The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

how many starters does a gal need?

buns of steel's picture
buns of steel

how many starters does a gal need?

 

I've been keeping two starters from natural yeast I'm very happy with.  One is like a Nancy Silverton grape starter, which I started from unsprayed concord grapes.  The other is an apple starter, started from unsprayed Empire apples.

 

Both are working great for me.  They're my babies ;)

 

I've just been keeping the two, and feeding with organic white flour.  If I want a rye or WW starter, I've been building from them.

 

I haven't done the type of starter where you start only from the natural yeast that's on the grains themselves.  (although I did do the semolina-yogurt one from Leader's book Local Breads for the Altamura bread, but didn't keep it going).

 

Am I missing out by not having a starter started from flour only?  Do I need another beast to feed? :)

 

Can you tell me anything different about flavor and other attributes, of starters that originate from flour only, versus those from the wild yeast captured from fruits?  And do you think it's important for rye breads to use a starter that originated from rye grains only? 

 

Thanks in advance!

Dave W's picture
Dave W

I must admit its very confusing, I started (no pun intended) with a rye starter from the Andrew Whitley book, this I found I could adapt, and get anything going by adding the type of flour I needed to use i.e. white for white bread, wholemeal for brown and use the same for rye of course. Trouble is different bakers have there own ideas, Iv'e just received Nancy Silvertons The La Brea bakery for Xmas, so now im working through that one along with her ideas. so now much to my wifes annoyance ive now got three starters going along with some dough in the fridge all the time.

I think it works fine by having just one on the go and keeping the piece at home !

Its good to try all sorts maybe I need another fridge as well as another oven just for baking

Cheers

Dave W

buns of steel's picture
buns of steel

LOL Dave, see how much peace there will be when you start throwing out huge amounts of flour with that Silverton starter. :o

 

I love some of the breads in that book, I'm sure you'll enjoy it too!  Nice to have folks who give such gifts! 

 

So baking friends, am I missing out on some taste or other properties by not having a sourdough that's started from grains only?

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

I haven't a clue. I suspect that all the sourdough bread I've eaten has used a grain based starter, so I have no reference for comparison.  But there has still been a huge difference in taste between the breads, as so many other factors can affect the flavor.

Tyson88's picture
Tyson88

I started a starter using a simple recipe: just flour, water, and a bit of sugar.  It is only pre-milled all purpose flour, but I got the recipe from a friend who had brilliant sucess with it---she still has the starter and it is 3 years old!  It has been 12 days now, and nothing is really happening: it definatly smells sour, and produces a yellow layer of wine-smelling hootch, but absolutely NO bubbles or rising.  It is covered with a tea-towel to prevent large things drifting in. 

Could it be the time of year?  Its the middle of our Pacific Northwest winter.  Average termperature inside, with the fireplace going all day and night, is about 15C.

Any suggestions?  Have I killed it somehow?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Is the flour you are using bleached or unbleached? Bleached flour doesn't work very well because the bleaching process destroys a lot of the natural yeast that is on the grain. Whole grain flour is the best choice for beginning a starter. Once it starts then you can switch it back to white flour. If you can, stir in some whole wheat or rye flour when you feed it and see it that helps. It does help to keep it warm, also.