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starter destroying the gluten>

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carriejt's picture
carriejt

starter destroying the gluten>

I've been a baker since I was a child at my mother's apron about 50 years ago and I've been an avid bread baker for probably 15 years.  About 5 years ago a friend gave me some "pineapple juice" starter and I used and fed it regularly until about 2 weeks ago.  I have noticed over the past year that the starter has been decreasing in it's effectiveness and have increased the feeding schedule trying to revive it.  Finally I took the recipe supplied by the friend 5 years ago and did my own starter using juice from an actual pineapple and fresh ground whole wheat flour.  It seemed to take off over the course of the week and was very active by day 8 so I used it to make a loaf of bread.  When I went to pan it up after the first rise, the dough literally fell apart in my hand.  I discarded it and the following day, fed my starter in the morning, saw lots of activity and tried again with the same result.  I worried that I had inadvertently used a gluten free flour (as I do lots of gf baking) but I keep that flour separate for obvious reasons...  Is there anything anyone knows about this type of result?  It literally seems as though the gluten is being destroyed?  Needing bread I finally reverted to using yeast which I keep on hand for my gf baking and those loaves worked as expected.  Anyone with any insight or any suggestions on if I can "fix" my starter>

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/comment/121566#comment-121566

this is Debra Wink's response to a long thread about just such reactions...  see if it applies...   you can save the starter with the right feeding method.  :)

carriejt's picture
carriejt

The dough was flat in the bowl while rising but when I grabbed to do a stretch & fold, the piece just came off in my hand without even the slightest bit of stretch.  It definitely pooled in the loaf pan, rising ever so slightly but still with a flat top.  I keep the starter at 100% hydration as a rule and use it about twice a week and doing virtually the same recipe at least 50 times a year without any other variations.  The dough in the loaf pan was sticky to the point that when I pulled (slowly) off the plastic wrap before baking, it removed the top 1/2 inch of dough and further deflated the loaf.

Please advise of the right feeding method to save the starter.

 

Thanks

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11

Gluten being destroyed? Highly doubt it or if its even possible. For a starter to be "live" then it has to have the ability to become bread. i.e. no gluten, no starter. If your starter is bubbling and rising then it isn't going to destroy gluten.

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

More than just possible, it's a reality.  Read the link in Mini's post above about thiol damage to gluten.  Then use the Search tool to look up the following terms: proteolysis, protease.  You'll find plenty of information that confirms that our starters are destroying gluten every day.  In small degrees, that can be a useful thing.  In larger degrees, it can turn a dough into a puddle of goo.  Having been down that road, I can personally attest that some starters cause more damage than leavening.

Remember that a starter, more specifically the microoganisms that populate it, exist to perpetuate themselves by reproduction.  To do that, they utilize whatever food sources they can exploit in their environment, including the proteins that make up gluten.  Happily for us, we can take advantage of their gas production to leaven our bread.  They do not, however, have a built-in governor that tells them "That's gluten.  Don't touch!"

Paul

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11

I did know that sourdough "changes" the gluten into something more digestible by breaking it down but I understood it more along the lines of pre-digested and not destroyed.

If they cannot be controlled to not eat the gluten and destroy it then it's a miracle that any bread comes out.