#11  
Old 11-17-2006, 07:13 PM
CanuckJim's Avatar
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Location: Prince Albert, Ontario, Canada
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Default Starters

Christo,

There are literally thousands of sites out there eager and willing to sell you starters imported from San Franciso, Madrid, Vladivostok, what have you. Point is, after a week or so, your pricey, imported levain will have been taken over by the dominant yeast strain in your location.

My adivice to you is quite simple: look into Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Follow the easy, if time consuming , instructions, and you're there.

Just make sure you use fresh flour and non-chlorinated water.

My starters are about two years old now, and doing just fine.

Jim

Last edited by CanuckJim; 11-17-2006 at 07:15 PM. Reason: Typooos
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  #12  
Old 12-13-2006, 10:18 PM
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Location: Los Angeles
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Default Hooch

What are ways that a starter can be ruined? Can leaving it in the fridge for too long before regenerating it be bad? Incidentally, drinking starter hooch is an experience I moderately recommend. It's texture and mouthfeel is unlike anything I have ingested to date. I would be lying if I told you it didn't pack a buzz though. It's an odd, giddy kind of buzz, akin to a sparkling wine sort of feeling.
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  #13  
Old 12-14-2006, 03:29 AM
CanuckJim's Avatar
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Default Hooch

Red,

You can ruin a starter by letting it get too warm, that is leaving it out of the fridge too long. Bad bugs start growing, and the flavour goes off. If you're starter has been in the fridge, but you haven't used it for a while, measure out 8 ounces to keep, and toss the rest. Rebuild that 8 ounces by adding 4 ounces bread flour and 4 ounces non-chlorinated water. Ferment at about 70F for four hours, or until bubbly, then back in the fridge. I feed my starters the day before making dough. Always double the starter by weight when you feed it, even if that means tossing some in the end. This method will keep it fresh indefinitely.

Jim
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  #14  
Old 01-19-2007, 12:11 PM
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Location: California
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Default Re: Starter.

Just made a starter from my Moms recipes.

1 cup worm water 80 to 90 f.
1.5 cups flour just a mix of white and wheat mostly white
a pinch of yeast

Mix that in a glass bowl and let it sit out for 2 or 3 days. Its 65 to 72 in my house now and it took off just fine, but Mom said 75 to 80 (to hot)

In two of three days it will start to smell (ummmmmmm)

Add 1.5 cups flour and 1 cup worm water 80 to 90f mix well
Put it in a zip-loc bag put it in the fridge for 3 days.

Take out 1 cup make what you want put 1 cup back and you’re on your way.

Use it or Lose it

Leep J
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  #15  
Old 02-25-2008, 02:27 PM
Serf
 
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Location: Philippines (PH)
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Default bleached flour

can I use bleached white flour to start my starter? I was only able to get bleached bread flour. I have my rye and honey to start it but I'm not sure if bleached bread flour will do. Any of you guys had luck with this?
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  #16  
Old 02-25-2008, 03:16 PM
Dutchoven's Avatar
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Default Re: Starter.

In my experience starters with bleached white tend to be sweeter but other than that you should be ok. With subsequent feedings you can change the composition of the barm.
Best
Dutch
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  #17  
Old 02-25-2008, 04:48 PM
CanuckJim's Avatar
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Default Re: Starter.

Kulas,

I'm with Dutch here. The only real problem with bleached flour is the methods used for bleaching. Some are not very nice at all. Depends on your location and gov't regs. Down the road, I'd try to get hold of unbleached bread flour if you can. Over time and successive feedings, what you start with initially doesn't matter all that much. Try to make sure your flour, whatever sort, is fresh. That's more important than type.

Jim
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  #18  
Old 02-26-2008, 12:33 PM
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Default Re: Starter.

Thanks Dutch and Jim, so great to know that I could use bleached white bread flour for starting a sourdough culture. I'm still looking for unbleached white, but I'll be starting with what I have now... organic rye, honey, and bleached bread flour. I am following the instructions from Hamelman's Bread book but there weren't any info in there if I could substitute bleached flour for unbleached. Thanks again.
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  #19  
Old 02-26-2008, 06:16 PM
CanuckJim's Avatar
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Default Re: Starter.

Kulas,

The real proof is whether it's growing or not. If it's bubbling, smells sharp and clean, you're there. True, using hard, unbleached bread flour will give you a stronger, stringier (is that a word?), tastier result, but what you're really after right now is a comfortable environment for wild yeast and the good bugs and enzymes that like it, feed off the byproducts. A ripe soudough/levain is a very complex mixture, but it's also very forgiving, and definitely does not notice your presence. How you get there doesn't matter all that much. Temperature management is more significant; don't let it get above 80 F. Down the road, for peak performance, flour choice will make a difference, but so? Sometimes, there's a bit too much mystery attached to sourdough or levain development. Really, it's not that difficult or mysterious. Bakers have been doing it for thousands of years with zero technology. Depending on the source of your bleached flour, there might be some additives that should be purged, but over successive feedings this will happen as a matter of course. It's definitely not permanent. "No sweat in the Arctic," as a First Nations friend of mine used to say.

Jim
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