The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Apple instead of Pineapple Juice

RobertKop's picture

Apple instead of Pineapple Juice

I was having a problem getting a starter going with pineapple juice. I followed the instructions but nothing seemed to be happening for over a week.  Maybe my kitchen doesn't have any wild yeast.  Then I thought of using fresh squeezed apple juice from a local cider mill.  The apple juice is just about as acidic as pineapple and the apples would have all kinds of yeast and LAB on the skins which would get into the cider. From previous experience I know the cider will get hard if kept too long so it should work for starter.  Success!!!!! The starter took off after about three days, I fed it and kept it going for a week before baking the first time.  Have baked my first few batches of bread with it.  Still learning  how to handle the dough, so they were just OK as far as shaping but the rise was great and the taste was close to what I was hoping for.  The starter lives in the refrigerator and I feed it every 1 to 2 weeks (work gets in the way of life).  I feed it and put it in the oven with the light on (about 80 degree) and it doubles in 3 - 4 hours and back to the refrigerator till next time.  Unfiltered cider is not always available but if you are having a problem getting your starter going give this a shot.

Doc.Dough's picture

It turns out that (contrary to folk wisdom) you can quite easily make a good starter by initiating it with commercial bakers yeast. A large fraction of sourdough starters have been shown to have versions of beer/bakers yeast as their principal constituent (see the details here:  If you zoom in and click on a particular sample dot you will see a list of both the yeast and the LAB that were found in the sample.

The method is simple, just refresh an initial mix that is started with commercial yeast.  And keep refreshing it every 24 hrs.  After a few days it begins to get sour.  It seems to do best when you let it run a full 24 hrs between feedings at typical kitchen temperatures but it is not fussy.

MontBaybaker's picture

I like the cider idea and will follow your progress.  It's available fresh at a nearby apple farm.  I'm on Day 2 of a new starter with pineapple juice.  On a recent late-night TFL browse someone mentioned ascorbic acid instead of juice.  I have a small newish jar of powder, and wonder if anyone has tried this instead of juice for the first 1-2 days.  Just to have that info on hand, does it work and how much would you use with water in lieu of the 2 TBSP juice?  It's Whole Foods (1/4 tsp = 1.25 gm) and is pure AA with no fillers or artificial stuff.  TIA   

I haven't had a starter for a few years (that one was so-so and short-lived, not properly maintained).  Baking has been sporadic due to neck issues affecting my arm & hand.  While things settled down I've enjoyed reading your SD experiences.  I can't wait to have a viable starter (maintained by NMNF or other no-waste methods), and try the many bookmarked recipes I've been drooling over.  TFL is the best resource, and I've learned more here than all my books combined.  Plus, the wealth of knowledge & recipe bank expand daily.