Retiring Carl's 1847 Oregon Trail starter, for CFH.
I'm switching from the 1847 Oregon Trail Starter made famous by Carl Griffith. I had obtained a free ($1 donation plus S.A.S.E) dehydrated sample from www.carlsfriends.net.
This is one powerful starter, especially when fed with whole wheat. It blooms quickly when fed, and you can use much less than you think you need. I kept over-proofing my dough, even with only 10% prefermented flour. (That's 20% wet starter weight to total flour, when the starter is hydrated at 100%.)
But the thing I didn't like about it, was that it just isn't sour enough for me. So if you want to make really "sour-free" sourdough bread, I heartily recommend this strain of starter.
Prior to using Carl's 1847, I was using Cultures For Health brand "whole wheat desem-style" sourdough culture. It's not real desem, and I'm not sure why they call it that, but maybe just to distinguish it from their "San Francisco" style sourdough culture. They sell three SD cultures: San Francisco, Whole Wheat/desem, and gluten free.
When I first started with CFH, I had some trouble getting it (the CFH/whole-wheat) going originally, but I really liked the sour tang it gave to bread.
Anyway, I accidentally killed off my CFH/whole-wheat starter, and all my backups had died from being in the freezer too long -- I couldn't revive any of them. So that is how I decided to try the free/inexpensive Carl's 1847. And I learned that it's best to dehydrate to make a backup, not freeze.
But since the taste of the 1847 starter left me flat, I finally decided to bite the bullet and shell out the $10.99 for the CFH culture. I decided to try their San Francisco style this time, even though it is not specifically advertised as a "whole wheat" culture.
This time, I let the culture powder hydrate a half hour before feeding it. I did cheat a little and added a teensy bit of dextrose and maltose powder after a few feedings of KA All Purpose, but still mostly KA AP. It started bubbling tiny bubbles after 24 or 36 hours. After 4 days, I finally switched to a feeding of entirely home milled whole wheat (hard white spring wheat, Prairie Gold). And 3 hours after feeding it that, I looked, and it had really BLOOMED, not just bubbled. I stirred it down, added some KA AP without water to slow it down, and put it in the fridge for the weekend. And that's where we stand.
Today, I made my last (at least for now) bread with Carl's 1847, and have a big smear of the starter drying out on some wax paper in the oven. I have two previous batches of dehydrated 1847 starter as backups, so this will be the third.
By the time I'm ready to bake next, this CFH San Francisco style starter will hopefully be ready to bake with.
So if "sour" is definitely not your thing, I can heartily recommend Carl's 1847, for only $1 and SASE, from www.carlsfriends.net/. It is a real reliable and strong performer, at least with the mostly whole wheat breads that I have made.