The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

"old dough" rye starter

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Windischgirl's picture
Windischgirl

"old dough" rye starter

I am looking for info on an unusual rye "old dough" starter...my 75 yo dad (born in Hungary/Slovenia) recalls his mom starting her rye breads with a hunk of old dough that was permitted to dry out.  A day or two before she was ready to bake, she would crumble this dried dough into water and once it started to form a "sponge" she was ready to bake.

I will have to check with him if the bread was 100% rye, but I suspect so...they were poor and wheat was hard to come by.

 I have looked in various books (by no means exhaustive, yet!) and the closest I've seen was Nancy Silverton's liquid starter which can be dried into flakes.

Anybody?

 

thanks,

Paula 

Elagins's picture
Elagins

hi Paula,

as long as the yeasts were still alive in the original starter, there's no reason why they couldn't survive for a while -- probably a long while -- in a dry state, like today's dry powdered yeasts. Back in the day, before the advent of commercial yeast, it was not uncommon, so I'm told, for brewers to skim and dry the foam off their fermenting beer and give or sell it to bakers for their bread. So rather than keeping a wet starter, your grandmother probably did what others before her did as well ... dry the yeast and store until needed.

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

Beatrice Ojakangas talks about making a sourdough bread using old crusts of rye bread, or even the "skin" in the bowl of starter once the starter has been used.  I'll have a look round for the book and post the information for you.  I was just reading it in bed the other night, so it can't have gone far!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Still used today.  A piece of dough will be pinched into flakes by pinching off little tiny pieces and placed on a plate or tray to dry, then placed into a jar for storage.  But I would add an extra day to the "wake up" time, 3 days with at least one refreshment before using.

Mini O