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egalecki 08-11-2009 06:46 AM

oh crud. drat.
My sourdough got contaminated somehow- we had the beer fridge die on us after a thunderstorm and guess where my sourdough was stored? Anyway, it got up to 85 degrees in there before I realized the fridge was deceased. (yes, I know, "how could I not know the BEER fridge was dead?!?" well, I don't drink it, that's how)

My starter smelled absolutely horrendous. Dead. Even with plastic wrap and a rubber band on it, it was, quite frankly, among the worst smells I have encountered, and I have encountered some bad ones in my day. I'm afraid I just had to pitch it (and hope it didn't eat my plumbing on its way out). I wouldn't have wanted to even attempt to save it- the smell, as I worked it back up, would have caused a divorce...

So, does anyone have a nice vigorous starter they'd like to dry and share with me? I'll be happy to send an envelope with a stamp so it doesn't cost you anything! I know I could begin again, but I'd like to speed up the process if possible. My poor lamented starter took forever to get up to speed last year...

Can anyone help a sourdough fiend out? Please?

Les 08-11-2009 07:41 AM

Re: oh crud. drat.

I have a San Francisco sour dough starter I would be glad to share. How do I dry it out, and won't that kill the little guy's? This is a new area for me.

BTW, the bread that comes out of this has an awesome taste.


mfiore 08-11-2009 07:48 AM

Re: oh crud. drat.
Just as a side note, my impression with sour dough is that it incorporates wild/native strains of yeast as it "builds" over time. These strains of yeast must be quite variable and under local influences of climate, altitude, competing flora, etc.

With this in mind, is San Francisco sour dough unique to that area (just as San Marzano tomatoes are unique to Southern Italy?). What you have, Les, may have started as a SF sourdough starter, but I bet it is now a Carson City starter, with predominance of local strains of yeast. Sounds like it will soon become a Virginia starter.

egalecki 08-11-2009 08:09 AM

Re: oh crud. drat.
somewhere on here I saw a method for drying it out- I'll look for it. It may be as simple as feeding it, removing some to a plate and letting it dry out. Let me look a bit...

Gromit 08-11-2009 08:25 AM

Re: oh crud. drat.
According to "Breads from the La Brea Bakery": Pour 1 cup of starter in a thin layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and let the starter dry at room temperature for 3 days. To revive, dissolve in water and feed. It will take about 5 days to regain its strength.

I would be happy to share mine if you pm your address. Mine is "from thin air" started by a friend in 1996 or so. I have only been in custody of it for 10 days, but it seems quite active.

egalecki 08-11-2009 08:40 AM

Re: oh crud. drat.
You all are just the best. Thanks a million.

I'm going to be sure to dry some starter and then freeze it just in case this time... you never know when your fridge is going to get electrocuted. Thankfully nothing else died, and the only beer that was ruined was crummy left over from the boy's poker night. My husband's carefully nurtured homebrew oatmeal stout hasn't gotten as far as the fridge yet. It's only been in the bottles a week.

Les 08-11-2009 11:03 AM

Re: oh crud. drat.
I guess I need to run down and get some parchment - apparently I am out of old scrolls.


Les 08-12-2009 01:39 PM

Re: oh crud. drat.

Does it say how much is needed, the whole cup? I started with about 1/2 teaspoon to get it going initially.


Gromit 08-12-2009 02:37 PM

Re: oh crud. drat.

It doesn't really say. Did you receive yours in dried-out form? I thinned out 1/2 a cup and poured out a really thin layer to fill a 1/4 baking sheet. So long as it is alive and well, I doubt it really matters how much you start with to revive it.

texassourdough 08-12-2009 03:22 PM

Re: oh crud. drat.
Hi Elizabeth!

I bet your kitchen is loaded with your yeast and bacteria. I would try the normal sourdough from scratch. Should work fine. Just add a T or 2 of pineapple juice to give you some acid to help avoid bad bacteria.

I can send you some of my very neutral culture. (Not sour, a little slow, just great bread!)

Good Luck!

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