The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

potato sourdough starter

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bellasmommy's picture
bellasmommy

potato sourdough starter

Hello!

I started a sourdough starter yesterday. The recipe is from an old farm cookbook which uses boiled mashed potatoes in the mix, but is a little vague when it comes to instructions. It said to cover so I inverted a glass cake pan over the crock. Within 2 hours it had overflowed the crock. After I cleaned up the mess on the counter, I replaced the cover with plastic wrap and watched it closely.  After a couple of hours it went down a couple of inches and this morning it had gone back down to almost the original volume.  My question is...did I kill it somehow? Also the recipe does not say to feed it. It say's it's ready to use in 48 hours (storing the remaining starter in jars in the refrigerater).  Although I am an experienced bread maker, this is my first attempt at sourdough.  I appreciate any comments!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

That it went over in 2 hours?  

bellasmommy's picture
bellasmommy

I used dry active yeast. The recipe called for compressed yeast but I didn't have any so I used the conversion chart for the amount of dry active yeast.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

(the dry active yeast) was used instead of a later version of barm as mentioned in this wiki link on sourdough:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sourdough

And in this yeast link under  History  (Refinements...)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baker%27s_yeast

So what you have is a yeast explosion.   An old duplicating recipe combined with a modern strain of power yeast.  Not quite what we're most often referring to as sourdough, although there are many definitions of "sourdough."

I can't tell you if it is dead or not.  You would have to give it something to eat to tell.  I've read many of those recipes and wondered how many loaves would be soon baking.    One cup per loaf... pounds of flour... hired hands and huge families.  

I even think today's fresh yeast is too strong for that recipe.    It must be taking on a good strong alcohol aroma by now...

bellasmommy's picture
bellasmommy

It does indeed have a good aroma, but not super strong.  What would you recommend I feed it? Just flour and water?

Thanks for your responses, by the way...I appreciate it :)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Take maybe 1/4 cup and feed it 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup flour and give it 24 hrs.  If you want to grow lactobacteria, you need to get the bacteria warm... 75°F or better.  And not store this small sample in the refrigerator and feed it once a day for the first week.  Discard before feeding.  I think in a few weeks you may have a sourdough starter with both lactobacteria & yeast.  

How much do you have left?   It can be that this crock of potato fed yeast will die out (or appear dead) as soon as the waste products build up and food runs out.  It can still add flavour to a loaf but may or may not be able to raise the dough.  So I would make and bake up a loaf to see how strong it is.  Good to know if it can make bread.

It can be that in a week, a dough made with the refrigerated potato fed yeast can no longer raise a loaf and will need added yeast (easy to add instant yeast when you see "it ain't working.")  I don't think you need to wait 48 hours, that was a hundred years ago.  I would refrigerate the bulk of it now as it has "flat lined."   Yeasts today are faster.

bellasmommy's picture
bellasmommy

Ok - I will try your suggestions.  Thanks so much for your help! I'll post again after I try making a loaf!

bellasmommy's picture
bellasmommy

The loaf turned out excellent! I got a nice texture, very  mellow sourdough flavor (very slightly sweet) loaf.  It will be perfect for 'everyday' bread.  I'm going to let the starter go a while longer to see if I get a stronger flavor.  Thanks again for all your advise!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

:)