Author Topic: An alternative to soughdough starters  (Read 1886 times)

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Offline Steve973

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An alternative to soughdough starters
« on: November 17, 2009, 09:32:59 PM »
Does anyone know which yeast strains that these online vendors are selling in their sourdough starters?  It is really easy to get fresh "wild" strains of yeast at your local homebrew store for around $5 per vial of about 100 billion cells.  There are three main strains to choose from.  Have a look at this link:

http://whitelabs.com/beer/bacteria.html

Most homebrew stores carry this brand of yeast, but if they don't, they are likely to carry the Wyeast brand, and you can get the same strains from that company, too.

Since regular bread yeast is brewer's yeast, I think these strains would be very interesting to experiment with.  Both yeast vendors have a blend that includes this type of wild yeast, as well as things like lactobacillus and pediococcus.

"Right here, right now, from the very beginning, there is only one thing. Constantly clear and unexplained, having never been born and having never died, it cannot be named or described." - Zen Master So Sahn


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: An alternative to soughdough starters
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2009, 09:52:03 PM »
Starter cultures from places like sourdo.com are comprised of extremely robust strains of yeasts and bacteria that coexist in a symbiotic relationship optimized for bread-making. Many of these cultures were captured by bakers hundreds of years ago who prized them for their leavening abilities, flavor profiles, and resistance to contamination from ambient strains.

I see no reason why you couldn't pick and choose different strains of yeasts and bacteria to come up with your own cultures. It will be interesting to follow your experiments. Who knows, you could come up with something extraordinary. Frankendough!

 

Offline Frankie G

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Re: An alternative to soughdough starters
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2009, 10:31:13 PM »
My sourdough starter has been around for 3 + years now...

I believe that after a while, with feeding, no matter where the dough comes from, it climates itself to where it is......

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: An alternative to soughdough starters
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2009, 10:56:14 AM »

I believe that after a while, with feeding, no matter where the dough comes from, it climates itself to where it is......


I've got to respectfully disagree, especially with respect to the cultures from sourdo.com that have been properly maintained. As I've mentioned above, these cultures are so robust, local critters don't stand a chance to get a foothold. I've been using 4 different cultures from sourdo.com for a few years. Each one retains a distinct flavor and leavening profile. The doughs would all taste and behave similarly if local critters were to take over. Maybe someday, but for now the sourdo.com cultures are holding their own.

Offline scottfsmith

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Re: An alternative to soughdough starters
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2009, 02:06:47 PM »
On a related topic I am now fermenting a cider with the wild yeast that was on the apples and I am thinking of grabbing a bit out of my fermentation vessel with a thief and putting in a flour/water vat and see what kind of starter I get.  Good idea?  Its certainly a happy yeast since it is doing a nice steady ferment.  Or maybe I would be better off just capturing from scratch?

Scott

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: An alternative to soughdough starters
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2009, 02:15:17 PM »
Or maybe I would be better off just capturing from scratch?

To paraphrase what Forrest Gump's momma always said: "wild starters are like a box of chocolates: you never know what you're going to get." pftaylor captured the one he uses in his highly-regarded pies "off the coast of Florida".

Offline Steve973

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Re: An alternative to soughdough starters
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2009, 08:51:32 PM »
I am thinking of grabbing a bit out of my fermentation vessel with a thief and putting in a flour/water vat and see what kind of starter I get.  Good idea?

Yes, this sounds like a great idea.  If your fermentation is near its peak, then there should be lots of active cells in the liquid.  Or you could take a sample from the flocculated yeast at the bottom of your carboy (or whatever fermentation vessel you're using).
"Right here, right now, from the very beginning, there is only one thing. Constantly clear and unexplained, having never been born and having never died, it cannot be named or described." - Zen Master So Sahn

Offline Steve973

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Re: An alternative to soughdough starters
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2009, 08:52:41 PM »
By the way, I did an experiment with brettanomyces yeast in pizza dough, and if you are interested in reading about it and seeing a few pictures, have a look at my thread that details the experience:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,9668.0.html
"Right here, right now, from the very beginning, there is only one thing. Constantly clear and unexplained, having never been born and having never died, it cannot be named or described." - Zen Master So Sahn

Offline scottfsmith

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Re: An alternative to soughdough starters
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2009, 06:13:01 PM »
Yes, this sounds like a great idea.  If your fermentation is near its peak, then there should be lots of active cells in the liquid.  Or you could take a sample from the flocculated yeast at the bottom of your carboy (or whatever fermentation vessel you're using).

OK so I grabbed 1/2c. or so of the fermenting cider (the thief would not reach the carboy bottom so I just added liquid), added some flour and have been doing the method of capturing a wild yeast -- add more flour&water every 12-24 hours -- and in two days my dough is now smelling like it usually does when fermenting with commercial yeast so I think its off and cranking!  For the previous days it smelled more like cider so it apparently took a bit of time to adapt to fermenting the flour instead.  I'm going to give it some time to stabilize before I try using it in a recipe - let the whole "survival of the fittest" play out in my little yeast world  ;D

Scott

Offline Steve973

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Re: An alternative to soughdough starters
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2009, 12:54:26 PM »
I tried a natural starter in my kitchen using just flour and water.  By comparison, it resulted in a dough that was very similar to what I can achieve with commercial yeast, but the dough was less manageable.  If I do this again, I'm going to stick with brettanomyces.
"Right here, right now, from the very beginning, there is only one thing. Constantly clear and unexplained, having never been born and having never died, it cannot be named or described." - Zen Master So Sahn