How does the type/activity of your starter affect taste,crumb and crust?
I have been baking sourdough for 4-5 months and am using a variety of recipes and having some decent success. In looking at elements I can change to effect the final outcome of my bread I have started to look toward my starter. It is a stiff starter, (65% hydration using 100% bread flour) I got when attending a sourdough class at my local SD bakery. It seems active and leavens the bread which, it seems to me, is it's main function. As mentioned,I am fairly happy with my bread but would like to be able to develop a bit more open crumb. Not over the top open, just more open. Full disclosure: I am pretty laid back about maintaining my starter. It stays on the counter (73 degrees.ish) as I bake every other day or so. I dump half and add bread flour and water, mixing by eye and feel how I know this stiff starter should feel/look. I feed it once daily. When I make the levain for the bread I am currently working on I take 30 grams of starter, add 65 grams of water at 75 degrees and add 100 grams bread flour. I start my levain at 10 pm on day one and start the final dough at 8 am the next day. The levain has risen by 2.5 at that point. This levain is added to 400 grams of a mix of flours, salt and various percentages of water. I have used total hydration amounts ranging from 70-80 percent. Based on what I read in this forum I probably need to be more exacting and attentive with my starter :<)
I have three questions regarding how your starter affects your final baked loaf. Please correct any misunderstandings!
1) How does it affect taste? From what I gather starters made from whiter flours will produce a more lactic taste. A starter made with rye/WW will produce a more acetic taste. Starters kept at room temp will produce more of a lactic taste whereas starter kept in the frig will become more acetic. These are only generalizations I have developed over time.
2) How does it affect crumb structure? Does a rye/WW starter produce a more or less open crumb? Does a all bread flour like mine produce or more or less open crumb? What about starter stiffness? Does a stiff or a more liquid starter produce or more or less open crumb?
3) How does a starter affect crust development? Same question here. Does starter hydration or flour composition affect crust development? Thinner,thicker? Crisper, softer?
Thanks in advance for any comments on any of the above.