Author Topic: Selectively catching cultures?  (Read 971 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline DenaliPete

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 274
Selectively catching cultures?
« on: August 26, 2010, 12:51:34 PM »
So this is a bit of an odd question, but I hope I can present it clearly.

It seems that after being banned to the back of the fridge for far too long, my ischia and camoldi have revolted.  The ischia is very lagging and I fear may have just up and died on me (I just did a wash in the hopes that I can salvage it) and my camoldi became, well, moldy.

I've ordered a new pair of the two from Ed, but while I'm waiting for those to arrive I've began to ponder capturing my own cultures.

Some days ago I  began setting a bowl of light rye and water out in the hopes of catching something.  I *think* I did, it is fairly bubbly, but I'm not really noticing any rise with feedings, which has me perplexed.

I also began thinking though about how neat it would be (if at all possible) to maximize your chance for catching a specific strain of yeast.

For example, I mixed up a batch of  flour and water today and covered the bowl with cheesecloth.  Since its not very warm in AK lately I'm leaving the bowl indoors instead of outside.  But I did pluck a few good handfuls of fireweed from the yard and have them sitting on the cheesecloth atop the starter in the hopes that the little yeasties from the fireweed will find their way in.  I've got this all enclosed in a clear plastic tub to try and reduce the odds of another strain catching in and taking hold.

Is what I'm proposing even possible or am I just giving myself extra busy work when I should just be waiting for my sourdo.com cultures to arrive?  I'm not even sure why I'm so set on trying to get yeast that may be common to fireweed to begin with, its just a staple of the alaska landscape that I kind of feel would romanticize the story of telling people about my culture, should it actually take off.


buceriasdon

  • Guest
Re: Selectively catching cultures?
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2010, 02:07:27 PM »
The two cultures I started don't rise all that much either, but do bubble well. It is my understanding the wild yeast is most likely on the flour and just needs the right conditions to "take off" . You are using unbromated flour, correct?
Don

Offline Pigslips

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 153
  • Location: Vineyard Country Oregon
  • "Dominus Vobiscum"
“Pizza is a lot like sex. When it's good, it's really good. When it's bad, it's still pretty good.”

buceriasdon

  • Guest
Re: Selectively catching cultures?
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2010, 04:44:28 PM »
The first starter I have used the acid method to lower PH, worked well untill I tried feeding it with GP bromated flour, but I was able to locate some unbromated and was able to bring it back. (At ten dollars for five pounds) Using the same flour I got a culture going with just flour and water. I have found rye flour at Walmart and I have read it works quite well. Sometime I'll have someone bring down a commercial starter to try. It is fun, kinda reminds me of a science fair project. I always make pancakes from starter that's removed during feeding.
Saludos, Don

Offline DenaliPete

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 274
Re: Selectively catching cultures?
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2010, 12:34:57 PM »
I didn't realize that I hadn't updated this thread as often as I should.

I caught what I believe to be two different starters, one I simply label "caught at home", and the other "fireweed" as I tried to take precautions that the yeast would be caught from that specific flower. 

Could be mostly in my head, but I do believe the two to have different odors and they seem to respond to feedings differently.

I have only baked once with each (bread with one, pizza with another).  Hardly a side-by-side comparison.  But I plan to do just that during the next few days.  I just came off my night shift at the hospital and have fed my starters (which I keep on the countertop at all times for now).  My cultures are basically fed with my work schedule (one feeding when I leave, then another 12 hours later when I return), but I would like to do feeds every 6 to 8.

The first step is to get the cultures very healthy.  I still get confused on whether I should discard half the culture and then feed.  Or if I should feed and then discard half.  I believe I have read conficting things.

Does anyone have advice with regards to this? 

Instead of using mason jars (I'm unable to find wide-mouth), I have began using the Ziplc Twist'n Loc 1 quart plastic containers.  They narrow by the bottom but widen out appropriately along the top,

I am also trying to determine the appropriate consistency.  I read of people mixing it thick, using half as much water as flour during feedings, and I've also heard of people using half and half.  Some (like varsano I believe) keep their starter very liquidy.

Please correct any misconceptions, my goal is to break any bad habits.

buceriasdon

  • Guest
Re: Selectively catching cultures?
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2010, 02:20:11 PM »
Discard, then feed. I have never read the opposite. I always feed the discard to use for pancakes or waffles.
Don

Offline DenaliPete

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 274
Re: Selectively catching cultures?
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2010, 11:50:32 AM »
I appreciate the clarification.  I believe I'd read the feeding then discarding on a website, its good to feel pointed in the right direction.

Thus far I'm pleased with the activity of my cultures.  I'm feeding each culture 1/4 cup flour and slightly less water every feeding, which is every 8-12 hours depending on if I'm working or not.  As I'm typing this out my cultures are both sitting next to me looking quite happy.  4 hours ago I fed each culture and both cultures doubled in size between the 2 and 3 hour mark.  Right now they are both well over doubled in size. 

I also have used both cultures to make doughs yesterday.  It won't truly be a fair comparison between the two though.  With the fireweed culture I made a dough with a very large portion of sourdough culture that is rising at room temperature.  I don't recall when I made it, but it has been raising at room temperature for around 10 hours by my nearest estimate.  I just split the dough into two portions, one rolled into a ball and the other shaped into a french style loaf and slashed early on, I believe this second rise will last around 4 hours or so before I cook them.

The second culture caught off my back porch I made into a dough but added some active dry yeast to shorten the rising time.  It has since doubled in size and been split and balled into 4 roughly equal portions and stashed in the refridgerator, I will be using them hopefully to make pizzas in the AM.

I will soon be subjecting each starter to a side-by-side comparison using the same recipe so that I can adequately look at each cultures flavor profile, hopefully proving that I do indeed have two seperate cultures (they do smell different to me, but frankly I still believe in pilot error so I could just be trying to convince myself.

For any who are interested in tracking my progress, I believe I will be updating this thread or creating a new one to document my progress.


 

pizzapan