The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Have you used Carl Griffith's 1847 Oregon Trail sourdough starter?

Anonymous baker's picture
Anonymous baker (not verified)

Have you used Carl Griffith's 1847 Oregon Trail sourdough starter?

I'm not a sophisticated baker yet. I use a bread machine, and I've made sourdough from about 10 different recipes with wildly different results, some fairly good (and some inedible). Always, though, I wish it had more of that "sourdough" flavor, more like the white-flour sourdough loaves/boules I've eaten in California. I've taken to adding a tiny bit of sour salt (citric acid) to my bread, but it's not the same.

I'm not yet ready for jo_en's CLAS, FLAS, and TH-SD - I don't have the ingredients, a crockpot, or the courage yet!

But Yippee linked me to troglodyte's post on sourdough, and they linked to Carl's Friends. I'm honestly in love with the starter's story!

I wonder if the starter would give me different results. I currently use the one from Breadtopia. I have no complaints, but I wonder how it would compare with Carl's... Would it taste very different?

Petek's picture

I think the conventional wisdom is that a sourdough starter will eventually assume the characteristics of whatever yeasts and bacteria thrive in your own environment. However, since Carl's starter is available for the cost of a couple of envelopes and stamps, go ahead and order it. Maintain two starters and check for differences in flavor.

GaryBishop's picture

They all produced similar results. Sour flavor is, in my experience, more related to time and temperature than the starter involved. 

Ferment half the flour at 100% hydration for 3 hours at 86F then combine it with the remaining flour. The result will be quite sour. You don't need fancy equipment; a cheap cooler with a quart jar of hot water or you oven turned on for a few short time then turned off will provide a warm enough environment. 

jo_en's picture


I can hardly bake outside my narrow range and I mostly bake breads in the Zojirushi!

If you ever get into clas, go to the rusbrot Youtubes  here

Yippee has the widest selection of rusbrot's recipes and has techniques that are very effective  when using Zojirushi to knead and ferment dough.

I don't know why but I can barely count on 1/2 hand the number of successful all white flour breads baked, but troglodyte's sd does look tempting.

Have fun with your bm and give baking in your own loaf pan a try too.

Precaud's picture

But having brewed a few batches now, I have to say CLAS is extremely easy to do, almost foolproof using Rus Brot's method. Easier than making yogurt. In fact, that's all you need. I've been using this cheap ($15) little yogurt maker, it works great and can do up to 1L batches.

15W Automatic 1L Yogurt Maker

It holds the temp between 108-111º and draws less power than an LED bulb. Put a tbsp or so of water in the base for more even heat distribution.

(These are sold by numerous vendors online under different names at different price points. They're all the same. There are similar inexpensive units that don't get as good reviews as this one... make sure it looks identical.)