The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Why you use pineapple juice

Floydm's picture

Why you use pineapple juice

I'm in the process of starting a new starter.  I decided to try it without raisin water or pineapple juice or anything special, just whole wheat flour and water. 

At the end of day one, no activity but no problem.  Similar after day two.  At the end of day three it smelled nice when opened the cupboard, so I removed the plastic covering the bowl and...


So now I'm trying again using the pineapple juice formula that Debra Wink and SourdoLady recommend.  Hopefully the additional acidity will prevent this from happening again.

In better news, I tried baking crackers the other day.

I didn't exactly nail it but they were better than any crackers I had previously made.  



Justkneadit's picture

What recipe did you use for the crackers? They look delicious!

Floydm's picture

Honestly, I looked at a few cracker recipes online and then just winged it.  It was something like:

1 1/2 cups Robin Hood Best for Bread flour blend

1 cup water

1 teaspoon yeast

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon butter

I mixed everything together and hand kneaded it for 5 minutes or so, then refrigerated it for an hour.  After that, I rolled it out as thin as I could, folded it in thirds, rolled it out again, and then cut it into roughly 2 inch squares.  Baked at 350 for 15 minutes or so, turning the pan every 5 minutes so they'd bake evenly.

The recipe still needs a bit of adjustment but we polished them off awfully quickly, so they mustn't have been too bad.

isand66's picture

Nice looking crackers Floyd.

I have never made crackers but I think I need to add them to the never ending list!

dabrownman's picture

There must be about million varieties of crackers try out - just like bread!  Another quest?

I was ondering if Joe Ortiz adds the small amout of fresh milled cumin to his WW starter, with the tsp of milk, to help keep the mold from taking hold?  

CelesteU's picture

I tried multiple times to cultivate a wild yeast starter, over several years.  Abject failure every time til I used pineapple juice in the initial stages.  My starter is now at least three years old...

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

I've never had any issue with flour and water. That's odd. I used the Sourdough 101 method, though. Graham flour has made the best starter yet. And, er, I should go feed that. Yes, yes I should.

clazar123's picture

I have noticed that whole wheat tends to mold rather quickly.

AP was my flour of choice in starting the starter and I have never used the pineapple juice additive. Additionally, I always had a higher hydration than you seemed to have-like cake batter. I started with 2 tbsp AP flour and brought it to work with me in a half pint jar, and a plastic spoon and just stirred it several times a day. It had a coffee filter rubberbanded over the top and it came home with me at night.I'd start the discard and feed routine when I saw bubbles forming so for a few days, I brought a small baggie with flour in it. Looked a little suspicious but my co-workers enjoy my bread (good thing!)so they were pretty sure it was flour. The starter would go through a wildly active phase and then settle down to a yeast-type raising phase. All my starters smelled and behaved differently! Initially, I attributed the raging success (they were always quite active) to being in a basement office.

After it was going for a while I would change the hydration. To be honest, I never had much success with an all whole wheat starter-they did fine for a while and then seemed to go bad really quickly (but I'm talking the cheesy-smelling bad-not the moldy bad. That is some mold colony you have there!)

So maybe try a higher hydration and stir like crazy a few times a day. Or just use the pineapple juice. Either way-have some good baking fun!


All at Sea's picture
All at Sea

I've never used anything other than stoneground rye flour and water (or home-made active yoghurt) to create starters - and without exception they all take off like a rocket within a few days (or in just one day, if created with yoghurt not water) - and always without a hitch, and without any mold, mildew or funky aromas.

But then my ambient temperatures here are in the 78*-82* df range mostly. So I can't help but wonder if that's the key to trouble-free starter production. Achieving the optimal temperature from the get go? Oh - that and always using super-clean utensils and pots.

So, perhaps it would be useful to know what sort of temperatures are prevalent in your new home, Floyd? Go on - blow my theory to smithereens!

All at Sea

Floydm's picture

It's about 20 or 21 c (70 f) in our apartment.  I don't think it every gets over 80 in this town. 

All at Sea's picture
All at Sea

... that's warm enough not to be a problem. In the UK, I was faffing around with sourdough and levains in 12* C at one point. Devilishly S-L-O-W going, but healthy even so.

Odd then - something clearly contaminated your starter, but as you say, hopefully the acidity of pineapple juice will help protect it from fuzzy marauding aliens this time (have you checked that cupboard - no more lurking in ambush, I hope!)

Btw - forgot to congratulate you earlier on delightfully unfuzzy, crisp-looking crackers! Well done, sir.

Please let us know how Starter Mark II gets on, won't ya?

All at Sea

Floydm's picture

I had a decent amount of bubbling this evening, so I think we're doing better this time.  I'll try to take another pic to share in the AM.