#1  
Old 04-13-2010, 08:46 AM
Journeyman
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 308
Default Is my sourdough starter intoxicated?

Preface:
I've done wild yeast and/or sourdough many times over the years with good success. My method is generally to start with grapes and a dough-like mix of water/flour... and build it from there.

Someone just gave me a packet of San Francisco sourdough starter and I decided to experiement. The biggest part of the experiment is that I'm opting to follow the instructions (which, is not generally my style).

The water/flour mix the instructions recommend is 1:1; much wetter than waht I generally do. After stirring in the packet contents it started bubbling furiously like it should. After a few days I tried making bread, using the provided recipe.

The Problem:
The dough never rised. The dough was never baked and never became bread. We had a cold snap and probably it just wasn't conducive to bread rising.

The Question:
Now that I've worked (fed and talked nicely to) the starter for a couple of weeks I'm ready to try again. But last night I looked at the starter and there was a thick (1/2 inch) layer of hooch. By the smell of it the starter is both very sour and very intoxicated... and stopped bubbling I stirred the hooch back in to the starter; should I have drunk it instead? After feeding the starter it started bubbling again.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 04-13-2010, 10:46 AM
Les's Avatar
Les Les is offline
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Carson City, NV
Posts: 2,799
Default Re: Is my sourdough starter intoxicated?

Brian, my sourdough starter acts the same way. I just stir it up and feed it. When you make your bread is the sponge very active? I leave mine out for 12hour's prior to making the bread, I don't get a 2 fold rise but it is bread.

Les...
__________________
Check out my pictures here:

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


If at first you don't succeed... Skydiving isn't for you.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 04-13-2010, 11:15 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,719
Default Re: Is my sourdough starter intoxicated?

Hi Brian!

If you had a half inch of hooch your yeast population was depressed. While it can be used successfully to make bread, it is hard to know how long it will take for the leaven to be ready for the final expansion. And, you should expect that it won't be as active as it is capable of - so your bread won't rise quite as much as it should. Not a big deal but when it gets that far past peak I recommend feeding it twice over a day or so before making bread. With a 12 hour feeding schedule it should be much more active after the second feeding and really ready to do bread!

Good luck!
Jay
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 04-13-2010, 05:53 PM
Journeyman
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 308
Default Re: Is my sourdough starter intoxicated?

Stirring and feeding seems to have improved this starter's attitude. It seems to be bubbling normally. Now I have to keep it going for a few more days -- can't bake until the weekend!
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 04-13-2010, 07:06 PM
heliman's Avatar
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Perth, Australia
Posts: 1,164
Default Re: Is my sourdough starter intoxicated?

Funny you should mention this - I started a new starter a few weeks ago and on giving it the sniff test recently I notized a very strong booze smell. My other starter does not smell like this at all. Maybe it needs more time or something... or some booze bugs have taken up residence in it perhaps???
__________________
/ Rossco
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 04-13-2010, 07:28 PM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,719
Default Re: Is my sourdough starter intoxicated?

Alcohol (hooch) is a byproduct of fermentation. If it is in excess (and sitting on top of the starter or if it smells of alcohol) the yeast needs food. Excess alcohol kills yeast so if you have excess the leaven is impaired. That's why it needs (as Brian said) to be stirred and fed. (some people throw the alcohol out - I don't. I keep it for the flavor. Note: hooch is mainly water but there is flavor in it!)

Fresh, healthy starter won't smell like alcohol!

Feed it!
Jay
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 04-13-2010, 08:19 PM
Les's Avatar
Les Les is offline
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Carson City, NV
Posts: 2,799
Default Re: Is my sourdough starter intoxicated?

Quote:
Originally Posted by texassourdough View Post
some people throw the alcohol out
That is clearly alcohol abuse - shame on them

Les...
__________________
Check out my pictures here:

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


If at first you don't succeed... Skydiving isn't for you.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 04-14-2010, 05:02 AM
heliman's Avatar
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Perth, Australia
Posts: 1,164
Default Re: Is my sourdough starter intoxicated?

Hmmmm perhaps I can make my next starter inside a copper still!!!! That way everybody's kept happy. I think it's called recycling or something!!
__________________
/ Rossco
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 04-14-2010, 01:33 PM
Journeyman
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 308
Default Re: Is my sourdough starter intoxicated?

I don't know if it my imagination or not, but I seem to see more hooch associated with a wet starter than a stiff starter. I always thought that a wetter starter just allowed the flour settles and allows water to separate (float) more than a firm starter... but I also seem to notice a more alcoholic smell.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 04-15-2010, 06:14 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,719
Default Re: Is my sourdough starter intoxicated?

Hi Brian!

I am not sure about the flour settling out though there may be a limit to how much water the flour can hold/contain but yeast definitely grows faster in a wetter medium so will make hooch faster.

Jay
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Sourdough starter james Barter, Trade and Sell 18 06-06-2010 11:08 AM
Italian Sourdough Starter dsgreco Pizza 7 12-17-2009 07:09 PM
Drying sourdough starter Debbie T Artisan Ingredients 2 04-12-2009 12:14 PM
sourdough starter separated is it still good? Debbie T Artisan Ingredients 4 04-09-2009 09:45 AM
Neill's sourdough starter loaves nissanneill What You Cooked Last Night 9 12-10-2008 05:55 AM


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:38 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0
2006/10 Forno Bravo, LLC