The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Looking for sourdough starter that is certified kosher

ema2two's picture
ema2two

Looking for sourdough starter that is certified kosher

I am relatively new to bread baking, and enjoying it immensely.

I also keep kosher, strictly.

I'd like to try sourdough, but have not yet found a sourdough starter that is certified kosher.

Do any of you know of such a thing, or have any suggestions of sources where I can continue my search?

If my only option is to make my own, from scratch, do you with more experience think it is something a relative novice can do successfully, or do you suggest I try some other things and get more experience first?

Thanks for your advice.

Eli's picture
Eli

Since the flour I purchase is kosher and the water is kosher other than having a Rabbi bless it I guess it would be kosher? I made my own with water and flour. I used a new vessel and new plastic spatula only for sourdough culture and nothing else.

I think you could easily make your own if you like. I will find the link and post if you are interested.

Here is the link to the one which I made in January and still going strong.

*******EDIT****

http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/bread/recipe-sourdough.html

Eli

DanInCharlotte's picture
DanInCharlotte

Hi all. This is my first post to this board, though I've been lurking for a few months. In regard to finding a certified kosher starter, I would think that cleaning for passover would make things difficult.

As a preface, my home is not kosher and my understanding of "kosher for passower" is based solely off of celebrating the holy day at kosher friends' homes. They all throw away everything in their kitchen that isn't kosher for passover, ie leavening (chometz). Sure, you could cheat and give your starter to gentile friend for a week, but could a commercial starter provider do that?

Again, I don't claim to really know the rules and have no idea if cleaning a home for passover is the same as cleaning a food service business. Still, I'd think it'd be easier to make your own starter from certified ingredients. It would stink to throw out your starter every year, but you could certainly enjoy sourdough 50 weeks out of every year.

Hope that helps.

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

Yeah, I'd echo Eli's post. If this is something that really concerns you, building your own starter is definitely the easiest way to go. There are quite a few formulas around for doing this, but I favour this one, myself:

http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2007/07/13/raising-a-starter/

The beauty is that it's dead simple, just using white and rye flour, water, and time.

nbicomputers's picture
nbicomputers

how kosher are you? do you take challa (sp) when you bake?

and what kind of bread do you want to make?

ema2two's picture
ema2two

I'm what most people call "strictly kosher."  I don't use anything in terms of ingredients that doesn't have reliable kosher certification by an Orthodox rabbi or Rabbinical organization.  I have the same standards for what I eat out of my house as in it.

Yes, I separate challah when I bake a batch of bread that is large enough to require that, and when I bake challahs for the sabbath I make an effort to make a large enough batch to be able to separate challah with the blessing (bracha)--the recipes I have use 5-6 lbs of flour.

 I want to make a basic sourdough loaf, and to have starter, since I see many kinds of bread that look interesting to taste and fun to make that use it.

Marni's picture
Marni

To the best of my knowledge, there is no certified sourdough starter available for purchase online or from a standard source.  If you have a kosher bakery that makes a true sourdough, they might be willing to sell a bit of starter.  I don't know of any kosher bakeries that make a true sourdough though.  You could also try looking here: http://www.oukosher.org/  and searching their product listings.  This organization http://www.scrollk.org/  serves some bakeries and might have an answer for you.

I think trying to start one on your own is the way to go.  It's an investment of a bit of flour and some time.  If it works, you're good to go, and if not, it wasn't a huge investment.

I've been baking for years and it took me three tries to get a working starter.  Some people have success right away.  There are many ways to make a starter.  I had success with this one: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/233.

Now that I have a starter going, I make sourdough bread weekly, plus cookies, waffles, pizza etc.  Give it a try and let us know how it works for you.

Hope this helps,

Marni

ema2two's picture
ema2two

I have seen various instructions on making your own starter.  It seems like being able to evaluate the starter as 'good' or 'having a starter that works' is key.  I guess my question is, how do I know if it worked?  Does that sound ridiculously simple?  Are some starters more active than others?  How do I know how much of my starter to use in my recipes if they vary in potency?  Told you I'm a novice.

Thanks for your help and suggestions.

Marni's picture
Marni

You don't say where you have been reading about sourdough, but if you haven't looked on this site, I suggest you start by going to the home page and scrolling down  until you come to the "Lessons" section on the right side.  There you will find a section for getting started with sourdough. Inside are three or so articles you can click on to learn more.  I can't vouch for the method used there, in the first story, but the pictures are great examples.

Another very popular site is www.sourdoughhome.com.  Mike Avery, who owns the site, really knows his sourdough and posts here too.

Sourdough starter works if it will raise bread - pretty straightforward.  I would suggest you follow a recipe designed for sourdough - when you get to that point.  Getting a strater going and ready to use will take at least a week to ten days.

I am very far from being an expert, but I hope this helps.

Marni

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

"I guess my question is, how do I know if it worked?  Does that sound ridiculously simple? "

No, it's a very good question.  But trust me... you can tell. :)  If the starter can double itself in 8 hours or so, and smells tangy and distinctly "yeasty", you're good to go.

"Are some starters more active than others?  How do I know how much of my starter to use in my recipes if they vary in potency? "

There is certainly some varaition.  But remember, things like temperature variation, yeast brand, etc, can affect even commercially risen doughs, and so you should *never* trust the rise times in a recipe, and instead use a graduated vessel for rising so you can accurately judge when the dough has risen the appropriate amount (I use a large pyrex measuring bowl).

As for the amount of starter, just follow the recipe guidelines.

Patf's picture
Patf

If you make the sourdough with just flour and water, in a kosher container, there's nothing that can make it non-kosher.

I've seen some methods using fruit juice, and in that case it would be better not to use juice of Israeli origin. Various laws apply to fruits from Israel.

yonason's picture
yonason

Hi, I also keep strictly Kosher, and have also been wanting to acquire a good Kosher certified sourdough culture.  (I also want a Kosher Tempeh starter, if anyone has info on that).


I havent found anything yet.  I emailed the OU last week, but they haven't answered me as of this post.  They have nothing listed on their site, but I thought they might still know of another source.  If they get back to me I'll let you know. I also intend to write to the OK, ChofK, and StarK, and maybe CRC and a few others.  Someone must know.


As to starting your own, I tried and got one the first time.  It rose well, but it's taste wasn't very good, so I tried again.  The second time I used Rye flour because a friend who has taken baking classes said there are a lot of native yeasts in the flour already.  It gave me a culture that's growing pretty nicely.  It makes good sourdough pancakes, but I won't know if it makes good bread till later today.  Of course, since I'm new to sourdough baking (and baking in general) a poor result may not be the fault of the culture.


Another option is to get a non-Kosher variety, and after a sufficient number of feedings, where you discard most of the previous batch, you can make it Kosher yourself.  BUT, BEFORE YOU DO THAT you need to ask a Rav who supervises Kashrus just how to do it.  That's what I intend to do if I don't succeed after this, or maybe another try.


Hatzlachah!


 


P.S. -- Very Nice Website, btw.

Eli's picture
Eli

a kosher bakery just to see if they would respond. I will share any results!


 


Eli


 


www.elisfoods.wordpress.com

Eli's picture
Eli

Thank you for post and sharing. I would be quite interested in your findings.  I may have made an assumption regarding kashered products. Anyway, please do share with us again any response you may recieve.


Eli


 


www.elisfoods.wordpress.com

ema2two's picture
ema2two

Yonason and Eli--I'll be interested in any updates you get from the attempts to contact the various kosher certifying agencies and the kosher bakery.

I discovered a friend who keeps kosher and bakes sourdough bread, and got some starter from her. It was a stiffer starter, based on Maggie Glezer's instructions in "Blessing of Bread". I almost killed it, by not having it covered tightly enough with plastic wrap and it got very dried out. But I revived it, and haved baked with it a few times recently.

I seem to do best maintaining it as a 60% hydration starter. I haven't gotten accustomed to a schedule for removing it from the fridge and refreshing it for baking, so I've been keeping about 100 gm on my counter and feeding it 1-2 times a day. It is now trippling in volume in 12 hours fairly consistently.

I also started my own rye starter. It is a 100% hydration starter, and I have used it successfully to bake bread with.

ivy b's picture
ivy b

Hi,


I am new to this site and have just started a amish friendship sourdough starter. I am only on day 6, however, and it smells wonderful.  A friend stopped by earlier, had some tea and challah (I bake 2 loaves every Thurs), and I'd mentioned the starter.  He got all excited, he used to do this, it turns out, and he said my starter smelled and looked fantastic! Made me promise to save a cup for him from that batch.  My thoughts, if I may, is that, since everything I use is kosher, and I don't mix it using a meat utensil, it should be kosher.  As for Pesach, I've already decided this one.... sell as chomesh, buy back.  Anyone see any difficulties with that, and if so, why please? :-D


 


Peace,


Ivy, NY


 

Eli's picture
Eli

I haven't had a response from the kosher bakery as of yet. Welcome! You will find this a great resource. Everyone is so helpful and nice. Also, What is in your starter and what do you feed it with? You should be able to sell it as chametz.


Stay tuned.


Eli


 


www.elisfoods.wordpress.com

ivy b's picture
ivy b

Hi Eli,


Thank you for such a warm welcome.  Although this would be dairy, as I use milk and sugar in it, I will continue one batch with soy milk in the future for my daughter, who is lactose intolerant.  As I don't plan on using it for challah, I don't mind that it is milchig (we rarely eat meat as it is..., Sam is vegetarian).  I have been toying with the idea of having a few different batches made differently, just to see how tastes develop. (wild grapes, raisins, come to mind.)  I did have a starter once from King Arthur, but.... that didn't turn out well; maybe where I lived at the time played a part in it?  I'd love to hear what the kosher bakery says.. which one is it, btw? :-D


the starter smells wonderful, can't wait to use it.. can I actually bake with it one day earlier? (Thursday).  Or, can I wait two days later? (Sunday). Thanks


Ivy


 

Eli's picture
Eli

Hi Ivy, you are welcome. Sounds as if you have a viable starter. I think you could use it if you have good activity.


I contacted El Zabar's Kosher Bakery. I don't know if I will get  a response. It seems hard to get the e-mail to the bakery and not the corp office.


Thanks and I look forward to seeing your bread and hearing about your bread journey!


Eli


 


www.elisfoods.wordpress.com

ivy b's picture
ivy b

today - while watching all this snow accumulate.  It is "different" from my "regular" carrot cake.  Not bad, not better, just Different.  I made gigantic (Texas size?) muffins and mini-loaves.  Tomorrow, will start the chocolate cakes, pumkin cakes, then cookies and my breads.


This is my Chanukah/Christmas presents for most folk.  I bought Trader Joe bags instead of weaving baskets this year.  Does anyone else here do this regularly? Bake up a storm for presents? :-D  (yes,  also have Chocolate Chanukah gelt and other little goodies to add as well.


For those in the Northern States who are in this storm,


Stay warm


Ivy

miranme's picture
miranme

This a great discussion and I also keep Kosher and make sourdough. I am going to start with your question and then discuss a little history. I follow Sephardic food customs and my wife makes artisanal Challot..

1. A starter is by its nature kosher. Why because it is only pareve kosher or kosher by nature ingredients. It is in the same category as fruits or vegetables, regular commercial yeasts  or Whiskey. If it is in its natural including fermented state and has not been stored in a non kosher container or with non kosher products than it is kosher. I have never heard of a Rav saying sourdough is not Kosher or needs certification. Certification is preferable but if it doesn't exists than it is a judgment call or you can ask your own Rav.

2. There are two good sourdough starter recipes. One is for Tuscan Bread in the Cuisine of the Italian Jews. The other is for Rye Sour in the Secrets of a Kosher Baker book. There is a third recipe for Sourdough Challah  on the Chabad website.

Sourdough starter is chometez and not for Passover use. It can be sold as discussed above.
The leavened bread contrasted with Matza in the Passover story is most likely a sourdough.
Egyptians and most other middle eastern peoples used wild yeast to make both bread and beer. In the Exodus they did not have time to let the bread rise and we got matza. The spiritual reason Chometz is forbidden is that is puffed up risen quality is analogous to arrogance and self aggrandizement in people. By eating Matza we learn to be humble.

I hope this note helps answer your question and makes it easy for you to cook Kosher Sourdough bread.

Michael