The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

which starter should I keep?

sallam's picture

which starter should I keep?


I've been happily using a starter that I built with whey and white flour for about 6 months now.

Last week, I had a little chat with the owner of a whole-wheat pita bread bakery in my neighborhood, and he told me that they use the old dough method, keeping a piece of dough from today's patch to ferment tomorrow's patch, and so on. He gave me the dough of one pita bread, that was about to go into the oven, to use as a starter back home.

And so I prepared 2 patches of dough to make 4 pizzas, 2 using my own starter, and 2 using the pita bakery's old dough. They were both kept in the fridge for 4-day retarding. Then today I moved them out of the fridge to bake the pizzas. The bakery's old dough didn't rise as much in room temp. compared to my own starter, and it came out flat from the oven, while mine rose beautifully. However, the bakery's old dough gave the pizza a deeper, more complex sour flavor than my starter's. My family liked it more than mine.

Now I need to decide which one should I keep, as I don't want to maintain 2 starters. The dough in the bakery produces bread that rises dramatically in the oven. Here is a picture :

But it didn't rise in my kitchen gas oven.

Should I keep the bakery's old dough and develop it over time to give it some power?
Or dump it and use mine as usual ?
The taste of the bakery's is better than mine.. that's why I'm hesitant and can't decide which to keep and maintain.
Or perhaps I mix them both ?
What do you suggest I do please?

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

When it's one you've made yourself. Flavours and strength can be developed with maintenance. If it was me I would keep my own. A starter doesn't need to be fed everyday. If it's low hydration (like the piece of dough) and kept in the fridge it can last a while between feeds. Concentrate on your own and keep the dough for occasional use. Perhaps it can even be frozen for longer periods of time and when you want to embark on a project then that's it, give it some TLC, use it and return some back to the freezer. 

pul's picture

and from time to time you may still get a small piece of dough from the bakery to bake your pizza

sallam's picture

Thanks for the advice. How do I make my starter a bit more tangy and full-flavored? Does adding a little wheat bran to the starter makes it more sour? because the bakery's dough has wheat bran and it has more tangy deep taste.

I've read in KA website that it is not advisable to feed your starter with whole-wheat flour, as this could invite unwanted bacteria over time, even if kept in the fridge. What if I keep it fed with white flour, and instead, add the bran in the preferment, which I leave in room temp. for 6-8 hours?

I keep my 100g 100% hydration starter in a 2c/35f degree fridge, where it gets almost no activity. When I make a dough I bring it out in RT until it peaks, then mix it all in a preferment with 3x water and flour. After mixing, I take 100g back to the starter jar. After that, what if I add a little wheat bran to that preferment? could that add to the sour taste as it peaks in RT? my preferment is 50% of the final dough. (I retard the final dough in the 2c/35f fridge for 4 days)..