Author Topic: The sourdough thread  (Read 27923 times)

the fixer

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #50 on: November 04, 2013, 06:44:21 PM »
I've been experimenting with sourdough and various other ferments for ~2 months now. My favorite "conventional" recipes are sourdough muffins and sourdough crackers. My attempts at bread have been failures so far... I'm just not very good at kneading dough with lots of whole wheat flour (too sticky!). So I'm just buying sourdough breads at Trader Joe's and focusing my efforts on making stuff I can't buy cheaply in stores.

I also came up with an interesting substrate for making granola/energy bars. Take 3.5-4 cups of oats and douse them with water to make sure they are thoroughly wet, then drain as much as possible. Add a big, heaping spoonful of whole wheat flour and another big spoonful of sourdough starter. Mix thoroughly and leave out ~24 hours (I figure with such a small amount of starter it should take longer to ferment, but it's a lot of guesswork).

After this is done you should have a gooey oat blob. Mix in dried fruit, nuts, fat & sweetener (I use heated/mixed coconut oil & honey with some vanilla extract), chocolate chips, or whatever else you want and bake in a casserole dish lined with parchment paper at 375 for about 15 minutes. You know it's done when the surface stops looking shiny and just starts to brown. Next I cut into bars while still hot, but before removing from the baking dish I stick the whole thing in the fridge until cold to get the bars to set.

These granola bars have the advantage of being fermented, plus there's a big bonus that you can control how much sugar you use. Previously I had to put 1 cup of honey into a batch of 16 bars because the sugars were critical to hold everything together, but with this method I've successfully made bars with as little as 1/4 cup (at that point their sweetness gets pretty subtle, I haven't tried going lower). You might be able to use cheaper sweeteners like brown sugar, but I haven't tried yet.

GuitarStv

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #51 on: November 05, 2013, 06:27:21 AM »
I've been experimenting with sourdough and various other ferments for ~2 months now. My favorite "conventional" recipes are sourdough muffins and sourdough crackers. My attempts at bread have been failures so far... I'm just not very good at kneading dough with lots of whole wheat flour (too sticky!). So I'm just buying sourdough breads at Trader Joe's and focusing my efforts on making stuff I can't buy cheaply in stores.

I also came up with an interesting substrate for making granola/energy bars. Take 3.5-4 cups of oats and douse them with water to make sure they are thoroughly wet, then drain as much as possible. Add a big, heaping spoonful of whole wheat flour and another big spoonful of sourdough starter. Mix thoroughly and leave out ~24 hours (I figure with such a small amount of starter it should take longer to ferment, but it's a lot of guesswork).

After this is done you should have a gooey oat blob. Mix in dried fruit, nuts, fat & sweetener (I use heated/mixed coconut oil & honey with some vanilla extract), chocolate chips, or whatever else you want and bake in a casserole dish lined with parchment paper at 375 for about 15 minutes. You know it's done when the surface stops looking shiny and just starts to brown. Next I cut into bars while still hot, but before removing from the baking dish I stick the whole thing in the fridge until cold to get the bars to set.

These granola bars have the advantage of being fermented, plus there's a big bonus that you can control how much sugar you use. Previously I had to put 1 cup of honey into a batch of 16 bars because the sugars were critical to hold everything together, but with this method I've successfully made bars with as little as 1/4 cup (at that point their sweetness gets pretty subtle, I haven't tried going lower). You might be able to use cheaper sweeteners like brown sugar, but I haven't tried yet.

That's a great sourdough idea . . . I've noticed that the starter I have will dry to a super hard glue kinda consistency on the counter, so I'm sure that it'll hold those bars together pretty well!

stigto

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #52 on: November 05, 2013, 03:52:21 PM »
Made my first all-sourdough loaf just now an hour ago, although I've made sourdough/instant yeast hybrids before. I was fearing failure, but it turned out pretty good! A bit on the rustic side, but it got a nice oven spring and great crust. I've been feeding my starter for about 2 weeks now. Here's how I did it:

100 grams of wholemeal rye flour
100 ml water (equal parts by weight)

Mix in a glass jar, cover with muslin or other thin cloth, leave until next day. Throw half away, add another 50 grams of flour and 50 ml water. Leave at room temperature, repeat every day. After 3-4 days you should see bubbling (CO2 from yeast activity). After 10-12 days the mix should have a slightly sour/alcohol smell to it.

Bread:

500 grams fine rye flour
200 grams wholemeal rye flour
250 grams fine wheat flour
550 ml water
20 g salt
2 tablespoons sunflower oil

Day 1 for bread: mix half of the starter into 500 ml lukewarm water in a bowl, mix in 500g fine rye flour (I used a spoon). Cover with cling film, leave for about 18-24 hours. The mix should be active and bubbly.

Day 2: Mix in the rest of the flour with the oil and salt (I used a kitchen machine). If the dough is too firm, add in the rest of the water. This gives about 60% hydration. Flour isn't very strong in my location and can't absorb a lot of water. The dough should be quite wet, if too firm add more water. Cover with cling film and leave to rise to double size.

Scrape out dough onto an oiled surface. Using a dough scraper, stretch and fold into a loaf shape and cover. Leave for 10 minutes and repeat about 3 times. Cover and leave for 1-2 hours.

Heat oven to 260 degrees C with a clay pot inside (Schlemmertopf/Römertopf). No need to moisten pot. Flour a pizza board or similar with fine rye flour, and transfer loaf onto board. Remove pot from oven, remove top and tip loaf inside. Score loaf to allow even rise. Replace top and return to oven. After 10 minutes, remove top (this is to allow crust to form properly). Bake for another 35 minutes at 220 degrees C. Remove from oven and tip bread onto a rack and allow to cool.

Edit: be sure to use unchlorinated water or you risk killing the micro-organisms. Antibacterial cleaner on your work surfaces will accomplish the same thing.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2013, 04:33:27 PM by stigto »

GuitarStv

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #53 on: November 06, 2013, 06:36:01 AM »
"leuconostoc bacteria" eh?  Meh.  Frankly, as long as my bread rises and is tasty I could care less if it's yeast or bacteria making the bubbles.  :P

the fixer

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #54 on: November 07, 2013, 12:59:43 PM »
If you're concerned about not having enough yeast activity, you could try introducing cultured wild yeasts. Make some mead using raw honey, or cut up some fresh organic fruit and let it sit in a sweet solution for a few days until it starts bubbling. Then add a bit of that mix to your starter.

In the last few months I've become quite a fermentation experimentalist; my philosophy is to just try it and see what happens, but that also means that unless I actually say I've tried something, I don't know how it will turn out.

MrsPete

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #55 on: November 08, 2013, 06:37:16 AM »
I've been experimenting with sour dough recently too, and I can add a couple thoughts:

I got my starter in the easiest possible way:  I got prepared starter from someone else.  No waiting, hoping to catch the wild yeast, which isn't always a sure thing.  I've already passed it on to a couple other people -- partially out of the goodness of my heart, but also because IF I should ruin my own starter, I'd be able to ask for a little bit back. 

I've tried several recipes, but my best results have been from the New York Times no-knead recipe, which is also super-easy:

Whisk together:
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 - 2 1/2 cups white bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt

Stir in:
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup sourdough starter

Cover and let sit 12-18 hours (on top of the refrigerator is a perfect, slightly warm place). 

Turn onto lightly floured countertop, turn over a few times to incorporate a little flour -- the dough will be much wetter and more sticky than traditional bread, and this makes it look more average.

Shape into a round or a loaf and let rise another 2 hours.  Setting it on a piece of wax paper or parchment will make things easier later.  Do not skimp on time; that's the key to really good bread.

Details matter when baking: 
Preheat your oven AND a cast iron Dutch oven (or other heavy casserole dish with lid) to 450. 

Slide the bread into the preheated pan.  It will sizzle, which means you're starting a lovely brown crust. 

Bake 30 minutes with the lid on, then remove the lid and bake another 10-15 minutes. 


This bread is head-and-shoulders better than any other sourdough I've baked myself.  The inside is thick and chewy -- I want to say dense, but that sounds negative.  It's hearty.  The crust is a lovely brown.  I think it would make great bread bowls for soup, but I haven't tried that yet.     

I am playing with lowering the temperature. 

I'm also going to buy a clay loaf-shaped pan with a lid.  I can bake round loaves in my cast iron dutch oven, but I want to be able to make loaf bread for sandwiches.


And a question: 

How do y'all store home-baked bread?  I'm just keeping it in a ziplock on the countertop, but that looks messy.  A Tupperware container would be a step up, but still is less than idea.  My mom always had a bread box, and I'm thinking about buying one.  But they aren't air-tight, are they?  Bugs would be attracted in, so the bread would still need to be kept in some type of container, right? 


m8547

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #56 on: November 08, 2013, 06:58:18 AM »
"leuconostoc bacteria" eh?  Meh.  Frankly, as long as my bread rises and is tasty I could care less if it's yeast or bacteria making the bubbles.  :P

As far as I can tell, if you get leuconostoc bacteria your starter won't be tasty. I had a starter that didn't start successfully, and it smelled like vomit. It was so bad that when I opened the container, people on the other side of the room immediately complained. I was not able to save it since even after a few more feedings there was still some vomit smell. From what I read, that's what leuconostoc bacteria smells like.

Another way to avoid leuconostoc bacteria is pasteurizing your flour, if you don't want to use pineapple juice. Spread some out on a baking sheet and bake at around 250F for a while. Or just skip it and hope for the best.

GuitarStv

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #57 on: November 08, 2013, 08:23:23 AM »
Quote
How do y'all store home-baked bread?  I'm just keeping it in a ziplock on the countertop, but that looks messy.  A Tupperware container would be a step up, but still is less than idea.  My mom always had a bread box, and I'm thinking about buying one.  But they aren't air-tight, are they?  Bugs would be attracted in, so the bread would still need to be kept in some type of container, right? 

I find that most home made breads are best stored in a breathable way.  Breadbox, or paper bag are what I like to use.  Most home made breads have about a day or two shelf life, but sourdough seems to be OK for longer than that.  You can always store them in the fridge if you want to extend the life of the bread.  We don't seem to have any problems with bugs being attracted to the bread. . .


As far as I can tell, if you get leuconostoc bacteria your starter won't be tasty. I had a starter that didn't start successfully, and it smelled like vomit. It was so bad that when I opened the container, people on the other side of the room immediately complained. I was not able to save it since even after a few more feedings there was still some vomit smell. From what I read, that's what leuconostoc bacteria smells like.

Another way to avoid leuconostoc bacteria is pasteurizing your flour, if you don't want to use pineapple juice. Spread some out on a baking sheet and bake at around 250F for a while. Or just skip it and hope for the best.

Gross.  I would toss anything that smells strongly bad and start over, to hell with additional feedings.  I guess I've been lucky with my sourdough and not had the bacteria problem.

You don't want to pasteurize the flour, typically the yeast that is responsible for making sourdough is all over the flour.  It might make it a lot harder to start your culture.

Mr. Minsc

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #58 on: November 16, 2013, 06:21:42 AM »
That makes sense.  Commercial yeast would probably be bad for dogs.  Anyway, here's an easy recipe for sourdough pancakes.  The last time I made it, I topped it with grilled peaches and blueberries. :)  http://whatscookingamerica.net/Bread/SourdoughPancakes.htm
Made a slight modification to that recipe this morning.  Substituted 2 Tbsp oil with 2 Tbsp milk. Worked out well. :)

 2 cups sourdough starter, room temperature*
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg**
2 tablespoons olive/vegetable oil
2 tablespoons milk (I used whole milk)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon warm water

*Edit: Randomly thought over two weeks later that maybe milk in slow raise bread might not be such a good idea. Didn't seem to harm me though.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2013, 06:19:57 AM by Mr. Minsc »

Mr. Minsc

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #59 on: December 07, 2013, 11:11:54 AM »
Well, I did some experimenting and had a couple sourdough failures this week.  Here I was with two dense loaves of bread.  No problem, it was bread pudding to the rescue!  Yum.

GuitarStv

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #60 on: December 09, 2013, 10:03:36 AM »
How's the humidity in your house?  I find that following typical rise instructions (putting the dough in breadpans with cheesecloth overtop doesn't work for me during the winter because our house is too dry.  The outer shell of the dough gets hard and prevents the rise from working properly.  Plastic baggies work much better for me because they keep the moisture in.

annaraven

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #61 on: December 11, 2013, 11:18:15 PM »
Well, I buy yeast in 1 pound packages and store it in the freezer, so it's not all that expensive. However, I like the idea of DIY and sourdough so I've been trying it again. Especially since I found out recently that, for folks like my husband who don't *like* the sour taste of sourdough, you can add baking soda to neutralize the sourness.

I prefer the 5 minute artisan no-knead style of bread. I have used that for a couple of years now - the yeast version. So I am experimenting with doing a sourdough version, now that my starter is active. (I lost the previous starter in an accident similar to Lars, mentioned by a previous poster - my son turned on the oven to preheat for pizza without wondering why the oven light was on).

I do like the crust on the sourdough bread. We'll see how it goes though.

My most successful so far:
200 grams sourdough starter (about 50% water, 50% flour, by weight)
300 grams flour (unbleached organic all purpose)
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp fine seasalt
250 grams filtered water

I mixed it last night around 10pm, covered it with plastic wrap and a towel, and put it in the oven overnight with the oven light on. Today, around 11?, I put it into my baking dish (a covered crockery "casserole" thing), to rise a second time. Then around 3ish, I took off the plastic wrap, covered it and turned on the oven to 450. I get a bit of oven spring while it heats up, then after 45 minutes, I take off the cover and let it brown. It turned out pretty good. My husband liked the flavor and I like the texture.

Mr. Minsc

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #62 on: December 24, 2013, 04:49:27 AM »
However, I like the idea of DIY and sourdough so I've been trying it again. Especially since I found out recently that, for folks like my husband who don't *like* the sour taste of sourdough, you can add baking soda to neutralize the sourness.

Interesting, I'll have to try that just to try something different. :)

the fixer

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #63 on: December 24, 2013, 06:39:23 AM »
Using baking soda is probably helping with the rise characteristics, like making cookies.

It's odd, I have to admit I can't taste the sourdough tang. Maybe I'm just really used to it or something.

GuitarStv

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #64 on: December 24, 2013, 06:43:16 AM »
You can make it more sour by punching it down and giving it an extra rise time, but I find that most real sourdough isn't super duper tangy/sour like you would originally expect.

annaraven

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #65 on: December 28, 2013, 11:37:09 AM »
Baking soda won't rise for that long. Not for an overnight rise. But it does help mellow the flavor. We live near San Francisco, so the sourdough here might be a bit more aggressively sour than most places, I dunno. I do know that my husband won't eat sourdough normally, but is eating and enjoying mine now that I add the baking soda.

racherinh

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #66 on: December 29, 2013, 05:52:21 PM »
We've been using our own starter for years now, and bake all our own bread.

We keep our starter the same consistency as bread dough, so it's easy to add to all the bread stuff that we make. It also takes up less space, lasts longer, and tastes different than wetter starters. They can be kept at pretty much any consistency that is convenient for the baker.

We actually add about 1/4 tsp of conventional yeast to each loaf, as it helps with the timing for our household. If we're in a hurry I sometimes add as much as 1 tsp.This is a baker's choice, but if you often find yourself short on time, it's allowed to mix yeast types =). 

Don't store bread in the fridge. It will go stale faster than anywhere else. The temperature is perfect for starch crystallization.

We make large loafs - around 2 kilos, because they last a lot longer. We knead the dough in our bread machine, which makes it easier to use super wet doughs, and also for timing reasons (putting dough in so that when we get home from work the dough is done, etc). Super wet doughs make a chewier, holier bread, which we like. Then we shape and bake on a bread stone in a hot oven (heat stone to 500F, lower when it first goes in the oven and steam is added, then turn and lower again after the first 15 min). Bake until it's about 200-205F in the middle.

One of the best tips I learned recently is to do the second rise under a big bowl with hot water in it. It's helped our bread spring properly in the oven.

I also highly recommend Peter Reinhart (eek, I don't think I spelled that right). His formulas are amazing. We are complete converts to his method of using very high percentages of starter. Another great resource is the.freshloaf.com

Starter can also be frozen for up to 3 months, if you go away.

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #67 on: April 25, 2014, 06:57:50 PM »
So I received a sourdough start from my neighbor.  She had already prepared it for waffles and gave me the recipe.  So before I added eggs, oil, salt, sugar, and baking soda; I removed 1/2 cup of starter.  So here's my question:  She told me to keep it in the fridge until I want to use it.  I have vague memories of my mom keeping it on the counter.  The waffles were fantastic, but didn't have a super strong sour taste.  Is that because it is being kept in the fridge?  If I keep it on the counter, what should I keep it in?  Or should I just do what my neighbor says?  Thanks for any advice!

the fixer

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #68 on: April 25, 2014, 08:07:51 PM »
Sourdough kept out on the counter will stay active, so you have to feed it at least once per day, preferably 2-3 times per day. This will cause you to accumulate a ton of extra dough, which must eventually be either used or discarded. It's a great way to let the sourdough become more vigorous in preparation for making bread, though.

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #69 on: April 25, 2014, 10:27:22 PM »
Sourdough kept out on the counter will stay active, so you have to feed it at least once per day, preferably 2-3 times per day. This will cause you to accumulate a ton of extra dough, which must eventually be either used or discarded. It's a great way to let the sourdough become more vigorous in preparation for making bread, though.

Ok, so if I feed it that much, how often do I need to use/discard it?

worms

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #70 on: April 26, 2014, 05:31:17 AM »
You need to experiment and see what works best for you and take all the advice you get with a pinch of salt!

My sourdough starter has proved to be very reliable.  Sometimes it's on the counter, sometimes it's in an unheated porch. If I am using it a lot, it gets fed a lot.  If I am not using it, it can lie neglected for a week or more. If I am turning it over regularly it is less sour, first bread or pancakes after a long spell, it's more bitter. I've never thrown away starter, but if it has been sitting a while, I do sometimes pour off the alcohol from the surface of the jar to make it less sour.

When making bread, the speed of rise varies with the qualities of the starter and the room temperature, so you need to develop a feel for your starter and vary things accordingly. We're talking art, not science.

Starter is tough, it copes.

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #71 on: April 26, 2014, 06:14:23 AM »
Had my own starter going for a couple months.  It never leaves the counter.

water
high protein artisan flour (costco!)
a bit of yeast.

refreshed every so often with a bit more of the first two ingredients.
Always pretty sour and makes delicious breads.
I second everyone else's opinions about the pancakes and the GF seems to like them too.

Anyone experimented with adding acids (citric?) to the starter to adjust pH and better control/encourage bacteria growth and enhance the sour-ness?

EDIT: clarification about acid use

GuitarStv

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #72 on: April 29, 2014, 09:45:27 AM »
My understanding is that it is the bacteria themselves that cause the sourness in sourdough.  It's those Lactobacillus guys that try to acidify the starter with lactic acid to prevent other bacteria and fungus from getting a hold.

tmac

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #73 on: May 01, 2014, 01:53:03 PM »
Bookmarked! Started my starter this morning!

grantmeaname

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #74 on: January 24, 2016, 05:40:51 AM »
Bump! Has anyone started and fed a starter successfully with non-wheat flours? I had a great starter once long ago but I haven't had one since SWMBO stopped eating wheat/barley/rye.

GuitarStv

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #75 on: January 25, 2016, 06:42:35 AM »
Hmm.  Can't say I've tried non-wheat flour sourdough.  As long as there's some gluten in the flour to give the dough some elasticity I'd figure it would be possible though.

In unrelated news . . . my sourdough starter is pushing four years now!  Twice as old as my son . . .

maco

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #76 on: January 25, 2016, 09:43:08 PM »
This is good if your original starter dies, or you go on vacation and can't keep up with it or something.
That'd have to be a VERY long vacation to kill a starter. I've neglected my refrigerated starter for more than 6 months at a go. It just takes 2-3 days to wake back up instead of 1, is all.

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #77 on: February 06, 2016, 02:44:36 PM »
Any of the rest of you sourdough fans ever use the book Adventures in Sourdough Cooking and Baking, by Charles D. Wilford.  I have a 10th edition (1993) of this originally published in '71.  I've probably used it for the past fifteen years.  It's got plenty of fun things in it, and I'll bet it's available used.  Happy baking!

The Investing Hispster

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #78 on: September 28, 2018, 01:31:49 PM »
This is brilliant

JessieImproved

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #79 on: October 15, 2018, 02:25:45 PM »
Just wanted to add my two cents to this thread for posterity. 

First thing: Josey Baker Bread.  Awesome book.

Second thing: It took me nearly two months before my sourdough starter was healthy and vigorous, and made a good loaf of bread.  Wild starters are highly dependent on the air and temperature they grow in.  Don't listen to anyone who tells you exactly how long it will take to get a good starter.  You're going to have to be patient and look at it/smell it/test it to be sure.  A good rule of thumb is that your starter "pops up" 8-12 hours after you feed it, and it smells good at that point.  That's a good time to start testing.

sparkytheop

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #80 on: October 15, 2018, 05:33:09 PM »
I kind of like that this thread has been revived...  I've started making more bread again recently, and want to do sourdough, but have not because of the need to feed the starter (I tend to go in waves, rather than being consistent).  But, this thread has me more tempted.

GuitarStv

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #81 on: October 15, 2018, 06:40:02 PM »
I kind of like that this thread has been revived...  I've started making more bread again recently, and want to do sourdough, but have not because of the need to feed the starter (I tend to go in waves, rather than being consistent).  But, this thread has me more tempted.

I've frozen the started in my freezer and then thawed it out six months later with no apparent ill effects after a feeding or two.  :P

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #82 on: October 15, 2018, 07:26:28 PM »
Great tips here! Any advice on baking sourdough in very hot and humid climates? Where I live is similar to Florida and I try to avoid using air conditioning.

sparkytheop

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #83 on: October 15, 2018, 07:55:07 PM »
I kind of like that this thread has been revived...  I've started making more bread again recently, and want to do sourdough, but have not because of the need to feed the starter (I tend to go in waves, rather than being consistent).  But, this thread has me more tempted.

I've frozen the started in my freezer and then thawed it out six months later with no apparent ill effects after a feeding or two.  :P

That is good to know!  I could manage that :)

diapasoun

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #84 on: October 15, 2018, 10:29:07 PM »
PTF. Sourdough is the best.

englishteacheralex

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #85 on: October 16, 2018, 12:15:59 AM »
PTF I LOVE SOURDOUGH!

GuitarStv

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Re: The sourdough thread
« Reply #86 on: October 16, 2018, 07:06:57 AM »
Great tips here! Any advice on baking sourdough in very hot and humid climates? Where I live is similar to Florida and I try to avoid using air conditioning.

No.  I live in Canada.  :P