Author Topic: Sourdough starter  (Read 1304 times)

Birdie55

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Sourdough starter
« on: January 09, 2017, 08:07:53 PM »
I keep reading about people making their own bread using their sourdough starter.

Can you share your sourdough starter recipes or a good one to purchase?  Thanks.

less4success

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2017, 08:27:45 PM »
I followed these instructions:
http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/sourdough-starter-recipe

I just used whatever unbleached flour I could find (nothing special) and it did end up working as advertised.

Only (minor) issue I've noticed is that, while my bread rises fine, it doesn't have that distinct sourdough flavor. Fortunately, my wife hates that flavor.

Birdie55

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2017, 09:35:00 PM »
Thanks for the link.  I wonder how to get the sourdough flavor, maybe someone can help?

mrssavesalot

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2017, 11:38:34 PM »
Following this thread because I'm curious about this too!

monkeymind

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2017, 12:10:43 AM »
The two ways I know to get that extra kick of sour are:
1. "Abuse" your sourdough a little. Refrigerate it and extend times between feedings (about a week between) - that seems to increase the production of lactic acid and make it more sour. Then, before you bake, put the starter on the counter and feed it twice a day for a day or two to revive it and get it really active again.
2. Use sour salt (citric acid) to give your recipe a little kick of sour. Here's a great recipe from King Arthur's that has served me well: http://search.kingarthurflour.com/search?w=extra%20tangy%20sourdough%20bread%20recipe&af=type:recipes.
Happy baking!
« Last Edit: January 10, 2017, 12:12:42 AM by monkeymind »

Greenback Reproduction Specialist

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2017, 07:44:58 AM »
I've been seeing uses for this in books I read, mostly old journals and biographies from the old west and Alaska. I picked it up a sunset book for sale at our local library a while back, it was printed in like the 40s or 50s. I will try to remember to post the recipe it had for making the sour dough starter....

Pretty awesome stuff if you are into offgrid living since it only requires being kept cool(not refrigerated) and can be used to make any kind of baked goods. Really makes things easier when flour keeps way better than loaves of bread :)
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Thinkum

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2017, 08:26:38 AM »
My SO bought me some dry sourdough starter from Breadtopia, here is the link: http://breadtopia.com/store/sourdough-starter-dry/. I didn't even use 1/2 of the package and have sustained a nice starter.

I have used this to make a few loafs so far and the tang is great! It also increases the day after you baked it. The guy who runs the site also has some tips for creating your own starter.

Birdie55

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2017, 10:51:26 AM »
Who would have thought to use citric acid to get more sourdough bread. 

Thanks for all the info, if anyone has other homemade starters that use a different recipe please let us know.  And when I find more info, I will share here too. 

Captain FIRE

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2017, 11:40:37 AM »
The best starter is if you can get one from someone else.  If not, see if you can get a copy of Ruth Allman's "Alaska Sourdough" book.

https://www.amazon.com/Alaska-Sourdough-Ruth-Allman/dp/0882400851#reader_0882400851

I have an earlier version of this book, from the early nineties I think.  She has several, with different bases and times it'll take (along with many recipes - try the pancakes!).  I'd suggest being patient and you are more likely to get one with more flavor.  If you can't find it, I can copy one of the starter recipes in here.

Ruth was the niece of one of the first judges in Alaska.  Our first sourdough starter came from her (my mom knew her) and we kept it for several years before it didn't survive a move.  For a while I used the King Arthur starter (my BIL had it purchased from them, not made from their recipe), until I let mine go.

Greenback Reproduction Specialist

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2017, 12:24:36 PM »
I would be interested in the Alaskan sour dough recipe ; )

I keep hearing about the pancakes! Mostly from the book "One Mans Wilderness"....I've got to try them : )

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BudgetSlasher

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2017, 06:29:35 PM »
We had one (purchased initially from King Arthur flour)

Our experience was that you have to eat a lot of sour dough or even all sour dough to keep up. The starter, at least in the method we were using, needed to be constantly fed if it was active (not refrigerated/frozen). Which meant a rapid doubling in size and if we didn't eat all of the last batch of bread or wanted a different kind of bread we were reducing the starter by putting part of it in the compost instead of into bread and feeding it more flour.

In the end and as much as I love sourdough the effort simply was not worth it and we discontinued that route.

JuSp02

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2017, 07:04:13 PM »
You can get a fantastic sourdough starter that dates back to 1847 for free here:  http://carlsfriends.net/source.html

I used it for several months before we got too lazy (we were also moving) and killed our starter. Our bread never tasted so delicious. Also, sourdough pancakes are amazing.

Birdie55

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2017, 07:22:53 PM »
Thanks for the link, I'll send for my starter from Carl.

less4success

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2017, 11:07:42 PM »
Sourdough pancakes? I'm listening... :)

auxym

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2017, 07:37:46 AM »
Yay sourdough! One of the best ressources I've found on the net so far is www.sourdoughhome.com. The guy is quite verbose (multiple-page wall-of-text recipes much), but for a newcomer, that is a lot of welcome information buried in there.

I've had good luck starting a starter from scratch, twice, but YMMV. I think whole wheat flour helps a lot for that. Mike recommends getting your starter from the friends of Carl (linked above), and that's probably a good idea. Unfortunately, it was a bit less convenient for me up here in Canada.

I bake 4 loaves every other weekend most of time, that means my starter spends most of this time in the fridge, 2 weeks at a time. When I plan to bake, I take a spoonful (20-30 g) of starter of the fridge on wednesday and feed it twice a day from then on until the weekend, doubling it's mass every time. Whole wheat takes a bit more water, I do about 45% flour-55% water for my feedings. By the weekend I have a sufficient quantity of starter and it's plenty active. I use most of it to bake, keep a small amount (spoonful) and feed that a few times until I have 100-200 g or so. Then, I give it a stiff feeding (half the quantity of water I usually give it) and put it in the fridge, throwing the old one out. It keeps easily for 2 weeks in the fridge, I've kept it for a month a few times and it gets a bit hard to revive it. This routine fits well in my lifetstyle, minimizes flour waste, and allows me to enjoy tasty sourdough.

I bake 100% whole wheat bread using this recipe and 25lb WW flour sacks from Costco:

http://sourdoughhome.com/index.php?content=100percentwholewheat

Though I make a few adjustments, such as halving the oil amount. I find too much oil gives the bread a rubbery texture, your taste may vary. I also sometimes add stuff to one of the 4 loaves, like raisins & cinnamon, or cranberry/walnut/choc chips. I believe the key to the sour taste, besides having a good starter, as someone asked above, is long fermentation time. This recipe has approximately 6 hours of fermentation, including the final proof. I've heard bakeries using up to 8 hours. Fermentation temperature will also affect the taste, so you can experiment if you have the means to precisely control the temperature. In my mustachian appartment, loaves just taste slighly different depending on the season :)

For pizza dough, the best resource I've found so far is Jeff Varasano's page:

http://www.varasanos.com/PizzaRecipe.htm

I haven't yet gotten around to hacking my oven to bake at 900F temperatures, but I can make respectable pies at my pedestrian 550F with good starter. I use his recipe, with about half the salt (it's very salty!) and use only WW flour. You need a bit more water with WW flour. His recipe is quite wet, compared to most other pizza dough recipes, which makes it a bit harder to knead/stretch/handle, but make for a delicious, airy, pie. Get a dough scraper if you don't already have one. I find a single 3-4 hour proof works good. I often freeze dough balls after kneading, and let them proof a bit longer after thawing/before stretching.

Jet9

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2017, 07:57:40 AM »
I use a recipe from The Bread Baker's Apprentice https://www.amazon.com/Bread-Bakers-Apprentice-Mastering-Extraordinary/dp/1580082688 (surely available in the library) which achieves strong sourdough flavor through slow builds and retarding the dough at each stage (for example, you form the loaves, then leave them in the fridge over night, then leave them out for 4 hours before baking on the final day). The recipe uses high gluten bread flour for the starter, but you can build your dough with wheat or rye or whatever combination you like. The problem with this starter is that after you use it to bake, you have 2-3 cups left, so I have to use it in pancakes or crepes or pizza dough (I even used some in a sourdough chocolate cake recipe - not my favorite). King Arthur has a page of recipes specifically for discard starter so nothing goes to waste:

http://search.kingarthurflour.com/baking/Discard-Starter-Recipes



BrendanP

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2017, 08:55:26 PM »
Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish really got me into bread backing. Nice pictures and explanations.

https://www.amazon.com/Flour-Water-Salt-Yeast-Fundamentals/dp/160774273X

 You get round breads baked in cast iron Dutch ovens.

There's a whole section on making your own sourdough starter from scratch as well as multiple sourdough recipes.

jm89

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2017, 06:55:25 AM »
I followed these instructions:
http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/sourdough-starter-recipe


I also used this starter recipe and it works just fine. Check out www.reddit.com/r/sourdough for a good place to start.

My new years resolution was to learn to make my own bread and beer. I started with bread on January 1st...beer soon to follow.

Its really a lot of fun and very easy. Its very hard to kill a starter...these things are tough! It took the better part of a week to get it going, but since the new year, I've now got this badass ritual of making bread for my family every week!

The best hobbies are the ones that provide enjoyment at a negative cost!

Next up: beer.

Birdie55

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2017, 08:09:03 AM »
Thanks for the info and good luck with your beer. 

worms

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2017, 03:40:42 AM »
Just had sourdough pancakes for breakfast, the tub of sourdough is getting a bit sour for my wife's taste so I am upping the turnover rate to freshen it up a little - good excuse for breakfast pancakes!

People seem to make the whole sourdough thing more difficult than it needs to be.  My current starter is about five years old.  My tip for the amateur to get started is to use dried yeast for the initial set-up, it keeps the whole thing from going off, in that critical first couple of weeks before the local bugs take over.  After a few weeks, the culture seems to be completely taken over by the real sourdough bacteria and can be left for a week or so at a time with no added input.

My recipe for sourdough pancakes is: one egg, splash of oil, couple of desert spoons of starter, couple of teaspoons of caster sugar; mix well, fold in 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate and pour pancake quantities into a smoking oiled cast-iron pan.  Really quick, easy and forgiving, the exact quantities of the ingredients are not that important.

jm89

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2017, 06:20:27 AM »
How does one get their starter to be "too sour"? Is the level of sourness proportional to the frequency of feeding and/or the amount of feeding?

worms

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2017, 07:17:46 AM »
Broadly speaking, yes, it is a function of the lactic and acetic acid produced by the lactobacilli in the culture plus the alcohol produced by the yeasts.  The longer you leave it, the more sour it becomes.  Because my starter lives at room temperature on the kitchen counter,  beside the range cooker (that provides all our heating, cooking and hot water), if I am not using it regularly, it quite rapidly becomes a bit sour, with a layer of brown alcoholic fluid on top. When I am making bread more regularly and feeding the starter more regularly, it sweetens up and also becomes much faster growing.  There is a happy medium and it is easily brought back to health if it has turned too sour.  I never throw sourdough starter out, but at times I pour off the alcohol and make pancakes to get the level in the tub down then feed it for a few days.

As mentioned above, it is probably much better to have a faster running starter, then retarding the dough to gain flavour, rather than aiming for an older slower starter (or adding anything to it) just to achieve a more sour taste.

jm89

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2017, 08:03:53 AM »
Wow, thank you for writing all of that out! I can't wait to try the pancakes.

Eporedia

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #23 on: March 09, 2017, 12:53:11 PM »

For all of you that actually managed to get the starter going... the instructions I have read mentioned: keep starter between 82-85F degrees for a couple days, and after is established maintain 72-80F. How do you do that?

Thinkum

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #24 on: March 09, 2017, 01:25:10 PM »
@Eporedia, I keep my starter in the fridge and feed it about once a week. When I'm ready to make some bread I take it out, get rid of the hooch, feed it, and let it sit for 24-48 hours. Then it's ready to use.

Eporedia

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #25 on: March 09, 2017, 03:42:08 PM »
@Eporedia, I keep my starter in the fridge and feed it about once a week. When I'm ready to make some bread I take it out, get rid of the hooch, feed it, and let it sit for 24-48 hours. Then it's ready to use.

So you already have it started. I still need to get there, but the instructions ask for those specific temperatures. I'm in WI and is still below 32 outside, and the house temp is not near close to that. How can I keep it warm for a couple days? I heard a suggestion of putting starter + water/flour in a double zip lock bag and just keep it attached to your body. That sounds very rustic, and I  was wondering if you have some better way.

Thinkum

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #26 on: March 09, 2017, 04:38:21 PM »
Sorry, I'm further south and when I started the starter (du dun dun) it was warm in the house. I guess if you need to begin now, I'd try the body heat method. Makes sense, or maybe a heated blanket?

Eporedia

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Re: Sourdough starter
« Reply #27 on: March 10, 2017, 10:10:26 AM »

Thanks for the reply! I'll give it a try. Lately my husband don't even ask questions anymore - for example: if he sees me digging into a closet, cleaning a drawer or trying to sell anything that is not nailed down. (Thanks MMM). So maybe he won't find odd me wearing a starter for a couple days.