Author Topic: Newbie to Natural Starters  (Read 18836 times)

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Offline norma427

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Re: Newbie to Natural Starters
« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2010, 09:33:51 PM »
Everything sounds within normal parameters so far. Keep feeding them - and please be generous with the inoculation. I'd almost be tempted to say feed less flour than starter - at least until it kicks off. eg (2:1:1 starter:flour:water)
The way I've done it in the past is not to throw anything away. Just keep adding flour and water to the starter until it really starts going. The key is not to dilute your culture if you can help it until it has really established itself.

Once it really gets going I move from a 2:1:1 feed(starter:flour:water) to 1:2:2 and then down to 1:3:3 (actually I add more water than flour so it's a 1:3:4 - but that's just my preference).
Hold off on the white flour - again until things really start going.
Fingers crossed you've avoided the leuc stage. (which should have reared its head already if it was ever going to).

Cheers,

Toby





Toby,

I did discard 75g of the culture in day 2 am, but am now feeding as scheduled.  I am happy to hear I might have passed the leuc stage.  :)  I just fed the starter for tonight.  I haven't noticed any unpleasant order so far.  I wonder when or if the starter does double itself, does it matter what kind of white flour I use?  I would either like to use high- gluten or KABF.  What kind of white flour did you have the best results with?

Thanks,
Norma
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Infoodel

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Re: Newbie to Natural Starters
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2010, 09:39:59 PM »

Toby,

I did discard 75g of the culture in day 2 am, but am now feeding as scheduled.  I am happy to hear I might have passed the leuc stage.  :)  I just fed the starter for tonight.  I haven't noticed any unpleasant order so far.  I wonder when or if the starter does double itself, does it matter what kind of white flour I use?  I would either like to use high- gluten or KABF.  What kind of white flour did you have the best results with?

Thanks,
Norma
Here in the UK, so far as I have tried - 00 flour is the 'best' (fastest fermenting) - but please understand that most of the flour here does not have malted barley added to bump up the enzyme levels.
The flour I'm using to feed my white starter at the moment is an organic white (mostly english wheat: maris widgeon)...but only because I can order it in sacks at a reasonable price.
I would think any of the KA range would be fine but honestly supermarket AP would probably do just as well. If I recall correctly, I was happily using Kroger unbleached AP while I was in TN.

Cheers,

Toby
« Last Edit: January 13, 2010, 09:42:10 PM by Infoodel »

Offline norma427

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Re: Newbie to Natural Starters
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2010, 09:45:56 PM »
Here in the UK, so far as I have tried - 00 flour is the 'best' (fastest fermenting) - but please understand that most of the flour here does not have malted barley added to bump up the enzyme levels.
The flour I'm using to feed my white starter at the moment is an organic white (mostly english wheat: maris widgeon)...but only because I can order it in sacks at a reasonable price.
I would think any of the KA range would be fine but honestly supermarket AP would probably do just as well. If I recall correctly, I was happily using Kroger unbleached AP while I was in TN.

Cheers,

Toby


Toby,
Thanks again, for your information and I will post a picture (if or when it becomes more active).
Thanks for helping me though this process and learning more about starters.

Norma
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Infoodel

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Re: Newbie to Natural Starters
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2010, 09:50:00 PM »

Toby,
Thanks again, for your information and I will post a picture (if or when it becomes more active).
Thanks for helping me though this process and learning more about starters.

Norma
A pleasure! If it weren't so fresh in my mind (from recent experiences) I might have been less forthcoming with details etc. This way, I get to review my own knowledge with the additional benefit of your experience. So thank *you*!
Best of luck and I look forward to seeing some bread/pizza from your starters in the future.

Cheers,

Toby

Offline norma427

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Re: Newbie to Natural Starters
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2010, 09:53:43 PM »
A pleasure! If it weren't so fresh in my mind (from recent experiences) I might have been less forthcoming with details etc. This way, I get to review my own knowledge with the additional benefit of your experience. So thank *you*!
Best of luck and I look forward to seeing some bread/pizza from your starters in the future.

Cheers,

Toby


Toby,

If this starter works out okay for me I will make some pizza and bread and post pictures.  Hopefully nothing goes wrong.
I appreciate your help! :)

Norma
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Offline norma427

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Re: Newbie to Natural Starters
« Reply #25 on: January 15, 2010, 08:30:58 PM »
Attached are 1 picture from day 5 before feeding.  I am going to transfer to a bigger container.  Is this the right thing to do?
The starter with rye flour and water is more active than the rye flour, wine and water. 
The second picture I have included are the kinds of flour I could change over to, when the starter is active enough.
With the whole wheat flour I just purchased today, I am going to try to start another starter. 
My kitchen is getting so full of flours, ingredients and frozen dough to be tried out, I think I will soon have to move my other stuff out to be able to experiment more..lol  :-D
The flours pictured here which I might add are, high-gluten, gluten, King Arthur AP, Semolina, and Caputo.   
Do you know what the plain gluten is for?  Does it add more gluten to regular AP flour?

Thanks,

Norma
« Last Edit: January 15, 2010, 08:33:02 PM by norma427 »
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Infoodel

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Re: Newbie to Natural Starters
« Reply #26 on: January 15, 2010, 09:07:52 PM »
Hey Norma
From what I can make out, the starters are looking good and healthy!

I think if they are rising reliably now, you can put them on a 1:2:2 feed (or even 1:3:3) and put them in a smaller container (in other words you can discard/use the excess).

If the bag labelled 'gluten' is indeed vital wheat gluten as you suspect, then yes you can add it to AP flour - but why bother when you have high gluten flour already? Also King Arthur AP is probably the strongest of any AP flour in the US as it is milled from hard red winter wheat (not a mix of soft and hard wheats like many other APs).

Cheers,

Toby

Offline norma427

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Re: Newbie to Natural Starters
« Reply #27 on: January 15, 2010, 09:24:46 PM »
Toby,

Thank you for the additional information and I will leap to the next step and put them on a 1:2:2 feed to see what happens.
Will post when I see what happens.

Thanks for your help!  :)

Norma
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Offline norma427

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Re: Newbie to Natural Starters
« Reply #28 on: January 16, 2010, 08:43:45 AM »
Toby,

Here is the picture of the divided starter that was fed 1:2:2 last evening.  This morning it looks like it is doing well and really increasing in volume.  When do I start to add the white flour?  Do you think it is ready or should I now go to the 1:3:3 feeding?
The other container is the wheat flour starter that was started last evening.  It looks like there are bubbles in it by this morning.  Am getting excited this whole starter thing might work.
Wheat starter or left..rye starter on right

Thanks for your help,

Norma

Here is the one link that was posted before about starting you own starter:

Are you expecting to find a detailed and long list of steps that have to be observed and followed with impeccable precision? Get ready for an unpleasant surprise:

Preparing a sourdough culture is very easy. And what you need for this you usually have at hand in your house, it is only water and flour.
   
Flour and water are mixed in the same proportion with the sourdough starter, the storage leaven and left to rest in a warm place.  This allows the the micro organisms which are present in the flour and air to multiply and they begin to settle in the ďnew terrainĒ of flour and water.  The dough begins to become acidic.


I found this article quite helpful if anyone is interested in trying their own starter.

Norma

Flour + Water = Starter

July 13 2007 at 03:35 pm

Ah, summerÖ corn on the cob, lazy reading in the hammock, andÖ sourdough starter, of course!

Mature sourdough starter

Iíve been taking advantage of this warm weather to try raising some starters from scratch. I had done it before in a week-long class (in fact, thatís the starter Iíve been using for months), but we were able to keep our cultures at a constant 80 degrees F, and we added extra malt to jump-start the process. I wanted to see how it worked with just flour and water, in the warm but fluctuating room temperatures of my non-air-conditioned house in these beautiful early summer weeks in northern California.

Success! Raising a starter seems to be something that is perceived as mysterious, complicated, or hard. But in my experience, itís not; it just requires attention and patience.

I did this a couple of times, once with rye and once with whole wheat flour. Both worked, but the rye worked better, so thatís the one Iím summarizing. (Note: this ends up as a white starter. The rye is just in the beginning, to get things going.)

Ready to try it?

Sourdough Starter from Scratch

Ingredients:

    * White flour (bread or all-purpose), preferably one that contains malted barley flour. Most white flours do, but some do not, especially if they are organic. Check the label.
    * Rye flour.
    * Water. I use bottled (not distilled) water because I donít want the chlorine in tap water, and I do want the minerals that are removed by my water softener. If your tap water is not softened, you could let some sit out for a few hours to allow the chlorine to dissipate. All the water should be at about 85F; the yeast you want to nurture likes warmish water. I heat a small amount of water in the microwave and mix it with room temperature water, checking it with an instant-read thermometer. If you donít have one, the water should feel about neutral to the touch.

Equipment:

    * A 1-quart or larger container with a lid, preferably transparent and with straight vertical sides (this makes it easier to gauge the activity of the culture).
    * A kitchen scale. If you donít have one, get one. In the meantime, Iíll give the approximate volume measurements. But just this once; really, weigh your ingredients! (I never said I wasnít opinionated.)
    * An instant-read thermometer is useful for checking water temperature.
    * A rubber spatula or plastic dough scraper.
    * Transparent tape.
    * A way to heat water.
    * A warm(ish) place, preferably around 80F. The room I used fluctuated from low 70ís to mid 80ís. A room thermometer is helpful.

General process:

    * The stuff youíre growing is a ďcultureĒ before it is mature and stable enough to bake with, at which point it becomes a ďstarter.Ē
    * The volume measurements Iíve given do not corresponding exactly to the weight measurements, but the proportions are the same. Donít mix weight and volume measurements.
    * You will initially leave the culture alone for 24 hours, after which you will ďfeedĒ it at 12-hour intervals; choose your starting time accordingly. I arbitrarily assume youíre starting in the morning.
    * Feeding involves removing and discarding a portion of the culture, and adding water and flour to what remains: first mix the culture and water together thoroughly, then add the flour and mix until thoroughly blended.
    * Before you begin, itís helpful to mark the weight of the container on the bottom with a Sharpie, or note it elsewhere. Then when itís time to discard some of the culture, you can just keep taking some out and weighing the container until you know that the remaining culture is the right amount. I do not wash my container between every feeding.
    * Contrary to a somewhat popular belief, it is OK to use a stainless steel spoon for mixing.
    * After mixing, use a spatula or dough scraper to squeegee the sides of the container so theyíre nice and clean. This helps you see how much the culture has risen, and keeps things tidy.
    * When youíre done mixing, smooth the top of the culture flat as much as possible. Place a piece of tape running straight up the outside of the container, and mark the level of the culture. This is how you will know how much it has risen.
    * Replace the container lid when youíre done mixing. If itís a screw on lid or mason-jar type, you may want to leave it a little loose to give accumulated gas an escape route. If it is a plastic snap-on lid, you can snap it tight; the lid will pop off if the pressure inside gets too high.

Day 1 AM:

    * Make sure your container is clean, well-rinsed, and dry.
    * Mix 100 g water, 50 g rye flour, and 50 g white flour (or 1/2 c. water and 3/8 c. of each flour.)
    * Leave the culture in its warm spot for 24 hours.

Day 2 AM:

    * Hopefully you will see signs of life. Has the culture risen a little? Are there any bubbles in it, even one or two? (These are sometimes best seen by picking it up and looking at it through the bottom of the container.)

      Bubbles in culture after 12 hours
    * It is possible that you will see a large rise (50% or more) at this point. Donít be fooled; this does not mean youíve birthed a miracle baby. In the initial stages of a culture, a type of bacteria called leuconostoc may predominate; it produces a lot of gas and causes the rapid rise. This bacteria is not desirable, but not harmful either, and it will eventually die out as the beneficial critters settle in and the culture becomes more acidic. You may also notice that the culture has a rather unpleasant odor; donít worry, this too shall pass.
    * (If you see absolutely no sign of life whatsoever, I suggest leaving it alone for another 12 hours before proceeding. If there is still nothing, why not forge ahead anyway and see what happens?)
    * Discard all but 75 g of the culture. Feed this with 75 g water, 25 g rye flour, and 50 g white flour (1/3 c. starter, 1/3 c. water, 5 teaspoons rye flour, and 1/3 c. white flour).
    * Set it back in its warm spot for 12 hours.

Day 2 PM:

    * You may see signs of activity, but the culture may be either more or less lively than what you saw this morning. Anything from a single bubble to a 100% rise is good.

      Sourdough culture at 36 hours
    * Again, feed 75 g of culture with 75 g water, 25 g rye flour, and 50 g white flour, and return it to the warm spot.

Day 3 AM:

    * Your culture may appear dead, but itís probably not. Donít worry, just go ahead and feed as before.

Day 3 PM and every 12 hours thereafter:

    * Continue to feed as youíve been doing. At some point things should pick up steam, and you will notice that the culture gets a little more vigorous with each feeding.
    * When the culture at least doubles itself in 12 hours and is looking nice and bubbly, start feeding with only white flour (75 g culture / 75 g water / 75 g flour). This happened for me around the end of Day 4.

      Sourdough culture at 4 days
    * After about 5 Ė 7 days, hopefully you will observe that the culture can double itself in 8 hours or less, smells pleasantly sour, and is full of bubbles. Congratulations, you have raised a 100% hydration starter thatís ready to bake with! If youíre looking for a recipe, how about this Norwich Sourdough?

      Norwich sourdough
    * At this point you can also start decreasing the amount of culture in relation to the feeding flour and water, and use room-temperature instead of 85-degree water. You have been mixing 1:1:1 culture:water:flour at each feeding. Now try 1:2:2 and see if the starter can still double in 8 hours or less.
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Infoodel

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Re: Newbie to Natural Starters
« Reply #29 on: January 16, 2010, 09:23:39 AM »
Wow congratulations Norma. You have yourself a living, breathing (well maybe not breathing...but fermenting anyway!) starter culture!
Yes you can certainly go ahead and start transitioning to a white flour - but I would take it gradually over a number of feeds. If the starter starts smelling weird - don't try adding more white flour to the feeds but rather let it stabilise first before continuing. That said, I doubt you will have the same trouble I had recently with the transition.

If you want to keep the rye, you can always split the starter and continue maintaining a separate rye starter (1:3:3 or whatever ratio you feel comfortable with) while transitioning the other.
For the transitional stage, I'd advise against using a 1:3:3 ratio. Keep it at 1:2:2 or even 1:1:1 and wait until you have the starter stabilised again before dropping back down to 1:3:3.

I've been running an experiment with refrigerating the 100% hydration rye starter - and it seems fine. It's something you may want to consider if starters start running your daily schedule (as they do mine often!) and you don't need the starter on a daily basis.

Cheers,
Toby
« Last Edit: January 16, 2010, 09:26:50 AM by Infoodel »


Offline norma427

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Re: Newbie to Natural Starters
« Reply #30 on: January 16, 2010, 10:27:15 AM »
Toby,

I feel the same way..wow..I guess there are now living beasties in my kitchen.  ;D Thank you very much for continuing to help me though this process.   :)
I never thought of also keeping a rye starter, so thanks for the idea!
I will follow your instructions and start adding some white flour.  I will keep an eye on it or them..lol
As for refrigerating the starters, what is the procedure for that?  Can they stay well in the fridge?
I sure wonít be using the starters everyday, so any information would be helpful.
Hopefully the wheat starter will do well.

Thanks,

Norma
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Infoodel

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Re: Newbie to Natural Starters
« Reply #31 on: January 16, 2010, 11:02:10 AM »
Toby,

I feel the same way..wow..I guess there are now living beasties in my kitchen.  ;D Thank you very much for continuing to help me though this process.   :)
I never thought of also keeping a rye starter, so thanks for the idea!
I will follow your instructions and start adding some white flour.  I will keep an eye on it or them..lol
As for refrigerating the starters, what is the procedure for that?  Can they stay well in the fridge?
I sure wonít be using the starters everyday, so any information would be helpful.
Hopefully the wheat starter will do well.

Thanks,

Norma
The typical procedure is to feed the starter (taking whatever portion you need for baking, dough etc.) - let the fed starter sit for an hour or so before returning to the refrigerator. However with my recent rye experiment, I deliberately put the starter straight back in the 'fridge after feeding and it was fine.
People have been known to leave their starter in the fridge for months on end (on the understanding that an extra refresh might be required when it comes to taking it out of the fridge). I'd probably stick to weekly feeds if possible.
Cheers,

Toby
« Last Edit: January 16, 2010, 11:05:20 AM by Infoodel »

Offline norma427

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Re: Newbie to Natural Starters
« Reply #32 on: January 16, 2010, 11:10:13 AM »
The typical procedure is to feed the starter (taking whatever portion you need for baking, dough etc.) - let the fed starter sit for an hour or so before returning to the refrigerator. However with my recent rye experiment, I deliberately put the starter straight back in the 'fridge after feeding and it was fine.
People have been known to leave their starter in the fridge for months on end (on the understanding that an extra refresh might be required when it comes to taking it out of the fridge). I'd probably stick to weekly feeds if possible.
Cheers,

Toby

Toby,

Thanks for the additional information!  Let me know how your experimenting are going.  :)  It is always good to hear how other people are doing with what kind of experiments they are doing.  It really help all of us understand how to go about doing something.
I will keep you updated on what is going on with the starters.

Thanks,
Norma
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Offline norma427

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Re: Newbie to Natural Starters
« Reply #33 on: January 16, 2010, 10:38:29 PM »
These are the starters as they look tonight.  The one rye was fed with high-gluten this morning.  It has since tripled in size.  The next rye was fed with Caputo this morning and has more than doubled in size.  I did just feed the rye and let it be rye this morning.  This was Toby's idea.  Thanks!  :)  The wine with flour is expanding, also.  I had started the whole wheat last night and it will get the second feeding tonight.  I still have another rye.  I don't know what I am going to do with all these starters, but they look and smell healthy.  I plan on feeding the Caputo and the high-gluten..I guess until they turn into a white starter.  I found the containers at the Dollar Tree store..for a buck they are working great!

This is a picture of how they looked, tonight.

Norma
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Offline UnConundrum

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Re: Newbie to Natural Starters
« Reply #34 on: January 17, 2010, 08:09:50 AM »
LOL, Norma, I think you have an addiction.  Someone is going to have to take your starters away from you.   :-D

Offline norma427

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Re: Newbie to Natural Starters
« Reply #35 on: January 17, 2010, 08:14:33 AM »
LOL, Norma, I think you have an addiction.  Someone is going to have to take your starters away from you.   :-D

Warren,

This starter thing is getting interesting..lol  I just couldn't resist playing around with different ones.   :-D  Hopefully soon, I will get to try one on a pizza or bread.

Thanks,

Norma
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Infoodel

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Re: Newbie to Natural Starters
« Reply #36 on: January 17, 2010, 09:15:49 AM »
These are the starters as they look tonight.  The one rye was fed with high-gluten this morning.  It has since tripled in size.  The next rye was fed with Caputo this morning and has more than doubled in size.  I did just feed the rye and let it be rye this morning.  This was Toby's idea.  Thanks!  :)  The wine with flour is expanding, also.  I had started the whole wheat last night and it will get the second feeding tonight.  I still have another rye.  I don't know what I am going to do with all these starters, but they look and smell healthy.  I plan on feeding the Caputo and the high-gluten..I guess until they turn into a white starter.  I found the containers at the Dollar Tree store..for a buck they are working great!

This is a picture of how they looked, tonight.

Norma
:o  Damn! Norma - they're taking over. ;D
Seriously though - that's a fine looking selection of starters. Looking forward to seeing the baked goods.
Happy Baking!
Toby


Offline norma427

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Re: Newbie to Natural Starters
« Reply #37 on: January 17, 2010, 11:22:16 AM »
:o  Damn! Norma - they're taking over. ;D
Seriously though - that's a fine looking selection of starters. Looking forward to seeing the baked goods.
Happy Baking!
Toby



Toby,

I am satisfied with the starters.  Thanks for taking me thought the process.  :)  Will post with pictures when I try either pizza or bread.

Thanks,
Norma
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Offline ninapizza23

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Re: Newbie to Natural Starters
« Reply #38 on: January 17, 2010, 12:28:48 PM »
Norma427,
I see the  starters are keeping you very busy, how do they smell? Do they have a special aroma? Don't be in a rush to try them out,  according to what Marco said it takes about a month for the starter to be ready.

Offline norma427

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Re: Newbie to Natural Starters
« Reply #39 on: January 17, 2010, 01:04:35 PM »
Norma427,
I see the  starters are keeping you very busy, how do they smell? Do they have a special aroma? Don't be in a rush to try them out,  according to what Marco said it takes about a month for the starter to be ready.

ninapizza23,

They aren't really keeping me busy..just feed and let go until the next day..All the different ones each have a different aroma.  They all smell like alcohol, but are all different.  I am going to try some out soon because I have so many.  I still will have some to try in about a month if the starters are okay.

Thanks for giving the advise as what Marco had to say,

Norma
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