The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello from AGNN ~ Agnes Gloria News Network :)

DKT's picture
DKT

Hello from AGNN ~ Agnes Gloria News Network :)

 

Hello All

I was shopping online for some baking supplies and came across Sourdough Starter, remembering my Mother had it when I was little, I picked some up and a Jar and launched it last night, thinking this is something that my daughter (10 yr.) may have some interest in. We are just getting started learning to bake together and have really enjoyed it.

Starter Questions:

I have well water but did buy Spring, Followed Directions, Covered with Cling Wrap placed it inside my oven with light on, stirred this morning and I could tell it's springy, happy and I do believe it is kicking off and going to work.

Tonight I feed: I started with AP flour, but was wondering if possibly King Author, White Whole Wheat Unbleached may suit better?  I believe I feed 1Tbsp F & 1 Tsp H20 (per Breadtopia Instruction). I think my well water (chlorine free) would suit opposed to purified spring water.  I am not keen on bottled water (environment) and my well is absolutely fantastic.  So stick with White AP or use KA WWWU Flour?  And can I use my healthy well water?

Now it is my understanding from the instructions and what I am reading (there are obviously all sorts of techniques folks use so there is what a beginner would consider conflicting information) but I will then feed: 1/3c flour & 1/4c water building the starter. While I am doing this am I removing anything from the jar or is this a continual feed and grow?  Also I live in PA, it's fall so temps are swinging a bit so I feel I need to keep my jar in the gas oven with the light on for consistent temp.  Will I continue to keep it in the lit oven or should I move it to the fridge?  We will most likely make breads, pretzels, waffles, etc. on the weekends.  I can easily store in my oven or fridge, I would just like to know the general consensus from those with experience how best to proceed.

I also sent from some of Carl Griffith's 1847 starter, as it was free and I liked the idea of being part of that as well as telling my daughter it's from 1847.  Will we notice a difference in the two; I have been curious about that?

Lots of information here on these forums, my head will continue to spin until I start to grasp the basics, but I have really enjoyed reading, thanks!

 

DKT

 

 
Ford's picture
Ford

Welcome and have  patience.  Making bread takes patience and making sourdough requires patience squared (paraphrased from Mike Avery).  You are on the right track.  Mike Avery recommends the Carl Griffith's starter, and I recommend Mike Avery's web site for information on sourdough.   However, you are already started and that is good.  You can use all-purpose or whole wheat flour in your starter.  I suggest that you weigh your flour and your water as you refresh the starter and do this in the ratio of 1:1:1 parts of starter:water:flour.  This will give you a thick batter for your starter.  Bakers call this 100% hydration.  Baker's percentage is based on the weight of the total flour.  Of course you should throw away some of the starter as you go along, (or use it in your baking)  If you do not throw away some or use it you will soon have a bathtub full!.

Your well water should be fine.  You just want to avoid chlorine or the chloramine used to sanitize the municipal water.

Once your starter is bubbling nicely and rising you can refrigerate it and refresh it every week or two.  I keep mine in the refrigerator and bring it out the morning before I bake.  I refresh it in the ratio above, let it stand and then before bed I refresh it again to build it to the amount I intend to use plus a little to store.

Until you get your scales, measure your flour by sifting or gently spooning it into a measuring cup and leveling it off with a spatula.  Don't shake or pack it.  Flour measured this weighs 4 1/4 ounces per cup.  So a cup of flour is about half the weight as a cup of water.  Once you begin to measure by weight , I think you will find it easier and more accurate.

I suggest Mike Avery's web site for sourdough information: 

http://www.sourdoughhome.com/index.php?content=sourdoughfastrack2

Ford

Ford's picture
Ford

Starter yeast is most active at about 80°F.  If the temperature gets to 97°F  The yeast is dead!  So check the oven temperature.  To be safe, just let it sit on the kitchen counter.

Ford

DKT's picture
DKT

Yep I have patience and then some (managed to raise two full grown men and have a daughter on the up and coming so the fact they are still alive is my proof  :) )~ I mentioned what we were baking and when because I felt that might be points to consider when someone answered me as it relates to storing in the oven or fridge. 

I didn't weigh my Fido Jar and my started instructions came to me non weight, I guess because they assume more folks have measuring cups than scales.  I do have a scale ~ but I don't think I can go 1:1:1 until I get passed first stages ~ with only a Tsp Starter & Tbsp Water ~ there is much variance on such a tiny amount.  So I will scale 1:1:1 once I have bubbling action :) unless you or someone else tells me otherwise.

I will also read the link, thanks so much Ford :)

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Children you can ignore and they will pretty much take care of themselves if they have a big enough allowance.  The wee beasties are require more ant money and being ignored,:-)  Welcome and happy baking  

DKT's picture
DKT

Thanks dabrownman :)

 

Hoping to go home tonight to see a little bit of the bubbly & I am not talking champagne. 

Was spongy looking last night ~ but a bit sturdier than Marshmallow ~ so I feel like we are on the right track. 

Just remembered to tell my Mom she has a little package arriving from Carl's Friends & when I told her what it was I could tell she was excited.  She said I haven't thought of that in almost 40 years.  So I have a feeling she'll be back into hot and heavy.  She is a fabulous baker from what I remember.  Will be anxious to see what she does with it. ..

Once I get to bubbling I will scale everything and go as Ford recommended above ~ hoping by the first of the year to have something pretty amazing :) 

 

Just getting to working with regular bread now ~ calibrated my oven on Sunday so hopefully will get a handle on that and have a little experience under my belt when it comes time to dig into the Mother of all Funk. 

 

 

DKT's picture
DKT

Ok ~ no bubbling brew here tonight ~ so I really wasn't sure what to do.

 

Started Sunday and gave feeding instruction up to last night where is said to do the feed and in 24 to 36 hours I should see it begin to bubble. 

 

I fed it  ~ I added water and flour 1:1 by weight.  Hoping I didn't mess things up.  It's white, marshmallow consistency, thick .  Had it had a bit more moisture I would have probably just kept observing (I do stir, every 12 hours) but seemed like I should feed it. 

 

Anyone know what I should do?

DKT's picture
DKT

I have determined it's too dry ~ from watching videos and reading ~  it's too dry  so I moistened it up this morning.  If nothing cool has happened by this evening I am going to get a second one going and go 1:1:1 ~ I need to read (again) the link Ford provided.

DKT's picture
DKT

Do you think I am ok to continue with this even though it dried a bit through the night or should I just clean out and try again, diregard the instructions and go 1:1:1 from the start?

When I moistened and stirred it did have a few bubbles.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Be calm and carry on.  My oven with the light on is 91 F  Make sure the oven door is ajar to cool it down

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

Is a game of patience. Who's gonna give up first? You or your Starter? If you have more patience then you'll win.

Feed when hungry (i.e. signs of life) otherwise wait. When predictable and bubbles up every time it's fed on schedule then it's ready.  

DKT's picture
DKT

Oven is below 80 ~ I keep a thermostat in it at all times.  For now I can still keep door ajar ~ we enter the home through the kitchen and the frost is officially on the pumpkin, it's cooling off in our area.  With oven door shut & light on (to this point) I have not seen it exceed 80 degrees.

I think from the get go though I was keeping it too dry so I have just tossed the instructions that came aside and am going with what I am picking up from here.  Just wanted to make sure the drought wouldn't have killed off my good guys in there on life support at this point. 

 

Goal for Daughter as it relates to this: She would like to make pancakes or waffles weekend of November 7th.  Her brother comes home from Norway and she wants that to be the first bit of something cooked and tasted as a family.  We placed a PW on the calendar last night as I think it is a realistic goal ~ but we keep Mick Jagger's words close to heart: You can't always get what you want so however it plays out she'll be ok with it.  I really just didn't want her thinking when we started it Sunday we'd be doing something with it immediately. 

 

I'll keep you posted if we kickstart her heart or she pops her clogs :)

dobie's picture
dobie

First off, welcome to the forum and welcome to sourdough.

You have got some of the best minds on this forum (not meaning mine) engaged in your conversation.

Ford is, from my experience, spot on. He is absolutely correct (as usual and 'do as he says'), with one or two possible addendums.

I don't think yeast dies at 97F, it's only sleeping. I think it needs to get over 115 or 120 if not a bit more to actually die. But yeah, over 85F or so, it's not going to grow much, if at all (Ford, if I'm wrong, please let me know and I apologize in advance).

But yes, use your scale and 1:1:1 is a good way to start (no matter what you may choose to do in the future). Personally, I would start 1:1:1 feedings now. And you don't have to discard, at least not right away. And the fridge is for later.

Uhhhm, this might be a little bit of a stickly point. There are those who would say that you don't need to purchase a starter 'starter'. That you can grow your own with nothing more than flour, water and process. I would be one of them.

Amongst those who would say such things, there seem to be two main camps. Those who believe that the yeasts and lactobacillious of a proper starter come from the air and those who believe they come from the grain itself. Personally, I think the later.

So when you propose that you might be thinking of starting all over again, let me suggest that if you do, start with nothing more than flour and water at 1:1. The more 'whole' the grain of the flour, the better (in my opinion) your results will be. If you can get some nice organic wheat or particularly rye berries (that you could grind up in a coffee mill), all the better.

I think you might see better results in less time than you have experienced with the purchased starter 'starter'.

I agree with AbeNW11 - feed it when hungry. I've brewed a few sourdough starters in my life and following this advice was the easiest start of all.

When it comes to dabrownman, hmmm. I don't know about the starter/children thoughts (I think they are both equally needy/trying), but I will say, take heed, this is another good mind to listen to. After all, patience is golden, carry on..., are words of good advice.

Please, know you are blessed to have a ten year old that would have anything to do with you, let alone be into baking.

I am sure when your sons show up in Nov., you two will have some wonderful waffles and other such sourdough goodies to offer them.

dobie

 

DKT's picture
DKT

We survived the drought!! Thanks so much!  Yep Ford with the initial push to 1:1:1 I do believe was the ticket ~ this afternoon I have action & We Cheered the Funk!.  It was too dry.  If I had to guess I would say it possibly quadrupled from 6 am to right now. Oven with light is sitting this afternoon at 75.  I stirred with my wooden skishkabob skewer, fed her well and plopped her back in to her nest.  

My Mom actually said too a starter starter isn't necessary ~ she is in the They Come from the Grain Camp herself.  I actually do have a small grinder and am going to look for Rye Berries ~ I am not familiar with them but will look into it and get one rolling like that as well. 

Thank you so much all ~ still will continue on with Agnes; we're attached to her and since we just got her off life support I wouldn't dream of bailing on her.   Would think tomorrow I may have a quantity to discard if I wanted to but will not be doing that ~ have plenty of room and want to just keep going steady.  When I say it quadrupled, this morning prior to adding I didn't even have a full coverage on the bottom.  I was up at least the width of two gumbands on the sides ~ it was beautiful!  I am expecting it to Hulk Out through the night. 

 

Thanks so much.  We're really enjoying this stage of things; the unknown and figuring out how to make it work.  We said tonight our November P or W's are so going to be worth the wait!  I do appreciate everyone who popped in and kept out ship afloat and I hope it's ok if we keep posting as we go.  I would like to have a bit of a record of the journey.

 

 

dobie's picture
dobie

Dude, you're in the game.

Enjoy your new baby.

dobie

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

TFL for discards was for English Muffins here http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/3241/sourdough-english-muffins

If you thin it out some it makes fantastic pancakes too.

I started a new rye sour starter on Monday morning and will be mixing it in tomorrow night and baking  pumpernickel with it on Friday.  Nothing like rye flour and water in Monday and pumpernickel on Friday.

Good luck with Agnes and SD baking with the daughter.  Those days go fast so enjoy them!

Happy SD baking 

DKT's picture
DKT

 

I promise to refrain from 3 hour updates after this point...

Dance class this evening and normally we bust in the door to quickly get our comfy clothes on ~ tonight we were knocking each other out of the way to see in the oven glass.  Bubbles and liftoff ~ more bubbles than Lawrence Welk!!!

Just hit her with English Muffins and pumpernickle, thanks so much for the recipe link and... I do hope you'll post about the pumpernickle.  Think I have 2 leads locally on Rye Berries too. Our town is quaint, there are no Whole Foods or Trader Joe's.  But we have a place that started as a mill and now supplies all of those places with all kinds of grains ~ their site says they ship UPS so anyone in need of special items may want to check out what appears to be a very impressive catalog.  I am not affiliated with them in any manner other than located close so will put up the catalog link if it isn't permitted I can easily remove it: http://www.frankferd.com/what-we-sell .  Organic supplies is possibly of interest to a few here, not really sure. 33-35 are milled items, I found the rye.

Ok ~ just had to share the bubbles.  I would like to fix a spot in front of the over tonight to watch over her.  I know I am waking up early!  Rubber-band action after her breakfast because I should have something to see ~ but for the fact I will technically be on day 4 and I know I read things can peter out about that time.   Was thinking too... not sure if this is correct thought or not but Agnes could be the Mother of all Mothers ~ her start was thick and tight.  

It's so fun and we haven't even really gotten our fingers in it yet!  Have a great night all & thanks so much!!

 

dobie's picture
dobie

DKT -

As far as I'm concerned, please don't ever feel a need to restrict sharing your joy and enthusiasm. It can be contagious you know.

Forget about the Rye berries for now. It's great that you have a source for them and I'm sure you'll probably find them useful in the near future, but I was only suggesting them as a way to stimulate 'Agnes' growth.

BTW the Frankferd Farms people seem really good. You are probably much better off with one of them around you than Whole Foods or Fairway or the ilk (I will leave Trader Joe's out of it as they are in a different class in my opinion).

You could probably take Agnes out of her oven cacoon at this point and throw down the couch cushions and wrap you, your daughter and Agnes up in a blanket, all comfey and warm for your first night together (just like having a puppy).

I wouldn't worry about the 4 day blahs (in terms of growth), just do as AbeNW and others suggest and feed her well on demand. Keep that up for the next week or so and feel free to start baking with the discard.

At that point she will probably be old enough to live in the fridge (yes, I know that's difficult, but it's what she needs), awaiting her weekly feeding.

Of course, unless you're baking everyday, then feed her on the counter. And actually, you can probably put her in the fridge in the next day or two if need be. Of course, she won't really break thru adolescence for another month or so, so be patient.

Not sure where you're going with the 'Mother of All Mothers' but I'm gonna leave that one alone. As they say, 'Don't pet the sweaty stuff'.

Anyway, congratulations. Obviously you and your daughter are going to have a lot of fun with Agnes.

dobie

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Rye and water on mondy amd Pumpernickel on Friday

World Bread Day 2015 - Sprouted Westphalian Sourdough Pumpernickel

Happy SD baking 

DKT's picture
DKT

 

Got up twice in the night just to check on her so I kind of knew it wouldn't be hubba bubba this morning, but she plumped up a tad ~ so that's progress at least in our eyes. May have had some Hooch (a bit of clear liquid 1/2 a thimbleful if I had to guess) just a little pocket of it on one side.  Greeted her, thinned the crop so we weren't having an over-bloom of hungries in there that we couldn't nourish, gave her a cuddle with the skish, fed her, stirred again & encouraged her. Great pep talk about what she needed to be doing while we were out of the house.  I put the gumband to her, scraped down a side so I can visually see the rise and fall, should there be one while I am slaving away today at the office. 

We will be weekend baking, so she will eventually reside in the fridge ~ I just want to make sure she's wild and woolie before we tuck her away.  And too ~ Agnes has a great aroma ~ I got the eyes from my daughter, as it's a smell she is not familiar with ~ but she is smelling up her jug in a proper way. 

 

Going to head to the farm Saturday if the day doesn't get away from me.  We want the best for her and if a little Rye would perk her up than we want her to have it :)  That Farm sure seems to have it all.  Which we are such novices we can't fully appreciate, but hopefully at some point we'll know first hand just how awesome it is to have them down the road.  And I just love their story; they are doing a good thing!

 

Enjoy the day and I may have an update this evening...

 

 

I hope I have an update this evening ;P

 

 

 

 

 

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

One I made from scratch and it's 100% whole rye at 100% hydration. Rye starters are very hardy and just improve with age. Get's fed and is allowed to bubble up by half then resides in the fridge. Take a little off to build with night before I wish to bake and when it runs low it gets fed again. Never produces hooch and smell just gets better and better.

My other starter is one which a friend gave to me, a fellow TFL'er, and it's 70% bread flour + 24% wholewheat + 6% whole rye. Also 100% hydration and maintenance is the same. However this one needs a bit more TLC than the whole rye starter. It will develop hooch so keep less of it so it needs topping up more frequently.

Whole Rye Starter gets a feed every 2 weeks or so but to be honest it looks the same as two weeks previously. The other one can also go for two weeks between feeds but will be developing some hooch by now.

 

DKT's picture
DKT

 

Good News!!!!  Agnes will have her Berries!!!

Yes we sell Rye grain(berries) in 2#,5#, 25# and 50# sizes. Pricing is 2.00,4.17,18.77 and 34.06 respectively.

Frankferd Farms Foods

 

Guessing a 2 pounder would last me quite a long time at this stage of my baking expertise (I am at zero on the expert scale).  I have a little grinder that I use for flax. 

Would I just grind a wee bit and chuck it to her? I am thinking we are talking tsp. quantity Tablespoon may be overkill.

dobie's picture
dobie

DKT - again, you are so lucky to have Frankferd Farms close by.

Also, again, I am not the sourdough expert and am only sharing my direct experiences and hearsay.

I keep a starter that is fed only AP flour and is at 100% hydration (50/50 flour and water). I feed it once a week usually, but on occasion at two or even three weeks.

I started it about 6 months ago from nothing more than some ground up (in a coffee grinder) Rye berries and an equal weight of water. My experience was very similar to yours, by 3-4 days in, it was getting quite active. I then started weening it off the rye (feeding 25% rye, 25% AP and 50% water) for a few days until I switched over to 50% AP/50% water.

I only do the 100% hydration because it keeps the math easy for me and is easy to incorporate into recipes. Same thing with the AP flour, it's always on hand and is just my habit (I don't have to 'think' to feed it). A lot of folks on the forum use many different flours and hydrations and I am not in any dispareging those practices.

At this point, since Agnes is active, you probably don't need to add ground up Rye berries. But it certainly wouldn't hurt and could only help. I would just suggest (as you probably already do) keeping good notes on what and when you feed her. As much or as little Rye as you see fit would be appropriate. You can't over do the Rye.

It is perfectly acceptable to discard an appropriate amount at feeding time, particularly at this stage. Eventually you will probably develope a schedule where your dicard feeds your levain for the weekend bakes and thus will have little if any waste.

As long as you're starting out on a new adventure, this might a good time to start weighing ingredients rather than measuring them (just more accurate and fool-proof). Also a good time to start using grams and such rather than ounces (as it makes the math so much easier). Just a few things I've learned on this forum.

I'm very happy for your success.

dobie

DKT's picture
DKT

Scale holds the notepad :)

Figured it made sense to keep track of this regardless how it worked out the info would come in handy down the line.

I scaled this morning part of my 1:1:1 ~ finally have enough of something to scale.  I scooped out a discard, made the assumption what remained was an equal amount and did her breakfast 1:1. 

 

Going to try to stop by FF tonight on the way home ~ I can go that way and pick up the Rye to Grind and give Agnes a treat for working hard this week.  I also thought if she has any discard I might try to see if I can get a little Rye Pot Going.  Just trying some stuff and see what works in our conditions. 

Is there anything else I should be looking to snatch up?  I may not be able to get there until Saturday depending on traffic.  But I think regardless of Agnes' current states of health a little Grind Treat may contribute to greater health and longevity.

 

Thanks dobie! And All ~ I really do appreciate everything.

 

dobie's picture
dobie

Good to hear.

Last things first, as long as you feed and tend her, longevity is not an issue.

Regarding things to snatch up, I would say to just take a good survey of what's available. You'll be back.

You might want to start looking into getting some kind of grain mill.

All of this aside, you are giving your daughter (and yourself) a great education. I only wish I had that opportunity at such a young age.

May the Yeast be with you.

dobie

DKT's picture
DKT

Agnes Gloria ~ my daughter said, "Mom, she's Glorious we should have named her Gloria!"

Wow she worked hard today.  Decided to clean her jar,so I could properly scale & we had the discard in a glass bowl at the sink but neither had the heart to dump.  Currently have a 241g's, buttermilk & the King in an overnight bowl. 

Placed 241g back in the jar, fed, she is going nuts ~ in very short order bubbling away

 

Started my beef veggie soup tonight & tomorrow we're going to finish off the soup (making the stock tonight), make our waffles & we'll make some non sourdough rolls to go with them. 

 

Trial run on the waffles.  Not expecting much ~ but she does have a nice smell and bubbles well so they may be better than we are expecting.  If she keeps up the good work she move to the fridge Sunday ~ I am not real sure though we are ready to abandon the over watch :)

Decided too before I hit the Farm ~ we're going to get a bit of experience under our belts so we can appreciate a small amount of what they offer.  And I am thinking a little home mill and that portable bread proofer are something to put on my wish list :)

Love that it's fall ~ during the summer we cook just about everything on the grill, but have been ready to get back into the soup pot and will be very cool learning to bake.

I'll be back with a full report on the waffles.  Need semolina or corn meal for the muffins ~ it won't be long until we're ready for those!  

Thanks so much for all the help!!

dobie's picture
dobie

or perhaps 'GloriAgnes'.

Glad it's going well. Please feed back on the waffles and what recipe you used.

dobie

DKT's picture
DKT

They were good, really good.  for the maiden voyage and not knowing what we were doing they completely exceeded our expectations.  When I spoke of the mother of all mothers I anticipated kick ~ she got a strong build up I believe because of the drought (at least that is my thought). Sour was there at full attention.  I used the KA starter discard recipe.  They were tasty enough to freeze what we didn't eat (recipe makes so much!)

Now I need to finesse it a bit.  A bit more balance need to take the edge off them a bit.  But that's the fun ~ getting them to exactly where you no they can go :)

 

My rolls with the veggie soup ~ not so much luck. Needed more air.  But we got in there and made a go and we'll get it.

 

The soup was everything it needed to be and then some.  Day 2 and Day should blow the lips off folks!  Have to hide some to put up :)

Enjoy the weekend!

 

 

 

dobie's picture
dobie

DKT

Anytime the bake is good enough to save leftovers, that's a good thing.

If you search by any of these; more sour, less sour, too sour, not sour enough, I'm sure you'll find various posts and threads that will help you to control these qualities.

Continued success.

dobie

dobie's picture
dobie

I delved a little deeper into 'Frankferd Farms' website and am now even more impressed.

Apparently they have a small store front but a 10,000 sq ft warehouse. Of their 4000 items for sale, many are organic and/or locally produced.

The warehouse is usually off-limits to the public except for Wed 5:30 to 7:30 and Sat 10:00 to 2:00 when you are free to roam, inspect and purchase.

They seem to be very consumer friendly whether you're buying by the carton or just the pound. A rare find indeed.

dobie