The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Using a small amount of starter to increase flavor?

  • Pin It
Marni's picture
Marni

Using a small amount of starter to increase flavor?

Forgive my ignorance, I'm very much still learning about sourdough and all its nuances, but as I was mixing a large quantity of starter into my dough yesterday, I was thinking about the thread here a while back about flavor and sourness in sourdough.

If I understood the thinking correctly (a big *if*, BTW), two factors in flavor are proofing time and acid content.  If that's the case, then wouldn't it work to use a very small amount of starter (firm or batter), allowing it to grow and produce its byproducts of the two kinds of acids?  (lactobacillus? and another?  acetic?)  I mean a small amount would need a *long* time to raise a loaf and the yeast could have greater effect. Similar to cutting back on commercial yeast in other breads.  That's my thought, anyway.

Sorry if this is redundant after the other long discussion, (or just plain wrong), but further comments would help me understand more clearly how this works.  Thanks for any thoughts.

Marni

leemid's picture
leemid

I make the same recipe with two different processes depending on time and interest. In one I grow the starter to 400g, in the other I use only 100g. Both methods take two days time, both make great bread; they differ in taste slightly. There are identical amounts of everything in both.  Beside the 'differ in taste slightly', by which I mean the flavor of the wheat, the lower starter method produces sourer bread.  But depending on the actual times involved and the temperatures, which are interrelated, they can also be quite similar in sourness.

Truth is, the original method was with 400g starter and I tried it the other way one weekend when I was too late in starting the starter so I just tossed it all together and waited.  In both I do the same amount of 'turning' or folding.

I know da crumb bum uses something like 15g of starter in a giant miche he cooks up that I can attest to having excellent flavor so my 100g is still lots by comparison.

Lee

itotallygaf's picture
itotallygaf

your logic is right on.  i had been trying to produce a more sour loaf for about two years and saw a thread where someone chimed in with a recipe that called for only 1 (one) teaspoon of starter for about three cups of flour and 1.25 cups of water.  it was the most flavorful/sour bread i had ever baked.  apparently by using this small of an  amount of starter allowed the bacteria more time to grow as the yeast finally multiplied enough to raise the dough.  i baked it this past winter at ambient house termperatures (about 63 F - kinda cool) and it took about two days to see the dough begin to raise.  i'm sure it would work at warmer temperatures as well.  good luck.

somegeek's picture
somegeek

What was the total time from start to finish to create a loaf of bread using 1tsp of starter?  I will have to try this method for sure!

itotallygaf's picture
itotallygaf

about 3 days.  like i said, the temperature was in the low 60's and the first two days there reallly wasn't any sign of fermentation until the yeast population increased enough to start raising the dough.  once there were enough of them to do their thing, i folded/stretched a few times the next day and then baked.  i haven't tried it at the present temps (70 -80F) but i would imagine things will speed up quite a bit.