The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

ok! Extremely Confused and frustrated!

ngabriel's picture
ngabriel

ok! Extremely Confused and frustrated!

Hi all, I have SEVERAL questions, and just find myself becoming more and more confused and frustrated the more I try to dig and research these topics out. I am hoping someone can help me. Here are my questions: 

 

1. I do NOT like SOUR tasting bread. However, I like the idea of having my own self-propagating starter. Is there any way to have a starter that will prodice bread that is not SOUR? 

 

2. That being said, I ordered 2 starters from a lady on ETSY, not knowing anything about San Francisco Sourdough (which is reportedly a Very Sour bread), I now own 2 starters made from her starters. A whole wheat San Fran, and an EXTRA sour san fran.  Do I need to TOSS these and start all over with something else, or is there ANY way to salvage these from my use AND all the EXTRA starter I have in the fridge from daily feedings? My intention was to use the extra fro pancakes, muffins, etc. I have a good 3 cups of each stored in the fridge of EACH that I would hate to waste, but if you think there is no way for me to use them and enjoy them, then please let me know so I won't become more frustrated and waste more ingredients. 

 

3. Those of you familiar with Friendship bread.. Has anyone had success with a starter of this kind withOUT using commercial yeast? 

4. Has anyone had success using a SOUR sourdough starter in a bread recipe that did NOT turn out sour? 

 

This is al I'll ask at this time, since the list goes on and on since I'm now so confused. lol  

 

Thanks for any helo! 

n

Graid's picture
Graid

Have you tried baking with these starters? Do they definitely turn out sour? By no means is bread produced by a sourdough starter always sour. Certainly I never achieved very impressive sourness with mine (also ordered off the internet)- and a lot of the sourdough bread I have bought as well has been lacking in that sour taste. 

Take the below advice with a pinch of salt seeing as I forget a lot of what I used to know about sourdough.

I should imagine the adding sugar to the recipe would perhaps undo some of the sourness. Anything else which speeds up the rising process would also result in something that was less sour. Putting the dough ina warm place to rise, etc..

 

ngabriel's picture
ngabriel

ok, thank you!  Will do it! 

 

I had no idea that because the starter is sour, this doesn't mean the bread will be.  That is encouraging!  thanks again! 

breadbythecreek's picture
breadbythecreek

From the Tartine book for a less sour loaf, Chad Robertson recommends feeding your starter as usual, but then mixing your dough as soon as the starter passes the "float test".  For me, that's about 2 hours at room temperature after feeding. I take about 1/2 a teaspoon of the starter and drop it in a small glass of water. If it floats, it's ready to use. If not, give it more time. This will give you a less sour loaf, I believe.

-Pamela

ngabriel's picture
ngabriel

Ok, Thank you Pamela!  Now, I have two thins to try.   I will try a loaf with the starter as is, and I will ALSO try a loaf using this method and see how they turn out. 

 

Thank you! 

 

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I use my starter to bake all kinds of bread-white,whole wheat,sweet,rye and none are sour tasting. I don't care for sour bread,either. I've only made it taste sour by having a very long fermentation time.

I don't know how these starters are going to taste but I suggest you just bake some up and see how they turn out. If they are too sour or tangy then try a week or so of daily discard and feeds on the starter to see if the characterisitcs change.

By the way,the taste of the starter will not tell you how the bread will taste. The starter may taste very concentrated or sour but the dough may very well be sweeter tasting.

 

ngabriel's picture
ngabriel

REALLY???  I had NO idea..  You see?  Learning something new- it never ends! lol  ok, well I will have to bake with it to see what happens then. Thanks again! 

jcking's picture
jcking

Do you know the hydration level of your starter? Is it stiff, liquid or somewher in between? What does it smell like? What percent are you putting in your final dough?

Jim

ngabriel's picture
ngabriel

Hi JIm, it is semi-liquidy...  a loose paste? I think that would be a good way of putting it.  I haven't baked with them yet, just used extra to make some pancakes. I used quite a bit in the pancakes, maybe a cup or so, and they were pretty sour.. lol  it's smells.. sour..  :( 

pjkobulnicky's picture
pjkobulnicky

that no one else has weighed in already to help you be not so confused.

First ... the term sourdough is a common distraction. What you have is a natural yeast. Whether it makes sour bread or not depends on how you use it. When it is frequently refreshed and frequently used with quick rather than long slow fermentation times, you will get a not sour loaf.  Long slow refreashments of mostly liquid starter with associated long slow bulk fermentation will encourage the growth lacto-basiccilus and thus the sour taste.S o ... do read the Tartine Bread book and follow those instructions for a not sour loaf.

Second ... the source of the starter is irrelevent. One is not more sour than the other. See above.

Third ... if you are doing breads with lots of rye, you do want an acidic starter to deal with the lack of gluten in the rye.

Good luck.

G-man's picture
G-man

I believe I recall reading, in my search for a naturally-leavened pannetone recipe, that Italians by and large, much like the French, do not prefer sourdough bread. Before commercial yeast, this meant adapting their starters. The way to 'fix' a sour starter and reduce its sourness that I saw repeated over and over was to feed it every four hours for a couple days in preparation.

Granted, one must sleep.

ngabriel's picture
ngabriel

lol!  Thank you Gman! I will try the technique, not sure about every 4 hours, because yes, sleep is a good thing! :) 

ngabriel's picture
ngabriel

Thank you!  Awesome!  I will look up this book and give this a try.  So, may I ask.. 

 

Does this mean that I can adapt the starters I already have, by feeding them more?  Or is it too late for that and should a new starter be prepared?

 

thanks! I am SO much less confused!! :-D 

 

Jaydot's picture
Jaydot

I use a starter I made from scratch, and I've been baking with it for about half a year now. I have trouble convincing people it is a sourdough bread, because although the starter smells sour (sometimes very sour), the bread is not at all sour.

(I maintain my starter with half rye flour half whole wheat at about 80% hydration at room temp with daily feeds. When I plan to bake, the hydration goes up to 100% the evening before. The bread is simply flour (with some whole wheat), water, salt and starter).

Bake on! You're going to love it :).

ngabriel's picture
ngabriel

Thank You so much!!  May I ask, what is 80% hydration and 100% hydration??  Does this mean, that 100% would be 1 cup flour to 1 cup water?  and you feed only once a day?  Thank you all so much!  I have so much to learn..  Not even certain of a good recipe, there are so many!  LOL 

Anjali's picture
Anjali

For 100% hydration:

100gm flour(any type)+100gm water+100gm starter

For 80% hydration:

100gm flour+80gm water+100gm starter

So 80% hydration will yield a thicker starter.

Anjali

ngabriel's picture
ngabriel

Thank You! 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Good Morning and welcome to sourdough baking :-)

All have chimed in here and given you good ideas to work with.  I have found that the more I actually bake and experiment with all I have learned here things begin to make a lot more sense.

Peter Reinhart has a starter in his book, Whole Grain Breads, that is a pretty easy one to maintain and is a middle of the road starter as far as taste goes....It is maintained at a 75% hydration level.

If you can't come up with a starter using flour that you do like the taste of there are several threads here that go into great detail on how to cultivate and maintain yeast grown in water with dried fruit added. These are know as fruit water yeast and are used to bake with in Japan.  They do not have a sour tang when baked with and bake up very well and are super easy to get started. There is a lot of information in the links I am posting and it may be too much information but I figured by attaching them you will have a source to come back to if necessary.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/6012/baking-natural-wild-yeast-water-not-sourdough

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20693/culturing-growing-and-baking-range-wild-yeasts

These additional links relate to sourdoughs made with flour and water and are also full of information on getting results you are happy with:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10856/pineapple-juice-solution-part-1

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10901/pineapple-juice-solution-part-2

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/14913/very-liquid-sourdough

Good Luck and enjoy yourself :-)

Janet

ngabriel's picture
ngabriel

Oh! Thank you so much Janet!! Excellent linkys! Lots of great reading to do... thanks again! :) 

ngabriel's picture
ngabriel

WOW!!!  I have to say, that water yeast is FASCINATING!!!  I'll probably start some of that too, and compare!!! hahaha!! (Jeeze, I'm such a homemade yeast whore!! hahaha!)  :-D

ngabriel's picture
ngabriel

Ok, so now I know what to do, and I will be experimenting on Monday morning, as we weil be on family events today and tomorrow.  

What do I do with it all until then. I will be in and out, so I can feed as necessary. So let me tell you what I have: 

I have 2 sourdoughs going.  1 active starter of each sits in my non-working microwave.  I feed them a few times a day. 

The excess lives in the fridge. 2 separate containers. I have about 3 cups of each. 

I took it ALLL out last night and left it on the counter.  Came back this morning and al had gotten nice and frothy and active. 

So..  This is where i am.  I have 2-3cup containers full of starter from the refrigerator.  and 2 smaller containers with active starter in them. 1 active and 1 -3cup are of the San Francisco sourdough.  1 active and 1-3cup are of the EXTRA sour San Francisco Sourdough. (but note, they are all active and sitting on my counter now! lol ) 

CONFUSED yet???  hahaha!  

So, what do I do with these?.. what would you do? combine them and put some back in the fridge? Make bread of them? make something else.. ??? management tips please? 

How do i store them till Monday, if i don't get to it till then?  

breadbythecreek's picture
breadbythecreek

I think it would be best for all concerned that you discard all but a small (30g) amount of the starter that you've got going.  Remember, it's only flour and water - you just have way, way, way too much.  I'm not sure you even want to have more than one kind going - how much bread are you baking or plan to bake?  I bake about twice a week and only keep (like I said) 27g at a time.  Sure you can make pancakes, waffles, pizza, use it for flavoring anything with flour in it (cookies, quickbreads, etc.) but you're just not going to find a use for more than a few tablespoons at a time and you've got cups and cups all over the place. all developing more and more acid that will ruin anything you put it in.  Take a deep breath and toss. That's my advice.

ngabriel's picture
ngabriel

Ok!  Yes, see.. I believe that is my problem!  I have been trying to make non-bread recipes using a cup or 1/2 cup or 1/4 cup sourdough to start.. and that is probably why they have been coming out SOOO sour!! hahaha!  (actually I've only tried pancakes!   I think you're right.. I will get to know some recipes to get a feel of exactly how much of this stuff is typically required!  lol  

So, are you saying that If I take just a small amount of my most active batch, and use that to start a new one, that I can begin like that??  It won't have high acid if I start with just a little of it and start all over, right? 

 

Thanks again! 

n

breadbythecreek's picture
breadbythecreek

IMHO the more you keep it warm, fed and happy (room temp., more frequent, higher feeding ratios) the sweeter it will be. The colder and hungrier it gets, the more sour - makes sense right?  You could check out my website (www.artbythecreek.com/recipes) for some blow by blow recipes and techniques that have worked for me so far.  I highly recommend the chocolate sourdough recipe with sour cherries added (Thank you TFL's Shiao-Ping). Better than brownies.

Happy baking!

-Pamela

ngabriel's picture
ngabriel

mmmmm!!! thank you!  I can't wait!!  :-D 

 

ngabriel's picture
ngabriel

So we had a GREAT sourdough night!  It was SO awesome!  I really TRIED to discard all that sourdough I had sitting in the fridge, but I just couldn't do it! LOL! So, I opted to use it ALL up!!  

I ended up making 2 Focaccia's, 2 pizza's and have 2 loaves rising in the refrigerator!   2 of everything because I did one with my white starter and one with my wheat starter.  

They all turned out AWESOME!  NOT SOUR!!! yaay!! So excited!!

Thank you so much! 

 

sam's picture
sam

-> "They all turned out AWESOME!  NOT SOUR!!! yaay!! So excited!!"

You mentioned pizza.  I think a sourdough pizza would be "da bomb"!.  :-)

Too much acetic acid, vinegary, might be overpowering for a regular dinner bread, but in the context of a pizza, it might be really good, because it has to compete with all the sauce and toppings.

 

ngabriel's picture
ngabriel

Thank you all so much!  You guys and gals are so awesome!  :-D  I could not have used up my starter without you all.. this topic (sourdough) is EXTREMELY extensive!  Yikes!  

 

So, new question, as I continue this journey: I am still so new, I'm sure my breads tastes NOWHERE near as good as the breads I have seen on this board, even though they were DELISH!  I now have two very active starters, awesome! So...  

is there a time when you can begin feeding once a day, as opposed ot three? What is your tyical maintenance 'forever' feeding schedule?  

Also, what are you 'go to' recipes, tried and true that you love to use your sourdough?  I'm looking for all types of recipes - not just bread, but everything else too!? :) 

and one last question.. this whole grams thing is messing me up, being from the US.?  lol any advice? 

Thank You! 

n

breadbythecreek's picture
breadbythecreek

So long as I'm able I'm going to keep with the 2x per day feed, room temp schedule. Just like I feed my dogs. (yes, I keep them at room temp too). I trust that anyone on TFL who goes to the trouble to post a recipe in detail with notes and explanations is a good source for reliable recipes. For the "luddites" who learn best without the aid of electricity a lot of people have used and studied Hamelman (Bread) and Reinhart (BBA) for inspiration and instruction for recipes and techniques. About grams vs ounces, Wolfram Mathematica assures me that there are 28.35 grams to an ounce. So long as you continue to measure by weight vs volume and you have a scale and a calculator convert away.

Happy baking!

Pamela

ngabriel's picture
ngabriel

ok, perfect! :-D  Thank you again!