Starting and maintaining a live sourdough culture in Southeast Asia
Hi! I have been making homemade bread for almost a year (and hopefully I can do this until forever) so I can say I know some basic ins and outs of bread baking. I use instant dried yeast because that is what's readily available here, and I know no source of live sourdough culture. I live in the Philippines, the weather here is averagely hot and humid. Can a sourdough culture stay alive in our climate? Any bread bakers out here from Southeast Asia who has experience with live sourdough? How did it go?
Edit: After 8 months of worthless worrying, I have finally started to make the seed.
Starting date: Aug 16, 2014. Time: 10PM (So this means I mark one day in the PM). As in the Tartine book, I mixed equal parts of whole wheat flour (the semi-fine type that still has visible bran) and dark rye flour (because I didnt have medium rye as told in the book). This is supposed to be the food for the starter. Also, I had limited amounts of both flours so I scaled down the quantity as compared to the book. Take note: #1: I don't have option for refrigeration, #2: Out kitchen's ambient temperature is 85F on the average, it lowers down around 82F at night and can rise as high as 90F in the noontime.
Day 1 (10PM): 60g [wwf + rye] flour blend + 60g water. (The book says 85-89F is warm water, but in here I didnt have to heat it.)
Day 2 (11PM): Before feeding, I checked for signs: healthy amount of bubbles and doubled in bulk, aroma of overripe banana/fruit. And so I got 30g from it, and then added 60g flour blend + 60g water. I didn't want to waste everything so I thought of making a second starter to be fed with tipo00 flour I have on hand. I got 30g from the discard that I have set aside and then mixed in 60g tipo00 flour + 60g water. Let's see how that goes...
Day 2 (11AM) : I still am on Day 2. Examined the signs both show before refreshing: #1 (the wwf+rye) showed that it had doubled and I saw a slight fall. #2 (tipo00) also showed a healthy amount of bubbles, its aroma is of overripe fruit. So I did the same for starter #1: 30g seed + 60g flour blend + 60g water. For #2, same 30g seed, but this time I tried a 60% hydration just to see any difference with seed #1. So for #2, I did 30g seed + 60g water + 100g tipo00.
Day 3 (11PM): Check before feeding: both smelled of overripe fruit, healthy signs of bubbles below the surface. Seed #1: 30g starter + 60g flour blend + 60g water. Seed #2: 30g starter + 50g water (yup I again got curious how it would go at 50%) + 100g tipo00.
Day 3 (AM): This was tricky. I skipped this feeding because I needed to go to a job entrance exam of some sort. And some of the other things I noticed: both hasn't doubled noticeably (very few bubbles but there were some) around brunch time when I had to go and the temp was fairly hot, maybe around 90F. I didnt have the time to check the aroma of both.
I returned around 5pm and immediately checked. Both of them had shown the rise and fall. The aroma of both was slightly beer-y already. #1 smelled of really overripe bananas. #2 smelled of soymilk. I didnt feed them at this time because my instinct was to wait until 11pm. Or was this step a deadly mistake???
Day 4 (11pm): And so I waited until this time to feed them again. #1: 30g seed + 60g flour blend + 60g water. I just started to notice that I have been doing the 1:2:2 feeding pattern that I read on sub-forums on TFL. #2: 30g seed + 50g water + 100g tipo00. I had to knead the dough mass to get the flour particles evenly hydrated.
Day 4 (AM): Didn't feed them, period. I got busy preparing for a demo class that I need to present on the following day. I only remember taking a quick glance if they had risen. #1 had risen slightly, #2 no significant rise and very few bubbles.
Day 5 (11PM): Fed started #1: 30g seed + 60g flour blend + 60g water. #2: 30g seed + 50g water + 100g tipo00
Day 5 (AM): Fed started #1: 30g seed + 60g tipo00 (I ran out of the flour blend) + 60g water. #2: 30g seed + 50g water + 100g tipo00
Day 6 (PM): Didn't feed. Again really got busy preparing for a class demo.
Day 6 (AM): I had to go to work mid-brunch time so didn't feed agian. Oh snap!
I got home around 5pm with good news that I can start the class next week (to teach high school art class, yay!). I had very little sleep so I did get a couple of hours of rest once I got to my bed. I thought the two could maybe wait a little bit more. Or couldn't they?
Day 7 (11PM): Woke up to check my pets. I observed both before deciding what to do. And then I had to make the decision to chuck out all of starter #2 so I could focus on just 1 seed (why did I start a second seed anyway? LOL). So I only had to worry about #1 which is now my only 1. It smelled like rotten food. It formed a bubbly crust on the top. I carefully skimmed this bubbly crust out and threw it away, and then immediately realized that the rotten smell must have been from it. The stuff below smelled still of overripe fruit with hints of the beer-y alcoholic smell. I read in Reinhart book that could still have hope resurrecting the seed so I got 30g from it. I instinctively fed it with 100g water and 100g tipo00 flour (I ran of whole wheat on day 5 remember). Which reminds me that I need to make a trip to the market soon. I decided to feed it from hereon with only whole wheat because it is cheaper (around $1.5 for a kilo at the market) and I can get it a more accessible place. As for the rye, I had to travel far out the city to get it and it costs a lot (we have Red Bob's Mill brand here). Good thing I had some rye left to start the seed in its early days.
It is now Day 7 (AM) and I have fed 30g of the seed with 45g water + 60g flour. I will promise to abide by the 75%hydration from now on.
Meanwhile here are some questions:
Until when will I do this before I can start to make bread? Except for my glitches on day 6, am I doing this right? I mean the twice a day feeding. I will go back to feeding them whole wheat flour as soon as I make a trip to the market.
What really are the signs of an active starter before I attempt to make a leaven? How should they smell?
This rise and fall thing, i am still wary about. Does this mean that yeast activity is at their peak when the seed has noticeable doubled, and as it is, on its peak? And when it falls, does it mean the yeasts are exhausted and hungry? I am asking this because I cannot be on guard to check it because of the new job. Unless of course I bring it so work? I don't know hahaha.
Lastly, am I feeding the 30g seed too little or too much or just right in relation to the ambient temp we hare here?
That's all for now. Thank you for all your help with this. :)