The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

the color purple

campcook's picture
campcook

the color purple

I am definitely a new-by and wish to learn.  How ever, I get confused by the technical detail of the recipes and process details.  Please bear in mind that I am an engineer by training. so mixing quantitative and qualitative methods is likely to get me confused.  

I STARTED  making bread about 6 months ago ( have been making beer for 10 years or so)and started my starter about the same time.  My bread is consistently good although I gravitate toward the artisan stuff, both kneaded and un-kneaded.

 Here's the process-- my sourdough is consistently good.  I keep it alive about once a week ( even maybe up to a couple of weeks of neglegt)or when I use some by adding in a 1/2 cup or so of flour and maybe a 1/2 cup of water as needed.  I taste it and it is always sour.  If too sour(RED), I add wheat flour.  But, if it is  too bland(BLUE), I add black rye.  If it is active I put it in the fridge.  If I need it tomorrow, it goes on the counter.  I always taste it and look for PURPLE-- midway between too sour or bland.  The water added keeps it near a pancake batter consistency.

When I make a starter, I adjust the amount of starter and water to meet the needs of the recipe and then replenish the starter. No big deal.

My reasoning is that I really want each loaf to be a treasure -- not a duplicate.  Every once in the while i get a loaf  that is incredibly outstanding even though most are "above average."

I would really feel bad if my sourdough died but it would not end my existence.  I treat my sourdough as my friend and we share our life together-- sounds a bit co-dependent -- maybe I need to go to sourdough anonymous..........

Dave 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I know what you're trying to say. I like purple too. I've got an idea for you. very simple. Change your white wet purple starter to a dry purple one. it will make you happier. Read what I wrote under Prepping a starter. When you prepare your starter the day before you bake, take it out around 6 or 7pm, feed again around 10pm to increase the volume and leave it in a cool room 60°f or 16°c overnight to mix up your dough in the morning before 10am.

To keep your starter going take the one or two tablespoons of starter, add twice as much water to it and stir til well blended, then stir in some rye flour, enough just to make it crumbly and let it sit covered at room temp a few hours or overnight with the dough in the cool room. Then into the fridge with it. That is all! It doesn' need a big container, it doesn't take up much space and it will stay purple. Dry keeps it from turning red. Try it and see.

Mini O

L_M's picture
L_M

So Mini Oven, does that mean you think keeping it dry even with rye (what a rhyme...) keeps it from turning red? Can I conclude that keeping it dry with wheat flour will make it turn blue?

Thanks for any thoughts on this

 L_M

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

You could be right.

(L_M, I have to admit I misunderstood Campcook, I though he was not happy with his system, i must have mis-read something. I also think the word sour is not quite the right word, he likes a taste associated with rye that might be hard to define.) Now since I've dove into this color pool...

I have kept it white and dry and it turned blue or got bland over time. (But that can be controlled later with rising temps & retarding the dough.) Rye wet turns red quickly. If the White wet purple tends to swing between red and blue, why not make it more stable? Is it good enough to add anti-blue and anti-red colors now and then to maintain purple when it could start out purple and stay that way? Variations will come along when the refrigerated storage starter is fed with the different flours in a recipe, but the starter will then be fed rye dry for storage. There is something in the rye that makes it better with age, and it ages better stiff.

I have tried to maintain a white wheat starter but I keep coming back to a rye one. I like the taste of a rye or predominantly rye starter. Mine at the moment picks up traces of spelt flour and it makes me want to bake more. What do you think?

 

L_M's picture
L_M

That would really be nice if I could be true friends with my starter just like you are Campcook...but it seems like my starter is in control of our relationship. It has a mind of it's own, follow's it's own rules and feeding schedule and if I'm lucky, sometimes I can figure it out.  

I've tried both wet and dry, mostly white wheat, but the taste of the bread doesn't always match up the way you mentioned yours does Mini Oven. So, what do I think? I think that if someone could invent a colour scheme that enables us to see what our starters are made of, I'd be very, very happy. Until then, it's still a guessing game for me. 

L_M