Author Topic: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?  (Read 28437 times)

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Offline David Deas

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #250 on: April 08, 2012, 01:37:53 PM »
Great thread.

I actually have three totally dormant starters that have all been at room temperature for months without food.  I can revive them at any time.  However, I cannot really get involved here with them unfortunately because I have no way of objectively determining what they were originally like.  I have some idea about it, but no truly objective measure one way or the next.

Darn.


Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #251 on: April 08, 2012, 01:39:48 PM »
That is pretty interesting that you are finding differences in the smell but not flavor. Do you think the acids being produced in your RT samples are masking other odors?

Jimmy, all samples had very little acid in them.  I would use around a 10-20% young seed, feed, and it would be ready in 4-5 hours.  I then discarded again and refeed, so there was very little residual acids in the seed.  Any acids produced during the 4-5 hours was a very small amount.  I'm not sure how much they are really masking odors or flavors.  I think what I am mostly tasting is the break down of the flour, some bacterial and yeast fermentation, and a very small amount of acid, which might partially explain why they all tasted so similar.  The similarity in flavor could be attributed to the way I fed them at room temps throughout the day, but I don't know enough to say.  Just reporting what I found...

Looking forward to your results.

Chau

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #252 on: April 08, 2012, 01:41:15 PM »
Great thread.

I actually have three totally dormant starters that have all been at room temperature for months without food.  I can revive them at any time.  However, I cannot really get involved here with them unfortunately because I have no way of objectively determining what they were originally like.  I have some idea about it, but no truly objective measure one way or the next.

Darn.

It would still be interesting to see if they all taste similar or different once revived.  That would still be important to know.  Will you consider reviving them and posting your findings David?

Offline David Deas

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #253 on: April 08, 2012, 02:14:07 PM »
Sure. 

Choice of flour?  Any in particular?

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #254 on: April 08, 2012, 06:23:38 PM »
Whatever you have on hand. Thanks!

Chau

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #255 on: April 09, 2012, 10:10:15 AM »
I do have an Ischia and a Camaldoli starter that I'm going to leave on the counter for two or three weeks (a little less than a week so far) and then revive and see if there are any differences compared to each other and the controls in the fridge. There is no doubt that they were very different before the start in both flavor and behavior.

After 2.5 weeks on the counter at 75F without feeding, last night, I took 1Tbs of each and 1Tbs of each of the mother cultures from the fridge and mixed each with 1/3c flour (KABF) and 1/3c water. So, there are a total of 4 samples growing, 2 Ischia and 2 Camaldoli. All showed some signs of activity this morning. Those from the mother culture showed the most activity. I'll feed each another 1/3c flour this evening.

CL
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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #256 on: April 09, 2012, 10:15:01 AM »
Looking forward to your results.  At this point, do the previously neglected samples smell any different at all?  When refeedIng, how much of seed are you using?
« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 10:49:18 AM by Jackie Tran »

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #257 on: April 09, 2012, 10:40:41 AM »
The two cultures from the counter both stunk. The Ischia had become so acidic, the lid was rusting and some condensed humidity dripped some rust down into the culture.

I planned to feed exactly how I would in an ordinary scenairo. This means I'll just add more at the next feeding. On subesquent feedings, I'll discard about 1/2 and replace with a like amount.

CL
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Offline JimmyG

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #258 on: April 09, 2012, 11:22:51 AM »
I have some news and interesting preliminary findings today. First bit of news is that Sat. morning I had to restart my experiment. Friday night I had some friends over and someone got into my containers (I am guessing they were looking for food and thought it may have been dip or something). Not wanting to risk that my samples were contaminated I started over from scratch with fresh containers and vessels. The only modification I made was to closed environment group. To ensure a tighter seal, I overlaid the container with saran wrap, secured by a rubber band before applying the lid.
   What is surprising this time is that the closed environment flour + water mixture (FW) rapidly developed over the past 48h as shown below. In all photos, the sample on the left is from my original SD culture and the sample on the right (with the piece of white paper under it) is the flour and water mixture. The SD starter had exhausted it’s food supply over the two days. The flavor of SD starter had not noticeably changed from the original seed culture and was sharp, with slight acidic notes. The FW mixture was showing activity and bubbling–whereas there was no activity yesterday. While it is a little early to identify whether or not this was due to the neighboring SD starter, the flavor of the FW was different from the SD. The FW tasted mildly sweet and pleasant.
   Within the open environment/closed container samples (not shown), the SD starter had also used up it food supply and tasted the same as the closed environment SD starter. The FW mixture had no pronounced activity occurring yet and tasted rather bland.  Against protocol, I fed this group first this morning and did not recognize anything out of the ordinary until I viewed the closed environment group, which is why I did not snap any photos. I will try to get some photos of this group in two day when I refeed again.
   I am kind of curious about what I going on in the closed environment group. I am sure that I did not cross contaminate the FW mixture in the closed environment as the glass vessel was sterilized before the FW mixture was added and the FW mixture was mixed in one batch and divided between open and closed environment groups.
   If any members have time, could someone try to recreate this closed environment group, even if it is for only two or three days. My reason for asking is to validate whether or not I contaminated my FW sample along the way or if this is an actual occurrence, possibly being facilitated by the humidity in the container.  
   The container is a standard Tupperware container to which two sponge strips had been added. The sponges were saturated with water and placed at the bottom of the Tupperware.The container was tightly secured with saran wrap, a rubber band and the original container lid. The FW mixture was mixed at a 1:1 ratio with nothing else added to it. The SD mixture was 10% seed culture and 90% flour and water in equal proportions.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 10:33:05 PM by JimmyG »
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Offline JimmyG

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #259 on: April 09, 2012, 11:23:45 AM »
More pictures:
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cornicione54

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #260 on: April 09, 2012, 11:31:14 AM »
Activity after about 40 hours in a flour and water mixture (uncontaminated) is not unusual. It's usually enterobacter/leuconostoc/aerobacter? taking first dibs. It starts off fairly innocuous in flavour but can sometimes turn rather unpleasant later.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 11:34:38 AM by cornicione54 »

Offline JimmyG

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #261 on: April 09, 2012, 11:47:27 AM »
I do agree that it could take place in a short amount of time, however, there was a noticeable difference in activity between the FW samples. The one in the closed environment with the SD starter was definitely active where as the closed container sample by itself showed sparse bubbling activity ( I really wished I took a photo of this container this morning). The activity level between the two FW samples were definitely distinct.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 10:27:36 PM by JimmyG »
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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #262 on: April 09, 2012, 10:14:15 PM »
Second feeding. The cultures from the fridge are fully active and taste as they should. The counter cultures were showing signs but still pretty slow. They both tasted about the same - mostly like flour.

CL
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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #263 on: April 10, 2012, 10:57:48 AM »
All 4 had noticeably increased activity this morning. The counter Camaldoli looks to be lagging the other three a little.
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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #264 on: April 10, 2012, 10:46:13 PM »
All 4 have decent activity now. The 2 from the fridge smell and taste exactly as they should. The 2 counter cultures both taste about the same, and the taste is not good. They are much less acidic, and stiffer too. I'll check them again in the morning.
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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #265 on: April 11, 2012, 10:59:21 PM »
I tasted the four tonight before feeding, and the counter cultures have really improved. They lost their nasty taste, gained some acidity, and are now tasting like milder versions of their properly cared for brothers.

CL
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Offline JimmyG

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #266 on: April 12, 2012, 10:48:36 AM »
I wanted to get this update posted yesterday but unfortunately ran out of time, so I am posting it this morning instead.
Yesterday morning I opened the open containers/closed environment group and it stunk.The only smell that comes to mind is old wet socks or my football locker room in high school.  The SD starter and the FW starter were both active, however the SD starter had exhausted its food supply.  The FW sample looked as if it was beginning to slow down as well. I tasted both samples. The SD starter tasted the same a it normally does. The FW sample however was beginning to taste similar to the SD starter.   I was a little surprised by this, however it is not a perfect match and there are still some flavor differences between the two sample.

In the two closed container groups, the FW sample was beginning to show some activity, however their was no SD flavor to it and it tasted like flour and water. The SD sample also had eaten through its food supply and slowed down like the other SD stater. This SD tasted and smelled the same as before and the same the other SD starter.
Below are some photos. The first group is the open containers closed environment group. In the top pic, the FW mix is on the left and the SD is on the right. The next pic is the SD and the following the FW.  
« Last Edit: April 12, 2012, 10:59:46 AM by JimmyG »
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Offline JimmyG

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #267 on: April 12, 2012, 10:50:51 AM »
This group is the Closed container / open environment group. The first photo is the SD sample and the second is the FW sample.
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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #268 on: April 12, 2012, 10:58:57 AM »
All 4 have decent activity now. The 2 from the fridge smell and taste exactly as they should. The 2 counter cultures both taste about the same, and the taste is not good. They are much less acidic, and stiffer too. I'll check them again in the morning.

And the 2 counter cultures taste distinctly different as do the fridge samples, just more mild?

Offline JimmyG

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #269 on: April 12, 2012, 11:04:52 AM »
Chau,
I did not start a plain flour and water sample in the fridge so that I cannot comment on that aspect. All of these samples are being kept at room temp.  The two SD starters from my original mother culture in the fridge were all identical to each other and identical to my mother dough in the fridge though.


Never mind, I see that question was for Craig. Didn't read the quote.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2012, 11:27:09 AM by JimmyG »
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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #270 on: April 12, 2012, 03:04:53 PM »
And the 2 counter cultures taste distinctly different as do the fridge samples, just more mild?

Yes, as of this morning, the counter cultures are really starting to taste like their refrigerator brotheren. Still not quite as acidic and slightly stiffer.

CL
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Offline JimmyG

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #271 on: April 13, 2012, 10:45:47 AM »
I did another feeding this morning. Not much has changed. Both SD starters have retained their original flavor. The FW sample in the closed environment is begining to taste similar to the SD starter in the same container, only not quite as sharp. I would use the analogy that its like tasting lite and regular beer from the same brewery. You can tell that the beer comes from brewery X, but there are some minor differences in flavor. At this point I cannot tell if this similarity is due to the flour, the water or flora migration. I should note that the flavor of both FW samples still remain distinctly different in taste and their physical characteristics.  Hopefully over the next week, as the FW samples fully mature, more pronounced similarities and differences will emerge.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2012, 10:48:53 AM by JimmyG »
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Offline JimmyG

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #272 on: April 15, 2012, 10:49:13 AM »
I refed my starters this morning. The only new finding is that the FW sample in the closed container/open environment group is now fully active and tastes distinctly different from the other FW sample. One other thing I found to be interesting was this sample was the only sample to produced some hootch as a byproduct, whereas the other 3 samples did not. Other than these observations, nothing else had changed with the three other samples. 
« Last Edit: April 15, 2012, 10:53:46 AM by JimmyG »
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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #273 on: April 15, 2012, 06:54:10 PM »
I'm going out of town for a week leaving tomorrow, so I'm ending the experiment today. While the two counter cultures got a lot more acidic - about the same as their healthy counterparts - there was something else going on in them. They had a really nasty background taste. It was like Ischia or Camaldoli should taste but with some rotten stinky culture blended in. For kicks and grins, I cultured some straight KABP (what I'd been feeding them) and it wreaked. I didn't taste it, but it seems reasonable that is what contaminated the counter cultures. I can't say if the Ischia and Camaldoli would have regained control after some period of time, but as of today, they were certainly compremised. Given every advantage, (weak, next to death culture, heavily diluted in when feeding [1 part culture to 10 parts flour]), it does appear that a rogue culture can indeed get a foothold - at least temporarily. If I was to try it again, I would not dilute the counter culture - just add flour to it over time to bring it back - that way it would have a much more acidic, antibiotic, environment that might make it more difficult for the contaminants to get a foothold.
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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #274 on: April 15, 2012, 07:09:48 PM »
Craig, thanks for posting your results.  My 2 counter cultures also had something stinky in them.  After mutliple refeedings at room temps with a very small seed in an attempt to dilute that stinkiness out, that stinkiness seem to persevere.  I have those 2 room temperature cultures in the fridge now and feeding them once a week like my other cultures.  I'll make an update as to whether or not the stinkiness will ever go away, even after a prolong fridge life. 

I also noted in my posts, that depite the stinkiness odor, when I made young starters with the room temp cultures or fridge kept cultures, all seem to have a very similar taste.   So my cultures smelled different but in the end all tasted very similar.

So, I wanted to make sure that you can distinctly differentiate between the 2 counter cultures and the 2 fridge kept cultures.  They have remained true in flavor profile other than the stinky odor, correct?

Jimmy, looking forward to your results.  Thank you as well for doing the experimenting and posting about it.

Chau


 

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