The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Starter-- Seattle Area

epoppin's picture
epoppin

Sourdough Starter-- Seattle Area

Hello,

In a cross country trip I tragically lost an ancient sourdough starter given to me by a professor in college from Eastern Europe.  I'm looking to replace this starter and being new to Seattle am looking for ways to reach out to those in the area to see if anyone has a sourdough starter they'd be willing to share.

Anyone feel that they can find a noticeable difference in older starters vs. new ones?  I might just start a new one but always loved the connection of using something that had been passed down generation after generation.

Any leads on sourdough starters in the Seattle area would be deeply appreciated.

 

Southbay's picture
Southbay

but I think there’s too much mythology surrounding sourdough starter. Get a new one going. It only takes flour and water.

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

It's either old or it isn't. Mythology is a story like a fairytale. An old starter can be sentimental like anything else that's passed down by generations. And to have it passed down for many years only to lose it will be upsetting. Different starters do have different tastes and it's something you won't get back by making another one. You might get another very tasty starter but different all the same. 

epoppin's picture
epoppin

Thanks. I was skeptical about posting on here because I assumed it would be full of bread snobs.

It was just sentimental.  The professor who gave it to me killed himself shortly after he gave it to me.  We had spent a lot of time together making bread.

I will probably end up making a new one but appreciate an honest and polite response.

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Sentimentality has no price. It's a value with no price tag. I realised where you were coming from. We are simply here to help each other. 

It can't be replaced I'm afraid. Perhaps start a new one, name it and bake with it all the breads your teacher taught you. This new starter will attain new sentimentality. 

Hope this helps and any further questions, advice and recipes you'd like to share I hope it will be here on this forum. Looking forward! 

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Just make a new starter. There's no real drama in a starter - either it works or you toss it and begin another - repeat till it works...,

Now that you mentioned it I need to gen up a cock and bull story for my starter Abbey Normal - maybe the name's enough..., 

Wild-Yeast

Southbay's picture
Southbay

I was going for the opposite with my brain full of the misleading things I've read and heard over the years that seem over the top and confusing for newish bakers. My intent was to steer epoppin away from snobbery and hoohah as part of getting over it. The sentimental part is totally a thing, and I was trying to be encouraging in your time of loss and mourning. My own starters, San and Fran, were started some years ago using a touristy gift shop starter packet my parents picked up in Alaska that contained no actual yeasts. If San or Fran were lost, it would be a sad day, but the healing process would include starting at least a couple of new starters, kind of like getting a new puppy after the loss of an old dog. I'd be happy to mail you some dried out starter flakes that should get going reasonably well with some new flour and water. 

Hey Lechem, thanks for calling me an inverted snob, whatever that is, when i was trying to be helpful. Guess I need to write more carefully so as not to be misunderstood. I'm sort of in disbelief that I've been explicitly insulted on the bread blog. It's good to know who has appointed themselves the police of what is called for. Happy baking.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Epoppin, if you want to use my starter, I’ll send you some. It’s dehydrated and reconstitution is easy.

Just PM me with your mailing address.

Then once you get established you can dry some in case you need to replace in the the future OR give some away to a new friend.

OH, if you know someone else that is baking with the prof’s starter, you might get his back again. I hope this is possible. But if not, send your address.

I don’t name my starter but it is a faithful friend and I’d hate to loose it.

Danny

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

"... if you know someone else that is baking with the prof’s starter, you might get his back again. I hope this is possible. But if not, send your address".

Nice one Danny. Hope you've hit upon a great idea and it works out. And very generous of you. That's what starters are all about. It's not just flour and water. It's about sharing. It's a self perpetuating act of kindness. One starter can feed a million.

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

If the professor was married, his wife may know where his back up is. I’ll bet he kept one.

I would think that most bakers with a sentimental attachment to their starter would keep one.

REMINDER - If anyone has a starter that they don’t want to loose. MAKE A BACKUP TODAY...

Dan

Southbay's picture
Southbay

 Bakers can and do have different views about sourdough starters. Wild-yeast and I have expressed the view that a starter is just there to make your bread expand and produce some acids and flavor. Others are more taken in by the narrative aspect and are willing to sort of call you a knuckle dragger (inverse snob) for having a different view. You can decide who is the snob, people who try to succinctly express themselves without being long-winded in the first place, or those who deliberately insult people with different views in a “polite” way. I didn’t realize that you need a bodyguard and that you were here for feelings and hugs. I tried to give you practical bread advice and don’t appreciate being insulted on this thread for trying to help with only good intentions. It literally only takes flour and water to create a whole new starter on your own and yet somehow I’ve been belittled for saying that by someone talking about rainbows and unicorns. Rest assured that this sort of exchange is not normal on this site and is a first for me.

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

:)

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

We normally all get along very well here and I am sorry that answers your post have resulted in some unfortunate words and hurt feelings. I know that no one here is deliberately trying to be rude or hurtful. Or at least, I sincerely hope so!

I hope that you are able to locate some of your prof’s starter and if not, there are a number of us who would be quite willing to share. I am one of those. My starter is actually a combo of two of the members of this site (JamieOF and Michaelily) and my own. Each one has a very distinct quality and together, they make a fantastic starter. Let me know if you want me to share. 

Danni

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Starters adjust to their environment over time. If you don't have a pure sample that is laboratory controlled or a remote mother starter that's large enough to keep updates coming (industrial size production) your starter will change and stabilize on local conditions.

Some years ago I changed flour and could not get the taste groove back again until the flour was changed back to the original vendor. The extenuating circumstance was that our water source was in suspension for several years while the aqueduct was repaired and upgraded to withstand the next big earthquake (Hetch-Hetchy Water). That was one traumatic experience that's not to be repeated.

Obtaining a starter from someone that has a proven commodity (heirloom) is in some ways the best way to get started in sourdough or for those who have met with the loss of their starter and do not want to go through a hit or miss method of developing a new one (I don't think this is true any longer as per Debra Winks instructions). When I first attempted to make sourdough bread you were instructed to mix a flour and water mixture and expose it to fresh air through an open window until it gathered the right microorganisms and started to ferment). Finally my Grandfather came through with a sample from one of the old Italian restaurant bread bakeries in North Beach - it worked like a champ and I was off and running at the tender age of 10. My Grandfather knew something about sourdough as he was part of the Klondike Gold Rush and was kind enough to help out a struggling but persistent kid that for some unknown reason wanted to make sourdough bread...,

Wild-Yeast   

maradawn's picture
maradawn

If anyone has extra starter I'd love to get some, mine went bad and I'd love to make some bread on Tuesday.