wild yeast? starters? What is a good plan of action?

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Joined Aug 13, 2000
I was wondering if anyone has a working plan for making bread daily using a starter? I have been researching this a lot lately and want to start making my own starter without using commercial yeast. Can anyone explain the process.....how much to use for actual bread making....how much and when to feed it....how and where to store it. I kinda have a plan, but would like to hear from some people who actually do it everday and know what they are doing.
 
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I highly recommend Nancy Silverton's Bread book. There is an excellent starter in there, that uses grapes, flour, and water. There is also a detailed explanation of the process.
 
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Joined Feb 21, 2001
I found Peter Reinhart's Crust and Crumb to be a good source. I read Silverton's chapter on starting a starter and got way too confused. Reinhart's uses organic raisins, organic whole wheat flour, and spring water. After a couple of days you can wean it onto conventional bread flour. Mine is now almost two years old and will survive months in the refrigerator and yet will wake up quickly with just a couple of feedings. My starter at work sits all winter and is still viable comr spring.I make this bread, he calls it barm, a lot during the country club season and it's very easy to get into a rhythym of making a leaven sponge, feeding the starter and taking yesterday's leaven sponge to make a dough for tomorrow's bread and baking the dough you made yesterday. I always retard the bread because I like the little blisters on the crust. Daniel Wing's book The Bread Builder's also has a lot of info about what's going on in the starter culture.
 
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When Nancy Silverton did an appearance on Master Chefs with Julia Child on PBS, think it was in 1993, I tried her method. My starter is about 7 years old and still ticking.

Of course, I was compelled to purchase her book "Breads from the La Brea Bakery" published later, in 1996.

Can't help but strongly recommend Nancy Silverton for this. I found her explanations quite clear. But of course, I had taped the show some years earlier, which helped a lot too!

[ March 14, 2001: Message edited by: Kimmie ]
 
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It doesn't really matter what medium you use to get the organisms to get the culture going, I guess. Grapes, or raisins, as long as you understand what's going on in the culture and can manipulate it to get the results you want and that work fits into your day. Reinhart's method is elegantly simple. I found Silverton's to be too complex for my ADD-addled brain. And the point about the culture surviving 4 or months neglected is that once established, they are almost impossible to kill. If you have a good strong culture it will take care of you.
 
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My breadbaking experience started by using the book entitled ULTIMATE BREAD by Treuille and Ferrigno. Very simply laid out, very easy to understand. They took the 1, 2, 3 approach: 1 cup of water, 2 tsps of yeast and 3 cups of flour for nearly all of their recipes. Each one involves using a starter, called a poolish. Very good book that includes instructive photos, too. :eek:

[ March 15, 2001: Message edited by: kokopuffs ]
 
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BigHat:

I'm on the verge of purchasing ARTISAN BAKING ACROSS AMERICA. The book gives directions on making starters. Are those directions on starters adequate for this budding bread baker?

:confused:
 
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I think Peter Reinhart's book Crust and Crumb is better for sourdough, but I've made a lot of breads from Artisan Breads and her instructions are great. She does tell you how to convert a refrigerated sourdough culture to her formulas. But Reinhart has an elegantly simple method of growing one that takes less than a week.
 
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Yes, you can feed it twice a day instead of three times. Then, keep in the fridge until you are ready to use.

Remember, you can also dry it, store it and revive it again. I think it's also explained in the book.

[ June 18, 2001: Message edited by: Kimmie ]
 
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Thanx Kimmie :)
One more question (for now), If I use a cup of the starter and I relace it with 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water, can i just stir it into the remaining starter and return it to the fridge?
 
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Hi KyleW,

No. Just leave in it in the fridge, well covered.

Before using your starter again to make more bread, it is a good idea to give it the full 3-day feeding schedule to strenghten it and to tone down excess sourness. It is then ready to use.

So, three days before you plan to make bread, and since you may have only 1 cup of starter left, you will proceed as follows:

Day one: Feed your starter with ½ cup of water (tepid) and ½ cup of white bread flour, blending well. Let stand uncovered at room temperature until it bubbles up — 3 or 4 hours — then cover and refrigerate.

Day two: Repeat the feeding, this time adding 1 cup of water (tepid) and 1 cup of white bread flour, blending well. Let stand uncovered at room temperature until it bubbles up — 3 or 4 hours — then cover and refrigerate.

Day three: Repeat the feeding (adding 1 cup of water (tepid) and 1 cup of white bread flour) and blend well. Let stand uncovered at room temperature until it bubbles up — 3 or 4 hours — then cover and refrigerate.

Day four: Take your starter out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Then you can start your bread.

Store the rest of your starter in a tightly covered container where it will keep perfectly 4 to 6 months — after which time it is a good idea to pour off all but 2 cups and give it another feeding.


NOTE: Always bring the starter to room temperature before using.

[ June 18, 2001: Message edited by: Kimmie ]
 
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I think I got it. Refeed the whole thing, use what you need and refridgerate the res. The next time, repeat the whole process.\
Thankx Kimmie
 
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Kimmie: is it okay to do your procedure in a Mason jar with the top ajar while bubbling?

Is it okay to store the starter in a Mason jar tightly closed? :confused:
 
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Koko,

Never used a Mason jar for this. Aren't you afraid it will explode?

I know, I know...don't laugh at me!

Seriously though, I use a plastic tupperware style jar.


KyleW Right on!

[ June 18, 2001: Message edited by: Kimmie ]
 
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It sounds like t'ware is the way to go. A plastic container will allow excess pressure to bleed rather than explode. :eek:

[ June 18, 2001: Message edited by: kokopuffs ]
 
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I just finished reading Nancy Silverton's section on making a starter, in Breads From the La Brea Bakery. During the feeding stage, which for her is days 10-14, she says it has to be fed 3 times/day. That I have the inclination to attempt this indicates that I have no life. I do have a job, however. What would happen if I fed it twice/day? Also, Once it's a starter, can I store it in the fridge and resuscitate what I need by feedig it a day or so in advance?
Thanks

Kyle
 
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With experience, you'll come up with your own plan of action but here's a way to start Saturday and have fresh, fabulous bread for Sunday.

This one comprises two different starters.

Day One
11 A.M.
Make the first starter
Let rise for 8 hours

7 P.M.
Make the second starter
Let rise 4 hours
Chill 8 hours

Day Two
7 A.M.
Mix the final dough
First rise 1 1/2 hours

9:30 A.M.
Shape the dough
Final rise 1 1/2 hours

12:00 NOON
Bake the loaves

I work too, I also have a life and I make time for bread...

:rolleyes:
 
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My bread baking, and making time for it, comes in waves. It's all or nothing at all! I just ordered a bag of 12.7% protien flour form King Arthur. As soon as it arrives I'm jumping in with both feet. I'm also taking a three day bread baking course next month. I'm taking 3 Mondays off and the class is from 10-4. I'm like a little kid before Christmas !

Thanx for your guidence Kimmie!
 
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KyleW:

I order some things from KA. However, save yourself some shipping by checking out the local gourmet or health food stores. I'm sure that one of them carries a variety of KA flour and other excellent brands. ;)
 
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