The Fresh Loaf

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Sourdough starter gone mad!

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Cheapogit's picture
Cheapogit

Sourdough starter gone mad!

Started a new starter about 5 or so days ago put a bit of fruit juice (mix of grape/apple from a tub of fruit in unsweetened juice) in with some white flour and water and did the usual flour-only feeding. I saw a 'false-start' during this period that I've seen mentioned, but then it started it's proper action, and the smell of it has really started to develop.

2 days ago put some rye and half a teaspoon of honey in. Then yesterday evening put wholemeal in (and nothing else). It was in a 500ml pyrex jug, and 1/2 to 3/5 full, but after a couple of hours it was almost overflowing, so had to move it into a larger container. It's been warm here this last week so that's obviously helped but I was amazed.

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

I'm wondering what your end goal was here?  Was it a rye starter? a wheat starter? 

In general I don't believe it's a great idea to keep throwing different things into a starter unless and until it is very well established.  Fruit + water = yeast water so I guess you added some fruit related yeasts/LABs into the mix with the grape/apple juice.  Honey, imo is totally unnecessary for making a starter and may also introduce different organisms into the mix.  A study of the effect of acacia honey in yoghurt milk revealed that "honey had no effect on pH and lactic acid levels of the final products"

All that is needed to make a starter is flour and water, temperature and time.  Some forumites here also favour the addition of a little pineapple juice at the outset to alter the pH level but I have never needed this and find that rye flour in particular will make a nice starter on its own in just a few days.

My advice at these early stages is to decide what type of starter you really want, rye or wheat or white and just feed the mix with that kind of flour and water.

When the starter is really mature and established, probably many weeks from now, you can get away with feeding it all sorts of things.  Talk to Dabrownman in regards to this, his starter is very resilient and feeds on all sorts of things !

GL

lepainSamidien's picture
lepainSamidien

Looks like you've got a wild one on your hands, Cheapogit, in the best possible way.

While I'm inclined to agree with ElPanadero vis-à-vis the practice of establishing a starter, I also love your enthusiasm for experimentation. The beaten path usually leads to success, but you will arrive at the end of the path you blaze yourself with better stories, and perhaps better savoir-faire.

Maybe cut your starter in half . . . feed one half the traditional way, and keep doin' your thang with the other half, and see what happens. Keep us posted !

And, by the bye, I imagine that your starter went a little "wild" because you fed it some rye flour. My starters always go bonkers over rye flour, and the micro-orgs tend to gobble that stuff down with reckless abandon.

Cheapogit's picture
Cheapogit

Well the reason I started it with fruit juice was the fact that I saw the starter recipe with fruit juice.

The reason I used honey was that Bertinet uses it in one of his mixtures (he also uses Spelt, though I didn't). I know it's a bit of a mix, but for the most part I've only been feeding it with flour and water, and the last time I made a sourdough starter was his, and it was very good.  The time before that was just a plain flour/water mix and took a long time to get started and tasted of very little, even after several weeks. I ended up giving up on it.

In any case, it's still bubbling and wasn't intending on giving it anything more unusual anyway.

I did manage to get a loaf out of it, at 6 days old... Will post photos soon, I'm letting it sit overnight.

As to the flour mixtures, I'm only using the flours I'd use in the loaf(s) I'd most likely make: Rye/Wholemeal Wheat/White Wheat.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

when you decide to bake and don't maintain an active starter.  

Cheapogit's picture
Cheapogit

Well here the loaf is...

Peeled off a few spoons of my starter and made it with a mix of around 50% Rye and rest wheat mix

Some Caraway and Fennel in there too, but not a great deal. The flavour is actually quite good.

I re-fed/refreshed the starter mix and that's still going nicely, now in the fridge.

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

I'm curious as to why you're keeping 1/2 a jug full of starter (maybe even more).  Seems unnecessary and will likely lead to a lot of discarded waste unless you bake loaves every day.   If you only bake maybe once or twice a week you only need to keep say 50g of starter in the fridge at any point in time.   My personal preference would be to keep a rye starter and to use pre-ferments for my loaves, adding whatever flours the recipe calls for to that preferment.  I never muck about adding different things to the starter.  A starter is a delicate balance of competing yeasts and LABs and once you get it stable and balanced it doesn't make any sense to throw other things in there that would disturb the mix and then require more time for it to rebalance again.

Glad you liked the loaf, caraway and fennel sound tasty.  Looking at the picture I think more height (oven spring) could be achieved and I notice the crumb is mostly filled with tiny holes.  Both things suggest to me that the starter isn't quite ready/balanced yet but I could be wrong.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

for the bake?  The bottom crust seems too pale.   Increasing the heat under the loaf might help.  The band of large bubbles across the base of the loaf leads me to suggest degassing more when shaping the loaf or adding more time and folds to the bulk rising.  Try to shorten the final proof and lengthen the bulk proof.  

But see about getting more heat under the bottom middle of the loaf.