A n00b attempts Sourdough and Reports

July 23, 2009

Starter – from scratch – update

Filed under: Rising, sourdough, Starter, Time — Tags: , , , , — alie0bronwynn @ 3:59 am

Ok, so – my new starter is already kicking ass and taking names.  Some “facts” though.

Starter recipe from scratch note: Within 24 hours your starter should have doubled and should have a nice froth on the top.

Starter1 has NEVER doubled in 24 hours except maybe the first time I ever made bread with it.  Period.

Starter 2 has been doubling (no froth) for the last 6 days or so.  Whohoo!  Obviously this bodes well for when I actually make bread with it.

The blue rubber band represents not only Starter 2 – but where it was this morning when I dumped most of it and added 100g of flour and 100g of water.  So just 12 hours later – OVER doubled.  YAHOO!

12Hours

The other big note is that you can REALLY see the difference.  The new starter is full of big air bubbles.  I know eventually that translate into some kick butt bread that’ll be nice and fluffy.  Take a look at the other starter – hardly any air bubbles!

The only thing with starter 2 right now is no froth.  Here’s a side by side comparison with Starter 1.  Starter one DOES tend to froth more than Starter 2.

Starter 1

Starter 1

Starter 2

Starter 2

So we’ll see how that goes in the next few days.  Starter 2 is SUPPOSED to be done in a day or two…

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July 14, 2009

Ok… what the hell is a starter?

Filed under: Rising, sourdough, Starter — Tags: , , , — alie0bronwynn @ 3:09 pm

Alright.  Sourdough basic – the STARTER.

You know how when you bake bread SOMETHING makes it rise?  Well, there are breads, like bananna breads, that rise in the oven like a cake does – usually I think the rising ingredient is baking soda.  I think.  It might be baking powder.  Honestly, I never really researched it.

In other breads – it’s yeast.  With yeast breads they rise OUTSIDE of the oven.  Because temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit will kill yeast.  Which I’ve learned the hard way.  Which is also one of the reasons you wait for your bread to fully rise BEFORE sending it to the oven.  Otherwise you get this ridiculously dense loaf of bread which feels like it weighs a ton of bricks.  Though, honestly, when thinly sliced makes a good sort of cracker for cheese.  I digress.

STARTER:  A STARTER is a natural form of yeast that sourdough bakers use to MAKE sourdough bread.  In the past, because a STARTER is something you keep alive and growing it allowed people to always have yeast on hand for bread before we had the handy little yeast packets.  Now, the reason you make sourdough with a STARTER instead of a yeast packet is because a STARTER being alive and growing is what gives the bread that sourdough taste.  If you smell an active STARTER it smells sour… yum.

Most basic books I found told me to create my STARTER using a packet of yeast.  This was easy.  My STARTER was mixing flour, water and yeast together and letting it sit out for a days.  This allowed the yeast to get active and gobble up all the yummy flour and water.  THIS IS A MISTAKE!!

As I’ve learned later, one of the things that gives Sourdough that TRULY unique sour taste is by creating the yeast BY JUST having flour and water.  This is a MUCH longer process (one I’m going through right now).  Apparently that’s why “REAL” sourdough bakers insist you never use yeast to start your STARTER.  Not because you are being a lazy bastard, but because it will detract from the real sourdough taste.  And that’s what we are after.

So that’s what a STARTER is.   Lesson over.

Starter 1 - made from flour, water and yeast packet

Starter 1 - made from flour, water and yeast packet

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