Author Topic: Starters converting themselves ????  (Read 3690 times)

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Offline JerryMac

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Starters converting themselves ????
« on: April 30, 2007, 12:31:02 PM »
Hey Guys,

I,m relatively new to Sourdough and starters and the only starters I have used are ones I have created.

In the commentary section on page 230 of Reinharts BBA he states "" This is why a starter made from a seed culture imported from Egypt or Russia will, over time, produce a bread that tastes like a starter made locally from scratch. "  :( ???

I have read basically the same thing ( how over time the yeast and bacteria from your local area will take over those of a starter you purchased, say from  Italy of San Fran ) from numerous other reputable sources on the net.

It sort of makes sense to me that if you follow a feeding procedure of discarding some and then feeding with flour and water that eventually you will have none of the original yeast  or bacteria left.

Just looking for opinions on this as I know a lot of people are purchasing starters from all over the world.

Mangia Bene  :chef:
Jerry


Offline Bryan S

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Re: Starters converting themselves ????
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2007, 05:17:01 PM »
One, the famous San Francisco culture, was extensively studied in an attempt to simplify the sourdough process for commercial bakers. This simplification could not be achieved. There was no way the flavor could be maintained unless the lactobacilli had ample time to multiply and produce flavor compounds and acidity. Some important information did result from this research: it was determined that sourdough cultures are symbiotic and stable.  They do not change if taken to another geographical location, nor do they change from contaminates in the air.  (This synergism can be destroyed by adding bakers' yeast.)


Once the culture is activated and in a liquid form, it is placed in the refrigerator where it will maintain its properties and contamination is no longer a problem.  It should be "fed" and proofed every four to six months to keep the organisms viable.

More complete information and directions are in the book, Classic Sourdoughs by Ed Wood.
You can read the whole article here. http://www.sourdo.com/fermentation.html
Making great pizza and learning new things everyday.

Offline JerryMac

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Re: Starters converting themselves ????
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2007, 08:57:21 PM »
Bryan,

I don't exactly understand the following sentences.  :(  Maybe you could elaborate for me.  :)

"One, the famous San Francisco culture, was extensively studied in an attempt to simplify the sourdough process for commercial bakers. This simplification could not be achieved. There was no way the flavor could be maintained unless the lactobacilli had ample time to multiply and produce flavor compounds and acidity."   ???  ???  ???

Does your reply only apply to San Fran or all starters ?  ???

Is Reinhart wrong ?  ???

Mangia Bene,  :chef:
Jerry

Offline JerryMac

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Re: Starters converting themselves ????
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2007, 09:04:52 PM »
Anybody Else  ???

Opinions, Please  :-\

Mangia Bene,  :chef:
Jerry

Offline JerryMac

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Re: Starters converting themselves ????
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2007, 09:39:33 PM »
Hey Guys,

OK, I've been thinkin  :'( (that's dangerous) and now I am all the more confused :-\ (I do that to myself when I think too much)

Try this:

I have one cup of Great Pinot Gregio from Italy and I add 1 cup of Boones Farm to it.

One week later I throw out one cup of the mixture and to the remaining 1 cup I add another cup of Boones Farm.

I continue this process for the next  X number of weeks.

Will I not end up with 99.999 0/0 pure Boones Farm ?  ???

It seems to uneducated me that every time you expose a starter to your "local air" and add your "local flour" and your "local water" to feed it and let it proof in the "local air" that you are really reproducing my aforementioned "Boones Farm" epxeriment.  ???

Please clear up my Boones Farm Fogged mind and let me know If I am wrong, or have just been brainwashed by Peter Reinhart !  ::)

Thanks for the help in advance.

Mangia Bene,  :chef:
Jerry

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Starters converting themselves ????
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2007, 10:19:09 PM »
Starter cultures like those sold by sourdo.com are very robust and can be counted on to dominate and exclude less powerful local cultures by virtue of their ability to more quickly reproduce in a wider range of temperatures and pH. Many of these powerful cultures were captured many years ago and have remained unchanged. That is the theory as I understand it.

Offline Bryan S

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Re: Starters converting themselves ????
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2007, 11:56:16 PM »
Bryan,

Is Reinhart wrong ?  ???

Mangia Bene,  :chef:
Jerry
As much as i love his book American Pie, IMO yes he is wrong. I say this because of my experience in home brewing and exactly what Bill/SFNM said. When you have a gazillion yeast in a jar it would be almost impossible for some errant strain floating around in your house or the flour to over take such a mass of active yeast. Now on the other hand if you neglect your jarred yeast and the numbers dwindle then it might be possible to loose that sourdough strain to another one. Of course this is just my opinion. ;D
Making great pizza and learning new things everyday.

Offline Bryan S

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Re: Starters converting themselves ????
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2007, 12:22:26 AM »
Hey Guys,
I have one cup of Great Pinot Gregio from Italy and I add 1 cup of Boones Farm to it.

One week later I throw out one cup of the mixture and to the remaining 1 cup I add another cup of Boones Farm.

I continue this process for the next  X number of weeks.

Will I not end up with 99.999 0/0 pure Boones Farm ?  ???

It seems to uneducated me that every time you expose a starter to your "local air" and add your "local flour" and your "local water" to feed it and let it proof in the "local air" that you are really reproducing my aforementioned "Boones Farm" epxeriment.  ???

Please clear up my Boones Farm Fogged mind and let me know If I am wrong, or have just been brainwashed by Peter Reinhart !  ::)

Thanks for the help in advance.

Mangia Bene,  :chef:
Jerry
Jerry, Your theory is right but the math is wrong. Think of it like this. You have a jar of sourdough that is fully active, which should have at least 2 cups of fully active sourdough cultures in it. Some wild stain of yeast falls in to the jar, lets just say it's one drop from a eye dropper, nothing changes. Just like if you had 2 cups of Pinot and put a drop of Boones in it. There's such a huge number of yeast in that jar that the errant strain (drop) would be quickly consummed by the active yeast. You were doing 50/50 but that's just not possible unless you added that amount of yeast to the jar on purpose. Yeast are cannibals and would consume that drop of yeast that got in there before the properties could be changed.  ;) HTH, Bryan
Making great pizza and learning new things everyday.

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Starters converting themselves ????
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2007, 07:25:06 AM »
Hey Guys,

OK, I've been thinkin  :'( (that's dangerous) and now I am all the more confused :-\ (I do that to myself when I think too much)

Try this:

I have one cup of Great Pinot Gregio from Italy and I add 1 cup of Boones Farm to it.

One week later I throw out one cup of the mixture and to the remaining 1 cup I add another cup of Boones Farm.

I continue this process for the next  X number of weeks.

Will I not end up with 99.999 0/0 pure Boones Farm ?  ???

It seems to uneducated me that every time you expose a starter to your "local air" and add your "local flour" and your "local water" to feed it and let it proof in the "local air" that you are really reproducing my aforementioned "Boones Farm" epxeriment.  ???

Please clear up my Boones Farm Fogged mind and let me know If I am wrong, or have just been brainwashed by Peter Reinhart !  ::)

Thanks for the help in advance.

Mangia Bene,  :chef:
Jerry

The original Microflora will multiply, the Pinot Grigio Won't........ As far as the right condition are mainatined (e.g avoiding contamination) the original microflora will be kept alive and robust for as long as you want.

Ciao

Offline JerryMac

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Re: Starters converting themselves ????
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2007, 10:09:26 AM »
Hey Guys,

Thanks for the help ! Your explanations realy helped clear this up  ;D

Mangia Bene,  :chef:
Jerry


Offline les_garten

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Re: Starters converting themselves ????
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2007, 11:07:05 AM »
Hello,
   I have some background in Biology and have a few observations.  It's important to remember that Yeast are a type of Plant.  They are not animals.  Originally when I went to College there were two Kingdoms, Plants and Animals, with a Quasi Third kingdom called Protistas.  Bacteria and Yeast fell under the plant kingdom. 

   So you are talking about a Yeast Organism in abundance in your culture, and another contaminant Yeast culture is introduced.  In my opinion the contaminant will flourish if the environment is favorable to it.  If the contaminant is a constant component of say, your flour charge, then it may eventually win out, all things being equal.  This pre-supposes that the environment established by the original yeast is conducive for growth of the second yeast strain.  The yeast consumes the proteins and carbohydrates of the flour.  When I took Microbiology and Cellular Biology, a first experiment you do is to liquefy Brewer's Yeast(accharomyces cerevisiae) with warm water and watch them multiply under the microscope in real time.  These "Plants" can propagate at an amazing rate! 

    Do I know the answer to the questions posed? No I don't, I'm just offering some Biological information here on how Yeast and Bacteria behave.  Can yeast Cannibalize each other, I've never heard of that and frankly am a little skeptical about it.  Can a strain of Yeast produce a byproduct of metabolism that would make the environment unfavorable to another strain, that might be possible.  It would be interesting to validate a Cultures identity through lab analysis/Identification.  Keep it alive for a time and Analyse/ID it every year to see if it could maintain it's identity. 

   Under sterile Lab conditions, it is sometimes hard to maintain pure specimens.  If your specimen becomes contaminated, you can isolate a portion of it that you think is pure and keep breading and diluting till you get a pure specimen again.  However, this is done under strict sterile conditions with everything being introduced as sterile also. You also use a culture medium that favors the growth of the organism you are trying to culture.  Flour and water favor growth for a number of different yeasts and bacteria.

    So the real question is, who thinks their flour is sterile?

Les
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Offline sourdough girl

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Re: Starters converting themselves ????
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2007, 02:46:42 PM »
les_garten (and JerryMac, if you're reading this, too...)
I have been attempting to capture what I know to be an indigenous yeast since I live in a marine climate like SF which might make good bread, not unlike SF.  To this end, I have been doing a LOT of reading on this subject... and I gotta tell ya... there are experts in both camps!  I think your actual lab tests are the ONLY way to know if the culture you started with is still the culture you have.  Taste alone is too subjective.  IF the cultures did change from the original to the indigenous, the change might be so slow that we don't notice minute flavor changes along the way.

As for the sterile flour, I cooked every feeding in the microwave to over 140 degrees for 2 hours to make sure there were no yeasts piggy-backing in the flour.  With the holidays upon us, I have had to store it in the fridge and haven't had time to play with it recently.  It was bubbly and active, so I'm pleased with that aspect.  I also started with fresh Italian plums (covered with white yeast bloom) to get my starter going.  But some experts say that you can't capture the indigenous yeasts from fruit because the yeast on the fruit is specific to fruit and won't grow in flour!  There is SO much info out there, and for every statement, there is disagreement.  Lab analysis would work, but who has a lab available to them?  And, were the first wild yeasts in SF (or anywhere, for that matter) captured with sterilized flour?  Don't think so.  They don't grow flour in downtown SF, so why would the bread from SF taste so much different from sourdoughs from other parts of the country?  And why can't you buy flour in SF and get a culture that tastes just like what the famous bakeries put out?

It's enough to boggle the mind.  I just want to make good bread, no matter where the yeast came from...  and the only reason that I was trying to make sure that the yeast is indigenous is so I could possibly market it as a local strain.  But there is so much disagreement among the "experts" that it makes it hard to know what to believe!

~sd
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Offline les_garten

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Re: Starters converting themselves ????
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2007, 05:50:30 PM »
Hello SD Girl,
    Sterilizing your flour is smart.  I hadn't seen that.  The Yeast on your fruit is probably not what you want.  The female Population usually carry around a  culture called Candida albicans, you don't ant to use that one either!  It has been mentioned that the culture does not mature for a few months, "when they learn how to be better yeasts".  This doesn't really make sense unless the culture is changing species.  The other explanation might be that the Lactobacillis to Yeast ratio changes.  I am getting ready to order Ed Woods book to see what he has to say. 
    As far as finding a lab is concerned, I have an idea for the forum.  When you take a course in Microbiology, you are given an unknown culture at the beginning of the course.  You don't know if it is Bacterial, Fungi, or whatever.  Throughout the course, you go through learning how to Identify different organisms.  So, for your Final Exam, you are asked toe Identification of your unknown.  That question usually accounts for 15-20% of the Final Exam.  So I wold say maybe someone on the forum knows someone who is in a Biology, or Botany tract and wold enjoy the exercise.  I would have loved this when i was in College.  I imagine there is so many organisms in there that you wold need a junior, senior, or Grad Level student to do the ID.  It could be done by a sharp sophomore Biology major.  You couldn't afford to pay for it.  I had professors who would have loved to oversee this with their students.  Funny, I just threw out my two Vintage copies of Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology about 4 months ago due to an upcoming move and I haven't opened them since 1978.  Kinda wish I had kept them now!

Les
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A Pizza with radius z and thickness a has volume Pi*z*z*a

Offline sourdough girl

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Re: Starters converting themselves ????
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2007, 06:21:57 PM »
Hey, Les,
I will see how my little charges grow up... if they don't behave, I will send them away and start over with more sterilized flour.  If nothing else, should be an interesting experiment.  I did make one loaf of doorstop bread... but figured they need more time and feeding before I try again.

I have the book by Ed Wood... it's very good, but remember that some other "experts" don't agree with him at all!   Sheesh!  Who to believe??

As for the textbooks, I feel your pain.  I still have all my college texts... refused to return any for credit at the OSU bookstore, so I still have plant physiology, weed science, organic chem, phytopathology, etc...etc...  I just know I'll need them SOMEday for SOMEthing... can't have too many books!  But, they ARE heavy and not fun to move... I've moved 7 times since I graduated in '79!   :'(  :-D

~sd
Never trust a skinny cook!

Offline les_garten

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Re: Starters converting themselves ????
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2007, 07:47:32 PM »
SD Girl,
   Should be interesting!  No telling what you have there!

Les
---Les Garten--- Leave the gun, take the cannoli -- Fat Clemenza

A Pizza with radius z and thickness a has volume Pi*z*z*a