The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Can store bought starter packet be used as a base for ongoing starter? How?

dolcebaker's picture
dolcebaker

Can store bought starter packet be used as a base for ongoing starter? How?

 I bought a packet of ready sourdough culture, says to just add it to bread dough, intended for make at home one shot sourdough, says add to 10-35 oz of flour (just add to base bread formula). 

I found this 'all natural ready sourdough' starter, Seitenbacher brand from Germany, I found in a health food store.  It is a rye culture.

I would like to make some 'wow' factor sourdough by wed, bake on Thursday, (today is Sat) but I would also like to keep some of this starter as a 'ready made' base for an ongoing starter.    Can I make a larger sourdough starter from this? How do I do this?

(I offered to provide something for a silent auction on Friday, at a local fundraiser, long story short.. I would like to do a 'basket' made of bread filled with 5-6 different breads... but it must have a 'wow' factor and sourdough bread would be a component).  I want different tasts and textures.

 

sphealey's picture
sphealey

Sure.  First figure out the amount that you need for your bread recipe, then build 200 grams (7 oz weight) more than that.  At some point in the process (after the first build or first rise), remove that extra and start feeding it per instructions on this site:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/lessons/myfirstsourdough

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/lessons/sourdough

What you add exactly will depend on the flour/water percentage that they recommend for building the dough, but let's say it is 65% which is typical for a bread dough.  Then you would add about 120 grams extra flour (4.2 oz) and 80 grams extra water (2.8 oz weight).  That extra becomes the seed starter for future baking.

If your recipe needs the full 35 oz of flour (plus your extra) you might want to build it in two steps (10 oz, then 20 oz) rather than all at once; it is easier and the flavor is generally better that way.

In re-reading what I wrote here I am not sure it would be clear to a beginner, so please ask again if you need more detail, clarification, etc.

sPh

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

If the packet has active culture in it, then building or elaborating a starter will be easy. Just start by using a small quantity in a mixture of 100g of water and 100g of flour. A real sourdough culture will go to work and start replicating itself within 24 hours.  When it peaks, you can divide it, feed it again, and have even more starter. Once the second generation is at peak you'll be able to either refrigerate the starters for future use in building more starters, start baking, or if you feel confident, dry some it for a backup to use should your starter become infected or thrown away by accident. By using the search button at the top of the page, you'll find archived threads that are more lucid and thorough about the procedures.

The catch is whether or not its active culture. The packet may simply be a sourdough flavor packet. That should be disclosed somewhere even if it's only in the fine print.

sphealey's picture
sphealey

=== The catch is whether or not its active culture. The packet may simply be a sourdough flavor packet. That should be disclosed somewhere even if it's only in the fine print. ===

I've always been curious as to what those "sourdough flavor packets" are though (for example the Lalvain product).  Are they just some sort of flavor extract, or are they a concentrated form of a sour bacteria that can work with bakers yeast for at least a few hours? 

In either case, even if the purchased kit is a flavor packet of some type it won't hurt anything, nor will it hurt to have a bit of pre-digested starter food even if it has a bit of bakers yeast in it; just start with that and feed per the Pineapple Juice Method described on this site and elsewhere.

sPh

copyu's picture
copyu

about the same product just over a year ago...it's definitely a starter...and a real winner, IMO!

MiniOven gave perfect instructions on how to build it up to baking standard within just a few days. I'm still using it 13 months later. I used one sachet (75 grams) to get up and running.

Search words in the box, top left "copyu seitenbacher " will take you there Date: 20 June 2010.

Hope this helps!

copyu

 

dolcebaker's picture
dolcebaker

What I have, says it is active culture, and it is stored in the refrigerator.  My Question:  Why do you always divide the starter?  What is the purpose?  Why can you not just keep going.. feeding and using?  For some reason it just doesn't make sense to me why you throw out something perfectly good or make two out of one??

sphealey's picture
sphealey

=== My Question:  Why do you always divide the starter?  What is the purpose?  Why can you not just keep going.. feeding and using?  For some reason it just doesn't make sense to me why you throw out something perfectly good or make two out of one?? ===

Consider the fable about the knight who claimed the reward from the king of 1 grain of wheat on the first square of the chessboard, 2 grains on the 2nd square, 4 grains on the third square, 8 grains on the fourth square, and so on to the 64ths square... 

Home bakers end up throwing away some starter for two reasons.  First, if we keep our starter in the refrigerator it isn't likely that the first refresh after a week sleeping in the fridge is going to taste all that good; better to get your initial build from the second refresh. 

Second, if we don't bake at least once/day and preferably twice/day then we will soon end up with a swimming pool of extra starter and 3 mortgages on our house to pay for all the feeding flour ;-).  If you read Hamelman's receipes - which are written for professional bakers - you see that they don't contain any seperate feed-and-discard step; the professional baker just remembers to pull out the next shift's seed starter from the 2nd or 3rd build of his current batch.

Which brings up a third step:  following Hamelman's method it would be very easy to forget to pull out the seed and bake all your starter.  Then you have to start all over again.   The separate feeding step keeps your mother starter separate from the dough to be baked as well, making a mistake almost impossible.

sPh

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

Or at least they say that on their webpage.

http://www.seitenbacher.com/Seitenbacher_Home_Baking/HOME_BAKING.htm

One thing I see is that they are using yeast in the bread recipe.  Laural Robertson does the same thing in her Kitchen Bread Book.  She describes how to make a rye starter, but then goes on to say that it is only for flavor and not for leavening.  Apparently cultivating wild yeast is not her intent with rye.  Still, nothing stops you from cultivating this starter as sold to you and maybe even improving on it by getting yeast to grow in the future.