Sour Starters

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Joined Aug 4, 2000
Hi to all:
Now that my breadmaking technique is established - at least for a simple loaf of bread - I'm thinking about starters.

What is the difference in starter making as described in ARTISAN BAKING ACROSS AMERICA as opposed to CRUST AND CRUMB, BREADS FROM LA BREA BAKERY and THE BREAD BUILDERS.

I haven't read the last three books. It's information overload but perhaps someone could briefly describe the differences.

TIA :D
 
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I don't have that book (yet), I just bought The Bread Builders, but I have read LaBrea and Crust&Crumb. The LaBrea starter takes 14 days to build. The Crust&Crumb starter takes 5. The C&C starter produces a very active starter and terrific bread. School's still out on LaBrea as I have a week to go before it's ready. My suggestion would be to pick one or two and jump in with both feet :) this stuff is really cool!

[ July 10, 2001: Message edited by: KyleW ]
 
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Seems to me that the purpose of LaBrea's 14-day starter is to develop taste and character. I think she spent quite a lot of time perfecting her technique.

:)
 
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I would agree. I will know more next week when I get my first results from her starter.
 
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I've only used the technique described in La Brea. So I want to try the shorter techniques, to see if there's a big difference.
 
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The Bread Builders doesn't give any formulas, but talks in generalities about sourdoughs and gives a lot of tips and timetables. I watched the video of Nancy Silverton and it looked like she was taking her soupy starter culture and adding it directly to a dough. This is different from Reinhart and Wing, because they use an intermediate build called a sponge, which is incorporated into a dough. So they are getting a more active, mature wad of sourdough going into the dough.
A key paragraph for me in the Bread Builders is the one that asks Why is Silverton feeding so much flour to microbes which can basically be seen only with a microscope? All these differing techniques are after the same goal--to culture the resident wild yeasts and lactic and acetic acid producing bacteria which live on organic materials, such as grapes, raisins, wheat berries.
Reinhart has you rinse organic raisins in water and then use that water to make your starter with organic whole wheat flour.
Silverton bathes the grapes in the slurry for days. Why? Reinhart gets the yeasts and bacteria in a quick rinse.
The whole point of feeding these starter hinges on a growth curve, which is dependent on temperature. The Bread Builders has a couple of graphs that show that relationship.
By manipulating the temp, you can plan the feedings. Life doesn't have to revolve around feeding the beast. You can make it work for you.
Silverton has some comments about starters I've seen contradicted. She says they can get contaminated by commercial yeast. Daniel Wing says not so. He also says that a lot of the bacteria will come from you. And that the only place lactobacillus sanfranciso has been cultured from is dental plaque. Silverton says your kitchen will fill with wild yeasts the more you bake. I don't buy that at all. The yeasts are on the materials used to start the starter. I saw one book or something recently that said to put the starter freshly mixed in your kitchen where you think there might be wild yeasts. I guess in my kitchen that would be near the kitty litter box next to the back door. Keep reading folks.
 
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This being, I expect, information you don't plan on sharing with the eventual consumers of the bread?

I wouldn't eat anything that had been even remotely near MY kitty litter boxes... however, certain of my cats have exceptionally foul bowels and, shall we say, somewhat sloppy habits.

;)

[ July 10, 2001: Message edited by: CompassRose ]
 
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i am on my intership at a hotel and i have ebbn working closely with the bread chef. he had his training from the guy that owns Bread Alone in NY. he got his training from the best bakers in europe. i was so ready to learn.

he and i sat down together and talked about starts, or shall i say pre ferments. he said not to listen to any of the b.s. other books say about starters. he said they are confused and will only confuse you, the reader. so we made a pre ferment together.

we took 1 part flour to 1 part water and mixed it in a bucket. we covered it and let it set out for 8-10 hours then we put it in the refer. the second day, we added one part water to one part flour, mixed it and refered it. same the third day. on the 4rth day, we took a little part of the starter (called the seed) and put it in a new bucket and added 1 part water and 3/4 part flour. left it out for 8-10 hours, then refered it.


it was just awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i recomend reading a book called "Bread Alone"
 
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Last night I started my first sour starter: 3/4 cup pumpernickel flour plus 1/2 cup of water. It's the standard sourdough starter as described in ARTISAN BAKING ACROSS AMERICA.

It's been about 15 hours since I first mixed the starter and I see no activity. The first feeding occurs tomorrow evening.

Presently, does the starter look like a dud? Am I being premature in judging it?

:confused:

[ July 11, 2001: Message edited by: kokopuffs ]
 
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I am not sure which starter you have started. I do know what I was recently counseled in this very forum.

For the first day or so of the Reinhart starter nothing much was going on. For the Silverton Starter it was almost a week before I saw anything.

Patience is a virtue!

[ July 11, 2001: Message edited by: KyleW ]
 
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The recipe for the sourdough starter is the standard one described in ARTISAN BAKING ACROSS AMERICA. :cool:

[ July 11, 2001: Message edited by: kokopuffs ]
 
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Good 'nuf!
 
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only 15 hours eh? thats not a long time at all. come back and tell us how it turns out in three days, for sure, you will smell the diffence. also taste it to. grab a little piece and put it on the tip of your toung, you will notice a big diff.

just be patient.
 
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BUBBLES! All kinds of bubbles!!! Yesterday I left my starter outside in the shade (temp approx 75-80 degrees). The starter has a slight scent.
 
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Kimmie:

It'll take about 5-7 days, according to ARTISAN BAKING ACROSS AMERICA. The jury is still out as to its future name. ;)
 
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Hey Iza:


Last night I made a slack dough. I shortened the proof time to 18 minutes and got a great oven spring, a good, tall loaf. So if your dough is overrisen, greatly shorten the proofing time to about half.

 

isa

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Thanks Koko. I'm hoping to make a loaf this afternoon. I'll let you know.


I guess I'm just worried about the bread having a strong yeast smell. Last loaf I did was like that and I could not figure out what caused it. Guess I'm just scared it will happen again.
 
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