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3G_ 02-01-2010 02:00 PM

Sour dough help
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I have finished my oven and have done lots of pizza. I made a door yesterday and want to make bread.
5 days ago i made a sour dough starter with 200gram water and 200gram flour.
I have added 100gram water and 100gram flour to 100grams of the starter daily with a stir at the 12 hour mark.
It is definately sour with small bubbles on the surface. Is it ready to step up now ? If so what is a nice sour dough recipe for my first batch.
Any help is appreciated

texassourdough 02-02-2010 09:37 AM

Re: Sour dough help
Hi Gregg!

Probably not...

It usually takes about one to two weeks for the starter to be robust and ready to go. I keep my starter at 100% hydration and get much more than "small bubbles" - more like pencil diameter and lots more bubbles. You don't say how you actually feed. How much starter do you add the 100 and 100 to. If it is 200 grams the starter should peak in about 8 to (outside) 10 hours if it is robust. If it is 100 grams then 12 hours may be okay. While a 100 % hydration starter will not necessarily rise as much as a lower hydration starter, it should be capable of almost doubling at the time of peaking.

It looks like you may be getting close but you don't seem to be there. Probably 2 to 4 more days.

Hang in there! And be warned your starter will change character for some time - both in complexity of flavor and in behaviour (leavening time, etc.) Getting started is kind of tricky for it won't be as robust as it will later. Thus, published rise times will tend to be short and you will tend to underproof (but that is IMO better than overproofing). Learning when the bread is ready to bake is a bit of a learning curve. At this point I would suggest waiting for the weekend - say starting the dough on Friday night with the initial expansion.

Good Luck!

3G_ 02-02-2010 12:40 PM

Re: Sour dough help
Thanks Jay

I am adding 100grams flour and 100gm water to 100gm starter, discarding the remainder of the starter each day. I now have the starter in a schott glass beaker with incriment measurements on the side. There are bubbles but there isnt really anymore than 5 to 10% increase in volume, is this of concern?
The starter has now been out for 6 days and has a sour flavour/aroma, and doesnt smell off.


texassourdough 02-02-2010 01:48 PM

Re: Sour dough help
As I indicated, I feed mine by doubling the volume - i.e. 100 grams plus 50 and 50 (though I usually cheat and do 55 or 60 of each depending on what I spoon out... I like to go over a bit for I begin my bread with 100 grams of starter and I want the starter to grow slightly so that later - after several feedings - when I move it to a clean jar, I can move 100 grams of starter and not worry about the residual in the old jar.)

Mine peaks at room temp in about 8 hours and that is pretty normal. I sometimes takes quite a while for a starter to get that robust.

Like I indicated, tripling the volume will extend the peaking time somewhat and 12 hours is a good approximation.

When creating a new starter it is not unusual to get vigorous bubbling the first day - but that is bacteria and not (typically) yeast. It usually takes about three days for the yeast to begin taking over the starter. So you only have about three days of yeast activity and they and the good bacteria need to "push" the other yeast and bacteria out of the starter. That battle seems to take a while and is part of why activity is diminished in a young starter. However, the good guys will almost always win eventually if the starter is kept fed. If you wait until next weekend the yeast should be beginning to be reasonably robust.

My approach to sourdough is pretty straightforward. I take 100 grams of starter and add 200 of water and 200 of flour and let it sit out overnight at about 72 degrees F. I usually mix about 7 pm and it is usually peaking about 8 am the next morning and ready to go. I then mix the dough using about 1200 grams of flour and 800 of water (depending on the hydration I want) and 40 to 45 grams of salt. I bulk ferment the dough for about 3 hours, punch it down, cut into portions and form boules, and then give it a final rise of about 3 more hours.

Hope that is useful!

3G_ 02-02-2010 04:18 PM

Re: Sour dough help
Thanks, very helpful.
It is particulary interesting that you say the activity dies down a little after the first few days. I have noticed this and was concerned.
Thanks for your help again, ill keep going.

texassourdough 02-02-2010 05:25 PM

Re: Sour dough help
Hi Gregg!

I didn't state it explicitly, but YES, the third or fourth day is often the slowest as the initial bacteria and the yeast begin to "fight" for control.... Hang in there! It should get much more lively over the next week.

A good test is to make perhaps a half batch (by my recipe) and see if it rises. NOTE: If it isn't reasoably frothy in 12 hours or so it won't be ready.... but if it is, then trying it is appropriate. And see if the preferment rises....and if it doesn't and you want to make bread, simply add some commercial yeast at perhaps 2/3 normal rate and finish it off that way. It won't be true sourdough but it will taste good!

egalecki 02-02-2010 06:23 PM

Re: Sour dough help
when I started my sourdough culture, it took several weeks before it was strong enough to do the job all on its own. I used it for at least a month subsidizing the culture with a pinch of regular yeast. It still tasted good.

And then my fridge died while I wasn't looking and cooked it.... that was some nasty, nasty stuff. The moral of that story is either don't refrigerate it at all or; after it's nice and vigorous, feed it, let it double and then dry some and freeze it. Works great and if it dies or gets contaminated you have backup. If you don't do this you end up like I did, begging for starter on the forum... :o

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