PDA

View Full Version : Sourdough Baking & Cooking



L M Ashton
05-07-2008, 05:00 PM
So I noticed from another thread that there's at least one person visiting this forum other than myself who uses sourdough. :hooray:Hi Snowstorm! So I'm wondering if anyone else here uses sourdough starters for baking & cooking as well, and if so, what for and what recipes and that sort of thing. :)

I mentioned in the no knead/low knead thread that I started using sourdough recently. It's been about a month, or a little bit more. I started my own using instructions I found online - equal weights of whole wheat flour and water (boiled, room temperature - boiled because our water is not considered safe to drink due to all the beasties and whatnot in it). It took only a couple or three days until I had a starter active enough to raise bread properly, so happiness reigns. And his name is Sam. :)

And so you know the history of why I decided to go sourdough... Originally, it was because the yeast I bought at the store was nearly dead. Packages in March 2008, bought in the first few days of March 2008, and in a bit of warm water and sugar, nearly no activity at all. Which makes sense, given our problems of other reliable products here. So, in a fit of pissed-off-ness, I decided to try out sourdough so I'd never have to rely on yeast sources again. And then I started learning that sourdough is actually healthier than yeast bread. Bonus! I'll try to dig up some links on that, too.

Since then, I've made the sourdough version of the NYT no-knead recipe that I mentioned in the other thread, plus...

Sourdough cinnamon buns (where the heck did I put that link?) that makes way too much for us. I've halved the recipe and still get a full pan (13"x9") of cinnamon buns. Done many variations on it, including with freshly shredded coconut added to the butter and sugar, and so far, that's the fave. I'm considering doing a version of the coconut filling with lime zest added since coconut and lime go so incredibly well together.

A sourdough chocolate cake (http://www.floras-hideout.com/recipes/recipes.php?page=recipes&data=s/Sourdough_Chocolate_Cake) (although I didn't use coffee, but instead increased the milk quantity), which was fantastically moist, and quite likely the moistest cake I've ever had.

Sourdough coconut pancakes (http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/coconut-macaroon-pancakes-recipe.html), which are a huge hit with us. I've made it with freshly shredded coconut instead of dried, so had to adjust the liquid/flour amounts a bit to compensate for the extra wetness in the coconut. These are massively good and even better with, say, pureed papaya on top.

A lemon-lime sourdough cake that really wasn't and isn't worth sharing the recipe because, really, it's a failure and the recipe itself should be burned in the depths of hell. I'll never make this recipe again. Never. I wonder if I should burn the recipe in effigy?

I'm planning on using sourdough even more. Just have to find good recipes. :)

What about you? What kinds of things do you make with sourdough starters and what kinds of recipes do you have to share?

Snowstorm
05-08-2008, 04:30 PM
Howdy L M Ashton!

I'm so tickled to hear you started your starter with just flour and water! When I got fascinated with sourdough a couple years ago, nearly all the recipes on line had the starters using yeast. Bah!

My starter is also only flour and water. I think folks think I'm lying about that. My bread is only flour, water and salt, and it's perfect for french toast. The texture is a mite tougher than plain white bread (which gets so mushy) and holds up much better. The tang of sourness really sets it off.

My favorite is using this as a pizza crust. Like most folks, I'm hyper critical of whatever I make, but this dough is the best! I add semolina flour also in the dough.

The coolest thing I have I last year I was given a portion of the sourdough starter that goes back to 1890! It belonged to the woman who built this place--the one whose spoons are hanging in my kitchen! I want to get her bread recipe first and switch over to hers. She's my inspiration and how wonderful to serve her sourdough bread in her place.

Funny, though, I love sourdough bread, but HATE sourdough pancakes. Can't stand the taste or the texture. Your sourdough chocolate cake sounds incredible.

Snowstorm
05-08-2008, 04:37 PM
I got my starter from a professional baker. She swears she never used yeast to start it or add to it. Since I've made over 50 loaves with it, I know she was truthful.

What is it about sourdough starter that makes it so fascinating? Its old-timiness? Its simple complication? Its humbleness?

I came across on old saying that a pioneer would rather have his horse stolen than his sourdough starter.

Azure Skye
05-08-2008, 05:25 PM
I'll have to look for the other threads but I've been tossing around the idea of making sourdough bread for the past week. I read it's better for you, low on the glycemic index too. You can make this without yeast you say?

L M Ashton
05-08-2008, 05:48 PM
Snowstorm, I looked specifically for instructions that didn't include yeast for making a starter. One, because that type of yeast isn't good for me, and two, because the yeast I bought was dead. I needed something that I could do with what was on hand. :)

But seriously, again, what's with the no-recipe thing? It's the greatest bread you've ever made, but no recipe? And the pizza crust? Seriously, what's wrong with this picture? ;)

Yeah, I agree with you about a starter from 1890 being really cool. That has me impressed. :) Do you find a taste difference between that old of a starter versus a more recent one? This is something that I'm curious about... :)

For me, the fascination is in it being healthier - the lower glycemic index, the friendly bacteria & yeasts, and so on. Happily, the husband likes sourdough and my sourdough creations more than regular store-bought bread and store-bought sweet breads. He likes the flavour of the sourdough as long as it's not too sour, but then, I agree with him on that score.

I think I had sourdough pancakes when I was 15, but oddly enough, it's a memory I've blocked out. No idea what that's about. :D I think I'll eventually try them now and hopefully have a better experience with them. :)

Azure Skye, I tried both white flour and whole wheat flour (atta flour)(we can't get rye flour here, or I would have used that), and the white flour didn't work, but the wheat flour went like gangbusters! I was really surprised and impressed. :) If you like, I can find a link for instructions, but it won't be today and not tomorrow, either - we're sick here (possibly Dengue) and I can't spend too much time on the computer right now - light sensitivity problems.

Azure Skye
05-08-2008, 08:47 PM
Azure Skye, I tried both white flour and whole wheat flour (atta flour)(we can't get rye flour here, or I would have used that), and the white flour didn't work, but the wheat flour went like gangbusters! I was really surprised and impressed. :) If you like, I can find a link for instructions, but it won't be today and not tomorrow, either - we're sick here (possibly Dengue) and I can't spend too much time on the computer right now - light sensitivity problems.

That's ok. I've been looking on the net and found a few. The one in my cookbook, Betty Crocker, uses yeast and I'd like to get away from using yeast. I'll keep doing my research because this seems like a longer process than just regular bread. Thanks for the tips. I'll keep checking back to see if you add anymore tidbits.

Take care of yourself!

L M Ashton
05-09-2008, 06:14 AM
I've read dissenting opinions that the yeasts and bacteria used to make a sourdough starter come from the air or come from the flour. Given my experience with white flour vs. wheat flour, it looks to me like the yeasts and bacteria are in the flour. And other people have done experiments with bleached flour vs. rye flour or something like that, and the result is that bleached flour rots but rye flour becomes sourdough starter - or something similar to that. My brain is not entirely firing on all cylinders right now.

The other thing to consider is that yeast - the packaged stuff that we buy - has only been around for a hundred years. Sourdough starters and sourdough breads have been around for thousands of years. So, you know, not started with commercial yeast. :) Just to point out the obvious - it's definitely possible to start a sourdough starter without the yeast.

There are recipes around for sourdough starters that contain grapes or raisins or milk or other stuff. I don't know how they compare since that's not what I went with. I've read opinions by some people that say that the bacteria or yeasts from those other ingredients only make it longer for the bacteria & yeasts in the flour to take a firm foothold. I don't know if it's true or not. You'll have to decide what you want to do. But since just flour and water (boiled and at room temperature) worked for me, I don't think those other things are at all necessary.

Keep us posted on how it goes if you decide to this. :)

(And I've been informed that this could also be chikunguniya, which is also going around Sri Lanka right now. Lovely.)

L M Ashton
05-09-2008, 06:20 AM
I'll keep doing my research because this seems like a longer process than just regular bread.

Do you mean a longer process in terms of from start to finish making a loaf of sourdough bread takes longer? That's definitely true, which means that it can take a bit more planning if you're planning a special meal or something. But it doesn't take more work. And if you go the no-knead or low-knead methods, it can take much much less work, but those methods work on both yeast and sourdough breads.

My sourdough cinnamon buns, for example... If I start them in the morning, say 9am, I can have them in the oven around 3 or 4 using a low-knead method. My total work is mixing for two minutes, then kneading three times for ten seconds, then a stretch and fold for ten seconds, then rolling out the dough and smothering in butter, sugar, and cinnamon for five minutes, then cleanup for three minutes for a total of about, um, (can I add?) 11 minutes of work. Which ain't bad considering it gives us breakfast for three or four days.

The thing is that quicker breads don't have the same flavour that longer developing breads have. They can't - they haven't had the time to develop the flavour. But yeast breads are quicker, more convenient, and if the yeast is good, gives a more consistent result (I say that only because there's a bit more of a learning curve with sourdough breads, but once you've got the hang of it, sourdough is just as consistent.) But sourdough tastes better and is healthier, so I'll still go sourdough.

YMMV. :)

Devil Ledbetter
05-10-2008, 04:51 PM
I got the 1847 Oregon Trail Sourdough (http://www.browniepointsblog.com/2007/02/09/1847-oregon-trail-sourdough-starter-for-you/) years ago. We make sourdough pizza with it every Friday, but it also makes fantastic biscuits.

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one with one these mysterious looking jars in the fridge. I love my sourdough starter. It's like a member of the family. One time, my husband threw it out when I had it waiting in a measuring cup while the jar soaked. I was heartbroken. And wouldn't you know it was the ONLY thing he "cleaned" in the kitchen that night. Um, thanks.

Fortunately, I'd saved a couple of "safeties" in the freezer and was able to resurrect it.

Also, I hear they used to chink cabins with this stuff, and having had to use a sledgehammer to break up dried drips of it, I completely believe that.

We tried the King Arthur starter sold in some fancy baking catalog for a while, but it was way too aggressive. I got tired of cleaning sourdough splooge out of my fridge no matter big a jar I gave it or how subtly I fed the thing. The Oregon Trail isn't nearly as aggressive, but I just add regular yeast to my recipes along with it.

L M Ashton
05-10-2008, 05:24 PM
Very very cool! My sourdough starter is a baby at only a month and a half old. Do you know if the flavours of the sourdough starters vary much?

Devil Ledbetter
05-10-2008, 06:27 PM
Do you know if the flavours of the sourdough starters vary much?

They do. The flavor comes from the strain of yeast in the culture. The west coast had some flavorful strains which is why real San Francisco sourdough is so famous. It made from a particular strain of yeast.

You could make your own sourdough starting with baking yeast, but it won't be as good as some of the other cultures. I tried it and it wasn't nearly as good as the Oregon Trail starter. Also, I haven't tried this, but apparently you can catch yeast from the air. (http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/sourdough2.htm)

LLL's cookbook Whole Foods for the Whole Family (http://www.amazon.com/Whole-Foods-Family-Cookbook/dp/0912500433) has a nice section on sourdough.

L M Ashton
05-10-2008, 06:48 PM
I don't want to step within ten feet of commercial yeast if I don't have to. It's not good for my particular body.

I've heard about that "catching yeast from the air" thing and have read other articles where that theory has been debunked. One guy, from what I recall, tried making sourdough starter from scratch (just water and flour, nothing else) with flour and boiling water and alternately with flour and room temperature water. The boiling water ones rotted whereas the room temperature water ones developed into sourdough.

Personally, I tried making sourdough starter with white flour and water first, and it rotted. Everything else being the same, I also did it with wheat flour and water, and it started off like gangbusters. Same type of containers (to identical shapes and sizes), same room, same kitchen table, same everything. Except for white vs. wheat. So, personally, I go with the opinion that came from the experimenter above who said that it's actually from the bacteria and yeasts that are already on the wheat and therefore in the flour when it's ground. If my white flour was either bleached or ground at too high a temperature, that could account for things.

Kalyke
05-10-2008, 07:06 PM
I love baking with sour dough starter. It really makes a difference, and tastes good. The recipe that I used for starter is just 1 cup of flour, 1 cup water and 3 tsp sugar. Mix daily and open the jar lid to get rid of pressure. Never touch with metal. use when a layer of clear "alcohol" can be seen floating on the top (mix it before use). You add the yeast when you mix the bread dough. The stuff is fabulous. I make 2 loaves of bread per week. I'm a little behind right now. Since I bake every week, I also keep it on the back of the stove top. I bake my own bread because I can make the same loaf I'd buy at the store for 3-4$ for something like 75 cents, the price of flour and the yeast. I also don't like the fact that store bread is created for keeping on a shelf. This is unnatural. All those preservatives couldn't be good.

oh, L M Ashton, you need to add sugar to the mix. Flour and water are "paper mache paste"

Snowstorm
05-11-2008, 02:50 AM
oh, L M Ashton, you need to add sugar to the mix. Flour and water are "paper mache paste"

I disagree/agree, Use Her Name. I never use sugar. My starter is only flour and water and it bubbles like crazy and makes tall bread. You are right about the "paper mache paste." If I make a mistake and let a slotch dry on a spoon or bowl, it takes a lot of work to get it off. I swear NASA could replace the heat shields on the space shuttle and use blocks of my sourdough starter. They'd never fall off!

SouthernFriedJulie
05-11-2008, 03:57 AM
I catch my own yeast. It is about time to begin doing that again. It's not hard and is a really neat way to make your own unique tasting loaf.

Since I refuse to do anything the 'right' way, sort of maverick'd my way through it. Started my batch with a 2 quart container, lukewarm water, a bit of sugar, and flour. Placed a screen over the top and sat it beside an open window each day.

If your starter changes to pink, green, or grey, toss it and start again (but you guys know this probably). Wild yeast needs to be fed often if you want to really establish a good colony.

L M Ashton
05-11-2008, 05:22 AM
I've never added sugar to my starter and it works just fine. From what I've been reading, there are a tonne of people who use just flour and water in their sourdough starters, no sugar, and theirs also works just fine. Nope, sugar is not necessary. Neither are grapes or raisins or yoghurt or kefir or milk.

And I don't add yeast to the starter or the bread when I bake - no commercial yeast has touched any of my sourdough products. And yet, they rise just as good as commercial yeast does it. How do you think they did it before commercial yeast came on the market a hundred years ago?

Mine never develops a layer of alcohol on top, but I'm using a drier ratio than you, Use Her Name, at equal weights of both flour and water for 100% hydration. From what I've read, some claim that the liquid layer forms when there isn't enough food for the starter to feed on. I don't know how true that is, but I do know that my starter bubbles quite ferociously, doubling in an hour when I feed it and quadrupling if I leave it longer. Like I said, it rises my bread just fine without the addition of any commercial yeast.

Azure Skye
05-12-2008, 05:46 PM
This is one site I found. Good?
http://www.io.com/~sjohn/sour.htm

L M Ashton
05-13-2008, 05:22 AM
Yeah, it looks fine. :) (I'm sorry, was I supposed to find links for you? I forgot. I plead sick.)

The reality is that there are a lot of directions for making a sourdough starter. All that that proves is that there are a lot of different ways to do it, and most of them will work.

Some sites will say no stainless steel (or, rather, no metal of any kind). Others will say stainless steel is fine. In my experience, with our very crappy quality of stainless steel here, stainless steel will kill the starter. But the emphasis is on the very crappy quality of stainless steel that we have. Ours stains. And rusts. And flakes. Because this is a third world country and we don't deserve quality products or something.

To be safe, go with zero risk of reactivity and use glass or plastic.

Some sites will say to use rye flour only, others will say use whatever flour you've got. We can't get rye flour, so I went with whole wheat flour, which went like gangbusters and was completely bubbly day two and three. White flour didn't work for me at all, but mine may be bleached - there are no labelling laws in this country.

Anyway, like I said, there's a great deal of flexibility, so have fun. :) Let us know how it goes, eh? :)

Azure Skye
05-22-2008, 05:24 PM
I finally started my starter yesterday. Yay. We'll see how it goes.

WriteKnight
05-22-2008, 05:35 PM
Living here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I read a report that says the distinctive flavor of San Francisco Sourdough, is due more to the particular BACTERIA that lives in the air here. Apparently, it won't survive anywhere else. So SF sourdough starter that is taken away from the Bay Area, will taste slightly different.

L M Ashton
05-23-2008, 06:25 AM
Azure Skye, please keep us updated. I'd love to hear how it goes. :)

icerose
05-23-2008, 06:45 AM
Well I'll be the first one to admit I'm not a fan of sourdough, but my sister and I have been experimenting with cinnamon roll variations.

Instead of cinnamon and sugar mixture, we do chopped up fruit. Like pinnapple with sprinkled coconut in the middle with a coconut frosting on top, or adding in orange juice and zest to the dough, then putting in chopped up strawberries and pineapple in the middle with a tropical like frosting on top. It really reduces the added sugar content and adds in fruit.

Kalyke
05-23-2008, 09:11 AM
I disagree/agree, Use Her Name. I never use sugar. My starter is only flour and water and it bubbles like crazy and makes tall bread. You are right about the "paper mache paste." If I make a mistake and let a slotch dry on a spoon or bowl, it takes a lot of work to get it off. I swear NASA could replace the heat shields on the space shuttle and use blocks of my sourdough starter. They'd never fall off!

I'll try that. My old recipe has sugar.

Azure Skye
05-23-2008, 04:46 PM
Azure Skye, please keep us updated. I'd love to hear how it goes. :)

It's working. Yay!

:e2woo::e2cheer:

L M Ashton
05-23-2008, 05:46 PM
You have bubble action? :eek:


Okay, mine only took two days for bubble action, too, but I'm in tropical weather, and the heat certainly helps things along...

Azure Skye
05-23-2008, 08:32 PM
You have bubble action? :eek:


Okay, mine only took two days for bubble action, too, but I'm in tropical weather, and the heat certainly helps things along...

A little. I took a whiff of it too. It's developing a beery smell.

L M Ashton
05-24-2008, 05:36 AM
Most excellent! Have you been thinking of what you're going to name him/her/it?

icerose
05-24-2008, 06:38 AM
I take it back that I never cook with non-yeast type breads. I absolutely love the Amish friendship breads and cakes and such. I have my own recipe for a starter because I get tired of keeping it up, then want it again a few months later.

Azure Skye
05-24-2008, 05:13 PM
Most excellent! Have you been thinking of what you're going to name him/her/it?

Sheila.

Sourdough Sheila.

L M Ashton
05-24-2008, 05:50 PM
Mine is Sam. Sourdough Sam. If I ever give any of it away, those will be The Son of Sam. :D

Azure Skye
05-24-2008, 07:20 PM
Mine is Sam. Sourdough Sam. If I ever give any of it away, those will be The Son of Sam. :D

HA! Good one.

dolores haze
05-24-2008, 07:50 PM
How much care does the sourdough starter need? Would it survive if I went away for a few weeks? How often does it need to be fed?

I'm thinking of giving it a go. I LOVE sourdough bread and I can't buy decent sourdough bread where I live.

Has anyone read Anthony Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential?" Their starter was called "The Bitch", because it was so aggressive and required so much attention.

L M Ashton
05-25-2008, 05:11 AM
Dolores, mine lives in the fridge most of the time and I feed it at the same time that I take some of it out to use it for bread or cake or whatever, so I feed it twice or three times a week. But I'm also making cinnamon rolls/sweet rolls every three days since that's what the hubby gets for breakfast, so it's a good schedule to keep it all very active.

On the sourdough group I'm on, people have talked about leaving theirs unfed in the fridge for a few weeks with no problems, but generally, they also tend to have dried or frozen backups in case their main starter in the fridge doesn't survive. Some people keep theirs on the counter and feed it every day. Some people regularly use their sourdough starter once a week or perhaps less often and feed it only then. In other words, it varies. :D But personally, I found it so easy to start the thing that I wouldn't worry if it died - if it did, I'd just start a new one and be using it on day three or four. Remember, millions of people have been using sourdough starters and other natural levains for thousands of years before commercial yeast appeared on the scene a hundred years ago. This isn't rocket science. :)

Another thing to keep in mind is how the starter is used. In all of the instructions I read, nowhere did it say anything other than "sourdough starter". No indications that the starter should be active when it's used. So, there's a tip for y'all if you haven't already figured it out - it took me a couple of loaves. ;) That means that I feed the starter to reach the required amount and let it sit for a couple of hours until it's active, and then use it.

icerose
05-25-2008, 05:28 AM
I need to get the non-sour sourdough recipes from you LM. I can't stand the sour taste, but if you know of some that aren't sour, I'd really appreciate them.

L M Ashton
05-25-2008, 06:22 AM
I don't think it's recipes so much as technique.

The first thing you need to know is that the longer you let the dough rise and do its thing, the more sour it gets. If you stick it in the fridge overnight to continue rising the following day, it's going to be more sour. If you can find a nice, warm place for the bread to rise, that'll speed up rising time, so it'll be less sour.

The second thing is that you can, to a certain degree, manipulate how sour your sourdough starter gets, which in turn can affect how sour the bread turns out. From what I've read, it seems that part of it is how old the starter itself is - mine is very young, so not as sour. But I gather that the longer you leave it out to grow and be active, the more sour it gets. I use mine two or three times a week, and other than for a couple or three hours after I feed it, it lives in the fridge, and mine isn't that sour, yet it has no problem making bread rise. There's probably more information out there on how to manipulate it so it's not that sour - you and I aren't the only ones who don't like the sourness. :)

Please understand that, in all of this, I'm still new to sourdough. I've been doing it for all of a month and a half. :) But I'm anal, so I tend to research things to death... :)

I don't have that many recipes that I've proved work for me and that I like - I've tried others, but they either aren't suitable or I don't have them entirely worked out. Because it's only the two of us, there's only so much bread I can make in a week and expect it to get eaten.

The sourdough cinnamon buns recipe I use, I've converted to weight (I prefer baking by weight rather than by volume) and I've found that half the recipe makes one 9x13" pan, whereas 1/3 of the recipe makes one 8x8" pan, so I don't make the entire recipe. Generally, the 1/3 recipe, or one 8x8 pan, makes enough for three days of breakfasts for Fahim and I, and if it's any older than that, it gets a little stale anyway, so that's about as long as I'd want it to last anyway. But when his parents came for a visit, they scarfed the whole pan down in one day. With no help from us. :) So when they visit, I'll have to make the 9x13" pan probably every other day. I'm trying to find the link to the original recipe, but I'm having trouble locating it. Let me look around and I'll update this post with the URL as soon as I've got it.

And here's a sourdough naan (http://porcinichronicles.blogspot.com/2007/07/sourdough-naan.html) recipe I found that I absolutely love, which I've also converted to weights. We didn't have yoghurt, so I used water buffalo curd (which is a cultured dairy product similar to yoghurt but with water buffalo milk and a different strain of bacteria instead). Nice and soft dough. I also used it for homemade pizza and it worked very well.

I also have the other two sourdough recipes I linked to in my opening post. They aren't bread - one is for sourdough chocolate cake and the other is for sourdough coconut pancakes - but they are both excellent.

icerose
05-25-2008, 06:00 PM
Thanks, I appreciate that.

L M Ashton
05-25-2008, 06:43 PM
One more thing about making it less sour... This was something that I wondered about, and it was coincidentally answered today on the sourdough Yahoo! group I'm on. Here's what the person said:


Yes, a shorter rise time will get you less sour bread, as will using more starter as a percentage of your final recipe. Don't know why, but assume it has to do with rise time, again...

Which makes sense to me. BUT if you're going to add more sourdough starter to decrease the rise time, then make sure you adjust the recipe to decrease the proper amount of flour and liquid for the amount that's in the extra starter.

Another thing to consider in your sourdough travels is that most recipes don't specify the hydration of the sourdough starter, so you might have to make adjustments just because your sourdough starter might have more or less liquid than the sourdough starter used by the person providing the recipe. Personally, I use a 100% hydration starter by weight - 45 g flour to 45 g water, for example. It's easy math plus the starter gets enough food that I haven't had a problem with it getting active pretty fast. But relative to many other people's starters, mine is quite dry, so I'm always prepared to add more flour or less liquid. A more liquid starter at the same weight might be, for example, 30 g flour to 60 g water, so 200% hydration.

But, as I think of it, my drier starter means it's more active by weight since it has more food and therefore more organisms than a more liquid starter, so it makes sense that, just using the same amount of starter by weight but using a drier one, I don't get a strong sour flavour. Cool. :)

As a side note, I'm typing up my sourdough cinnamon bun recipe since I cannot for the life of me find the blog I stole it from. I'll give it to you as soon as I'm done, but I'm also heading for bed in a few minutes, so it'll be tomorrow before it happens. :)

L M Ashton
05-25-2008, 06:51 PM
Oh! Another thing! It also has to do with which particular organisms you have growing in your sourdough starter. The San Francisco sourdough starters have a different bacteria which produces a very sour flavour. I don't know which organisms I have growing, nor do I know which organisms you'll have growing. However, from what I've read, it seems much more likely that the bacteria and yeasts that make the sourdough starters bubble and froth are actually there in the flour itself, so if you try one type of flour for your starter and it's too sour, try another type of flour and that might be enough to make a difference. Just a guess on my part, but it seems logical.

I don't have rye flour, so I'm not using rye for my starter. I'm using just whole wheat (atta) flour. I don't know how it would be different if I tried white, but I'm happy with what I have, so I currently have no reason to experiment. But if you wind up with something you don't like, I'd be inclined to try something else and see what happens.

The other thing is that there are people on the Yahoo! sourdough group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sourdough/) I'm on who offer to mail starters to other people for the cost of postage. Some of them keep multiple starters in their fridges because of the different flavours (due to the different bacterias and yeasts) in them that they impart to the breads. You could also ask for a mild-flavoured starter and chances are really good you'd get offers. :)

Azure Skye
05-25-2008, 08:48 PM
Sheila's growing. She's starting to froth and bubble. I had her in a glass jar but switched to a plastic container today. Today, she's very active.

ColoradoGuy
05-25-2008, 08:59 PM
I got the 1847 Oregon Trail Sourdough (http://www.browniepointsblog.com/2007/02/09/1847-oregon-trail-sourdough-starter-for-you/) years ago.
Me too--I've had several starter versions over the years and that one is the best I've had. I dried some away in bits, both in case of fridge disaster and so I can mail it.

L M Ashton
05-31-2008, 04:57 PM
Hey, Azure Skye, have you made anything with Sheila yet?

Azure Skye
06-01-2008, 09:57 PM
I made my first loaf about a week ago. It does have a hint of sour but it's tolerable. However, it weighs a ton. The bread is very dense. Is that normal for sour dough? I'd like make a fluffier loaf. Any suggestions.

L M Ashton
06-02-2008, 05:19 AM
My sourdough bread is plenty fluffy most of the time, and so's other people's, so no, not normal.

Sourdough bread takes longer to rise. If a yeast bread will double in volume in an hour, then sourdough will likely take 2 or 3. That's just the nature of the beast - it takes longer. Did you let it double in volume and all that jazz? (Please please please keep in mind I'm no expert!)

Azure Skye
06-02-2008, 05:18 PM
My sourdough bread is plenty fluffy most of the time, and so's other people's, so no, not normal.

Sourdough bread takes longer to rise. If a yeast bread will double in volume in an hour, then sourdough will likely take 2 or 3. That's just the nature of the beast - it takes longer. Did you let it double in volume and all that jazz? (Please please please keep in mind I'm no expert!)

It rose fine the first time, right after I mixed it and kneaded it. It was when I made it into a loaf that it...no, it did rise that time too. Hm...

What recipe are you using?

L M Ashton
06-02-2008, 06:55 PM
I've been mainly cooking up cinnamon rolls, and those rise great. The loaf bread I've tried I wasn't fond of the flavour, crumb, and a few other things. I'm still experimenting with loaf recipes but haven't settled on one that I like.

The second rise after shaping - how long did you leave it to rise? What was the ambient temperature?

JLCwrites
06-02-2008, 08:13 PM
Sourdough cinnamon rolls?!?!?! (buys ticket for Sri Lanka!)

Azure Skye
06-02-2008, 08:23 PM
I've been mainly cooking up cinnamon rolls, and those rise great. The loaf bread I've tried I wasn't fond of the flavour, crumb, and a few other things. I'm still experimenting with loaf recipes but haven't settled on one that I like.

The second rise after shaping - how long did you leave it to rise? What was the ambient temperature?

A couple of hours. At the time, it was probably close to 70F in the kitchen.

L M Ashton
06-03-2008, 05:43 AM
Ah. That might be it, then. When I made my loaves, the second rise took two or three hours at 28-35C, which is significantly warmer than that (but I have a headache, so I can't do temp conversions right now). I'd suggest a couple of things. One, let it rise in a warmer place, such as inside an oven with the pilot light on. Two, let it rise longer. Three, you could always double the amount of starter you start the loaf with (but if you do this, make sure you adjust your flour and liquid quantities the proper amounts). Also, when you start making your loaf of bread, are you using active starter? As in, is it bubbly at the time and did it rise at least double if not more when you fed it?

For the failed breads (I had another one yesterday - I don't get many, but, you know, I do get them) I tend to breadcrumb them in my handy dandy whir whir and then bread pudding it. :D Works out great, actually. Because I just had a batch of sweet bread that didn't rise much at all on the second rise, even though I gave it TWO DAYS! I don't know what happened to that one, and it surprised the heck out of me, but there ya go. :) It's now bread pudding for Fahim's breakfast. :)

There is a bit more of a learning curve with sourdough bread than there is with yeast bread, but once you get the hang of it, it'll be (at least mostly) fine. :)

Ol' Fashioned Girl
06-11-2008, 05:16 AM
http://icanhascheezburger.wordpress.com/files/2008/06/funny-pictures-cat-fills-pan.jpg

L M Ashton
09-14-2008, 03:15 PM
You know, that cat still cracks me up. :D


In my wanders, I ran across some very useful - to me, anyway - posts about sourdough and bacteria and sourness of sourdough that I decided to share. :)

The microbiology of bread starters (http://joepastry.web.aplus.net/index.php?title=the_microbiology_of_bread_starters&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1)
Wet starts & dry starters (http://joepastry.web.aplus.net/index.php?title=wet_starters_dry_starters&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1), including an explanation of how to make a starter more sour or less sour.

I hope that helps someone/anyone. :)

How's everyone's sourdough explorations going?

Lady MacBeth
10-03-2011, 08:18 AM
I just discovered this sourdough thread. Mine is celebrating its first birthday. Anyone have any sourdough recipes that are a little different? I use mine mainly for pizza dough, muffins, pancakes, the usual stuff.

Devil Ledbetter
10-03-2011, 05:53 PM
I just discovered this sourdough thread. Mine is celebrating its first birthday. Anyone have any sourdough recipes that are a little different? I use mine mainly for pizza dough, muffins, pancakes, the usual stuff.
Whole Food for the Whole Family has an excellent sourdough Banana bread recipe.

Lady MacBeth
10-03-2011, 06:58 PM
Whole Food for the Whole Family has an excellent sourdough Banana bread recipe.


Thanks! I'll check it out.

L M Ashton
10-04-2011, 05:00 PM
I have a recipe for coconut macaroon pancakes and chocolate cake made with sourdough starter, and a bunch of others as well. I'll dig 'em up and get 'em posted. :) Nag me if I don't have it up in the next day. :)

I also have recipes for things like naan (flatbread) and various other kinds of breads on my food blog if you're interested in that sort of thing.

L M Ashton
10-04-2011, 05:06 PM
Hey, Lady MacBeth, I posted links to the original two recipes I just mentioned - the chocolate cake and coconut pancakes - to the original recipes in the first post in this thread. Check those out. I've tweaked them since then, so I'll get my version up as well, but that should at least get you started. And that chocolate cake? It's one of the best I've ever had. Ever. :)

Lady MacBeth
10-04-2011, 05:58 PM
Hey, Lady MacBeth, I posted links to the original two recipes I just mentioned - the chocolate cake and coconut pancakes - to the original recipes in the first post in this thread. Check those out. I've tweaked them since then, so I'll get my version up as well, but that should at least get you started. And that chocolate cake? It's one of the best I've ever had. Ever. :)

Ooh, those sounds good. Thanks!:)

Lady MacBeth
10-04-2011, 06:01 PM
LM Ashton, I just checked out those recipes. Any cake that combines coffee and chocolate is good with me.