January 25, 2017 - 7:47am
Using sourdough starter
I have begun to start a sourdough starter and I would like to incorporate it into some of my bread recipes. I am relatively new to baking and am stumped. What do I need to add or omit, if anything from the recipe? Also, do I use the starter in place of the active dry yeast that is called for in the recipe. If that is so, what ratios of starter to yeast?
This is now your yeast. Instead of adding in any yeast you replace that with some starter. Before using you need to prep your starter. You can do this by feeding it and taking some off to put into your dough. Or you can build a levain. A levain is an off-shoot of your starter and you simply take some starter off and feed it according to the specifics of the recipe, and in it goes.
Any amount can be used but you have to take into account this will alter the fermenting time. When first starting off best to follow a recipe as closely as you can which will guide you every step of the way. When you get used to working with a sourdough starter then you can experiment with your own recipes.
Hey Lechem, I have heard that if you use a starter, you eliminate the flour and water from the recipe? Sounds odd to me. When done with the steps for my starter and use it in a recipe, what do I do to replenish the starter used?
Sourdough starter is your yeast but it's made up of flour and water so you take some of the flour and water from the recipe, preferment them to make your Levain and then add it back in. Depending on how much flour is prefermented will effect how long the dough should be fermented for.
It can be inforrmation overload so just think about each step one at a time. First make your starter then follow recipes. Eventually it'll become second nature. Making a starter is a task in itself. Find one which is easy to follow and bear in mind you'll need patience. Can take up to two weeks. Just enjoy the process and the learning curve.
To answer your specific question... You'll take some of your starter and feed it flour and water (whatever is specified in the recipe) allow that to mature then use. Now your starter will need to be topped back up again so you'll replace what you've taken off. Everything from starter maintenance to making a dough is a process of using your starter to inoculate the next batch always making sure you've kept some behind to keep the process going. This is your starter.
Very helpful info. Thanks for taking the time to respond.(:
When you say 'eliminate the flour and water', I think what is meant is that the amount of water and flour in the starter you use for the recipe will take the place of that amount of flour and water in the original recipe. So, if your recipe had, say, 500 grams of flour and 300 grams of water in it, and you used 200 grams of 100% hydration starter (i.e. starter made with equal weights of flour and water), you would be replacing 100 grams each of the flour and water in the recipe. So you would use 200 grams of starter, 400 grams of flour and 200 grams of water. Make sense?
As far as how much starter to use to replace the yeast, well, that will vary depending on a whole lot of things, like temperature, how active your starter is, what kind of flour is in the recipe, how long you ferment the dough, etc.
I'd suggest you try a 123 sourdough to test out the timings and how a basic sourdough behaves, before you try experimenting with substituting it in a standard yeast based recipe. Have a read through the 123 challenge post here for inspiration and information.
As for maintaining your starter, you can search on this site for all kinds of advice and information. This is a good post to start with.