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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Breads & Baking / DEMO: How to Make a Sourdough Starter
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    DEMO: How to Make a Sourdough Starter

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    Chef Tweaker
    Fri Sep 28, 2007 1:38 pm Groupie
    I think it is wild yeast. I got the started already "started" but have just kept it going. I was encouraged by the way it "proofed" the extra proof is still on the counter and very bubbly. I put it in the fridge last night and this morning it wasn't risen much to speak of. Now I have the two pans sitting on a heat register with a towel over them. The house is too cold to raise it otherwise. Been there about an hour and not much activity yet. But I'm not giving up yet!


    PS you're right. They are remarkably similar. There are variations in the directions but not too many. For example you have taking it out of the bread machine sooner. I let it go all the way to the "beep". And she uses pans instead of free-form.
    Mon Oct 01, 2007 12:37 pm
    Forum Host
    Wow, I just found this demo, and read through the whole thread.

    It is new to me, the way you make it. Fascinating, and thank you for all that explaining, Donna and others!

    What I remember about sourdough is from my early childhood days, and I'm very vague about it.

    The wife of my uncle's farm manager (oh, in the 50's and 60's) used to make huge "farm loaves" which were heavenly.

    She used a sourdough yeast which ... well, all I recall is that it was made with potato. I have no idea how! Does anyone know about a yeast started with potatoes?

    This is not an important question (although your thread made me wish I was younger and could start a bakery!! icon_biggrin.gif ). I'm just curious about sourdough yeasts in general.
    Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:34 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Donna, I have been trying to get a sourdough starter going and right now I am trying your wild yeast starter. It's day 7 and it has very few bubbles. Yesterday it had a lot of bubbles (at least compared to previously) and today after I fed it, it's back down to a few patches of bubbles here and there. Should I keep going with it, or toss it and try again?
    Donna M.
    Mon Oct 01, 2007 10:04 pm
    Forum Host
    No, don't toss it! Sometimes it takes a bit longer to get it going. Try putting it in a warmer place, if you can find one. What kind of flour did you use, and was it fresh? Have you tried adding the bit of vinegar? It is normal for it to bubble up and then go flat, as you described. Give it another day or two and I'll bet you will have bubbles galore. You are almost there!
    Mon Oct 01, 2007 10:11 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I haven't tossed it, I keep feeding it hoping it will come more to life. I added the vinegar yesterday. Maybe that's why it was so happy, but as I said today there wasn't much activity. I don't really have a warmer place inside to put it. We're in South FL, so the air pretty much has to stay on (maybe it's too cold?). My DH claims it's not growing because I look at it too much! I used whole wheat flour (pre-ground since our grocery doesn't carry the berries).
    Donna M.
    Wed Oct 03, 2007 2:02 am
    Forum Host
    How is the starter doing today--any life yet? You can put the starter into the oven with the door shut and the light on. The warmth from the light bulb will keep it cozy. Be careful, however, not to turn on the oven and forget it is in there. When I have done this method in the past I always tape a note to the oven control knob that reminds me to remove it before using the oven. It will eventually grow in cooler temps but it just takes a lot longer.
    Wed Oct 03, 2007 7:45 am
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I looked at it this morning and it was all foamy on top! It hasn't double in size yet though, but I'm guessing that comes next? Unfortunately, my oven doesn't have a light (there are other problems too, and I can't get my apartment to fix it icon_confused.gif ), so I'm just going to have to do my best with it on the counter. Thanks for your help!
    Donna M.
    Wed Oct 03, 2007 12:39 pm
    Forum Host
    See, it sounds like it is just fine! It doesn't necessarily need to double to be able to make bread. A liquid starter won't rise as high as a thicker one. Add a bit more flour than water to make it a very thick batter consistency and it should get more volume. Now that it is active you might want to feed it morning and evening instead of just once every 24 hours. At any rate, give it at least a couple more days before trying to bake with it.

    When it comes to proofing your bread dough your cooler room temps are actually better. The rise will be slower but that allows the bread to develop more flavor. Be prepared that sourdoughs take quite a bit longer to rise than yeasted doughs do. Sometimes many hours. It will just sit there and appear to be doing nothing for quite awhile before it starts to rise.
    Susiecat too
    Sun Oct 07, 2007 11:27 am Groupie
    I kept a sourdough starter going for about 3 years, but it was about a decade ago. Since then I have moved twice, and it got lost in one of the moves.
    I remember that what I did initially was to use organic wild-type raisins, soak them in water for 24 hrs at room temp, then use the soaking water to start the mixture with unbleached white flour. The wild yeasts came from the skins of the raisins. This provided a delicious sour flavor after it had a chance to ripen and mature, which took about 6 months of use. The startup period took about a week, and then I kept it in the fridge and fed it weekly, baking bread from what I took out. I also used to take my removed starter portion, and add about another cup or so each of flour and water, and let it sit for the day while I went to work, then came home to a bowl of "sponge" that I used to bake the bread. It made the sour flavor stronger through the whole loaf.
    I think I will try to get another starter going, now that I am inspired by this thread. Thank you!
    Fri Oct 26, 2007 2:07 pm
    Regular "Line Cook" Poster
    I have a question about the pineapple juice, is there a substitute for it? I am DEATHLY Allergic to pineapple. I know, strange, but true. I know we are looking for the acidity from it but wonder if lime would work as well. Any thoughts?
    Donna M.
    Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:24 pm
    Forum Host
    Orange juice is a better choice if you don't use pineapple juice. I am not sure about lime, but I know that lemon is a lot more acidic than orange juice. You don't want the acid level too high--just mildly acidic. Many people have used orange juice so I know that it is a tried and true substitute.
    Ben Syhe
    Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:46 pm
    Regular "Line Cook" Poster
    When should you add the vinegar if at all (by the way, I only have spiced rice wine vinegar)? I am on day 4ish, I am going to repeat day three one last time. There are some bubbles, noticeable but not prevelant. I have been using citric acid, a small bit of shugar (as a college kid, I understand the need of a good source of sugar in any diet, plus, there is always sugar in juice) and frozen WW flour.

    Donna M.
    Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:59 pm
    Forum Host
    You won't need the vinegar with citric acid. Be careful not to use too much citric acid. If you get the mixture too acidic and lower the pH too much it will harm the yeast.
    Ben Syhe
    Fri Jul 18, 2008 2:52 am
    Regular "Line Cook" Poster
    The yeast is thriving, I did research on the concentration of citric acid in pineapple juice and added maybe twenty crystals per Tbsp., which roughly came out to about a 20th of a gram. If anything it is slightly less acidic than what you used. It is perking right up and I plan to move to the 1/4c reduction tomorrow then let it sit until it ferments a touch. I may proof the starter that is not used, I am HUNGRY!!! ^_^ Thanks!
    Donna M.
    Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:23 pm
    Forum Host
    Well, you really did your homework researching the acidity of the juice versus the citric acid! I am impressed icon_eek.gif Keep feeding that baby, and once it is growing good you can increase the feeding intervals to two or three times a day. When it looks like it is maintaining good activity, give it a try in a loaf of bread.
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