T of juice because it was on the thick side. 


 Question 2:  I get a little confused about once you take out the starter to make the bread.  Do I add to the active starter the flour in the receipe and let sit over night?


  Question 3: Will I have enough starter because the receipe calls for two cups?  Will there be enough starter left over?  For example: Can you just have a little starter and add 3 cups of flour and 3 cups of water?  Or do you have to measure what you have left in a measuring cup and add half each time?  I hope this makes sense?  Thanks!  I am having fun making this and I will try over and over until I get it.....Look forward to hearing from you.  Thanks! Casper

rhtulis's picture
rhtulis

Q1.  The cool temp probably just slowed thing down.  Mine generally gets thick when at fridge temp. - I'd just add some flour when it warms up a bit.  Then see what tomorrow brings.  I would put it in a warmer location (I kept mine on top of the fridge).


Q2.  NO.  I use what would have been discarded - add enough flour & water to get to the amount that your recipe needs.  Then let it sit (at least overnight) until it gets really active and increases in volume.  THEN start with the amount of starter & flour that your recipe requires.


Q3.  Once you get to the point that your starter is well established, you are using the discard (which is a starter) to get a second starter going for your recipe.  Feed your base starter as usual.  For your recipe starter, see Q2


If you just started this process 3 days ago, your starter still needs time to develop its character.  That's not to say that it's too early to use it for bread - I used almost every discard for bread - not every loaf turned out good.  But it did get better as time went on.  It kinda depends on how strong your starter is.


Enjoy.  Patience & perseverance are key.  Don't be too disappointed if your first few loaves aren't the best.  My neighbor's chickens enjoyed many of my practice efforts.


Ralph

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

It sounds like you are doing everything right except maybe not keeping it warm enough. It is too soon to expect to see any action. Try to find a warmer place to keep the starter until it wakes up.


Yes, when you are ready to make bread you will want to give the starter a larger feeding so that you will have enough for your recipe and leave the starter ferment overnight before mixing the dough. When you are ready to make the dough, measure out the amount for the recipe and then save the rest of the starter in the fridge.


You may want to thicken up the starter when you start using it in recipes. Many recipes are written to use a 100% hydration starter, which would be equal weights of flour and water, not cup for cup as you are feeding now. In the early stages of making a starter it is more conducive to yeast growth to have it more liquid, but once the yeast come to life it is better to have it thicker.

Casper's picture
Casper

Hello Sourdolady,


I am on day 6 and my starter is on the thick side but not to thick. I think it is just right.  I am seeing more bubble now.  At what point can I make my sponge and bake?  Do I let my sponge sit out all night or in the morning for a couple of hours? 


Thanks!  Casper

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I would give it a few more days of feedings before you bake with it. Now that you have bubbles, keep an eye on it and see when it rises and then recedes. You will want to give it a feeding when it recedes. You may have to feed it two or three times a day as it gets more active.


I usually make the sponge the night before I want to bake so it has plenty of time to ferment for better flavor and better rise.

Casper's picture
Casper

Hello Sourdoughlady,


Day 8: Yesterday morning I started my sponge within 2 1/2 hours there were lots of bubbles.   I decided to make my dough: 2 1/2 cups of starter, 2 1/2 cups of bread flour, 2 t salt, 1/2 t ascorbic acid. I used my kitchen aid to knead. Kneaded 10 minutes on very slow - stir and about 5 minutes fast.


My sponge was nice and frothy and bubbly, but my dough is not rising?  I made my dough at 3:00 p.m. yesterday and today it has not risen.  Do you know why? Should I use another receipe?  what went wrong????


Thanks!  Casper


 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I think your starter is not ready yet. It is too young and not strong enough at this point. I would continue to feed it two or three times a day for another 5 to 7 days before you try to bake with it. Be sure you are discarding most of the starter before you feed it. You can use the discard to make bread but add some commercial yeast to help with the rise.

Casper's picture
Casper

Hello Sourdoughlady,


Do you know why?  My bread is dense, it is taste good but not like sourdough.  Here are some photos of my bread.dense sourdough bread help?

Casper's picture
Casper

This photo is of my sourdough bread - one is with 1/2 tsp of yeast, the other no yeast at all.  Guess which one is with the 1/2 t of yeast?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Casper, the picture of the non-yeasted loaf looks to me like it was not left to proof long enough before baking. Wild yeast takes much longer to proof than commercial yeast. How long did you proof this loaf? Were the two loaves proofed the same length of time? Next time, when using no added yeast, let the loaf proof until it is doubled in size before baking. It may take several hours.

Casper's picture
Casper

I used the same sponge in both loafss.  Once the starter was full of bubbles and ready to add to my mix, I added 1 cup of flour and water and let it sit overnight I put it in the refrigerator and took it out early in the morning and turned the oven on and let it sit for 2 hours.  There were lots of bubbles - I made two batches one with 1/2 t yeast and one without.  I may be doing something wrong- not sure.


oh, the two loafs sat out all day, I put the loafs on the pan after I punched down and kneaded a little.   They sat on top of my oven from 9:00 a.m to 10:00 p.m. I came home from the movies and baked.


 

Casper's picture
Casper

I think that I cut it to early right after I got done kneading it and I tried to cut right before I put it in the oven and it went down  just a tad.  I just took this picture today.  I finally got my dough to rise.  I am baking it now and I can't wait to see how it turns out.

JessicaT's picture
JessicaT

I have a slightly stupid question. What does it mean when a starter is 100% hydration, or 125% hydration, etc? I am looking for recipes online and stumbled upon the "Norwich Sourdough" and I don't fully understand the converstions for the percentage starter. http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2007/07/08/my-new-favorite-sourdough/

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I'm not good at figuring baker's percentages, either. If you do a search on site you will come up with a lot of discussions about it that may help you.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A


Dear SourdoLady,


Many thanks for all the encouraging information that you have posted here and your graciousness in answering everyone’s questions so fully, including those of sourdough newbies like me.


Following this article and thread has allowed me to move from being nervous about making a sourdough starter to creating a culture from white bread flour and the juice of an organic orange that I had to hand, which at 6 days looks reassuringly healthy and has a lovely yeasty, fruity smell. Like all newborns I can’t guarantee it won’t get sick sometime but I hope it makes it through so I can cook sourdough bread, as I love the taste so much.

 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Enjoy your starter! You will probably want to start feeding it two or three times a day now that it is lively. I would wait another week before refrigerating it for storage. You can bake with it as soon as you feel it is active enough, which means it should double in size in 4 to 5 hours. Oh, and you might want to thicken up the consistency now, too.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Thank you! I have now started more frequent feeding and thickening as advised and will leave it out for another week. It seems to be rising more so I think I will need to put a mark on the jar to check if it doubles. Hope to bake soon.

spenghali's picture
spenghali

Thanks for all the useful info Sourdoughlady! 


 


My question: I had started 4 different wild yeast starters in case any of them failed, so for theones which don't, is it safe to combine them into one starter? And if so, when should i do it?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Sure, you can combine them. You can do it whenever you want to.

KneadToKnow's picture
KneadToKnow

I grew up in CA in the S. Bay area, and am used to Great Sourdough breads.  Due to a job opportunity I moved to GA where good sourdough is just not obtainable.  I read your "how to" a few days ago and was intrigued by this method, having failed with a prior water/flour starter some time ago.  It gave a nice rise, but none of that sour bite that is so desirable.


 


I just mixed day 1 up and have it out on the counter.  One minor question if you don't mind.  The instructions say to cover the starter.  How tight should the lid be, just placed on loose to allow airflow, or screwed down firm?


 


Thanks for the instructions, I'll update this post with my results


Day1: Mixed Juice and Wheatflour

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

The lid should be loose, in order to let the gasses escape. The purpose of the lid is to keep contaminates out and prevent the surface from drying out. Good luck with your starter!!

KneadToKnow's picture
KneadToKnow

Thanks.  I was pretty sure the lid was supposed to be loose, but I have seen videos of folks keeping starters in those jars with latches, so I figured I'd double check.



I just fed my starter its Day 3 dose and there are some bubbles forming, and a distinct apple-cider vinegar smell - I sure  didn't expect that :o)  I do not see any other reference to a vinegar smell.  Is this normal or something I should be concerned with?  I did see vinegar was a possible additive later in the process, but I have certainly not added any at this point.


 


I also, just noticed that you posted these instructions almost 5 years ago!  I am humbled that you are still here tending the post, doing everything you can to ensure us newbies get the advice and guidence  we need.  My sincere thank you.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

The smell is fine. It is caused by the fermentation process, which is good. You are on the right track!


I love helping people learn sourdough. It has always fascinated me and I want to share what I can with anyone who wants to learn.

KneadToKnow's picture
KneadToKnow

Well, it's day 8, and still no bubble action, and the vinegary smell has all but dissipated.  My speculation was that was from the pineapple juice fermenting, but that's just a guess. 


 


Since there are no signs of yeast action yet, I will be giving it the apple cider vinegar dose recommend with tonight's feeding.

EDIT:
Day 9. Normal feeding
Day 10 (today): Feeding + a second dose of the apple Cider vinegar.

Still no sign of yeast :(

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Don't give up on it! Don't add any more vinegar. Are you keeping it in a warm place? If it is too cool it will take a lot longer to activate. If you have any rye flour, add a spoonful of it with each feeding for a few days. What kind of water and what kind of flour have you been feeding it?

KneadToKnow's picture
KneadToKnow

I've been keeping it in the kitchen. The temps there this month have been in the mid to high 70's occasionally bumping into the low 80's if I'm not home and the AC isn't on.

Days 1-4 - King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour.
(Item 3015 on KA web page)
Days 5-6 - King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour.
(Item 3001 on KA web page)
Day 7 - half and half of the Whole Wheat and Bread flour above.
Days 9-10 - half and half of KA Unbleached Bread flour and "Pillsbury Bread Flour"

I thought there might be some yeast critters hiding in the Pillsbury flour, so I gave that a shot *shrug*.

The water has always been distilled bottled water from a 1 gal jug. I have been using this same water bottle for normal yeast bread baking so I know it isn't a yeast killer.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Distilled water is not a yeast killer, however it does not contain any of the minerals that sourdough needs to be healthy. The distillation process removes all that. Spring water is what you want to buy if you are using bottled water. If you have well water, that is okay, and some people's tap water is good if it does not contain chloramine. Chlorine is okay as long as you let the water sit a few hours to let it dissipate. Chloramine does not dissipate upon sitting.

KneadToKnow's picture
KneadToKnow

I switched over to spring water per your instructions.

Days 11-16 - Daily feedings -now using spring water- have been...
1/4 C. King Arthur flour (about Tbsp of wheat, and the rest the Unbleached Bread Flour I had been using).

Last night (Day 15) I finally got a bit of foam on top, and tonight the starter actually rose a little!

I'm assuming the yeast is finally waking up. So, what's next? How do I now expand this to a usable portion?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Sounds good! I would thicken it up a little now that the yeast is awake. Add a bit more flour than water--your mix of WW and unbleached is good. Feed it twice a day now. You should notice a good volume increase. When it doubles in volume in 4 to 6 hours, then you should be able to try it in a dough. Be patient as it may take several hours for the dough to rise with a young starter.


To expand the qualtity of starter, just give it larger feedings. I like to do this in two or three stages and not one huge feeding all at once. When you are expanding the starter, you don't need to discard any before feeding as long as the feedings are done before the starter loses its activity. If the starter has been in storage in the fridge then you MUST always discard before the first feeding when it comes out of the fridge.

Canadian-eh's picture
Canadian-eh

Hello!  Have really enjoyed growing my starter and used sourdough lady's trick of pineapple (with rye flour - I got a 25 lb bag of Bob's Red Mill for free from a friend!) to give it a good start.  Since day 4, I've been continuing to use the rye flour and have switched to water (filtered).  No problems with mold or hooch; thanks, Sourdough Lady!


I've been feeding and caring for my starter for 13 days now and I think it might be okay to bake with or refrigerate except for one little problem: it doubles nicely but doesn't stay up!  By the time that 24 hrs have passed, it has collapsed to nearly the beginning level.  In fact, I have checked on it after 12 hours and found that it has collapsed at some point during that time.  I haven't been at home for a long enough stretch of time to actually check to see when it begins to fall/deflate.


I have only been keeping a 1/4 cup and discarding the rest of the starter each time I feed.  Also, I am using a clean, air-dried jar every time.


This is the trouble-shooting I've tried so far on my own:  1) tilting the lid on the jar so that a tiny bit of air can circulate from outside in.  2) Keeping my jar in the oven with the oven light turned on (but I was worried that my oven light was heating things up too much and I haven't been home long enough to be turning it off and on to regulate temperature throughout the 24 hour cycle)  3) feeding twice within a 24 hr. period (with a fresh, clean jar for each feeding) and feeding with 1/3 cup of H2O and 1/3 cup of rye flour.  Step 3 seemed to make the most difference, but the starter still fell (though it did not go completely flat like it normally does).


This whole time, there has been some nice froth on top.  Also, when I stir down before feeding, I can see LOTS of little bubbles throughout the mixture.


Am I doing something wrong?  Any advice as to what to try next?  I'd like to bake with it this coming weekend and try get it to a state where it can stay in the fridge between less frequent feedings.


Thanks again, Sourdough Lady.

rhtulis's picture
rhtulis

Canadian-eh,


Now what you've described sounds exactly like my starters (I have 2 - one white flour, one whole wheat) and how they behave.  They came to life back in November 2009 and have been fed regularly ever since.


I have made some great bread using them.  I find that while the starter deflates some time after doubling, the dough made from the starter(s) behaves just fine.  My experience has been one of learning how the starter & dough behaves, and adjusting how I use it to suit its behavior.


I made a white, cinnamon-raisin bread yesterday.  About 3/4 cup of starter + 2 cups of flour + the rest of the ingredients produced two small loaves, both with a nice rise but little oven spring.  Today I'll be doing a sourdough jewish-style seeded rye from the WW starter.


Sometimes I get nice oven spring, sometimes not.  I suspect it's due to over-proofing on the final rise.  But no matter, the bread is excellent, and everyone I've shared it with loves it!


I'd suggest that you go ahead and try to make bread with it.  I'm of the opinion that the little critters simply run out of food (which is why it collapses) and when you mix in the flour to make a dough they now have enough food to get back to work.  I'm no expert by any means - I just forged blindly ahead and began making bread.  My succes ratio is about 8 out of 10, and the neighbors chickens love the few failures!


Ralph

Canadian-eh's picture
Canadian-eh

Dear Ralph,


Thanks for the tip!  You are right about the critters running out of food.  As per SourdoLady's suggestion to my post, I have been feeding more often.  In addition to that, I have been using a smidgeon less of the water and that has thickened things up a bit more (the consistency that worked for me was thicker than pancake batter just after I mixed in my fresh flour and H2O).  Today the critters achieved some nice-looking volume (the starter more than doubled and the bubbles were MUCH larger!).  I fed them at 10am and the starter was still up when I got home @ 7:30pm!


So, thanks for the support!

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Your starter is just fine. It sounds like you need to feed it more. Try feeding it every 8 hours now. Also, thicken up the consistency (equal weights flour/water, if you have a scale). It doesn't need air circulation. It also doesn't need to be kept warmer than room temperature now that it is active. The warmer it is kept, the faster it will consume the nutrients in the flour that you feed it, causing it to need food more often. I would try giving it the more frequent feedings for a couple of days and then if all goes well you can start keeping it in the fridge between bakings. Good luck with your first bread!

Canadian-eh's picture
Canadian-eh

Your advice really helped, SourdoLady!  Once I'm done baking my first sourdough loaves this weekend, I will take pictures and post them.  I'm so excited!


Thanks again!

mandikaake's picture
mandikaake

I was wondering if anyone else had this problem or if it is even a problem.  I'm not getting a starter that is at all liquid.  Mine is very much a solid mass of ooze.  lol.  Granted I'm only on day 2 but I'm just wondering what's going on.  Should I be adding more juice or leave it alone?

diah's picture
diah

Hi al bakers,


I am new in this site and  also just starting baking bread for my family for just couple of months. I have read all tips and comment in this site. It is very interesting site which give me alots of knowledge and tips to bake a good and delicious bread. Well this may sound silly but as a new member here I just want to check with you guys, is it sourdough starter is actually a fresh yeast which we do our own at home. Is there any different using (commercial yeast) and sourdough starter in baking of bread. Because in my country (singapore) we usually use active dry yeast where we can easilly buy it from neighbouhood supermarket. If I were to make my own sourdough starter, at what day can I start using it to bake my bread and at what day also I should keep my sourdough starter in my refrigerator. How to know if my sourdough starter cannot be used for baking after quite sometime. Thank you for your patient and understanding to help me ease my mind.

diah's picture
diah

Hi


Can I know on what day is the sourdough starter ready to be used and kept in the fridge. How to know if the sterter is spoil and need to do new starter. I totally new in all this. Need you guys help to have a good and delicious bread for my family. I notice you guys did not use active dry yeast baking your bread. What is the different using starter and active dry yeast (commercial yeast). Hope to hear from you guys. 


 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

The starter should be kept at room temperature and be fed at least twice a day once it is active. After about 2 weeks of good activity then you can start storing it in the fridge and feeding once a week or so. It is ready to be used in bread when it consistently rises up and doubles in 4 or 5 hours when kept at 100% hydration. If it is wetter then it may not double but should still have lots of bubbles.


Starter IS yeast, but it is wild yeast. It has a much better flavor than commercial yeast. It also rises slower than commercial yeast, so you must learn to be patient and let it rise slowly. Good luck, and have fun!

diah's picture
diah

Thank you SourdoLady for your explanation. One more question about your statement 100% hydration. What does that mean. I have never heard of this till I joint this site. Sorry if I sound silly asking this question.

mandikaake's picture
mandikaake

 I've had my yeast growing for several days (not quite 2 weeks).  I haven not been taking out all but 1/4 and then feeding.  I've just been feeding it.  Is that ok?  


Also, after I put it in the fridge, how do I feed it?


When I want to use it again, what do I do?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

No, it is not a good thing to not discard. You don't have to throw away your discards, though. Stir it into pancake batter or use it in a yeasted bread dough, quick bread or muffins. If you never discard (or use it in a recipe) and just keep adding more food, your starter will become very acidic and sluggish. Once your starter's yeasts consume all the nutrients in the food you give it, then they are just swimming around in waste. You need to get rid of some of that waste and also part of the yeast cells which have multiplied many times over. If you keep your starter small then you won't be using a lot of flour to feed it and the discards will be minimal. When you want to bake with it, then you can build it to a larger amount by giving it a larger feeding.

xaocfrau's picture
xaocfrau

I'm on day 8 of my starter.  On day 4 the starter was very happy.  It was bubbly, kind of elastic and it smelled good and yeasty.  I began adding white flour (grocery store, unbleached all purp) and Perrier mineral water.  It's been downhill ever since.  My starter now resembles flat pancake batter and it smells kind of like acetone.  It's not a good smell.  I thought maybe our kitchen was too cold (62 deg) so I put some starter in my yogurt maker to keep it warm.  Hasn't made any difference.  This morning I decided to start feeding every 12 hours (instead of 24) but that hasn't done any good either.  Tonight I'm going to try adding a bit of vinegar.   Any ideas or suggestions on what happened to my happy blob?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Did you use juice when you began your starter? Usually the juice prevents the starter from going through the acetone smelly stage. If the starter is not bubbly at this time, do not feed it any oftener than once a day. Try giving it a mixture of rye and AP flour for a few feedings until it wakes up. Yes, 62 degrees is pretty cold to get a new starter up and running and that is probably a lot of your problem. Keeping it 80 to 85 degrees is ideal until it gets going, and then it can handle cooler temps. Don't give up--I'm sure it will come around.

xaocfrau's picture
xaocfrau

I did use the pineapple juice.  I bought wheat berries and rye berries and ground them up and mixed with the juice per the instructions.  It's not a horrible smell but not good like it was on day 4.  On day 4 I started feeding 1/4 cup vice the 2 T.  Maybe it wasn't ready?  Today I added more rye flour and will continue using the yogurt maker to keep it warm.  I'm not ready to give up but how will I know when it's officially dead?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I'm sure it is not going to become 'officially dead'!! Just keep up with the once a day feedings using part rye flour or WW, or a mixture of both, along with the AP. Stir it often and keep it warm. It will grow--trust me!

xaocfrau's picture
xaocfrau

Ok, it's not dead.  It's become very alive since I added more rye flour.  It really doesn't like my AP flour so I'm not sure what to do about that.  I'm maintaining two starters as an experiment and the one in the yogurt maker seems to have doubled in volume in less than two hours.  I've created a monster!  Now what?

xaocfrau's picture
xaocfrau

Should I be feeding my starter more often than every 24 hours before I bake bread for the first time?  You said something about feeding it every 4-6 hours.  I'm thinking maybe my blob isn't strong enough yet.  It's two weeks old.  I fed it at 7 pm last night and twelve hours later it had grown to 3/4 cup from the original half cup.  What do you think?  Is it supposed to be doubling?  Should I wait?  I seem to have successfully weened it from the rye flour.  I'm only feeding it AP flour now. 

JessicaT's picture
JessicaT

My rule of thumb is to bake when the starter peaks in 6-8 hours three times in a row. It's something I've stuck with for my other two jars of starter and it seems to work out quite well. 

xaocfrau's picture
xaocfrau

On Thursday it will be three weeks since I started my starter.  It's alive but I'm still only feeding it every 24 hours.  I tried feeding every 12 hours but it doesn't rise much so I decided it wasn't ready yet and went back to 24 hours.  Am I being too impatient to expect more from it?  I used some to bake bread yesterday.  It didn't rise enough but it tastes pretty good. 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Something isn't right here. Are you discarding before each feeding? Is the starter thick, or quite liquidy? A liquid starter will not rise as high as a thicker one. By the looks of your bread, I'd say that your starter is not healthy at this point. How much old starter are you starting out with after discarding, and how much flour/water are you feeding? Try taking 2 T of old starter and feed it 1/2 cup flour and a scant 1/3 cup water. Watch it and see how long it takes before it rises to its highest point before it starts to recede. When you see it begin to recede, that is when you want to give it another feeding. Adding a spoonful of rye flour along with the AP in each feeding will give it a boost.

xaocfrau's picture
xaocfrau

I am discarding before each feeding.  I reserve 1/4 cup and discard the rest.  The starter is thick.  I've cut back a little bit on the water and feed slightly less than 1/4 cup water with 1/4 cup ap flour.  I think the ap flour is still suspect #1 as when I add a bit of rye or ww the starter gets much more happy.  It's slow to rise and has never doubled.  Last night I fed it and put it in the garage where it's much warmer.  This morning (12 hours later) it had risen to 3/4 cup so I fed it again.  It's alive but it never changes much or grows much.  I thought I had weaned it off the rye flour but I guess not.  I can take a picture tonight and post it.

mamatojade's picture
mamatojade

So, something that I am a bit confused by...with the starter recipe that I have made before at some point I add enough flour to make it more dough-like.  When do I get to that stage with this?


 


At present (day 7 or so) it has the consistancy of crepe batter.

saponista's picture
saponista

If you haven't any pineapple or orange juice you can instead use Bragg's organic apple cider vinegar diluted 1:1 with water -- that concentration gives you roughly the same pH as orange or pineapple juice (3.30; I'll spare you the math!) 

KT's picture
KT

I started my starter in February, and after around 3 weeks it came to life, or so I thought. I was going by SourdoLady's day 7 photo as a guide, so thought I had arrived when mine sort of looked like hers.


In the intervening months, I've made many loaves, few of which had much rise or oven spring. Last week, after reading, somewhere on this site, that there is some critter in starter that can cause dough to become runny, (forget exactly where) I started a rigorous regimen of 3 times a day feedings and holy crap! What a difference!


I had been operating under the assumption that the natural yeast in my area was just mellow and just wasn't into the whole "double or triple in volume" thing, but now, I feed it when I go to work and when I get home, the 1/2 cup of flour has ballooned to almost 2 cups of very bubbly starter.


I don't think I fully appreciated how important the 3 times a day feeding schedule really is. Just thought I'd throw that out there for any frustrated starter wranglers. Feed the beast!

tbill's picture
tbill

The rye four/pineapple juice recipe REALLY works, and fast, at least for me. It took a while for the starter to get to the point it makes a very sour loaf, but that's normal. Buying a starter is fairly expensive, though rye four isn't cheap, either...


Thanks for the recipe; I'm making bread again!

jlewis30's picture
jlewis30

Well I have been feeding and babying a starter for a few weeks now. I have made lots of delicious flapjacks and english muffins from it but not yet attempted a "loaf of sourdough" until today.  I am from the SF Bay area (recently moved to Denver) so my sourdough bar is very high.


I made the dough and let it proof at room temperature for a day then retired shaped rounds to the refrigerator overnight. In the morning I sat them on the counter until double, scored the top and put them in a 450 oven (lots of steam) for 20 minutes, reducing the heat to 360 to finish.


The crust is lovely, the crumb a bit disappointing as I was wanting big holes, but it was 50% whole wheat flour so I dunno... does that make it harder to get holes? The crumb is moist and has a lovely texture. Should actually make fantastic sandwich bread.


I was nervous about getting good oven spring and loft so I think I fed them a bit too much honey, the final flavor does have a mild sour tang, but also kind of sweet =/ It was a great big case of if a little is good a little more is better, alas, but the taste is delicious overall.




buceriasdon's picture
buceriasdon

Thanks so very much for sharing this method. I used flax seed ground in a coffee grinder purchased from a local seed and cereral store here in Mexico. Day 5 and the activity is amazing! I have never gotten this close after numerous efforts to make my own starter. Thanks again,so glad I found this blog!


Don

AurorasBreads's picture
AurorasBreads

Hi SourdoLady!
I just wanted to say thanks for your sourdough starter recipe! This is my first attempt at making my own sourdough starter and with your recipe I am on day 11 now. My starter is nice and bubbly and has a great sourdough aroma...I can't wait to bake with it! I must say, however, that I am without a decent bread recipe with which to use my starter. Every morning I get up and take out 1/4 cup and feed it with your recommended 1/4 flour (I use King Arthur All Purpose unbleached white)and 1/4 filtered water and all seems well. I don't want to waste it though! I have done all this work for almost two weeks...could you recommend a good recipe for me? Thank you so much!


Happy Baking :)
Jeanette

RachelJ's picture
RachelJ

I know I posted on here before that I was going to start a starter... er, that never happened. We were making a big move and it seemed I didn't get to do it. But, I do plan to do it. I'll be using fresh pineapple juice and whole wheat flour. I'd love any tips you all feel free to offer me. :)


Blessings!

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Sorry I missed your post. Did you start the starter yet? If not, what are you waiting for? You will love it! Just mix it up and ask questions as they come up. I will help you get it going. Patience is the key! A starter generally takes a week and a half or more to get going.

icicle's picture
icicle

Hi,


Maybe I should be pleased but I'm concerned that my start is so active. I am on day 6 and my rye wholemeal starter (I have a white wheat starter made at the same time in the same way, which is bubbling but gently) keeps on escaping the jar. I've put it in a far larger jar, so problem solved but I'm concerned that in about 3 hours it can increase to 4 times the size. Does this mean I've got something nasty in there?


It smells yeasty but not as yeasty as the white wheat flour starter. I've added a touch of vineger and nothing has changed.


 


 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Don't worry about it. Just keep up with the feedings. Do you plan to keep this an all-rye starter? I don't keep a rye starter, so I am not sure how they normally behave, but I do know that sourdough loves rye flour and will get very active when fed with it. Don't add any vinegar. Since your starter is only 6 days old, this may just be the bacteria rising and not the yeast. Don't be surprised if the mixture suddenly appears dead. Keep feeding and in a few days the yeast will wake up. A lot of people mistake the initial bacterial rise to be yeast, and it really is not.

icicle's picture
icicle

Well, I took it with me on holiday and it's continued to grow after feeding incredibly quickly but I'm pretty sure it's yeast that is doing it since it stinks of alcohol!


I am going to keep it as rye only. I was having trouble getting wholemeal rye to rise properly and I read somewhere that sourdough works better. Finger crossed I'll have my first loaf this week.


Thanks for the reply and thanks for the recipe. So far it's been amazingly sucessful.

wheat4man's picture
wheat4man

It worked!  As near as I can tell, I have a textbook starter.  Thank you, thank you all. 


I have one nagging question that I'm hoping someone will answer (maybe it's obvious to others).  At what point do I actually use my starter?  Right after feeding?  When it's nice and bubbly?  After it's gone whimpy again?  When it's nice and bubbly makes sense to me, but I've learned not to count on that.  


It's been almost 3 full weeks and I can't wait to give sourdough a try.  My mother would be so proud!


 

wheat4man

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Congrats on the new starter! You will want to use it to mix up your dough when it is very active and bubbly, at it's highest peak before it starts to fall, for the best results. Come back and tell us how your bread comes out. Good luck!

Tatoosh's picture
Tatoosh

I started my first attempt at making a sourdough starter. I am in the Philippines where I have not seen any rye flour at all.  I used whole wheat flour and tried to follow ther instructions at the top of this thread. 


I used fresh squeezed orange juice since almost any fruit juice sold here will have sugar added.  Filipinos love sweet, so sugar or a sweetner of some sort is found in most things. 


My two tablespoons of flour and two tablespoons of orange juice were not very liquid. So I added a 3rd tablespoon so that it was not a powdery dough.  It is not "liquid" in any sense at this point, but it is fairly moist. 


I covered loosly with a plastic bag since this is the tropics after all.  When it comes time for adding water, it will have to be RO (reverse osmosis) since that is all that is really drinkable. Tap water often has amoeba so not a good choice for this. 


I will keep an eye on it and report.  I have high hopes for a good sourdough starter so I can try sourdough English Muffins and Pizza dough. 


Tatoosh (5000 feet up in the Cordillera mountains of Luzon)

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Good luck with your starter! Yes, adding more liquid sounds like the right choice. It should be wet, but not liquidy-runny. Can you get bottled spring water? RO water is not the best choice because the process removes all the minerals and the starter as well as your bread dough will react negatively.

Tatoosh's picture
Tatoosh

Thank you for your good wishes, SourdoLady.  I will stick with this process even if I have to redo it a couple of times.  Do you have any advice on how to spot a starter that has gone bad?


And, for the sake of discussion, can sour dough starter be used primarily for flavoring and a secondary yeast added to improve crumb? Just a thought as I was looking at some photos of a sourdough English Muffin.  I want to do those, but would like more holes, the sourdough seeming to have a tighter crumb. 


Tatoosh (5000 feet up a mountain in the Cordillera of Luzon)

Tatoosh's picture
Tatoosh

I could take a vitamin tablet, probably a Centrum, grind it up in my motar and sprinkle in a liter or two of RO (reverse osmosis) water so the water will have some minerals and so forth.  There is little or no bottled spring water here, just RO treated water, though I do remember one being offered as having some nutrients returned.  I will hunt around for that. If I can find some, I will use it for my day 4 feeding. 


I really am looking forward to making sourdough English muffins and sourdough pizza dough. I have not heard of anyone with a sourdough starter in my area and I have not seen any sourdough breads being offered for sale here in my part of the Philippines.  I am sure they are available in Manila but that is a six hour drive.


Tatoosh

Tatoosh's picture
Tatoosh

Day 5 and things are pretty quiet. I changed from OJ and whole wheat to filtered water and AP flour (along with the 1/4 cup of original starter) on day 4.  Not so much in the way of bubbles, just a few and only after gently mixing the starter.  Water is standing on top, just a bit but incorporates quickly back in if stirred.  There is a sour odor to the mixture.


I am doing it in a very clean plastic container and covering fairly quickly with a plastic bag but not trying to make it air tight at all.  Just so bugs can't get to it easily.  Luckily, I found mineralized water, courtesy of a Swiss friend here, which is filtered water with some nutrients added back in.  The friend gave me a liter and at a quarter cup per day it will last quite awhile.


I had hoped to have some sort of starter ready to try by day 7 for my next swat at homemade pizza, but I think it will be another week or so before I there is any chance to get my starter going. 


Someone mentioned using pineapple juice from canned pineapples.  All I remember seeing in the States and  all that I see here in the Phiippines are pineapple (rings or chunks) in a sweetened syrup.  Surely that is not what SourdoLady mentions in her guide? We use pineapples chunks in our chicken curry recipe and I could easily use the pineapple "juice" from that for another try at the starter if necessary.  But since SourdoLady says "unsweetened" I don't think that is the sort of juice she means.


I will keep feeding the starter the 1/4 AP/!/4 Water mixture daily for another week and see how things progress.


    ___________________________________________________


Day 5 Update


I checked the starter again and it had a small pool of clear water again on top of the flour.  I thought, "That looks like a poolish I have left too long and the yeast has exhausted it."  I sniffed again and it had a bit of a "fruity" note and not quite so much sour to the aroma.


So I put a tablespoon of whole wheat in and I swear it almost giggled! The water diappeared, of course.  But it started to bubble a bit on its own.  A few hours later it was time for feeding and I added 1/4 cup of hard flour and 1/4 cup of mineral water plus one tablespoon of whole wheat again.  The sour odor had become more pronounced but I did get a bit of the fruit too. 


So I have high hopes that it will start and I will have a working sourdought starter in the next few days.  I also found that rye flour is available here, but I have not found the right stall/vendor in the large public market area for it yet. 


Woulf a second starter based on whole wheat and/or rye flour develop a distinctlly different flavor than one started on whole wheat and bread flour? Or for different sourdough flavors should I look at importing a bit of starter from overseas if I decide to pursue sourdough more energetically?


Tatoosh

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Sounds like your starter is progressing just fine. Soon it will surprise you with lots of bubbles! Go ahead and use some of your discard in your pizza dough but supplement it with some yeast. It won't be as good as a 100% sourdough, but it will be better than a plain yeasted dough. Be sure to let your pizza dough retard at least overnight in the fridge before using it.


I don't keep a rye starter, but many people do. If I want rye, I just take a couple of spoonfuls of my white starter and give it a couple of feeds with rye flour before I use it to make my dough.

Tatoosh's picture
Tatoosh

Okay, I am at a bit of a loss here, being a newbie to baking and all.  With my previous dough, I would make a pre-ferment that I left overnight on the kitchen table.  My little neck of the woods runs about 70 to 75 degrees in the daytime and mid sixties at night usually. 


So I thought I will have to feed the sourdough starter to increase it to the required size (plus some leftover for future use). And I will need to allow longer rise periods unless I want to add commercial yeast.  But I don't quite understand the "retard" thing.  I need to make the whole dough and let it sit in the fridge? Is this after the first knead but letting it "rise" so to speak in the fridge versus out in the warmer air of the house or in a warm oven?


Tatoosh

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Yes, retarding means refrigerating the dough overnight or even up to 3 days. Some doughs will need to be degassed once a day if left longer than overnight. Retarding helps to develop good flavor and better gluten structure.

pizzasnob's picture
pizzasnob

Dear Sourdough Lady,


Thanks for the great site!  I've been trying to make a starter to make my own pizza.


However, I have the problem noted in the subject line.  I didn't have access to rye, but I have a lot of short-grain white rice - so on the first day, I ground 1 Tbsp of it, mixed that with 1 Tbsp of AP flour, and mixed that with 2 Tbsp of pineapple juice. For the next two days, I used AP flour & pineapple juice; day 4 and on, i've been using filtered tap and water.  I've kept it on top the fridge.


It's been bubbling and smelling alcohol-ish/yeasty since day 3.  Now, it has a very strong alcohol/yeast smell, and it tastes very sour.


the problem? it bubbles, and i see bubbles in the mix, but it doesn't rise.  it's the 8th day, and i've just recharged the feed - 1/4 c starter, 1/4 c water, 1/4 c flour.  should i place it in the fridge now? why isn't it rising?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

It sounds to me like your starter is very hungry. I would suggest that you change your feeding ratio and use 2 Tbsp. starter, 2 Tbsp. water and 1/4 cup flour. Also, I would recommend that you feed the starter every 8 hours. Once you are getting a good rise out of it consistently then you can move it to the fridge and feed it less often. Try this and then let me know if it is working better for you.

pizzasnob's picture
pizzasnob

there's usually about an 1/8th inch of hooch on top that i mix in before discarding and refeeding.  it's been there since day 2 or 3.

pizzasnob's picture
pizzasnob

Thanks!  I'll try that out.  last night, after i wrote the comment, i added 1/4 cup flour and a little less water on top of what i mentioned.  this morning it had no hooch and slightly foamy appearance.  hopefully by the end of the day it'll look better!

Tatoosh's picture
Tatoosh

Okay, I apologize for bringing in a separate thread's recipe, but it is sourdough and I am trying to use my new starter with it.  The thread is the one for Sourdough Italian Bread.  It uses a "Biga Naturale" made of  3 oz of starter, 9 oz of water, and 12 oz of flour. 


I did this about 12 to 14 hours before the picture below was taken.  Some large bubbles but no small ones and it has not doubled or anything like that. 



 


As comparison, I made a smaller poolish of 1/2 cup bread flour, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast.  It was made the same time and shows the residue of a myriad of small bubbles across its surface. 


 



 


Is my Sourdough Starter just being a bit too adolescent or maybe using a stainless mixing bowl made it a bit shy?  I had hoped to see it grow some and bubble up.


The original starter has a vinegary odor to it, though mostly sour to my nose. I feed it twice a day usually now that we are a week past the orange juice phase and it does seem to bubble on the surfact quite a bit, but it has never been shot through with bubbles like the photo of the starter in the measuring cup. 


Any ideas? Am I pushing to use it too fast and need to let it mature more? 


Tatoosh

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I sounds like your starter may be too acidic. This is usually caused by not discarding enough of the old starter before feeding, or not feeding enough. Are you feeding your starter and then waiting until it is very active before using it?

Tatoosh's picture
Tatoosh

I think you are right, but I wasn't aware that could be a problem.  However, the sourdough biga started to produce more bubbles, but it was never totally full of bubbles. 


I am pretty sure the sourdough starter needed to be fed and given time to "ripen" before I used it.  Part of the learning curve.  When I fed it a bit later it really started to bubble.


I left the biga at room temperature to improve for another eight hours and it was producing more bubbles at that point.  The sourdough Italian bread recipe I used it in called for 1 tsp of commercial yeast, so when we combined ingredients, that was added.  I left it all sit for a couple of hours and then put in the refrigerator to let it have 12 to 18 hours to retard. 


I am preheating the oven now, so I will see how it goes.  I had intended to use it for the baguettes/batards the recipe was intended for, but my wife is lobbying for pizza crusts (probably because she's hungry), so some of it may be shaped into a flatter thick-crust pizza experiement. 


Thank you for yur insight.  This is so much fun leaning to do and experiment with!

pizzasnob's picture
pizzasnob

many thanks, sourdough lady.  It seemed to rise a lot over the day.  to confirm, i used the same ratio last night, and it doubled over the past 8 hours.  I assume that i need to feed it with the same ratio before i move it to the fridge? or do i do the original ratio?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Keep up with the new feeding ratio. When you are ready to use it to bake, increase the amount of the feeding to expand the starter. Always wait until it is very active before using in your dough.

carolina509's picture
carolina509

Hi Sourdough Lady!  I absolutely love the site.


I am on day 13 of my starter (this is my first attempt and I'm really excited, and a bit more obsessed than I care to admit).  Things were going great - I was getting good activity with lots of bubbles and a pleasant sour aroma.  But around day 11 my starter totally lost its sour aroma.  Now it just smells like paste.  I've been feeding it twice a day, following the instructions, except that 3 or 4 times I have forgotten to discard before feeding.  Everything else is the same - room temp, same (clean) container, etc.  I can tell you that the past 2 days I've not been able to look at it after feeding - I feed it before leaving for work in the a.m. so am not able to check the activity.  There was hooch last night and around day 10; I stirred it back in.  After feeding it last night (used whole wheat last night) there was no activity for the 2 hours between feeding and when I went to bed, so not sure if it even rose last night.  Should I keep it going for another week?  There were a few big bubbles on the surface this morning.   Thanks, really appreciate any advice anyone has!


 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Your starter doesn't sound healthy. It's hard to say why, but it may be a combination of factors. Not doing the discard could be part of the problem. The appearance of hooch means it needs to be fed. Do a large discard, saving only a couple of spoonfuls and then give it a feeding. Use more flour than water so that it is rather thick in consistency. Let it sit until you see good activity, and don't give it another feeding until it is active.

carolina509's picture
carolina509

Okay, I'll try that.  Thanks!

Tatoosh's picture
Tatoosh

I am curious as to why the discard is necessary?  That may be part  of my problem, I do not discard on a regular basis but when it builds up to about 1/2 my container.  I add 2 bablespoons of flour and water, once or twice a day. 


The starter bubbles but does not double. In fact in the attached photo, I took 4 ounces of a recently fed starter, added 1 cup of flour and 2/3 cup of water. The mixture sat at room temperature for 10 - 12 hours.  It bubbled, but never doubled or rose at all that I can tell.  I don't know if you can see in the photo but there is a little bit of liquid starting to form at the very rim of the starter, like it has exhausted its food?



I never see any doubling. I do not get so much smell to my nose. My wife and brother-in-laws say they get a smell of old vinegar from it.  But they are not used to smelling sour odors except associated with "bad" food, so I am not certain if their description is completely accurate.


The photo above looks pretty much like other photos of my starter.  I am uncertain what I should be doing to improve its ability to give a rise.  All I ever see after letting either feeding my basic starter or making a larger starter to add to a recipe is either bubles or it liquid pools at the top like a poolish that has exhausted its food. I had intended to use this 4 oz starter-2/3 cup waterr-1 cup flour for English Muffins, but now I am uncertain if it good or not.

rhtulis's picture
rhtulis

Tatoosh,


I created 2 starters last fall - one white flour, one wheat flour.  Neither really doubles in volume after a feeding.  Both work effectively but my dough is very slow-rising.  I just baked 2 loaves of cinnamon-raisin bread last night.  The dough was kneaded & shaped arounf 2 pm and left to rise.  It was about 11 pm when I finally put them in the oven.  Oven spring was nothing spectacular - perhaps another 1/3 in height.  BUT I get great tasting bread.


I suspect a lot depends on the specific strain of wild yeast that one has managed to "catch".  My starters wind up being stashed in the back of the refrigerator and through the Summer feedings have gone beyond 2 weeks at times (who wants to bake when the temp is in the high 90s?).  Yet it revives okay when I do remember to feed it.  But as I said, they rarely double in volume after a feeding.


I also have a problem discarding 1/2 of my starter at a feeding.  My usual routine is to save a 1/2 cup to continue the starter (adding 2/3 cup flour + 1/2 cup water) and use the rest (adding 2/3 cup flour + 1/2 cup water) after being allowed to revive to make dough.  This has worked for me, though perhaps not in the same way that SourdoLady would have it.


I'm a man who enjoys baking, but I admit to being a bit lazy and impatient.  I have fostered patience with my sourdough, and, for the most part, have had good luck with my breads.  I have yet to perfect the ideal seeded rye bread, but I expect I'll get there eventually.


I just wanted to share my experiences with you so you don't feel like it's not working.  I suspect that you can make bread with your starter, just be patient.


Ralph

Tatoosh's picture
Tatoosh

Thanks for sharing your experience and insight Ralph.  I had intended to use this batch of starter to make English Muffins, but with a sourdough flavor.  And I probably will, but adding some active yeast so I do get some rise and more open texture to the crumb.


I am just over 2 weeks with my starter I believe, or very close. My plan was to move it from the counter to the refrigerator this weekend.  I will keep your procedure(s) in mnd.  I don't bake as often as I'd like, but I expect to be making some pizza crust and English muffins on a regular basis. 


Sadly, my wife and in-laws are not fond of the (or at least my) sourdough flavor. I used it once to make pizza crust at my wife's insistence that she wanted pizza now, not later, even though the dough was intended for bread.  But I thought, "Hey, she wants thick crust pizza anyway. Maybe it will work out."  Not so much rise in the dough until I added some active dry yeast.  I thought it was fine.  She was aghast and picking the toppings off. 


So I will make a standard pizza dough for her and pre-bake the crust a bit, then the same for me, but with sourdough crusts.  We freeze them and it really cuts down the lead time if we decide we need a fix or if company is coming over and we don't want to get too involved with the kitchen. 


I will keep working with my "Baguio Sour" starter.  It is the only native wild starter I've run across in this town and I've only heard of one other, so far, down in Manila.  Most the natives are oriented to sweet, not sour. 


Tatoosh (high in the mountains of the Cordillera on the island of Luzon)

wheat4man's picture
wheat4man

I started my starter about 6 weeks ago and was thrilled with the results.  I've made some wonderful sourdough white and rye.  However, the last few days my starter has developed a very definite vinegar smell and does not rise at all when fed.  There's also a layer of hooch on the white starter.  What's going on?

KT's picture
KT

I'm certainly no pro, but when I wake up my starter from it's "refrigerator naps" it frequently has a strong vinegar, or sour smell. It doesn't seem to adversely affect the starter though. I generally only feed it every 3 to 4 weeks and yet when I wake it up for a new meal, it consistently more than doubles. Often bubbling up to 2.5 to 3 times it's original height.


The trick, for me, in getting it to this state, was to follow Sourdough lady's advice and spend a weekend attending to it's needs, feeding it every time it bubbled up to maximum, (approx 5 to 6 hours) discarding all but about 2 to 3 tablespoons and feeding again. After 5 or 6 such feedings, I noticed a dramatic difference. 


I don't think the sour smell means much. It doesn't for my starter.


 

wheat4man's picture
wheat4man

Thanks, I'll give that a try.  In frustration I'm starting a new starter, but I haven't given up on the old ones.  I'll try discarding most and feeding more often.  From what I've read, they're pretty forgiving. 

bibblenorn's picture
bibblenorn

I decided to try this starter. The last time I had tried one, after feeding it for two weeks, I just had what smelled like a bucket of cat sick, and my hubby begged me to throw it out.


This time, I got a delightfully bubbly starter (named Mr. Bubbles). I have been feeding it for about two weeks, and it smells like beer. Yay! So I decided it was time to bake.


I fed it up, and made Sourdough Lady's Deluxe recipe. When I pulled the dough from the fridge this morning, I put it in the warmest spot in the kitchen to rise. 3 hours later... no change. :( So I put them in the oven (oven was off) with just the oven light on for hear. 3 hours later, they had risen some (and oozed into eachother), so I pulled them out to start preheating the oven.


I ended up with some nice oven spring, which was clean, without cracking the crust. The loaves were very nice and fluffy. The crumb was pretty even, but not too dense.


As far as taste... it tasted like rich sandwich bread, but sour. While tasting, I remembered one important thing I had overlooked... I don't like sourdough! I dislike it enough, that I don't really know if mine tastes "right". Guess some coworkers get to be guinea pigs tomorrow. :)

saehee Cho's picture
saehee Cho

Dear Sourdolady,


 


I'm excited to try this starter.  I want to experiment with incorporating organic grapes into this starter in addition to the pineapple juice.  How would I go about doing that?  Should I just add the whole grapes with the juice?  Should I remove the skins later?


 


 

oceanicthai's picture
oceanicthai

Hello and thank you for your instructions.  I am trying out 3 different starters right now and yours is one of them.  My other starters really took off but I am wondering if I am having trouble with yours because of the high temps here.  Mid to upper 80 F.  I am using organic whole wheat flour and mixed fruit juice.  The fruit juice has pineapple, apple, grape and carrot juice.  It has tiny bubbles but no growth and not very bubbly.  Any thoughts?  Do you think this will take longer because of the warm climate?  I have no cooler place to put it.

oceanicthai's picture
oceanicthai

Also, I seem to keep getting liquid on top very quickly, within 2 hours of a feeding.  I guess this is hooch but it doesn't smell alcoholic.

oceanicthai's picture
oceanicthai

After several more days, re-reading blog posts on here and cleaning up some mold, I think my starter is viable here in Thailand...took about 8 days  :)

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Sounds good--8 days is about normal. Now that it is alive, you should feed it more. Starters are very hungry beasts, especially in your warm climate. If you see hooch forming on top (liquid), then that means it is very hungry. You may need to feed it 3 times a day now, or if you thicken it up you could get away with twice. It is still developing its strength and flavor, so you don't really want to put it in the fridge just yet.

Anopheles1988's picture
Anopheles1988

So on day four, do we continue to discard all but a fourth of cup of the mixture, each day until it begins to smell yeasty or, do we continue to add a fourth a cup of flour and a fourth a cup of water until it smells yeasty?? I'm confused. I've been doing this now for nearly two weeks and it smells fermented in side my jar. I don't know if I'm doing it right. If you could help I would love the advice.


Thanks :)

Prefabric's picture
Prefabric

Your bread seems very delicious and ı will definetely try making this really nice.


 


 

billyjean's picture
billyjean

Sourdo Lady,


Thank you so much for your instructions.  Last year I tried at least six times to grow my own starter with disappointing results.  I ended up throwing away each one after two weeks, with little in the way of action aside from what I suspect was a leuconostoc takeover.  I was tentative to try again, but I followed your instructions using pineapple juice and whole grain rye flour.


Lo and behold, 11 days later I have a starter that rises two to three times its size after every feeding.  It began on day 6, so I've maintained a healthy starter for 5 days.  Ha!  A pathetic but exciting record for me.  I'm keeping it at room temperature for at least two weeks before I put it in the fridge.


When baking with the discards I've had an amazing open crumb (the first time, I've ever had it), and fantastic oven spring.  Still not a lot of sour taste, but tasty none the less.


Anyway, thank you, thank you, thank you.


 

EricaVee's picture
EricaVee

Like others, I want to give you a huge thank-you! I used just flour and water rather than the recipe here, but my starter wouldn't have succeeded without all of the troubleshooting and tips in this thread.


I live in an old Brownstone and the radiators make it RIDICULOUSLY hot and dry in the winter--anything left out dries up long before it can even start to get moldy, so it ended up being the perfect evironment for a starter.


My first loaf is proofing in the microwave right now! Thanks again!

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Congratulations on your new starter! I hope your loaf turns out awesome, and even if it isn't perfect I'm sure it will be delicious. Come back and let me know how it is!

EricaVee's picture
EricaVee

Baked it first thing this morning and it was delicious! I cannot believe how light and chewy it is. I have also been making pancakes with discarded starter and they are sooo crispy and light. I have another loaf proofing right now!