The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

grape sourdough starter help

breadbowl's picture

grape sourdough starter help

I recently juiced about a pound of grapes from my farmers market, and rather than throwing the pulp away, I thought I could use it to create a grape sourdough starter (I remembered leafing through the Model Bakery cookbook and seeing a recipe for this). A quick Google search brought me to this page describing Nancy Silverton's starter method and I just went for it:

I'm in day 3 of my starter and things are looking normal, but after doing more research and reading various threads on this forum, I'm seeing a lot of conflicting instructions regarding Silverton's method and maintaining the starter in general. It's making me want to start from scratch, but I figured I should consult this forum first before giving up.
Some of my questions:

  • According to the link, I can leave the starter unfed for 4-6 months and just discard/refresh by dumping 2 cups and adding 1 cup flour/water once a day over 3 days when I decide to use it. However, I see a lot of advice from people saying it's better to feed it once a week and that Silverton's method is very wasteful because of the amount you need to discard. I also see others saying that she said to feed it 3 times a day over 2 days when ready to use. I went into this planning to just make bread or pizza dough infrequently (maybe 1 loaf every 2 weeks or once a month), as I am just living by myself and shouldn't eat tons of bread all the time (as much as I'd like to). Any advice on how to turn this starter recipe into something more maintainable for someone like me?
  • Additionally, since the linked recipe doesn't measure by weight, I tried to approximate the hydration percentage in my starter that I made by using the same measuring cup to re-measure the amounts of flour/water used for the starter. This roughly ended up being around 247g for flour and 484g for water--approx. 196% hydration, and that's not including the juice from the grape pulp. Since this is only an approximation, do I have anything usable here?

Overall, I feel like I started this off on the wrong foot--I didn't weigh my flour/water, and the amounts are probably more than what I need. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!




PetraR's picture

I did not do the Nancy Silverton Grape Starter method because it was to messy for me but I used 6 cut green grapes in my Starter when I started it.

I used 250g strong bread flour, 6 sliced green grapes and 250g tepid water, mixed it, put it in a large Container, closed it so that it was airtight and left it alone for 3 Days in a not to warm spot in the house.

* In the Summer you can open the Jar / container 3 times a day and give the mixture a good stir over the 3 days *

On day 4 your discard half of the Starter that should by now show activity and feed with 100g flour and 100ml water and continue doing so for 10 days and  after that it is ready to use.

It worked for me, my Starter is now 15 month old, going strong and leavens my bread beautifully.

You Starter is a very high hydration if I may say so.

I do weigh my Ingredients for every feed and since I weight my Jar before I put my Starter in the first time, I know also exactly how much I need to take out to have the right amount to feed again.

Feeding a Starter every 6 month is a very long time, even if it is stored in the fridge, only my humble opinion though, I feed my 50% hydration Starter and my 100% hydration Starter once a week to make sure they are healthy and happy.

PaddyL's picture

I think it's what's on the surface of the grapes that counts, rather than the innards.  I did make that starter once, but it became too expensive to keep it going, then the ice storm came along and that was the end of that.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

along with the skins, was most likely the best part to consume, contains the most minerals and fibre and least amount of fructose.   

That said, you can reduce the amount of starter you are keeping easy enough.  200% hydration sounds about right and if the hydration goes higher, water tends to separate from the flour.  Not a real problem.  It is too thin to rise but you will see gas forming and bubbling up the sides of the container.  

You can thicken it if you like, once you smell the yeast, remove some of the starter and thicken it with flour.  Give it time to peak and use saving a portion to feed and continue maintaining the starter at whatever hydration you prefer.  If you've not played with sourdoughs before, then I might suggest feeding equal weights of flour and water daily until you decide.