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My Sourdough Project

 
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I have been reading about sourdough for years though I have been too intimidated to try it.  This year, I have started making my started.

This is what I have done:

Chef John's Sourdough Starter

Day 1: Mix 70 grams flour and 70 grams water together in a container with a lid. Container needs to be large enough to accommodate another 70 grams water and flour. Cover loosely so gases can escape. Leave for 24 hours at 70 degrees F.

Day 2: Add 70 grams flour and 70 grams water. Stir. Cover loosely and leave for 24 hours at 70 degrees.
 
Day 3: Remove half (140 grams) of the starter. Add 70 grams flour and 70 grams water. Stir. Cover loosely and leave for 24 hours at 70 degrees.  

Day 4 through about Day 10: Repeat Step 3 each day until starter smells fruity, yeasty, and is beautifully fermented. You can test this by seeing if the mixture doubles within 2 to 3 hours of feeding.

Refrigerate until needed. Most people recommend you feed the starter once a month or so (Step 3).

To make bread using a refrigerated starter: feed it at room temperature for two days. Use your refreshed starter to make bread on the third day. Remember to set aside 140 grams of starter and feed it again before returning it to the fridge.

Chef's Notes:      The exact number of grams seen herein doesn't really matter, as long as you're using exactly the same amount of flour and water, by weight.

I use gram weights for flour and water to ensure I'm using exactly the same amount for each. 700 grams of flour equals about 3 cups; 70 grams equals about 1/3 cup. But I do recommend using a kitchen scale to measure grams.

For best results, use bottled water; chlorine can kill the yeast/bacteria.

You can use different kinds of flour. I like half spelt and half bread flour, but this recipe will work with pretty much any combination, including all wheat flour.




https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/260539/chef-johns-sourdough-starter/

Other hints that I found helpful:

The dark liquid is a form of naturally-occurring alcohol known as hooch, which indicates that your sourdough starter is hungry. Hooch is harmless but should be poured off and discarded prior to stirring and feeding your starter.



https://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/sourdough/sourdough-troubleshooting-faq/

The trick to getting this thing going is oxygen, stir it heaps, up and over to force air through the whole thing.



So you have two choices: (1) WAIT.  Wait three or four times as long as a recipe says for your slow-poke wild-types to get their act together.  And then wait some more. or (2) Cheat by adding some store-bought into the mix.  Then you will have the wild-type for its unique flavor qualities, and you will have domesticated yeast servants whose duty it is to pump up the dough.



https://permies.com/t/60146/kitchen/Sourdough

small note; one must feed said yeasts DAILY with a coupla heaping spoonfuls of flour and sometimes a dash of unchlorinated water. After about a week you should be able to use half the mixture to start bread; saving the other half & continue to feed it daily until jar is full again.



https://permies.com/t/52339/Obtaining-yeast-naturally


 
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I'm a little confused. Are you adding a commercial sourdough starter yeast of some sort first or trying to use captured wild yeast? That's what I've always done so I leave the cover off for the first couple days to assist in the capture.

Sourdough pancakes. With honey:)  

 
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I like starting it with water kefir, milk kefir, kombucha. Then let whatever other type of wild yeast jump in and add to the mix.
I have been tempted for 2yrs now to try a koji(sake) starter. Technically it only makes sugar for regular yeast to feast on.
 
pollinator
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Rye flour is the easiest one to make a new starter from, but once the starter is active then any flour can be used. I found that it liked being stirred, I managed to get it going a bit faster by stirring it often and feeding every 12 hours.
 
pollinator
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I've got a sourdough starter on my counter right now that's several years old.  I don't make bread regularly any more (diabetic husband and a general low carb household)--I'll make two loaves a week for about a month, then put the starter in the freezer for several months.  I understand they can live happily in the fridge for a few months too, but things seem to go moldy in my fridge if left unattended too long...

But it's extraordinarily simple to keep a starter going:  I don't add equal parts flour and water, I just shake in a couple of tablespoons of flour and if it seems dry, pour in a drop or two of water and stir.  It should be thick pancake batter consistency, but too thin is fine, as is too thick.  Forgetting to feed it for a few days is also fine.  When the bowl (I keep mine in a regular soup bowl when it's not in hibernation) is pretty much full, time to make bread.  I carefully ration feeding through the week so that baking day coincides with Sunday roast dinner, the one day we use the oven.

It's pretty easy to adapt a standard bread recipe to one using a starter.  Most start off with:  "Put a package of yeast into a cup of warm water and let sit for ten minutes."  Skip this and just use the cup of sourghdough starter instead.  It might take longer for dough to rise;  I usually make my dough the night before, let it rise in the mixer bowl overnight, then shape into loaves the next morning for afternoon baking.  Or I'll make it two days in advance, as it grows more sour the longer it's left to develop--I don't leave it for more than two days though, as the three day rise was almost too sour for us (we still ate it, of course).  

I've found the starter has a bit less oomph when used in a rich bread dough (for instance Brioche type doughs with lots of butter/fat/eggs) however, this is true of regular dry active yeast too, and my family doesn't mind having a slightly denser loaf because it's much tastier than any storebought bread.
 
Anne Miller
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Mike Barkley wrote:I'm a little confused. Are you adding a commercial sourdough starter yeast of some sort first or trying to use captured wild yeast? That's what I've always done so I leave the cover off for the first couple days to assist in the capture.



I never made starter before so I am just following his recipe.  Since the lid is loose maybe it gets some wild yeast?  Today is Day 10.  I forgot to feed it yesterday so I will feed it today.

Not sure yet what I will do tomorrow.  Too many irons on the fire.
 
Mike Barkley
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My understanding is there's so many wild yeasts floating around everywhere that it's nearly impossible not to have a few. Keep feeding your glob & enjoy!!!
 
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I started to make my bread with sourdough few months ago, from what I am reading fermentation is good to break down the phytic acid in the whole grain flour, I mix 1/3 whole grain wheat, 1/3 rye, and around 200 g starter, I put that in the oven to ferment on 30°C for like 4 hours, then I put  flax seeds, around 100g, which I have previously put in water(while the dough is fermenting), then I add the 1/3 white flour, it doesn have phytic acid so I dont ferment it, in the first part, then I mix all that for a last time andput it in the oven to rise really good(and it does because the bacteria go crazy after the white flour), and when it get really big after 1-2 hours in the oven on that low temperature, I just switch the temperature to 180°C and bake it, I am not sure for how long, I always forget to see the clock lol!
I just poke it with a knife to see whats going on inside, I make my dough with a little more water than the normal, I like my bread soft and with more moisture. I make a big dose of bread and put it in the fridge and just put few slices in the oven before eating it.
People think it is strange to invest time for making bread, but it worth it, I makeit exactly the way I like it, I cant find and buy what I make myself, I like bread but it should be a nice one, otherwise I dont like it, I am not that picky about anything else, I eat everything, I am not sure why it is so different with bread, my bread should be really fine, and the rest is not that important.

To add few more things, the rye is whole grain too, the starter is whole grain too, I just hold it in a jar, I pour the whole jar, and add flour and water around 50/50,  and the layer that have stayed on the jar from the starter I have used is enough to make the whole thing keep going again, but I put the jar with the new feed in the oven too (on 30°C) for few hours.
Actaully my dough gets so fluid that the shape ends up really flat, but I like it that way. I cover it with paper for baking and spray water on it so the crust gets really soft, actually its like there is not crust at all. I dont like the crust on the regular bread.
 
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I started baking by necessity in the late 80's, as I had a sandwich shop & I did not like the bread I was getting from the in town baker, .....fast forward I started making my own breads from scratch & got really good at it, as I needed to for my business to survive & thrive, then a few years later baking cheese/ garlic breads to sell at the widely known, Madison, Wi, farmers market, I kind of discovered sourdough by default, as this could be an easier, way for others ,........ I was running out time before I had to leave for the market & I had dough, that I did not have time to make in to bread before I left ! I left the gallons of dough at room temp for a few days, not knowing what I was going to do with it ! then 5 days later , my weekly baking program was at hand, I started incorporating about 2 lbs of the aged dough,with 10 lbs of fresh dough, ( I have a 20 QT, Hobart mixer ) leftover from 5 days ago , with my fresh, wet & dry mix & I could not believe how much better my overall bread had become , with that aged dough ! By experimenting with different ratios , you can create , just for more flavor & body or a real good sourdough bread ! I am still a baker for the market in Madison, Wi & wanted to share this, hoping it gives you more tasty options !
 
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I don't know a thing about baking bread, but when my daughter sends a loaf of her sourdough bread along with her kids as she did today when they came over for typing lessons, I ____ and ____. (What do you think goes in the blanks?)

http://mamajjsbread.blogspot.com/2009/02/understanding-concepts.html
 
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I’ve been doing wheatfree sourdough for over a decade and I got kinda attached to the microbes and worried I wouldn’t be able to re-domesticate a wild batch that tasted the same. So I dehydrated a spoonful or two and mixed it with some flour and froze it. That one time I needed to restart a batch I just re-hydrated the thawed frozen starter and everything was fine. No need to wait days/weeks for a new microbes to set up housekeeping.

I got the idea from an article about eastern European immigrants to the US. It said that folks spread their hometown sourdough starter on a cloth and let it dry and they then brought that cloth with them so they could continue to have the bread they loved in their new home.

The experts say that eventually all the sourdough microbes will be local. But if you dehydrate and freeze some you’ll save a bit of time.
 
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At some point in my long bread making career, I remember sitting down and having a good laugh about sourdough starters.  The society we live in today has gone over the top in "technicalities and rules".  Why I was laughing is because I was letting myself go back in time when everyone used starters to make bread.  They had no scales, no fancy equipment, no bottled water.....well, you get the idea.  And all those guys who were not married, maybe farmers or miners, they certainly didn't go thru all the laborious methods of making and keeping a starter.

And think even further back to medieval times.....you might laugh yourself now, thinking of this.  This is not rocket science.

So....I lightened up and I just stopped being so fanatical about making bread and all is well.  I make all kinds of starters now.....potato, raisin, pineapple...because remember any fruit will ferment, they make perfect starters. I place a new starter jar on a seedling mat, it heats at 70 decrees and I use the fruit or whatever, a couple cups or flour and some water.  I leave it there till it ferments, which is about 24 hours then I put a couple TBS of flour in it and put it in the frig. Done deal.
 
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2-3 years ago I found this article about rye starter:

https://www.weekendbakery.com/posts/rye-sourdough-starter-in-easy-steps/

I tried it - it worked.
This is how I started making my own breads.
Never looked back - home made breads are cheap, tasty, simple, and healthy.

Eventually, I stopped following any of the instructions - does not matter.
No need to throw any starter away either; I use everything.

The basic rye starter just works with ONE simple instruction - keep it at the "thick paste consistency".
The thick paste consistency is the only idea I follow now days.
When not in use - keeping the starter in the fridge for few days.

Couple of good bread links that I use as my baselines:

Russian Rye sourdough (and more!) - https://www.beetsandbones.com/

Jim Lahey basic 4-ingridient bread (modify as wish OR not) - https://www.browneyedbaker.com/no-knead-bread/






 
Gregory T. Russian
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Dell Knapp wrote: I am still a baker for the market in Madison, Wi & wanted to share this, hoping it gives you more tasty options !



Hi, the neighbor!

Eat bread!
The real bread, I mean.

https://qz.com/quartzy/1487485/the-scientific-case-for-eating-bread/
https://www.sourdough.co.uk/category/sourdough/sourdough-nutrition-digestibility/
 
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Thanks for starting this thread. I built my first sour dough starter about 2 months ago, and have been experimenting with sourdough bread and also pizza crust. I've had some success, but am not getting the rise out of my doughs that I would like. I think it mostly has to do with feeding properly before starting the fermentation (I store my start in fridge for 5 or 6 days without feeding), and also letting it rise for the right amount of time. Still playing!

I'll try the recipe from the video the original poster threw up (part 2 is the recipe).

I've been following directions on The Perfect Loaf website. https://www.theperfectloaf.com/7-easy-steps-making-incredible-sourdough-starter-scratch/ I like how thorough he is, and there is lots to learn here, but I feel that he is a little too technical for my taste. From my previous experience making pizza doughs (using fast rise yeast), it mostly comes down to a "feel", aside from some initial ingredient measurements. My best pizza doughs were always a result of winging it, by feel.
 
Anne Miller
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Thanks everyone for the links, tips and comments.

Several days ago, I decided that I was not happy with my starter.  After much reading I started a new starter yesterday using my starter.  So far I like the looks of it.

I found that some of my all purpose flour was actually self-rising flour.  Like a good daughter, I bought self rising flour for years because that is what my mother bought.  After I quit buying self rising flour, I evidently had some still in my flour container.

Self rising flour, water temperature and room temperature is what I feel was the problem with my starter.

I have looked at my new starter several times and it is looking good.  The instructions say wait 24 hours which will be at 5:45pm.
 
Gregory T. Russian
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Nick Turner wrote:.... he is a little too technical for my taste....



Pretty much too technical.
These technicalities only confuse people and scare them away.

Once I figured the process out using the whole-grain rye flour, I never, ever measure anything again.
The starter was done by eye for centuries - no scales or measurement spoons.

The whole-grain rye starter just works by eye - no fuss, no complications, no non-sense.
This is really that trivial - the whole-grain rye flour does it all.

I have been using hodgson's rye flour for my starter - https://www.hodgsonmill.com/products/rye-flour

 
Nick Turner
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Anne Miller wrote:Thanks everyone for the links, tips and comments.

Several days ago, I decided that I was not happy with my starter.  After much reading I started a new starter yesterday using my starter.  So far I like the looks of it.

I found that some of my all purpose flour was actually self-rising flour.  Like a good daughter, I bought self rising flour for years because that is what my mother bought.  After I quit buying self rising flour, I evidently had some still in my flour container.

Self rising flour, water temperature and room temperature is what I feel was the problem with my starter.

I have looked at my new starter several times and it is looking good.  The instructions say wait 24 hours which will be at 5:45pm.



Anne, if you really want to get your starter active, use Rye or Whole Wheat flower (Rye is the best), like Gregory was saying above. They have more nutrients for the yeast in your starter, and really activate it better than an all purpose flower. Very noticeable difference in how active it will get in 24 hours. Especially Rye! This is one of the only tricks/tips I know in my small amount of experience
 
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I am a 4th generation baker.
Agree, use rye.  Or get a starter from somewhere.  Mine is from the Yukon gold rush.  They said!
Sour dough is a rough and tumble endeavor,  relax, don't worry about the technicalities.  
 
Anne Miller
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12/20/18   I thought I would post an update on my starter that I made from the starter that I didn't like;  I lost track of the days though this maybe day 3 or 4.  It is bubbling the way the starters look in the pictures.  I decided that with the Christmas weekend coming up, I will have to postpone bread making so I feed it and plan to put it in the refrigerator tonight.

I am finding so many neat stuff to do with all that discarded starter.  This is my new favorite website for bread making:   https://www.theperfectloaf.com/my-top-3-leftover-sourdough-starter-recipes/   Thanks, Nick for sharing The Perfect Loaf.

I also finding this article very helpful:  https://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/sourdough/use-discarded-sourdough-starter/

This one https://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/sourdough/making-sourdough-fit-your-life has information on making a Dry Starter and how to proof the starter in the refrigerator.

Here are some recipes that I plan to try:

https://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/recipe/sourdough-recipes/sourdough-banana-bread

https://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/recipe/sourdough-recipes/sourdough-pie-crust

https://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/recipe/sourdough-recipes/savory-vegetable-cheddar-sourdough-pancakes
 
Nick Turner
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I checked out the starter recipe listed in the first post, I continued reading and found that chef's sourdough recipe, and it worked out great! https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/260540/chef-johns-sourdough-bread/

Per the recipe, I think that letting the dough rise for 6 hours AFTER removing it from fridge was an important step, and during that time the dough ball rose the most - right before I baked it. The last two hours of rising is when it really seemed to grow and change texture (poking it). I also made sure that my stater was SUPER active. Feeding it with Rye-only for 2 days before starting... making sure that it was at it's peak of activity before I mixed it in (It was at least 2x it's original size, and very bubbly). I think that helped a lot too.

I used:
-50% all purpose flour
-25% whole wheat
-25% Rye

IMG_8788.jpg
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Borislav Iliev
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Finally I made the bread I was thinking about for some time now.
I used Einkorn wheat(Triticum monococcum), the old variety of wheat, I sprouted it for 3 days, then I grind it with pestle and mortar, I was not very good at this so some seeds remained whole, but they were very soft from the sprouting so it is teeth friendly, after that I fermented it using that sourdough starter, both the sprouting and the fermentation make the wheat very digestible, both are good for the elimination of the phytic acid, also the glycemic index should be really low, after all there is no flour(well only that from the starter), and the fermentation play a good role in "eating" some of the fast carbs there.

They say all that with sprouting of the seed is ancient recipe for making bread that was mentioned in the bible even, the product is so much different than the bread people eat today, it hardly has anything in common, also it taste really right, and doesnt give that feeling of being tired and lazy after eating it, also the flavor is really rich, and the taste also, fermentation adds lots of flavor, but sprouting add some too. I am not sure all people will find it better than the common thing now, but definitely it should be much better from nutritional point of view.

And despite the fact that einkorn wheat is more expensive, when you make the bread yourself the cost come close to buying ordinary bread from the market.
20181226_104418_resized.jpg
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Borislav Iliev wrote:Finally I made the bread I was thinking about for some time now.... also it taste really right, and doesnt give that feeling of being tired and lazy after eating it, also the flavor is really rich, and the taste also, fermentation adds lots of flavor, but sprouting add some too.



This sounds great! I don't have access to Einkorn wheat but I want to try this method with local wheat from where I live.
 
Borislav Iliev
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^I have tried that first with ordinary wheat, but when the wheat sprouted and was ready I busted my sourdough starter, I had put it in the oven on a little bit higher temperature and it died, so I had to wait two more days until it started going again, and meanwhile the wheat got really long roots, so I boiled it a little bit and put it in the fridge to wait, but that ordinary wheat never became as soft as the Einkorn, and I am not sure what would have happened if I didnt boil it first, because my method of grinding it is not really efficient, and if there are some grains that are left whole and hard it may be slightly unpleasant.

I mean my advice is to try how soft the grains become after they have sprouted and if they are not very soft maybe you should boil them for like 5 min, until they change color, its a little bit hard work with the grinding but it worth it, I am not sure why it took me so long to try it though, its not that scary recipe. Also I cheated a little bit by adding a little bit of rye flour just to absorb the extra moisture from my starter which is very fluid, also the grind sprout grains have lots of moisture too so it is a little bit hard and messy to work with that.

 
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