The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

sourdough starter,again

rachel-red's picture

sourdough starter,again

Last year I posted my articles here recording my journey of creating sourdough starter.I had been occupied by some trivial things after that  and had forgotten about this blog until several day ago this blog occurred to me.But my experiments of sourdough starter didn't stop.I had tried several times,failed and tried again and again, and succeed.
Each time I failed,I would looked up information  on the  Internet , trying to figure out the reasons of failure,a bunch of blogers abroad talked about the expriments of sourdough.
I found that the same method used by bloggers abroad is not practical in China.I did some alteration and now it works.
Each I feed the sourdough starter,I will use
100% sourdough starter
50% high gluten or all-purpose   flour
50% drinkable water
5%-10% brown sugar
So an extra 5%-10% brown sugar will make the sourdough starter active and rise twice or triple of the original size.I can explain that.After I read some discussions by bloggers in China,I found that,in China the all-purpose flour or high gluten four  doesn't have enough gluten as the flour abroad,Conversely has  many additives,including antiseptic if you buy it in bulk. I prefer to buy flour in bags.So I think the  flour in China may be not sweet enough to active the sourdough starter,so I tried to add some brown sugar and it worked.But at the first several-day of creating sourdough starter,I used wholewheat flour to catch yeast and the sourdough rose and bubble appeared.I repeated this procedure for  at least a whole week. And then I substituted an increasing proportion of wholewheat flour for all-purpose flour day by day until I substituted all wholewheat flour  for all-purpose flour. Wholewheat flour is not available easily in my city and the price is triple of the all-purpose flour.The shop which sells wholewheat flour is a little far from where I live and I'm a little lazy.


dabrownman's picture

starter established you can always feed it AP flour and then when you want to use it use WW to build the levain if maki9ng a ww bread.  I don't think you need or want sugar in the starter though.  Flour and water should do nicely.

  My favorite easy way to make a quick starter is to use the Joe Ortiz way.  You make a small stiff mix with1 tsp of milk and 1/8 tsp of cumin with WW and water to get to 60% hydration.  Then you take half and feed it WW at 75% hydration for 3 days tripling the amount of the half you use on day 4 you make bread.

If you go to YouTube you will find a video of Joe on Julia Childs show showing how to do it or you can go to sweetbird's blog on TFL and see her post on how to do it.   It is really fool proof and works every time.

Yours seems to be well established.

Happ baking

rachel-red's picture

so nice of you sharing these with me, that helps a lot. Thank you! 

Gluten-free Gourmand's picture
Gluten-free Gourmand

I do a gluten-free starter and have no trouble getting a starter to produce bubbles.  My starter usually doesn't double in size, but it does a little less than that.  That's okay.  Once I go to bake it does really well (with the addition of a binder that gives it strength to rise more).

One thing that I have found will kill or depress my starter is if I use tap water.  Bottled spring water is best - any amount of chlorine or chemical additives in tap water will harm the bacteria and fungus you want to live in the starter.  I'm not sure if you mean tap water or not when you say drinkable water, as I am not familiar with the water situation in China.  However, this same concept applies to your flour.  If the flour has any chemical sanitizers added this could kill the starter.  My guess is your addition of sugar is helping to make up for some sort of chemical that's depressing your starter.  If you use spring water and good flour the sugar won't be needed.  If those things aren't possible to find then kudos to you for finding the work-around!  It's good to know.