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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Breads & Baking / Helpful Tips for Sourdough Baking
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    Helpful Tips for Sourdough Baking

    Go to page << Previous Page  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next Page >>
    Donna M.
    Sun Sep 23, 2007 6:55 pm
    Forum Host
    The most common causes for the starter becoming liquidy is either that you aren't dumping out enough old starter before you feed it, or you aren't feeding it a large enough quantity of flour. The cure is to throw out all but a Tbsp. and then feed it 1/2 cup of flour and enough water to make the consistency that you prefer. Let this sit overnight and it should be bubbly in the morning. Dump out most of it and feed again, like before. That should rev it up.
    FLUFFSTER
    Sun Sep 23, 2007 9:41 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Thanks, Donna! I think you are right on both counts, as I look back. I know that my "fed" starter has been looking very wet. I was going to add just some flour, but thought I would pr0bably upset the chemistry. I know I can always count on your answers. Your sticky about the sourdough and the starter sticky are so well worth reading and printing out. They would help new members, as well as those just needing to brush up a little. I know your info always helped me. Thanks again!
    ElizabethJ
    Thu Nov 01, 2007 6:40 pm
    Regular "Line Cook" Poster
    I appreciated Donna's commentary, but I haven't had any luck with wild starters, and I have lived in different geographical locales, so it was either the environment, me, or, more likely, a combination of both!
    I tried that San Francisco starter that's available pretty generally-- OK , but not great. Then I sent for the King Arthur New England starter: delicious, and very sturdy, too--I've had the same starter for a while without any unpleasant developments. There's a sourdough company on the internet that actually sells sourdough starters by type: French, Russian, etc, that I want to try.

    elizabeth cookingconfidential.com/blog
    duonyte
    Thu Nov 01, 2007 9:28 pm
    Forum Host
    If you are still game to try your own starter, try this recipe, Wild Yeast Sourdough Starter . It is a real winner. Be sure to use bottled water (to avoid chlorine), and be sure your dishes are clean. Avoid antibacterial soap, though. That can leave a residue on your dishes that will hinder yeast development - plain dishsoap is just fine. I have a new batch of starter on step 6, using flour I brought back from my recent trip to Europe. (Yes, other people go to museums and historical sites, I find a grocery store and buy a kilo bag of flour).

    If you would like to try other starters, check in on the baking with sourdough thread (it's a sticky close to this one) and let Donna M. know - she is great about sending out dried starter flakes. (I am willing to share, but just have trouble getting myself organized enough to do so - lame, I know). Anyway, that thread is a lot of fun.
    Shasha
    Mon Dec 24, 2007 8:10 pm
    Experienced "Head Chef" Poster
    I did my starter (followed the instructions on the packet) and let it sit overnight. The next day, I noticed some pink film on top of it. Is that normal? Or did I ruin my starter? icon_sad.gif
    duonyte
    Mon Dec 24, 2007 8:23 pm
    Forum Host
    Pink is a sign of bacterial contamination, so I'm afraid you'll need to discard this batch and start over.
    Shasha
    Mon Dec 24, 2007 8:46 pm
    Experienced "Head Chef" Poster
    How could it have been contaminated? I just left it inside my oven turned off overnight. The bowl was also covered in plastic wrap. icon_sad.gif

    How could I avoid it in the future? (if I decide to try again lol)
    duonyte
    Tue Dec 25, 2007 7:50 am
    Forum Host
    Unfortunately bacteria are everywhere, so you have to be terribly vigilant. It's important to use extremely clean utensils. I wash the dish, spoon, and cup that I use to make sourdough in hot, soapy water immediately before using. I also wash a plate to use to rest the spoon. Mind, I am not quite so vigilant in my normal cooking, but here we are trying to encourage a specific microorganism and need to defend it from competing microorganisms.

    I hope you try again. It's really bad luck that this happened - I have only had it a couple of times in thirty years of sourdough baking.
    Donna M.
    Wed Dec 26, 2007 12:02 am
    Forum Host
    I noticed that you live in a tropical climate, which is very conducive to bacteria growing. If you want to try again take a look at my Wild Yeast Sourdough Starter recipe. The pineapple juice helps to ward off bacteria. Also, frequent stirring will help.
    cook a ramma momma
    Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:41 am
    Experienced "Head Chef" Poster
    I use pretty little jelly jars with decorative lids! the look nice in my fridge. icon_smile.gif
    Casa Semanas
    Sat Aug 23, 2008 6:49 pm
    Regular "Line Cook" Poster
    Hi Donna,

    I'm going kind of "free-form" with the bread deal. I've been reading a lot and I'm getting the idea of hydration ratios and gluten development. I have a long way to go, but I want to be comfortable creating our "house bread" here at home. I have started a sourdough starter from your recipe. It seems to be working just fine. It's quite active now. It's about 6 days old, I didn't need to do any cider vinegar as yet. I fed it this morning and it's doubled and bubbly now, just a few hours later and it smells nice.

    Once I have my starter established and it's being refrigerated, I'm not totally clear on the concept of using it. It sounds like, for 500gm of flour I'd only be using about 2 Tablespoons of starter. Is that correct? I think the process is to remove the starter from the 'fridge, stir it down and measure out 2T, which I then combine with some water and flour and it will activate at room temperature and become bubbbly like it is now. I can add the water and flour in spurts during the day if I want. Once all the water and flour for the recipe are incorporated, it should go to the 'fridge for 12+ hours. Then it's fold and shape and proof and bake.

    Meanwhile after I've removed the 2T for my current loaf I've measured out 1/4 cup of the starter from the 'fridge, combined it with some water and flour, and returned it to the 'fridge to keep my starter alive and slowly eating.

    Am I essentially correct in all of the above?

    Thanks, Paul

    PS Are you sourdoughlady on thefreshloaf.com?
    Donna M.
    Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:39 am
    Forum Host
    Do you have a specific recipe that you are using for your bread? There are many ways to do the starter. If you are converting a non-sourdough recipe, then using the 2 T. method as I explained in the tips on page 1 works well. If you are using a recipe that has been written for sourdough, then I would follow the guidelines in the recipe at hand. Many recipes will call for a cup or more of starter. Always make sure the starter has been fed generously and proofed properly before incorporating it into your dough. I like to feed mine late the night before and let it proof overnite. If you give it a large enough feeding, it will still be active in the morning and you can use it immediately. If it has already fallen, then give it another feeding and wait until it gets very active before mixing your dough.

    Why would you want to add the flour for your dough in increments during the day? I don't see any benefit in doing that.

    Yes, I am Sourdolady.
    Casa Semanas
    Mon Aug 25, 2008 1:18 am
    Regular "Line Cook" Poster
    Thanks for the reply. Sorry, I got confused about that incremental feeding business. Tomorrow's my first start on sourdough. It'll be a day or two before I bake. It's exciting. I'm really jazzed about the whole artisan bread deal. No, I don't have a recipe. I figure if I understand hydration ratios and I know I only want to use flour, water, salt and yeast then I can figure something out. Having the ballpark of 1 cup of starter to use initially is helpful too. Thank you.
    Casa Semanas
    Thu Aug 28, 2008 7:48 pm
    Regular "Line Cook" Poster
    I'm not crazy! I knew I'd read something somewhere about that incremental feeding business. From sourdoughhome.com:

    Pour 1/4 cup (about 75 grams) of your starter into a quart sized container. A canning jar will do, as will a plastic, glass or stainless steel mixing bowl. Whisk in 1/4 cup (about 60 grams) of water and then whisk in 1/2 cup (60 grams) of flour. Loosely cover the container and set it aside at room temperature. The feeding should double the amount of starter you began with, and the feeding was about 1 part of water to 1 part of flour by weight, or 1 part of water to 2 parts of flour by volume. These feeding ratios are good for most sourdough uses.

    About 12 hours later, add 1/2 cup of water (about 120 grams) to the starter and whisk it in. Then add 1 cup of flour (about 120 grams) and whisk that in also. Cover the container loosely, and set it aside.

    About 12 hours later we'll do our final feeding before using the starter. Whisk in 1 cup (about 240 grams) of water, then whisk in about 2 cups (240 grams) of flour. Cover again, and set the starter aside. In 12 more hours, you should be ready to make the English Muffin Bread, however, I hope you'll keep reading this page.
    Michael Boyd
    Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:46 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    duonyte wrote:
    If you are still game to try your own starter, try this recipe, Wild Yeast Sourdough Starter . It is a real winner. Be sure to use bottled water (to avoid chlorine), and be sure your dishes are clean. Avoid antibacterial soap, though. That can leave a residue on your dishes that will hinder yeast development - plain dishsoap is just fine. I have a new batch of starter on step 6, using flour I brought back from my recent trip to Europe. (Yes, other people go to museums and historical sites, I find a grocery store and buy a kilo bag of flour).

    If you would like to try other starters, check in on the baking with sourdough thread (it's a sticky close to this one) and let Donna M. know - she is great about sending out dried starter flakes. (I am willing to share, but just have trouble getting myself organized enough to do so - lame, I know). Anyway, that thread is a lot of fun.


    rotfl.gif I do that! I also look for weird things at small grocerys and always, always look for local beers.
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