The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

California bio culture via Californian honey?

Redrummy's picture

California bio culture via Californian honey?


I've been experimenting with different starters and still havn't had any luck getting a good sour bread. I have ordered a few San Francisco starters but I've been told that they wont last long before the local yeast and bacteria take over. One thing I wondered is if you were to source honey from California, shouldn't that contain the local yeast and hopefully lactobacillus? If this idea were to work, anyone could create and maintain a SF sourdough starter. Any thoughts?

Davo's picture

Wouldn't think it'd work. When was the last time you noticed any honey you have stored being eaten up by any yeast or any bacterium? It's pretty much (microscopic) bug-proof.

Chuck's picture

Sign on brick wall: "bang head here".

If you create three starters, they will probably have three distinct tastes; at least one of them you'll probably like really well. Just like "eat locally", "culture locally". Don't worry about recreating the SF culture.

Even folks that live in San Francisco often have a hard time creating a new starter that tastes just like the one the commercial SF bakeries use. If you figure out a reliable way to get a good SF starter to other parts of the country, you're likely on your way to getting rich.

If the culture is already started and you always treat it well and feed it the same way, the culture will be stable and you'll be able to preserve it  ...even in some other location. But if there's any mistreatment at all or if the feeding schedule is knocked off kilter, the organisms from the flour you use for feeding (not from your air, that very common urban legend isn't actually true) will take over.

linder's picture

Would California grown wheat have the proper 'beasties'?  Just wondering since I made a starter here in Martinez, CA from wheat grown in Dixon, CA. and pineapple juice a la Debbie Wink's formula.