The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Probiotics in your starter?

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

Probiotics in your starter?

I was skimming through a copy of the book  "The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast" by Warnock and Richardson and read a suggestion that one could use a pro-biotic tablet, such as the ones used as a digestive aid, to stimulate a sourdough starter. Up until I read that, I thought the book was pretty much preaching from the same hymnal as many of us do.

I'm not posting a book review here or a critique of the authors work. I'm just curious to see if anyone in this community has done something similar. I've read the contents label of probiotics sold at a local CVS drugstore and the contents don't include any of the bacteria that I'm familiar with from my books and reading. It is certain that I'm not familiar with all the names of all the beneficial bacteria found in starters.

So, out of curiosity and not because I'm having trouble with my starter, has anyone ever tried cranking up their starter with probiotics?

 

 

 

ars pistorica's picture
ars pistorica

Yes, you could, cultures depending.  The CO2 production might not be significant enough, though, depending upon the nature of the culture you're adding.  Many probiotic microflora are the same as commonly-isolated sourdough microflora, which is, of course, due to the fact that none of these organisms, minus one, are native to the sourdough environment.

Renaud's picture
Renaud

And why do you think Lb Sanfranciscensis is native from sourdough ?

ars pistorica's picture
ars pistorica

Native is a misleading term; exclusive might better fit the bill.  Why do I think this?  Science.  Hundreds of published studies the world over, from Pakistan to China to Italy to South Africa, all with the same conclusion.  Genomic analysis of every strain of Lb sanfranciscensis ever isolated shows that it evolved exclusively to and for the sourdough environment, specifically rye and wheat.  I have my own theory on its origins, why it has a latency phase, its co-evolution, and emergent symbiosis of Lb sanfranciscensis, but that is irrelevant to this discussion.

Renaud's picture
Renaud

Lb sanfranciscensis is not exclusively to the sourdough, it has been found in others environnements like insect intestinal tract, infant mouth or compost.

ars pistorica's picture
ars pistorica

Actually, no, Lb sanfranciscensis is exclusive to the sourdough environment, and the instances you are talking about are incorrect.  It has only been identified twice, ever, outside of the sourdough matrix, and has been isolated in the intestinal tracts and/or feces of insects and/or rodents.  This implies nothing about the origin, or even the nature, of Lb sanfranciscensis, and every attempt by researchers to link the one to the other has failed.  This must mean that it is either native to a grain substrate below levels too low to detect given current methods (there are four commonly used), or that its origins lie elsewhere.  Contrary to what you said, Lb sanfranciscensis has never been isolated in higher vertebrates, but it does share certain genetic homologies with other organisms found in humans.

Genomic analysis reveals that it has evolved exclusively to the selective pressures of the sourdough environment, implying that its origins will allow us to understand how it evolved for a grain-based environment and what role outside agents might play in that evolution.

Renaud's picture
Renaud

Contrary to what you said, Lb sanfranciscensis has never been isolated in higher vertebrates, but it does share certain genetic homologies with other organisms found in humans.

Is it possible to have your sources (studies) about this homologies ?

ars pistorica's picture
ars pistorica

heres one:
http://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1023%2FA%3A1002089515177

understand there are many studies mentioning genetic homologies between lb sf and other organisms.

hope this could be of help.

read gobbetti and everybody cited. i think de angelis has some work on this as well.

Cachi's picture
Cachi

PG,

Funny, today I had the same idea after reading the label from a probiotic supplement. I immediately shot an email to the manufacturer all the while thinking this was a crazy question to ask. I then thought I should google this and to my surprise found several links, including yours. Here is one I found from a home baker who had the same idea and actually pursued it:  http://sourdough.com/forum/experiment-spiking-my-starter-primal-defense. He found not only the starter to be a lot more active but also his bread tasted better although he does mention his experiment was not rigorous and had too many uncontrolled variables.