The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Buying a sourdough starter

I'mTheMami's picture
I'mTheMami

Buying a sourdough starter

I would like to start my own starter, but since I am coming to the US for a visit I thought I would use the oppurtunity to buy a sourdough starter (or two) . 

I googled and read a couple old threads here. Sourdough International was mentioned, King Arthuer, and NY Bakers. 

 

Looking at the sourdough international website, any thoughts on which starter(s) might be fun to start with? 

Their homepage mentions the Poland one as a new product and recommendation. 

http://www.sourdo.com/home/cultures/poland-culture/


Anyone have any other personal suggestions? I love sour breads, I have been dying in the land of bolillo here in Mexico. :) I almost had a heart attack when I found some rye bread at the store the other day (but havent found a source for rye flour) . My husband doesnt like rye though, but has liked sourdough in the past. 

 

Anythoughts? NY Bakers I guess used to give away starters if shipping was paid, but I sont see info on that on their website.

 

thanks for any tips (other sources or choices from the sources listed), appreciate the help!

My goal this year is to never buy one loaf of bread once our kitchen is finished :)

 

I'mTheMami's picture
I'mTheMami

I guess mre info would have been helpful on what kind of breads we make... 

I like to bake with WW flour, or a combination of white flour and whole wheat. The South African starter is a WW starter on the Sourdough International website, but I also frequently use all white flour as well.

 

We also like to make pizza, pita bread, pancakes  (but have never used a starter for any other those things, I am making the transition to wild yeast this year!) , as well as other types of breads. 

Buster1948's picture
Buster1948

If you are visiting in a city with bakeries, and have some time to kill, you might try several of the locally baked sourdoughs, until you find one or more that you really enjoy, and then talk the owner out of a half cup of starter.  If you show him/her that you are from another country, I would think that a sense of hospitality would kick in and prompt good behavior.  That way you go home with a starter that you know you will enjoy, instead of something that you may like and which your neighbor back home can have shipped UPS.

I'mTheMami's picture
I'mTheMami

We unfortunately do not have one spare second! All of our familyhas every single day (of a quick 2 week trip) planned out. That, and Im not aure how easy it is to board a plane with a liquid nowadays, and cross a. International border

? May not be a problem, but just to be sure...

we are visiting my hometown in KS , not as many bakeries using sourdough starters as one would think :)

Buster1948's picture
Buster1948

I'm not convinced that sourdough is confined to the east and west coasts. I should think that many a west-bound, covered wagon, carrying a crock of sour dough starter, must have rolled through your state in years gone by. Surely, some must have been shared with the locals.  Ask around. If you find some, spread it on out so that it will dry, and take the dried starter home to be reconstituted.

I'mTheMami's picture
I'mTheMami

Ha, I realize that sourdough is used in Kansas... i should have typed "the bakeries I used to go to personally dont use starters AND with a 1.5 yr old and 3 yr old , we wont have time to drive around and ask. ;)"

I grew up making bread with my grandmother from her starter (which was long ago sadly thrown away as she doesnt have time for bread anymore) in the middle-of-nowhere-Kansas. And she didn't  travel to any coast to find it ;)

My hometown is actually a suburb of Kansas City, full of modern conviences (read:Panera and Einstein Bros) and while I worked at an awesome bakery, we didnt use a starter either. I have no doubt there are bakeris somewhere in KC with a sourdough starter :) 

I'mTheMami's picture
I'mTheMami

That first reply sounded snarky, it wasnt meant that way! 

:)

wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

Carl's friends will give you some dried starter if you send a self addressed stamped envelope.

Easy, works great, I've used it for years.

http://carlsfriends.net/

wayne

Boron Elgar's picture
Boron Elgar

If the poster is going to go through Carl's, please note that the USPS just increased the cost of a first class envelope. Just make sure you have the latest postage on it.

I have gotten starters from Carl's over the years and the entire process is a breeze. There is a grand group of people who work in the background making it all possible.

 

Boron

I'mTheMami's picture
I'mTheMami

That is something I am NOT up todate on. Must google first!

I'mTheMami's picture
I'mTheMami

I have seen that site , now to talk someone in the States into sending the envelope for me. :) should get going on that, since our trip is in about 6 weeks and that is the timeframe they state on the website!

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

I ask because I live at the east end of the state and would be happy to share some of my starter with you if you will be in the area.  And it was begun in South Africa, if that matters to you.  While I keep it as a stiff white starter, I build from that to whatever the bread requires.

Or I could mail some dried starter to someone in your family for you to pick up when you visit them, if you prefer.

Paul

I'mTheMami's picture
I'mTheMami

How generous of you! :) 

I will most definately take you up on your offer, preferably the dried option if that wouldnt be too much of a hassle. the traveling on a plane with a precious starter bit has me worried (customs, airport security all that jazz).  And all the way from South Africa! Cool !

Let me check and see which relative doesnt mind me handing out their address first, and I will get back to you. Please let me pay shipping, it is the least I can do for your hassle! We are located in the Overland Park area. 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

I can drop it off.  That's where I live, too.

Paul

I'mTheMami's picture
I'mTheMami

Hey Paul! I clicked on your user name to PM you and then discovered (on your blog here) that you teach at the KCCC... Where I happen to have taken several classes when we lived in OP still! My Dad got me a GC there that was enough for several classes and some cooking supplies purched the week we moved (ie, not wanting the GC to go to waste!) . And what fun classes!

Will be in contact about our visiting dates, what a small world! :)thank you so much for your generous offer! 

-Tricia

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

I dried some starter for you this past weekend.  Whenever you get here, it will be ready for you.

The Center is a pretty cool place.  How I managed to live here so long without having gotten involved with it earlier is beyond me.

Paul

whosinthekitchen's picture
whosinthekitchen

All are great suggestions.  I got KA SD Starter for Christmas and have been pleased with the 'sour' of the end product.  I have a pineapple starter I have had going for about 18 months... alas, I have to say I prefer my SD bread from the KA starter better.

 

Years ago I had a Jackson Hole SD starter... it took along time to obtain that 'sour' note we seek.  I have had a couple of others with not much to acclaim over.  SO, KA is my favorite.  I should say my husband's favorite... and he is he bread expert from a consumer's perspective.... the one that counts, right!