The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Flourless Sourdough Starters

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

Flourless Sourdough Starters

We've been discussing flourless starters of various kinds in another thread and Mariana brought up flourless sourdough starters. I'm going to move the discussion over here so I don't have to keep searching for her comments.

First I'll quote comments from Mariana.

I prefer other flour based sourdough starters. But I love flourless sourdough starters. They are the greatest, really. As the topic starter mentioned, they are unbelievable as bread improvers, they improve both wheat and rye breads. Mine are true sourdough starters, with wild yeast, not just with LAB, prepared in at 32-33C, ready to bake with them in 2 days. This is how it looks like, flourless rye starter, this one was made from 20g of rye flour and a cup of water.

it is really all about temperature ranges. Otherwise nothing is different from FLAS method. You could easily use the same rye malt and keep it at 28C, instead of 43-45C and obtain a true sourdough starter in the end. It would have a healthy yeast community in it, because sourdough yeasts multiply best at 28-30C (whereas lactic acid bacteria prefer 32-50C range).

So, you could try this experiment, do exactly as you do for FLAS, but set it to 28C and you will have a true sourdough starter from scratch. DO NOT close the cover tightly. Cover with plastic wrap with a small hole in it.

Now, rye is famous for being low on yeast and high on LAB, so you would do better if you add a tsp of any wheat grain, whole wheat flour (soft or hard, durum, spelt, etc) to your rye malt solution, or even a spoon of raw wheat bran would do - as a source of while yeasts. You can also add wild yeasts the way YW people do - by adding a few chopped raisins, or fruit peels.

Another way to develop a sourdough starter is to add yeasts to your already existing lactic acid starter. If you like its flavor that is (because at 28-30C OTHER lactic acid bacteria would thrive in flourless starter even if made from the same rye malt and it will smell differently). I did it once with LAS based on white bread flour (again, a very pour source of yeasts and a rich source of LAB) and it worked just fine.

I added to my LAS a few squished grapes and a spoon of spelt flour and kept it at 28C for a few hours and la voila. It became a true sourdough starter with plenty of yeast in it.

It became boozy, gassy, like sparkling wine. Such intense yeast propagation can take up to 2 days at 28C/82F if there was really zero yeasts in your LAS.

You use flourless starters in the same way you use flour-based starters. There are two ways of making bread

- straight method (starter -> bread dough)

- sponge method (starter - > levain -> bread dough)

So, you use your flourless starter

either to prepare a flour-based starter as in the recipe (or even directly mix your bread dough using flourless starter as liquid or part of liquid)

or to prepare a levain with it and from there - bread dough.

Example of flourless starter based levain: a sourdough poolish, so to speak (100% hydration)

at peak (max volume, domed top surface)

mature (flat top surface)

When you get there, I will give you specific examples.

I will also describe another, ancient, method of preparing a flourless sourdough starter by using scalded flour later. It's very good.

But for now, Gary, experiment with the two methods described above. Either use FLAS method, starting from scratch, but at 28-32C (keep it for 12hrs at 32C, then for 12hrs at 28C, alternating during the three days of starter development), or add to your existing FLAS some wheat (or wheat bran) and some fruit peels and keep it at 28 to populate it with wild yeast. Remember to add some sugar or even molasses. Yeast needs sugar.

Have fun with it, Gary! Seeing how different sources of microbes and of their food in combination with temperature and hydration affect your outcomes is eye opening, but most importantly it is fun. I am more into bread than into sourdough starters, but I had to learn about them in a hard way, to troubleshoot or to at least make "normal" bread dough, and now I am glad that I did.

Afaik yeast water and FLAS combo should give you the same outcomes as FLAS with commercial yeast with one exception: the crumb might be a shade darker. Also, flas&yw combo will never have the same aromas as true sourdough, because in true sourdough yeasts and LAB live in symbiosis and produce three kinds of flavors: typical of yeasts, typical of LABs, and typical of yeasts in symbiosis with LABs. It's impossible to reproduce those aromas and tastes by blending CY or YW with LAS.

My first attempt.

I used 50g of rye malt, 25g of whole wheat flour, 25g of raisins 700g of water, and 1.1g of vitamin C crystals. I set my controller to cycle between 28C and 32C at 12 hour intervals for 3 days. I fed it 1 tsp of sugar every 24 hours.

It smelled bousy and fruity. I had company so I couldn't bake with it right away but I did mix 93g of the liquid with 93g of WW flour to see what it would do. It tripled in 8 hours at 27C. I then refrigerated it for 5 days and finally got a chance to bake with it.

I baked with the 100% hydration flour/starter combo today and the loaf tastes great. I really like the complexity of the flavor.

Mariana had some further comments.

It obviously has yeast in it and can be used in sourdough baking, especially in rye breads with overnight warm preferments, but its value is even higher in yeasted breads.

Try feeding that flourless SD starter as well to propagate its microbial culture. Usually half a cup of the old starter is enough to make a quart of new starter.

If you like its flavor and do not want to alter it, you can use the same ingredients as in the initial batch, except for making water very warm, about 45C/115F. This is to encourage its SD bacteria, to make them multiply first.

To one quart of 115F water add rye malt, wwf or whole rye flour (or any other whole grain flour or flakes), chopped raisins, half a cup of previous starter (liquid or the sediment, the bottom portion)and keep it at 28C/82F for 3-4hrs or longer, until it feels slightly, but distinctly sour to taste and its temperature slowly drops from 115F down to 80-85F so that its yeasts may begin to multiply as well. Then add sugar and refrigerate for up to one month.

After 24hrs, use directly from the fridge, it does not need to be refreshed before using it.

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

Mariana asked: 

Please tell me at what temperature did it triple in 8hrs.

80F.

Was it ww bread flour (i.e. capable of rising very high at 100%hydration)?

King Arthur White Whole Wheat, 12.7% protein.

Was tripling its max volume or did you let it rise further?

That's how far it got before I put it in the fridge, I wasn't able to watch it.

What was the pH value of that WWF levain after eight hours?

I didn't measure it. I guess I'd need some distilled water to get a correct measurement.

alcophile's picture
alcophile

Thank you for posting the formula you used to make the flourless SD starter.

I'm a little foggy on how you used it in the bread you made. Can you post a formula for the bread? Was it your intention to obtain a sour flavor or just an improved flavor?

Thanks!

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

In this first loaf I used it as a normal 100% hydration SD starter. I had mixed equal amounts of flour and this flourless starter when I first made it to see if it would work. That tripled in volume so I knew it would do something. I actually used 50g of that mixture to make the first loaf. I make the same loaf over and over. You can see an old version of it here

I mixed the PF and let it ferment at 90F for just under 3 hours, it was risen and jiggly. Then I mixed the dough and let it ferment on the counter for 1 hour with a few stretch and folds. Then into the pan for about 2 hours and baked. It was only 6 hours beginning to end.

My goal is a soft sour sandwich loaf with adjustable tang. This one is not sour (but it tastes pretty great). I'm hopeful by adjusting the timing I can find a satisfying compromise among the various parameters.

Below is the sheet I used for this loaf.

 

 baker's %grams     
total flour100%22050%ww fraction   
hydration80%176     
        
preferment +100.0%220.0100%hydration   
ww starter22.7%50.00     
ww flour38.6%85.0    white whole wheat
bread flour0.0%0.0     
warm water38.6%85.0     
salt0.0%0.00tsp5.9g/tspto slow it down when warm
        
soaker30.0%66.0     
oats10.0%22.0     
hot water20.0%44.0     
        
final dough222.8%490.2     
soaker30.0%66.0     
pf flour50.0%110.0     
pf water50.0%110.0     
raisin yeast water10.0%22.0     
olive oil10.0%22.0     
malt syrup10.0%22.0     
ww flour0.0%0.0     
bread flour50.0%110.0     
salt1.8%4.011/16tsp5.9g/tsp 
yeast1.0%2.211/16tsp3.15g/tsp 
citric acid0.0%0.00tsp4.03g/tsp 
        
cinnamon0.0%0.0     
raisins0.0%0.0     
seeds10.0%22.0     
sunflower222.0     
pumpkin00.0     
chia00.0     
sesame seeds00.0     
        
check flour100.00%220.0     
check liquid80.00%176.0     
        
        
 
Using the new WW SD starter I made last week in a rushed loaf.
Mixed PF at 12:00 waiting for it to rise a bit in oven at 90F. Used it at 14:40 it was raised and jiggly.
Mixed dough at 14:48, rest 10, knead for 8, S&F on counter for 1 hour.
Into pan about 15:45 and into 90F oven. Baked at 17:07 at top of pan.
Great oven spring.
6 hours start to finish using starter from the fridge.
5.5" tall. Beautiful. Good flavor. I like the complexity of the flavor on first taste.
Ming's picture
Ming

Good job Gary for getting a liquid sourdough starter going. Didn't you cheat by adding fruit to it :)? I am also experimenting with creating a liquid sourdough starter by using just wheat malt and water. I also have a separate "sweet" yeast water culture going using organic raisins. Please keep posting your experimentation results. Love reading Mariana's suggestions and your baking results. Thanks. 

Here are two wheat malt types I got recently: 

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

The first rule is there are no rules ;-)

I've been inspired by Caroline's (trailrunner) use of both SD starter and RYW in her bakes. I figured if I'm going for a mix of organisms living together I might as well start with a variety. 

The result smells great and produced at least one really good loaf. 

I'll bake again tomorrow morning using the flourless starter and some RYW in my typical loaf.

Then I'm going to start experiments with longer perferments using both to see if I can make it too sour and then back off.

I look forward to reading your results with those malts. 

HeiHei29er's picture
HeiHei29er

Thanks for pulling all the pertinent info for this particular approach out of the larger thread.  Think I will be trying this in a few weeks.

Benito's picture
Benito

Incredible post Gary, thanks for taking the time to write this all up and sharing Mariana’s knowledge and your experience with this.  It is all very interesting.

Benny

JonJ's picture
JonJ

Hi Gary, Have been following your posts and questions with 'alert interest'! So have a few accumulated questions.

Is the vitamin C for acidification?

And is your current temperature controlled environment still the crockpot and inkbird controller, even at the lower temperatures? My temperature controller doesn't have a very robust thermostat probe, but see some of the brewing models come with a metal probe, is that what you have?

Thanks!

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

Yes, the vitamin C is for acidification. I'm pretty sure vinegar would work as well for that.

I used a mini crock (1 quart slow cooker) this time but I'm pretty sure my cooler + mug warmer could have done the job. I don't think these temperatures are critical.

My naive guess is the alternating temperatures are intended to give different groups alternating advantages so they learn to live together. I was just doing what Mariana suggested.

I have the InkBird C206T controller. It's probe is metal and supposedly waterproof. I wouldn't immerse it in my starter for fear of lead (or worse) but I strap the probe to the jar with a rubber band and immerse it in the water bath. 

The InkBird allows (requires!) two temperature and time settings and switches back and forth between them. I hate the user interface on it (and all them I've seen) but it had just the right features for Mariana's instructions. 

Gary

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

Mariana,

I tried feeding the flourless SD starter today. I combined 25g cracked rye malt, 25g WW flour, 25g chopped raisins, 110g of the previous batch, and just over 600g of 115F water. I kept in my 82F proofer for 4 hours. The pH had dropped to about 3.5 but there was no fizz at all. I let it go for 3 more hours at 82F but still no fizz. I added sugar and put it in the refrigerator.

Does the absence of fizzing imply there is little yeast activity?

I'll try raising a small piece of dough with it tomorrow after it spends the night in the fridge, that will tell me for sure. 

 

mariana's picture
mariana

Gary, yeast will propagate as it sits in the fridge. Yeasts need temperatures below 28-32C/82-86F and easily available sugars to multiply.

By keeping it for 7hours at 82F without sugar you probably did damage it a bit, but not much. 

Usually, with this starter, too much yeast and too much alcohol is a problem, not the lack of it. So, do not worry, the yeast is there! Gassiness is usually best seen after 24-48hrs in the fridge, and if you drink a bit of it, it feels like coca cola in your mouth, exploding with CO2.

Judging by the significant drop in pH, it is full of sourdough bacteria, which is great and is what we need. Where there are LAB, there are yeasts, for sure. The only way to kill them yeasts is by starving them, by denying them sugar, and you added sugar, so your starter is ok.

You can also prepare a small piece of stiff rye or wheat starter with that liquid SDS today and leave it covered on the kitchen counter to see how it behaves and to assess its aroma once its pH drops to 4.0-4.5 range.

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

Maybe nearly ideal would be a better description. It checks the boxes that I'm seeking: soft sour sandwich.

This flourless SD starter is working great! I baked with it today and got very close to a perfect level of tang. I simply take the needed amount out of the fridge and use it to make my preferment. Couldn't be easier!

I'm very pleased with this method. It has been two weeks since I made it and 10 days since the last feeding. I'm going to keep using it until I get down to about 1 cup and then I'll feed again. I'm interested to see how it holds up.

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

 

 baker's %grams     
total flour100%20050%ww fraction   
hydration80%160     
        
preferment 1100.0%200.0100%hydration   
flourless starter15.0%30.0     
warm water35.0%70.0     
ww flour50.0%100.0    white whole wheat
        
preferment 20.0%0.0100%hydration   
raisin yeast water0.0%0.0    from fridge seemed bubbly
warm water0.0%0.0     
bread flour0.0%0.0     
        
soaker45.0%90.0     
oats10.0%20.0     
bran5.0%10.0     
hot water30.0%60.0     
        
final dough227.8%455.6     
soaker45.0%90.0     
pf1 flour50.0%100.0     
pf1 water50.0%100.0     
pf2 flour0.0%0.0     
pf2 water0.0%0.0     
water0.0%0.0     
olive oil10.0%20.0     
honey10.0%20.0     
ww flour0.0%0.0     
bread flour50.0%100.0     
salt1.8%3.65/8tsp5.9g/tsp 
yeast1.0%2.05/8tsp3.15g/tsp 
        
cinnamon0.0%0.0     
raisins0.0%0.0     
seeds10.0%20.0     
sunflower220.0     
pumpkin00.0     
chia00.0     
sesame seeds00.0     
        
check flour100.00%200.0     
check liquid80.00%160.0     
        
        
Try an overnight preferment with the flourless SD starter.
Increase PF1, drop PF2, add some bran to the soaker.
Mixed PF at 19:30 about 200ml. Doubled overnight and was falling by 7:00.
Mixed dough about 8:10. Mix, rest 15, knead 8, onto counter S&F twice over 1 hour. Into pan at 78F at 9:40.
Bake at 12:10 still 1/2" below top of pan but I think it is doubled.
4.75" tall, looks good.
Good flavor, about the perfect level of sour.
Ming's picture
Ming

Would it still be flourless starter if you fed it some WW flour? If it had a perfect sour tang for you then it would be too sour for me. I have been using sourwort every week ever since up to 50% of water replacement and I have not been able to detect any sourness upon the first bite, the reason I like it so much. I am just about getting ready to bake with my new liquid SD starter and I will be surprised if it will be as tang as the SD starter I had before, since it is basically the same sourwort I have been using exept it has yeast in it this time, hard to imagine the yeast would make it more sour. 

Based on making and using sourwort for a while, which is basically a concentrated lactic bacteria starter that is tongue zapping sour (I drink it every time I use it) but its sourness is so mild in the bread, I have to theorize that the sour breads that people talk about and love must be made by mostly of acetic bacteria/acid. 

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

The sourness depends on fermentation time. My first loaf wasn't sour at all. I got this sourness by prefermenting 50% of the flour for over 12 hours at 78F. 

I believe the sourness I'm getting is lactic acid. It is yogurty and comes on the end of the chew not like acetic acid which I don't care for. 

I expected the sourwort to produce yogurty flavor but was never able to get it. I don't understand why that strong sour of the liquid goes away in the bread. Perhaps Mariana can enlighten us. 

 

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

Oh! And I have eaten sourdough bread that was MUCH more sour than this latest loaf. I'm not looking to pucker up, just to have a nice tang on the end of the chew. 

Ming's picture
Ming

Yep, longer fermentation time would produce more sour acids, which I have had a first-hand experience with when I was baking with my SD starter, which took like forever to puff up during BF, and its sourness would emit while being baked with an identifiable sour aroma. Don't get me wrong, I am a sour freak, I eat a lot of weird Asian fruits that are extremely sour, but I just don't like that much sourness in my breads. 

Nice sandwich bread you baked here Gary, nice job. 

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

Yes. Been there, done that. I simply couldn't find a combination that worked when relying on the SD for the final rise.

I finally decided to add IDY for lift and never looked back. I can preferment a little or a lot and then rely on the dry yeast to provide a relatively quick rise so the acids don't go crazy. 

Ming's picture
Ming

I like your approach Gary by having some control over a couple of variables for your breads. 

Right now, my main preferment is biga which I can't make bread without it, and it presents a challenge if I want to ferment it directly with a liquid starter, and I don't like to make a levain if I don't have to. Nonetheless, I am just playing around with a liquid starter right now as I can't imagine it would have the consistency and fast lifting power of instant yeast which works much better for my working and playing (I spend a lot of time outdoors during the warming months) schedules. 

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

They all seem like minor variations on the same theme.

Ming's picture
Ming

Indeed, they are similar as a preferment, but my bigas are not a dough nor a paste, so mine are unique :). You probably know how the aroma is like baking with sourwort, I can get the same aroma with a biga without sourwort, I just use instant yeast and water. I don't understand the chemistry behind it but fermenting a semi wet flour brings out a very unique aroma and flavor, I can taste a distinctive difference with different flour/grain flavors. Actually, adding sourwort or SD starter to the bread would mask most of these natural gain flavors for me. 

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

I'd like to learn about your unique biga process. Please share.

Ming's picture
Ming

See video linked below as I learned it from this Italian master pizza maker. He is actually pretty thorough in this video to incorporate all the flour, mine usually have some 20% loose flour left in the mixture when I am done but by next day most of the flour would be hydrated since I seal the container airtight. The whole point of it is to ferment the flour as much as possible without turning it into a dough. 

Come fare la Pizza con biga ricetta di Roberto Susta on Vimeo

 

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

I just speak southern. But bringing Google Translate to bear on it, I think he has 45% water and 1% yeast in this biga. He mixes it to incorporate the water but not so much as to form gluten. He takes the loose bits and puts them in the container first, then adds the rest on top. Seals it with plastic, punches a hole (you seal yours tight?) and leaves it for 16 to 18 hours at 20C. 

Have I got that right?

I think he adds more yeast later along with some oil and the salted water. 

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

I found it on YouTube with text. The Google translation is:

The biga is a sourdough with alcoholic fermentation and is dry, which can have several hours of fermentation (from 16 to 48), obtained with flour, water and yeast. The preparation of the biga requires strong flours with a value greater than 300w and a balanced relationship between resistance and elasticity. Ingredients for the biga: Flour 100% Water 44-50% Yeast 0.1-1% The ingredients of the biga recipe may change depending on the temperature of the environment. For example, as the temperature increases, the percentage of yeast is reduced from 1% to 0.1% of the weight of the flour. The amount of water can be increased (up to 50% in winter) or decreased (up to 40-42% in summer) on very hot days, especially if the chariot is left to ferment at room temperature. The final temperature for a chariot at the end of the mixing must be low enough, around + 20 + 21 ° c. The kneading times are very short, about 3-5 minutes and it is not smooth and homogeneous but quite lumpy. The temperature for the fermentation of the chariot varies according to the time. For example, for short chariots (16-20 hours of fermentation) the temperature must be on average + 18 ° C (+ 16 + 17 ° C in summer and 18 + 20 ° in winter). This temperature is ideal for obtaining a good quality chariot with a good level of ripeness determined by the excellent ratio of 3: 1 of lactic and acetic acids. On the other hand, for long chariots (48 hours of fermentation) the temperature must be low (+ 4 °), excluding the last 24 hours which require a temperature of + 18 ° c

Ming's picture
Ming

Haha, with the power of internet, there shouldn't be any language barrier anymore :) nowadays.

I think you summarized it well. Again, mine would deviate from his somewhat since I have been using this preferment technique for a few months now with some tweaks and with many delicious bakes. 

Here is my version:

-Shake the tray back and forth until some lumps forming then use a scull to plow it from one end of the tray to another a couple of times or until about 80% of the flour become lumps. I do not mix it up with my hands at all. I then put the mixture with some still loose flour into an airtight container, leave it on the kitchen counter (around 72 F) for 3-5 hours, then I put it in my basement with a temp of around 55 F for 24 hours. I have put it in the fridge for 3 days before using it without a problem. 

-When I am ready to make a dough out of it, I just add saft and the rest of water and off I go mixing it with a machine. I do not add any additional yeast and I only use 0.1-0.2% yeast not 1% like his. I have been able to dial in the amount of yeast based on the amount of time I would like to have from mixing to baking. You may want to use 1% as instructed to start and then adjust it accordingly for subsequent bakes. 

I think that's about it. When I first started using a biga I thought the aroma was very unique, I did not know sourwort would produce a similar aroma but now I know. 

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

Thanks! I'd like to try this. 

So this is a low hydration preferment. I've gone down to 80% but never lower. 

I don't have a good way to achieve 60 F especially with summer coming on.

Maybe I could start with cold water, go for some number of hours at 78 F (room temperature around here in summer) and then refrigerate. 

I bet there is some clever setup with a fan, one of those reusable "ice" blocks, my hack proofer and a controller to keep it at 60F for hours. 

Meanwhile it will have to be a winter experiment.

Ming's picture
Ming

The temps are not super critical per se, kind of like brewing sourwort where there is a temp range to play with and you can still get some good results without following a script. In the warmer weather when my kitchen is around 82 F I would leave it on the counter for 2-3 hours or until I can smell a hint of fermentation and then put it in the fridge until I am ready to use it, not a big deal. 

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

Oh, much easier. Thanks!

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

Do you let it come to room temperature before you use it?

Ming's picture
Ming

No, I put it to work right away in a mixer by accounting for a desirable temp via water temp and mixing time controls. Keep in mind a biga is a very stiff preferment so without a mixing machine it could be a challenge to turn it into a dough. 

JonJ's picture
JonJ

You're southern Italian? Impossibbile!

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

No. Born way down south in Georgia and live in North Carolina now. 

 

mariana's picture
mariana

Gary, I am so happy that you finally found a way to bake bread that you like to eat! Good for you! It is high in whole grains, well enriched and looks so good, yummy. I bet it makes great toasts and is good to eat as is as well

I am tempted to bake such a loaf myself, maybe with raisins in the mix. I also like hot soaking or even preboiling bran using part of water from the recipe, to extract nutrients from the bran and to give bread crumb dark color,  but I never presoak or precook oats (flakes). If you used whole kernels or Irish/Scottish chopped oats, hard as stones, then yes pesoaking them is good.

I rewrote your formula in a standard form, as is used in the industry

100 flour (44 wwf, 44 bread flour, 8 rolled oats, 4 bran flakes), 1.6 salt, 1 instant yeast, 9 honey, 9 oil, 9 sunflower seeds, 70 water. 

In grams, for a loaf in 1L bread pan

bread base

100 whole wheat flour

100 bread flour

20 oat flakes

10 wheat bran

2 instant yeast

3.6 salt

Enriching ingredients

20 honey

20 oil

20 sunflower seeds

160 water (30 flourless SD starter, 70 warm water for the sponge, 60 boiling water for the bran soaker)

Flour mixed with sour liquids doesn't taste sour due to buffering capacity of flour proteins and its bran (which is high in proteins). In other words, the acid is there, but you cannot taste it as well, as clearly. 

So if you don't give sourwort's bacteria a chance to work and produce some more acids to lower pH, you will not make a sour bread or yougurty smelling bread. In this loaf, you let them bacteria and wild yeasts work in the sponge overnight and tasted the consequences of that. Overall, a very competent approach, well done. 💯👍🥇

 

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

I use the scalded oat flakes instead of a tangzhong roux for keeping. I find it easier and I like the flavor they add. 

This is the first time I added bran and I like it. 

I tried letting the sourwort preferment overnight in this same recipe but I never achieved the sour I was seeking. 

This flourless SD starter is great. It reminds me of the No Muss No Fuss starter for ease of maintenance and use but I could never get my attempts at that to be strong enough.

I greatly prefer measuring small amounts of liquid over small amounts of stringy sticky flour-based starter. 

I don't understand why my flour-based starter needs so much more care than this liquid starter. My 100% KA starter will smell like acetone if I don't refresh it weekly. 

Benito's picture
Benito

Superb Gary, I’m so happy for you.  Your use of the flourless starter has worked just as you wanted, congratulations.

Benny

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

Thanks Benny. This is little league compared to your amazing bakes! 

JonJ's picture
JonJ

Lovely bread Gary! Nice to see all that tinkering is starting to pay off, a breakthrough bread!

Did you use the raisin YW in the end (recipe says 0.0?). Also what do you think about CLAS vs FLAS now?

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

I did not use the YW this time. I wanted to focus on the SD to be sure I could make it sour. I'm not done experimenting with the YW; I'm interested to see what flavors I can get with it.

FLAS produces amazing rise and texture but I found I couldn't get the flavor to go where I wanted. Though I got attracted to the flourless SD and maybe didn't give it enough of a chance. I may come back to it but I'm going to focus on the flourless SD for now.

I think there is room for experimentation with the flourless SD. I used rye malt, ww flour, and raisins in this batch. How about rye malt, bran and grapes? Or apples (maybe acidified with apple cider vinegar)? I think combining multiple strains and letting them learn to live together over a few days is a really interesting approach. I'm so glad Mariana suggested it.

With this recipe I need about 30 grams of the starter per bake. When I'm experimenting I typically bake about 3 times per week. So in 1 month (the time Mariana suggests it should last), I'll bake maybe 12 times requiring 360 grams of starter. I may start making 1 pint batches.

Good fun!

Missmoneypenny's picture
Missmoneypenny

May I ask Gary, is the oil in the recipe there to help avoid the dreaded “flying crust”? 

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

The oil makes it softer. It might help with the crust but softness was my goal. 

Ming's picture
Ming

Gary, you may look into adding some milk if softness is important characteristic of this type of bread. 

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

Yes, I have tried milk at various times. I think I like the oil better. 

Missmoneypenny's picture
Missmoneypenny

Thanks Gary , milk ( and yoghurt) definitely gives a “ boinginess” to breads. Didn’t know about oil but obviously it’s working well for you. 

HeiHei29er's picture
HeiHei29er

Gary/Mariana, When do you consider the FLAS preparation finished?  By number of days/feedings? By pH?

I made one this past weekend using 40g red wheat malt, 10g kamut berries, 25g mature raisin yeast water (to get an initial pH drop), and 475g water.  This was kept at 87 deg F for 36 hours.  It was fed 1/4 tsp sugar after 24 hours.  It had what could best be described as a sour apple type aroma but not exactly.  pH after 36 hours was 3.45, so I considered it done and ready to use.

I used a portion of it to make a levain that was 20% PFF of my final dough.  After 12 hours at 72 deg, it looked like a mature levain and had a mild sour aroma.  I used that levain and 0.25% (1g) ADY in the final dough.  Bulk was just over 4 hours at 76 deg and final proof was 2.5 hours at 76 deg.  Made a really nice loaf with a good bloom, but a very mild sour aroma (almost non existent).  To me, it acted more like a yeast water that a sourdough starter.  Did I cut it too short?  Not enough sugar/feedings?  Maybe the red wheat vs rye malt? 

mariana's picture
mariana

Troy,

when it has enough alcohol and acid in it, alcohol you can smell and acid - taste or measure with pH paper or pH meter, it should be low, at or below 3.5 for sure.

when it smells right, berry like or fruit like aroma, depends on the grain used

but most importamtly, 

when it leavens and acidifies bread dough.

The test is

100g bread flour

70g FLAS

Knead it and leave it at room temperature (24C/75F more or less) to see when it rises to the max volume

This is how it lifts bread dough when ready to use on baking:

It quadruples in 8 hours or sooner when kept at 75-78F, pH is about 4.5

And stretches very well and smells like fruits or berries, maybe sweetly floral, having the same bright aroma as the starter itself.

Here's an example of FLAS that is not quite ready, too low in sugar and in yeast. The test dough sat for 5-6 hours doing nothing, not rising, and then it increased in volume 8 fold overnight (total testing time 12hrs). The yeast was there, just not enough for a standard starter performance in baking because I did not add enough sugar to FLAS on time.

Initial volume

Final volume

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

Mariana, how can I improve the leavening power of my liquid SD starter?

Its acidifying action is great; the resulting loaves are just what I want.

And I don't mind using IDY for lift; it is cheap and effective.

But at the risk of letting perfection be the enemy of good enough, I wonder how I could make mine lift like yours. I'm 6 hours into the test you suggested and it is barely beginning to rise with RT=74.

mariana's picture
mariana

Gary, to shift your starter more towards yeasts, as in standard water brew used in baking, to encourage yeast proliferation, make sure it is well aerated (stirred or whipped) and has about 3-5% sugar (3-5g per 100g water in it) preferably maltose (malt syrup or dry malt extract). And temperature, of course, different temperatures select for different species of yeasts available in the brew. 

The fault is really mine. I promised and never delivered an explanation, never shown how I actually make my flourless sd starter from 2 tsp of flour (or cracked grain).

FLOURLESS SOURDOUGH STARTER

Scald 1 heaped tsp of flour

10g rye flour (any starchy wholegrain flour, really)

200g water.

Mix and microwave for one minute. It will reach 63C and the flour will be scalded.

Prepare Wort

All scald

10g rye flour (or schrot, i.e. cracked or crushed or flaked grains or malted grains are ok)

10g sugar

200 water

Mix.

Sourwort

Cover and let it sit at 27-33C for up to 3 days until it becomes distinctly sour and its color changes, initially grayish greenish, it becomes yellowish or reddish.

Initially, it will develop fine white foam on top of it

I do not artificially acidify it, to promote autolysis, so it does smell like vomit in the first 24hours, especially in the first 18 hours of spontaneous fermentation, but by the 24hr mark, the stench weakens considerably.

During the second 24 hours, the stench is gone, replaced by the smell or sour pickles, and that one will be gone as well by the 48hr mark. Strong smell of alcohol will appear The starter smells nice, acidic, floral, fruity or berrylike fragrances appear. It tastes slightly sweet and distinctly sour, pH about 4.0.

There will be dirty foam on the top (baker's yeast) and beautiful snow white foam underneath.

Day 3. The first 12hours.

Nearly all yellowish-brownish yeast clumps have gone from the surface, they descend to the bottom.

The starter 'boils', intensely self stirring, due to alcoholic fermentation. All smells are gone, even alcoholic smell is gone - the starter is starving. It smels neutral, weekly alcoholic. Its pH dropped down to 3.5

It's time to feed it. Once active, you will be able to use it or to store it refrigerated.

Prepare FLAS, i.e fed the resulting sourwort

(Gary, please use this step for your starter if it is not yeasty enough, notice sugar and intense aeration elements in it)

Feeding Sourwort

20g rye flour or schrot

10g sugar or malt syrup

50g water room temperature.

Microwave for 20sec or until it reaches 65C.

Add  to it 100g sourwort from the first step and blend to homogeneity in a blender or with immersion blender (intense aeration).

Add the remaining sourwort and mix. Leave it to ferment for 6hours at 27-30C.

This is how the freshly mixed flourless starter looks. Of course, it has a bit of flour, but two tsp of flour per two cups of water in a starter  is not much, really.

4hrs at 30C later, notice the change of color. Smells milky, yogurty, distinctly alcoholic.

Two hours later, by the 6hr mark, it is ready to bake with it, to refrigerate it. Its aroma will change by now, becoming true sourdough aroma: magnificent fragrances of rye starter, sweet n sour, yogurty, floral, berrylike, very tasty.

Note: should you refrigerate it at this point, you must add sugar first! Remember that it is at its peak right now, very active, actively consuming nutrients. To keep it alive, do not refrigerate it without giving it a spoon of sugar or malt syrup, please.

Best wishes,

m.

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

I think my major mistake is I've been keeping it sealed. I knew better but forgot. We've got tiny "fruit" flies so I'll need to come up with a breathable covering for it.

I'll let you know how it goes.

gb

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

After 6 hours here is my starter. I can hear is sizzling gently. The pH is about 3.5. The taste is good, a bit carbonated, sharp, fruity. I don't detect a yogurtly odor.

I'll add malt syrup and refrigerate. 

mariana's picture
mariana

Looks and sounds about right!

Don't you want to test its performance first, Gary? Take a couple of tbsp of that with 50g of flour to verify its gassing power/leavening capacity. I.e. the half size test dough:

50g bread flour

30-35g liquid sd starter.

It should measure about one cup in volume once it quadruples, or two cups if rises eightfold, to the max, so choose your measuring cup accordingly. Test to see how long it will take it to rise that high.

Of course, knead it well first, to make sure it is able to rise that high.

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

I started a test with 60g of WW flour + 42g of starter just after I posted. It only doubled overnight at 78F. 

I'm still not there for leavening power. Of course, IDY does that well but I'd like to figure this out.

I'm going to try a new batch with your latest instructions. 

mariana's picture
mariana

Ok Gary, I am glad that you tested it. Well done!

Did you leave it to continue to observe when it will reach its max volume?

Was it at 25-28C/77-82F (standard testing temperature) or lower? Even within that small interval of 3 C difference between 25C and 28C, gassing power of yeast will differ 50%(!!!), 6C difference, as in between 22C and 28C and gassing power will decline or rise 100%. That is a factor in testing gassing power at room temperature as well. It will affect your test results. (Oops, I saw that you tested it at 78F, but I will leave this explanation anyways).

When I first learned the craft of home made yeast growing, so to speak, it was when I used sisters Turnipseed recipe from Brenard Clayton's book. That recipe taught me a lot. I started using my bread machine for stirring yeast nutrient solution to aerate it, three periods of stirring each lasting 30min non stop in each 8 hour cycle of feeding.

Then I tried raisin yeast using chef Kumin's  recipe from Hamelman (Swiss bread). It taught me the difference between baker's yeast that collects on top and lager beer yeast that sits on the bottom. I sttruggled with it as well and learned and eventually produced by first batch of homemade compressed yeast a whole tablespoon of it, lol.

But ever since I've never struggled with yeast in my starters. Sugar, aeration and temperature are three keys (if other nutrients are present, of course, like vitamins and minerals from wheat bran, whole grains or potatoes).

For you, if there is still not enough yeast in your liquid sd starter, the solution is the same, every 8 hours keep feeding it 3-5% sugar (to water) and aerate. Keep it between 28-30C so that the number of yeast cells doubles every hour and the math is simple. You will end up  having the weight of yeast equal to half of the weight of added sugar in the solution. And it will smell alcoholic as well.

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

Thanks for the math; I love math! As you saw, I tested it at 78F. At 11 hours it was beginning to fall already so I'm sure it had peaked.

Aeration. Yes. I've have been seriously lacking in that department. 

Do you keep your container covered when you are making the initial solution (the sourwort)? I think that part of the process is mostly anaerobic. 

How about when you are feeding to develop yeast? Do you keep it covered? Or should I use some cheese cloth (or some such)?

I have an immersion blender that I can use to really stir it up good.

In an earlier message you suggested switching the temperature between 28C and 32C at 12 hour intervals. I think that was about developing a community of cooperating organisms. Should I do that?

Thanks again,

mariana's picture
mariana

Gary, yeasts reproduce anaerobically too, just slower than with aeration. That is why sourdoughs (sd starters) are never really aerated besides initial mixing and all oxygen trapped in them is usually gone within the first ten min of fermentation. But yeast still grows successfully in them, albeit much slower.

Normally, proportion of number of bacterial cells to yeast cels in starters is 100:1, very rarely, in some Italian starters, it is 1:1, because of bacteria-yeast symbiosis. It takes 100 bacterial cells to feed one yeast cell so to speak. But if you are willing to provide sugar and air, you can shift that proportion towards more yeast.

Yes, i keep it covered with a piece of saran wrap, not airtight though, I deliberately leave a small opening on the side, and it sits inside covered bread machine chamber which is not airtight either. I do it because I want to trap odors under the plastic to evaluate it when I sniff it from time to time, to see how the microorganisms evolve, which species are out and which are in, who is dominant now and then. Because it is liquid and gassy, it self stirs to the point of "boiling" and foaming and bubbling, very active, I do not need to stir it manually.

Yep, when making yeast, when stimulating yeast growth, keep the air flowing freely and keep the flies away and stir or intensely aerate when you are passing by. Cheese cloth is perfect. Any non airtight covering is ok.

28-32C is for certain sourdough starters, san-francisco type. Honestly, I do not care that much about yeast, because it is freely available in stores, lots of different kinds, superfast yeast and slow yeast, osmotolerant yeast and yeast for lean doughs, etc.. For me a starter's worth is in its bacterial community, and they thrive at temperatures at or above 32C. Sourdough yeasts, though, thrive at 28C (one major species of sd yeast, it has an amazing gassing power, very suitable for bread leavening) and at 30C (common baker's yeast). By that I mean their numbers double the fastest.

See this chart, please

At 32C bacteria significantly outgrow yeast. The green line is way above the red line.

At 28C yeast outgrow sd bacteria, although not by much. Newbies or people who want their sourdough to rise first and foremost, their starter to bubble, for them it's a sign of success, keep their starters at or below 30C, in the 18-30C range, to favor yeast and suppress lactic bacteria, because in that interval the red line is above the green line!

Notice how it differs from the chart for microbial activity.

Growth is when microbes reproduce, their numbers grow, when we work for them, cultivate them carefully and efficiently. Activity is when they produce acids and gasses, i.e when they work for us in a batch of bread dough. They grow best at somewhat lower temperatures and they are the most active at higher temperatures.

When I cultivate starters inside my bread machine chamber, it, being an oven, naturally fluctuates between 28-32C. It reaches 32C, then turns off, cools down to 28C and starts heating again until it reaches 32C, repeating this cycle ad infinitum. But for you, you would have to shift it manually. If only one temperature setting is available, keep it at 30C, in the middle, or even at 28C.

Cooler temperatures are safer, overheating is deadly for many species of sd yeast and lactic bacteria. By that I do not mean that 35C or 45C would kill them, no. They survive even at 55C. But it will stop them from reproducing and they will naturally die out at the end of their lifespan.

Temperature is the most powerful factor of species selection in sourdoughs. That said, amazing rye sd starters with powerful yeasts are grown at constant 35C as well. They tolerate that temperature, because rye has no gluten, so there is no need to protect gluten due to overfermentation.

Good luck, Gary!

m.

 

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

 I do not care that much about yeast, because it is freely available in stores, lots of different kinds, superfast yeast and slow yeast, osmotolerant yeast and yeast for lean doughs, etc.. For me a starter's worth is in its bacterial community, and they thrive at temperatures at or above 32C.

Those lines really resonate with me. I've heard the same thing from Savvas.

That is effectively what I've been doing. I let the bacteria acidify the preferment and then use IDY to make it rise. It gives me more control over flavor and density. 

I'm going to focus on the bacterial colony in my starter and let the commercial yeast do the rest of the job.

Thanks

gb

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

Do you have a similar graph (or model) for acidification versus time and temperature? 

If 12 hours at 25C produces the level of sour I like; how long would it take at 30C or 35?

 

mariana's picture
mariana

Such a graph or model is impossible, Gary. It has to do with biodiversity. In starters, we never know even which specie or species of acid producing microorganisms we've picked up and cultivated, let alone which strains. The charts above are for two microbes from one of the most studied sd starter in the world: San-Francisco sd. It has one species of yeast and one specie of lactic bacteria. In that sense, it is easy to study.

The speed of starters rising or acidifying differs up to fifteenfold between different bakers. These are the results of the worldwide testing of hundreds of starters by the scientists from university of N.Carolina. Some bakers have fast starters, others - normal, or very slow, even if they use the same ingredients and feeding schedules. Some strains of yeast and bacteria are super producers while others ain't so good.

It's like asking about common behavior of dogs, all dogs. But some breeds of dogs are bred to be fast runners, others never run at all, only walk, some breeds can herd sheep while others are unable to herd flocks of animals at all, they hunt, etc. In starters, some species of microbes differ from others of their own kind in their reaction to temperature drastically and produce acids in very unusual ways over time due to their unique metabolism, metabolic cycles.

Baker's yeast market offers us an enormous variety of breeds of yeasts to purchase, so to speak, yeast strains, for different purposes. All of them were found in nature. Those yeasts will acidify dough differently with time and depending on temperature.

So it's up to you, Gary, to discover what your starter is like, how soon it will bring its own pH (or pH of the seeded dough) down to certain value at 30C, if at 25C it takes it 12 hrs after feeding it.

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

I understand that we can't say much without fixing some parameters. You mention of dogs reminded that the metabolic rate of mammals is strongly related to their mass. 

Dogs lifespan is strongly related to their height and weight. 

If we know some parameters of the mammal, we can make predictions of the others without knowing the species.

The speed of starters varies over a wide range but for a given starter, I imagine a few data points would describe its behaviour over a range. For example figure 1 of this paper.

Earlier you described the gassing power of yeast in relation to temperature. That seems like a very similar generalization.

I'll see what I can figure out about my starter. 

 

HeiHei29er's picture
HeiHei29er

Thank you Mariana.  I'll have to go back and re-read some of the initial posts, but it sounds like I didn't give it enough sugar.  The yeasts were there, but the levain was developing slowly.

After 12.5 hours...

mariana's picture
mariana

It looks nice, since it is 125%hydration, Troy. Did you measure its pH?

In reality, it is not THAT important that your FLAS might be low in yeast, or that the yeast that grows in your FLAS might have intrinsically low gassing power. For as long as your levain is ready, you are ok.

To make sure that your levain is ready to be used in baking, stir it and let it double again. See how long it takes for it to double. If under one hour, it's ready. 

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

My goal is soft sour seeded sandwich bread. I was unable to get the sour I desire by direct application of the FLAS. Great rise and texture but essentially no sour.

I'm currently using the flourless SD starter described above to preferment 1/2 my flour overnight (12 to 14 hours). Then I mix the remaining ingredients plus yeast the next morning and bake in about 3 to 4 hours. I'm using IDY to control the rise so the dough doesn't get overwhelmed by acids while waiting on the sour dough yeast to do it.

This process gives me the flavor and texture I want without having to deal with the tradeoffs inherent in getting the SD alone to do it. My preferment variables include size of the inoculation, fraction of flour, time and temperature. I'm getting just the degree of sour I like in a nice toasting/sandwich bread.

My liquid SD starter isn't as strong as Mariana's but I hope to get there.

Your process sounds similar to mine except for fraction of PFF. Bump it up to 50% and see what you get.

With the disclaimer that I know very little about what I'm doing... Mariana, Savass and others on here are the experts.

HeiHei29er's picture
HeiHei29er

Thanks Gary!  My PFF was 20%, but the levain was 125% hydration and I added more Flourless Starter in Final Mix.  All in, the flourless starter was half the hydration (34% flourless and 34% water).

Pretty busy the next few weekends, but I'll try this method again with some more sugar during the starter development and I'll try upping the PFF amount per your suggestion.

gerhard's picture
gerhard

about a baker that would take his discard sourdough and spread it thin on parchment dry and then pulverize. He would then add this powder to give more intensity to the flavour. Wasn’t really of great interest to me so I don’t remember the quantity required to have an effect on flavour.

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

Thanks. I've wondered about that. I may have to try it.

alcophile's picture
alcophile

There's a video on the Bread Code YouTube channel that shows the process of drying sourdough discard.