The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A loaf using spent starter

fernerz's picture
fernerz

A loaf using spent starter

I hate wasting food. I love making bread. I use mainly sourdough starter to do this, but I hate tossing out the "spent" starter. How can it be "spent" since it contains enough critters to get the next batch going?

So, instead of doing this when feeding my two starters (one whole rye + white and the other white + whole rye - both in 100 g + 25 g + 100 g water proportions), I mixed up a half recipe of FWSY pain de compagne using the spent starter from the two and a combo of white and whole rye flours (I'm a terrible record keeper and tend not to make notes so I don't know the precise proportions), followed Forkish's recipe, and then baked on a baking stone.

It came out just fine! I like a very sour bread, and this one has, in my opinion, a great taste. The crumb is ok, too, I think. 

I'm wondering if this would work in a loaf without any commercial yeast, as is called for in the FWSY recipe. I'll have to try. I'd love to hear about anybody else's experiments with "spent" starter. 

Comments

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

"I use mainly sourdough starter to do this, but I hate tossing out the "spent" starter. How can it be "spent" since it contains enough critters to get the next batch going?"

Exactly!

Forkish throws away KG's of what he calls "spent" starter and uses the remainder to inoculate another batch/bake a loaf.

What a lovely bake and a great crust. Keep on experimenting.

peterbarbosa's picture
peterbarbosa

Indeed, the book is great, but he should revise it to get rid of all that waste in the future editions.

DB, one of the most prolific writers here has put together a much better method to avoid waste and minimize starter maintenance:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/40918/no-muss-no-fuss-starter

peterbarbosa's picture
peterbarbosa

And yes, what a lovely loaf! Love the crust you got the and I bet it is delicious!

fernerz's picture
fernerz

Thanks for your kind comments!

The thing is that this bread was made with starter that had been in the fridge for a week. I skipped the levain build entirely. Instead of tossing the spent, dormant fridge starter, I used it in the recipe and it worked! Woo-hoo!

 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

I use what you refer to as "spent starter" all the time.  All the time.  For example:  

  • My big batch of 75% hydration mixed flour levain (there is always leftover levain to be reused in this kitchen) was used recently as starter to make a 100% hydration "all AP flour" levain.  
  • That leftover was used to make a 100% hydration 50/50 white/WW levain.  
  • That was use to make a 125% hydration "all rye" levain.  And so on.

And at some point I may use the125% hydration levain as starter to make a 100% something-or-other levain.

Or just go back to my big tub of 75% mixed flour levain and go from there. 

The fact that none of these hybrids is a pure AP or Bread Flour or WW or Rye, bothers me nary a whit.  The small percentage of another flour in the mix is irrelevant.  At least to me.  My version of NMNF!

And, your version here of the pain de campagne looks lovely.

MichaelH's picture
MichaelH

So many bakers find throwing out 20 cents worth of used starter unacceptable, but think nothing of preheating their ovens to 500F for one hour to bake bread. The economics evade me.

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

Good point!

BreadBabies's picture
BreadBabies

20 cents?  Like to know where you buy your flour.

MichaelH's picture
MichaelH

Good flour can be purchased at most grocery stores for $1 per pound, King Arthur for instance. That is 6 cents per ounce, or 18 cents for 3 ounces, which is about what I use to refresh my starter. At 100% hydration that gives me 6 ounces of starter, plus whatever (1-2 oz) I retain from the spent starter.

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Perhaps not wishing to throw away starter speaks more to the values of wasting food than being stingy. Preheating an oven has its purpose to making good bread. One doesn't correlate to the other. 

MichaelH's picture
MichaelH

Spent starter is not food, at least as most people define food.

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

It's not spent.

BreadScience's picture
BreadScience

Yes, but the only difference between starter and food is that starter needs to be cooked. I used to make pancakes with just starter.

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

...and what is bread. To starter you add more flour and water plus some salt. Ferment it and bake it. You can take a piece of dough and use that as a starter for the next loaf.

Flour isn't "food" as such (before it's turned into something) but it's still a waste to throw it away.

katiegray's picture
katiegray

"Yes, but the only difference between starter and food is that starter needs to be cooked. I used to make pancakes with just starter."

right! The sound is great!