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A Quick and Easy Sourdough Starter

Dec 26, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose

INGE QUESTION

Feedback: I love to bake bread and would like to have an easy starter for sour dough bread.
I have several but they are pages long and I need a short, to the point starter. I have a bread machine but prefer to bake bread in loaves.

ROSE REPLY

there is a reason that instructions for sourdough starters are pages long. once you have developed a starter it only takes minutes once a week to keep it alive for years, but establishing a healthy starter is an achievement which feels akin to a miracle and miracles don't happen overnight. there is an answer for those who want an easy but excellent starter and that is to purchase an established one. king arthur is a great place to get a sourdough starter and you can also find other places on line.

Comments

Thank you. I did take your advice. My original liquid sourdough starter has now been fed again using bottled water (of course, equal weights in grams of Gold Medal bread flour and bottled water) instead of distilled. I could not find the Poland Spring brand of bottled water here, but I am excited to see that my starter is happy. I will feed it over the next two weeks and report back.

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rose Levy Beranbaum
rose Levy Beranbaum in reply to comment from John
03/ 6/2012 07:16 AM

john, luckily there's a quick and easy answer thanks to your offering thorough details of what you've done! it's the distilled water. yeast requires minerals and distilled water is lacking in them. i suspect you aren't happy with the water in florida and if this is the case, try bottled water such as poland spring. i bet you'll find an enormous difference. do let us know if this helps.

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Thank you so much for this blog. My question is about a consistent issue that probably has an elementary answer. I established a liquid sourdough starter here in Florida about one month ago. It has been regularly fed with equal weights of bread flour and distilled water. I began using it after two weeks of feeding/discarding/refeeding. My starter bubbles, does not look or smell rancid, and does not have any discoloration; however, I have only managed to bake dense sourdough "bricks" so far. Is this a fundamental issue of my adding too much flour in the dough? I have added more water, but the finished baked product still has the consistency and density of baked chewing gum. It does not have a bad taste, but just a half-inch thick slice is almost filling and far too chewy. I have followed several recipes in your wonderful book "The Bread Bible" to enormous success. Sourdough is proving a challenge to me. Thank you.

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Does anyone have the calorie count for the Basic Sourdough Bread???

Thanks.

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Hi Rose-I just posted a recipe on my Cookhacker blog for a Sourdough Whole Wheat Pumpkin Seed No-Knead Bread using Carl's Sourdough starter that's available for FREE on the web (just google Carl's Sourdough starter for the address). It's a hardy starter that's been around since 1847 and works well in every sourdough recipe.

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Thanks for explaining Charles--I've long wondered why this happens. I'll forward this to blog master.

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Rose, no one posts a comment more than once intentionally. Why would we? It usually occurs when a website becomes unresponsive and the user is unsure whether the click got registered or not. A website developer could prevent this by disabling the button once it has been clicked. As a website developer, that's what *I* would do once I discovered multiple posts. User error is often a software design error in disguise. ;-)

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I keep my starte in the fridge as stiff starter. Try borrow, steal, or purchase a
copy of the Bread Bible which comes with complete instructions about how to keep a starter

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Guys, please only post your comments one time. I've had to go in and delete two duplicate comments just now. We all want the blog to stay as clean and easy to read as possible. I'd appreciate your help with this.

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I keep my starter in the fridge in a sealed, airtight jar. Sounds icky to keep it unrefrigerated and unsealed.

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Once the starter is established, I don't think you need to worry about it getting air, so you could probably just close the lid. An alternative would be to use cheesecloth and a rubber band as your lid if you want it to get some air.

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Hi Rose,
EEww! In the last week, I have encountered a couple of fruit type flies hanging around my starter! I am leaving it on the counter to keep it fresh and more readily available to bake. I leave the lid loosely on the top to keep air available. This is the critter time of year. I've noticed these "creatures" are at the lip of the lid and not actually in the starter. I've scooped out starter and put in a fresh container several times. I like to keep it in a plastic bowl with lid as it's easier to feed,etc. with the wider opening rather than a ball jar. Any suggestions on how to keep these beasties away?
Thanks,
Ruth

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sandra, it sounds like your starter became very acidic which caused the dough to be very slack. i would add some flour and also some vital wheat gluten to give it more strength.

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in need of help
in need of help
02/16/2010 04:27 PM

Hey there,
I have been playing around with sourdough for a very very short time. I started a starter maybe a month ago or so and made probably around 10 loaves of beautiful and tasty bread. Then I have not idea what happened, but it just wouldn't double in bulk anymore and there just didn't seem to be any activity. After trying various things, I gave up and threw it out. I have now started a second starter, this one is very liquidy, but very active. Yesterday I decided to try making a loaf and the texture seemed great, it doubled overnight and had a great smell. I separated the dough and waited for it to rise. I just checked on it a while ago and the two have merged into one blob. What do you suggest I do? Add more flour? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Sandra

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I did look around a bit, and it appears people do bake in these, but they look to be things I would bake around 350, such as soft breads and dinner rolls. Not sure the breads that require higher heat would be as successful.

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Hi Ginger, search no-knead bread on the New York Times and this website, and you will find information for how to use a dutch oven. I meant that you probably couldn't use it outdoors, as your original message asks, not that you couldn't use one in general. You can make pizza on a grill if you want to bake outside. I just don't think you would be able to generate a high even heat outside with a Dutch oven, but perhaps I am wrong.

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matthew, that would mean the end of my short career!

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Does this mean I can not bake bread in my dutchoven?

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Hector, I took it to mean that she has Celiac disease, which is different from a regular allergy to my understanding. But perhaps there is a distinction between wheat allergy and Celiac disease. I pray I never develop either!

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Ginger, this is primarily the no-knead bread, which you used to be able to see a video of on the New York Times website. Rose also used the dutch oven to bake sourdough, but this is in a conventional oven--not how you would use a dutch oven outdoors for camping. You can't raise dough in a heated oven or pan--you really don't want any temperatures above 90, and 75-85 would be preferable.

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Anita, how bad is your allergy to wheat? is this just an allergen test, or you do go into convulsions when eating wheat?

most everyone have allergies to many many things, and an allergen test will show a long list of foods one is allergic to, but this does not mean we have to stop eating these at all.

have you tried doing reintroduction of allergens? slowly reintroducing wheat into your body?

i have long list of allergens tested, but none give me convulsions, so my periodic itch, runny nose, red eyes, and lower back spinal arthritis, are controlled with exercise, healthy natural eating, and avoiding many chemicals on most store bought processed foods.

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I am interested in learning making sourdough bread in a dutchoven outdoors. I have read where you have baked bread directly in the oven but could not see the diagram of the silpat. Did you cut it to size? Do you have a video that i could see it better to understand? Is it in the Bread Bible? I have a 10 and 12 inch oven, any suggestions. Is there a way i can heat the oven and then place the dough in it to rise?

Stumped.

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Hi Anita,

I make 100% rye bread with 100% rye starter for people who have wheat allergies. Firstly, your bread WILL be denser than when made with wheat or a percentage of wheat. There is no way round this as rye just doesn't have the gluten required for a light loaf. You obviously need to start a sourdough with only rye - you cannot use your wheat starter even to seed it. The good news is, though, that a rye starter gets going much faster - just a few days.

Similarly, a rye levain which you use for actually making the bread reacts much faster that those with which you are familiar. You really have to learn, by trial and error, when the bread is ready to go into the oven before it overproofs. I have made many, many 100% rye loaves which were like lumps of lead as I was using the same guidelines as for wheat loaves - they were way overproofed. It's difficult to give you times as it depends on so many factors such as room temp, humidity, coarseness of your flour, etc. but I would start looking at it in about half the time you would expect.

Also, I think it's better to bake these loaves in a tin and covered with foil (or use a pullman pan) for at least the first half of the baking time. And another tip - do not flour your work surface. Wet it and your hands and scrapers generously with water. This is a very difficult dough to work with.

Hope this helps,
Annie

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i'm so sorry. you have all my sympathy. hopefully someone will chime in on this posting as i do not have any knowledge in this area.

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I always loved to bake, especially breads, so imagine my distress when I found out I'm allergic to wheat. Since then, I've tried to bake sourdough bread only containing rye (and sometimes crackers including rye, barley and sometimes a bit of flour made out of oats). Do you have any tips on making sourdough rye bread a bit less dense and heavy? Would love it if you could post a recipe...

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Ginger, the information may be found here: http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/howtocook/primers/breadsourdough#starter

It sounds like you are on the right track--just be careful you don't over do it with the flour. You want it to be fairly firm for a stiff starter, but not dry.

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Now, that sounds like a really good idea!

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Ginger, i would go to the public library or amazon.com and borrow, copy, or steal Bread Bible!

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I checked epicurious website and made a papercopy of the whole recipe. I could not see anywhere how to change from liquid starter to stiff. Just this am i took out my liquid sourdough starter from the refrig and let it sit for an hour or two. Then I just added unbleached flour and kept kneading it till it was nice and dry. Then i oiled my jar, tossed the glump so the top was oiled and covered it with a sandwich baggie. When it rose to dbl i added more flour and continued the process. Am i doing it right?

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hi ginger! you wouldn't believe how many times the editors at epicurious and i went back and forth to include everything and ensure that it is clear as possible. i cannot bear to revisit this! please return to the epicurious posting and reread the part about turning a liquid starter into a stiff one.

yes, you an certainly increase the recipe by 4 times.

so glad you like the recipe.

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Hi,

I love baking breads and stumbled on your site.

I stumbled on your Basic Sourdough Bread recipe and tried it using my liquid sourdough starter by just adding more unbleached white flour until it was soft. I don't know if i did it right. Tried to check on the blog how to convert liquid sourdough starter to stiff but couldn't find the answer. Please advise.

I followed the whole process and came up with the best sourdough bread after attempting several other recipes. Btw I found your recipe at epicurious.com and tried to reply but my computer wasn't responding so i just let it go. I would like to make the same recipe again; only following it to a "T". I am puzzled on your mathamatics so i would like to know since it makes a small single loaf can i just 4 times it and come up with the right amounts of formula?

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im using organic stoneground whole einkorn flour ,spring water,raw honey,raw fermented grapejuice as the natural yeast ,which works consistently wonderfull with spelt ,but here i still have two problems to come thru
1]it takes 36 hours the flour to rise
2]its then so sticky ,that cant work with it ,cooling it doset help adding more flour is niether helpfull since its allready a very dense bread ,can anyone please help

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Please avoid posting the same question or response more than once

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if you keep your starter as stiff rather than liquid, I use it as 100 percent dough for pizza, plain bread, or litle ghochi or little pasta bowls in soup! pls search the blog for my postings on pizza and bread done with ALL starter.

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Thanks Rose for your recommendations its great that I can actually ask you anything!! I feel like I know you personally and in a sense I do, thanks again, Lucky

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Hi I have a more general starter question. I have starter I got from Jim Dodge in a class he taught on breads. What else can I use the starter for, muffins, biscuits, cakes, etc? Recipes? Thanks! Tom

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let me jump in and rephase with my own interpretation:

i prefer to feed my stiff starter with regular bread flour, non-whole wheat for 2 reasons: the starter doesn't benefit from feeding on whole wheat, and the amount of starter in a bread is so minimum that no-one will really notice your whole wheat bread has been corrupted with a small portion of non-whole wheat fluor.

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if you are using 100% whole wheat flour in the rest of the dough and you want the starter to be 100% whole wheat that would be fine.of course you won't then have the added strength and stretchines from the starter as its acidity will weaken any gluten that has formed in the starter but you can always add vital wheat gluten for more rise and lighter texture.

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Dear Rose Thank you for sending me more information about sourdough, but I, like you said... keep the patience... and I did so now I have my own starter!!!! I have been baking bread with it and its wonderful!!! One question can you feed the starter with whole wheat flour? Because I like whole wheat healthy bread. Thanks again for The Bread Bible, Lucky

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Paul S. Danko
Paul S. Danko
01/13/2009 11:29 AM

So whats the short of it?
How do I make a starter?

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http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2008/05/tips_from_hector_on_nurturing.html

dear lucky, your sorrow is shared and perfectly common.
you may have found the answer on the blog already since just about everything about getting 'starter' has been posted. If so, pls visit the link above, the beginning of my bible on sourdough!

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Dear Rose; I love to make bread and my daughter gave me "The Bread Bible" last year for Christmas. I am trying to make me sourdough starter but has never gone puff like you say in the book. Although is alive because it grows a bit. ONe question Can I use the sourdough that is supposed to be throw away? Thank you very much, Everybody calls me Lucky, from Lucrecia. ciau!

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Dear Rose; I love to make bread and my daughter gave me "The Bread Bible" last year for Christmas. I am trying to make me sourdough starter but has never gone puff like you say in the book. Although is oviously alive because it grows a bit. ONe quetion Can I use the sourdough that is supposed to be throw away? Thankyou very much, Everybody calls me Lucky, from Lucrecia. ciau!

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Doyle Gougler
Doyle Gougler
10/ 4/2008 10:23 PM

Does anyone have an idea how Schlotski sandwhich shops make those wonderfull buns? I've tried to pry info out of shop employees, but they plead ignorance.

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Hi Tiina, long discussion, well blogged here, do a search, you will find all answers.

Be sure you use bottled water, as tap water may contain too much chlorine. For bread baking and weekly starter feeding, you can use Britta pitcher water.

I would keep following the instructions of The Bread Bible, things will occur on a very approximate schedule. It is so alive, that it depends on the air, temperature, the flour, it is all good.

Kitchen room temperature is best than cool pantry. I would say around 70 is best.

Do report back, and don't give up, my starter took longer than expected, and it often showed signs of streaks every day or other day or so, keep refreshing for the weeks stated, as long as you see activity. The bad bacteria (dark colored streaks) will appear, as the good bacteria reproduces and takes over. As long as you keep things relatively clean (it doesn't have to be an sterile environment), and as long as you keep feeding, the good bacteria will set, and you will no longer see dark streaks.

Some of my friends have left forgotten my established starter that I gave them, for months in the refrigerator. The starter becomes darker with think dark streaks. I have them re-start the feeding schedule, and the dark streaks dissapear.

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Hey! I was just trying to make a sourdough starter using the instructions in the Bread Bible. I did all the correct steps. I used organic rye flour and bottled water, and i put the mixture in a four cup glass measuring cup. Then i put plastic wrap over the top and on top of that i put a lid that came with the glass measuring cup. It fits over it like tuber-ware. I left it in my cool pantry area and two days later nothing had happened. It still looked like the same blob of rye and water. After that i left it out in my kitchen a day or two more. I thought maybe my pantry room was too cold and being at room temperature might make it active, but all that happened was it turned slimy and mold started to grow on it. What did I do wrong? Was putting the tight fitting lid on top a bad idea? or maybe the flour i had wasn't orgnaic. I got it in the health food section of Publix. It's called Hodgson Mill. It claims it's all natural and stone ground on the label and the only thing in the ingredients list is 100% Whole Grain Stone Ground Rye Flour. What's going on? Please help! I've had so many sourdough starter failures i would just like to get it right once!
Thank you a bunch in advance!

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This is Basic Sourdough Bread, replacing 25% of the final water with honey. Honey imparts a softer and fine crumb. The crust was dark since I kept baking at 450oF instead of 400oF (lower for high sugar breads). Dutch oven method.

Silpat has -nothing- to do on this bread, it is just lining my baking sheet as I often do like to use a baking sheet as a food tray!

I made a 4 side, square slash, with a lightly oiled serrated knife.

Wanted to report, for all of you that find difficult to transfer a wet dough into the dutch oven. Try this. Do your final rise/shaping on a large parchment paper. When ready to bake, lift the bread with the parchment paper, and drop it together with the parchment to the dutch oven.

If you have problems with a wet/spongy bread, you can remove the bread from the dutch oven and parchment after 15 minutes (when the crust has set), and bake directly on a baking stone for the remainder time. The baking stone will help absorb moisture.

Enjoy

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/BasicSourdoughBread-DO-with-parchment.html

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Chris, THANK YOU for reporting back. Welcome to the starter group! We are plenty people with starter on this blog.

My starter has changed my life, it is a true living member of my family that I need to feed and care.

I've just made bread at my home in Hilo, and the Basic Sourdough Bread took ages to rise (to reach twice in volume) since Hilo is 10 to 20 degrees cooler than Honolulu.

I never let bread rule my life, but I do run my life around bread. Slow rises can break my sleeping cycle: the bread often reaches the risen-ready stage on the middle of my sleep. I used to wake up on the middle of my sleep to care for dough, but instead now, I use the refrigerator to further slow it down so it is risen-ready when I normally wake up! There are postings on this blog on how to use refrigeration when dough becomes untimely!

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Hi Rose-
I posted on November 9 questions regarding a sourdough starter that I was experiencing difficulties with. I am happy to say that I finally have a healthy, happy starter that is very tasty. A little patience was all that was needed.....I appreciate the advice and enjoy seeking information from your website. Also, thanks to you Hector, for the words of encouragement. I enjoy reading your words of wisdom.

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agreed, I was also told that not long ago the train and mail system in Italy was very third world country (no offense on this general saying).

I took my local friends to try Brunch (a new thing for them), but first they had to have collazione first before leaving home! Eating is the most sacred part of the day as they say!

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forgive me for saying this but i've heard there are so many strikes in italy (and i know there are in france) that they are accustomed to handling them. except that when lufthaunser begged us to take a plane from germany to bologna instead of florence and promised a bus to take us to the intended destination of florence, no one in bologna had any awareness of this situation though there wound up being 20 people who had been rerouted. by the time we got to florence, almost the entire airport was closed. our rental car agency, sixt also didn't bother to wait for us. utilizing my high school italian, supplemented with opera, the god father, and art history such as the word pieta, i persuaded the police to find us a room not far from the airport. when he told me that there would be collazione i thought that meant they would collect us by taxi but no--it turned out to be breakfast---a word i hadn't encountered!

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Cindy, miss blogging, but quickly, yes the strike was on the train system on Friday. I was going by train from Venice to Florence, so I got a few delays of not more than 10 minutes. They are so organized here that even when on strike, the strike is only from 9 am to 4 pm, and not longer than 1 day long!

Will report soon about so much food my camera and myself have been eating in Italy!

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Hi ,Hector, heard that there 's strike in Rome or so ,does that affect you?

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Chris, dont give up. My starter took 2 months of daily or every other day feeding at room temperature. And I live in hot weather. Hot weather was causing my new starter to behave differently with too much activity before actually setting the starter.

That was over a year ago, and I am so happy now, because my starter works! and it is so easy to feed once a week, refrigerated, stiff starter. I am vacationing in Italy now, and brought my starter, and baked bread!

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coincidentally i just read this on the bread baker's digest:
From: yguaba@yahoo.com.br
Subject: Re: Sourdough help
Date: Mon, 05 Nov 2007 00:58:42 -0800


Sourdough starters are *really* easy to make. My apologies to all who
have actually paid for starters, but it's like paying for chopped
onions instead of chopping them yourself.

Here's one possible way to start a sourdough culture. (1) Mix 1 1/2
cups rye flour (dark rye, if possible) with 3/4 to 1 cup water. Cover
and forget about it for a day. (2) Combine half of the previous day's
rye batter (don't worry if it doesn't smell good) with 1/2 cup rye
flour, 1/4 cup unbleached white flour and 1/2 cup water. Repeat this
process after 12 hours. (3) Combine half of the previous day's batter
with 1/2 cup unbleached white flour and about 1/2 cup water. Repeat
after 12 hours, and twice a day from then on.

By the fifth or sixth day your newly cultivated starter should be
rising nicely and the strong, foul smell should be gone. When you see
it's really nice and active, it's ready for use.

As for what factors affect starters, the most important one is
without any doubt the local flora of fungi and bacteria (in the air,
in the rye flour etc). I moved to Canada from Brazil just over three
months ago, leaving behind the sourdough starter I had been
cultivating for four years or so. I've now had a locally cultivated
starter for about two months, and it makes great bread.

They behave *completely* differently, though. For one thing, I'd
always read that when you first start the culture with rye flour, the
smell is awful. In Brazil I never got the bad smell; here in Canada
the thing stank to high heavens.

In Brazil I used to keep my culture in a *very* cold fridge (3º C
max.), and only needed to feed it about once a week (taking it out of
the fridge before using, of course). If I didn't use the culture for
two months, it would look like a soup gone bad, but the smeel wasn't
bad, and I could revive the starter by feeding it a couple of times.
Here in Canada, my starter (also kept in a cold fridge) needs feeding
more often, or it will look horrible after just a few days.

In Brazil my culture was active even at fairly low temperatures:
bread would rise, albeit very slowly, in my cold fridge. Here the
bulk fermentation of a batch of Vermont Sourdough (I should call it
BC Sourdough) at room temperature (about 21º C) will take a whole
day, so I usually put it in a really warm place, like an oven that's
been turned on for a minute or so. But it will produce wonderful
bread regardless.

My Canadian sourdough bread is a lot more sour than the same bread
when I made it in Brazil. In fact, the whole flavour is different. (I
tend to prefer the Canadian sourdough, but that may have more to do
with the great bread flour that I can buy here which cannot be found
at all in Brazil.

To sum up, I suspect that New Zealand sourdough will be completely
different from either Brazilian or Canadian sourdough. That's the
beauty of it! Keep us posted on how your sourdough turns out, and
what it tastes like.

Erik

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i can't see how it could have starved when you continued to feed it. everyone who has ever had a problem with starter has succeeded but sometimes it takes longer than you think it will especially in a cold area.

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Hi Rose - I have tried a couple of times to start a soughdough starter from scratch, following instructions from the Bread Bible. Each time, I have had success through day 3-4. I start with the recommended organic rye flour and am using bottled water. I experience the faint aroma and bubbles - and on day three I see a double volume increase that deflates and falls. On days four and five, I continue to follow the instructions, but see no activity after the defation on day three - no bubbles or increase in volume. I did continue to toss half and feed for another four days, to no avail. It appears gummy. I have read elsewhere that the starter could have starved? Do you have any recommendations?? I live in Oregon and have heard that sourdough from the Pacific Northwest is tasty. Any help will be appreciated. I am attempting another.....

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Caro and Carina to everyone, I could not resist but share this short posting. Hope I awaken your senses. Miss blogging, in Italy now until nov17.

...just woke up at 4:45 am with that feeling of not having slept well for a week. I am really getting tired of this 11 hour jet lag time difference between Hawaii and Italy. I went to the couch next to my bed to check the progress of the Basic Sourdough Bread, it looks beautiful, very round/tall ball and rising... the 00 flour must be strong! My little infrared thermometer indicates 65oF

Then I went to the kitchen to check my starter I've fed yesterday and placed in the fridge. When I opened the fridge, the "stink" smell of a fresh truffle I bought in Bologna for Luca's parents was obvious! They are waiting for one evening/weekend to get the family together and enjoy the truffle freshly shaved over pasta.

At the kitchen, I was staging The Bread Bible to photograph something and immediately blog it (I am having blog withdraws, lucky thing I only blog on this site!). Could not take the photo 'cause I did not realize everyone's bedroom door was left opened since the weather isn't that cold yet, so I was waking up everyone with the noise I was making in the kitchen! When I noticed I immediately put everything away and turned the lights off and went back to my bedroom, and now you have me awake and blogging!

I wanted to photograph The Bread Bible next to the bread, and with the flour 00, the truffle, and perhaps my pillow too!. It is the first time I had to literally 'sleep' with my bread to keep it warm and rise properly!

So, you will just need to close your eyes and make the photo with your imagination!

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where did you send the photos?

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yesterday I decided that i am a coward, and won´t be trying the sourdough now. Anyway, thanks for your help with this. I print each one of your answers.
I sent you some images of my new bread, not very beautiful, but i am very proud of it (like all mothers are of their offspring)

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Silvia, anyone will do, just keep in mind to stay as far as possible from bleached and from whole wheat.

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Finally, i'm beeing paying lately with the idea of "my own sourdough starter".
I have just a couple questions about the flour. All I have here to choose from is: AP bleached flour; unbleached (it seems unbleached to me, more yllowish than the AP)enriched flour; unbleached strong flour, unbleached pastry flour and whole wheat flour. Neither organic nor rye flours. Which one of them would be better to start my starter with? And to feed it? Thanks in advance

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Ingrid, personally I NEVER use commercial yeast when baking sourdough. Using commercial yeast is a technique mostly used in bakeries to expedite the sourdough bread baking process.

YES, make your own sourdough starter using The Bread Bible, exactly. The gray/brown/tan/citrus liquid the forms on the top after a day at room temperature should be scooped out with a spoon right before you feed it. Keep doing this daily for about 2 weeks (daily feedings, room temperature).

After these 2 weeks, convert to stiff starter and refrigerate. Feed once weekly. At this point there should not be any streaks of color. The color will be uniform, and of the tan shade of your flour color you used. You will notice on your weekly feedings that the starter will have risen. Most likely this growth will be a little during the first weeks, but eventually it will be double growth.

Keep up the good work.

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Ingrid Johnson
Ingrid Johnson
08/25/2007 11:08 PM

Thanks Hector, very reassuring. I tried my first loaf from a starter that used commercial yeast. It was very good and now I'm feeding that starter. I started another with just wheat flour and water (following Rose' instructions) and after a day at room temp the top layer was grey, not brown. I stirred it and put it in the fridge. Should I start over or keep feeding this one? I certianly don't mind experimenting.

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Ingrid, I have had that happen during my starter creation, and I am still alive and all the hundreds of people I have fed. If you want to be extra safe, wash your hands and utensils well before and after handling your starter during its creation (before to avoid adding more germs than necessary to the starter, and after to avoid any starter germs to contaminate you!). Really, the amount of bacteria, even if bad, is minimal (not more than a rotten tomato I would say!)

During the creation of your starter, you should avoid this golden brown tinted liquid, by refreshing sooner. But if it happens, just scoop it out, and you will notice after a couple of days of refreshing it will be gone.

It took me about 4 weeks to create my starter, I live in very hot weather and this golden brown tinted liquid appeared each time my weather was too hot and I did not have a chance to refresh sooner to compensate. Toward the end of the 4 weeks, it was happening much lesser.

After 4 weeks I converted my starter to stiff and kept it refrigerated with weekly feedings, and the yellow liquid or any streaks of colors do not appear anymore. This is when I know it is ALL good. At this point I don't keep things sterile anymore! (just the usual clean kitchen)

Welcome to the sourdough group, I call it magic because it is amazing that you can make bread with just flour, water, and salt! (sans the dozen other ingredients of commercial breads!

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Ingrid Johnson
Ingrid Johnson
08/24/2007 03:43 PM

Hello,
After much hinting I got The Bread Bible for my birthday. I am just beginning to try a sourdough starter. I'm a bit paranoid about determining if it is growing the "bad bacteria" that produces "streaks of color." (I'm a bit more cautious about bad food because I am pregnant.)Could you describe this a little clearer? Is there a certain color that is bad? Is it common? I noticed a little golden brown tinted liquid on the surface of my starter. Am I right to assume that is the alcohol and not something bad?

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it sounds like it got contaminated. i wouldn't use a starter that has an odd color of any sort.

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Kathi Wiedenhoeft
Kathi Wiedenhoeft
05/28/2007 09:42 AM

I have been using sourdough for close to 30 years. I was told that if the liquid on top turned a reddish tinge it was bad. Is this true? Or would it have something to do with the type of flour I used when expanding the dough. Mine was reddish a couple days ago when I went to use it and it seems to be acting funny. When I mixed the flour/water in to set over night it just separated again - dead? So I added sugar, It bubbled but did not hold and so separated again. I then tried rye flour (a flour sourdough loves!) and again it bubbled a bit longer but now is separated again - 8 hours later. Should I start a new batch or continue trying to recover this one?
Kathi

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http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/BasicSourdoughBreadDO-silpat_uncovered.html

With bleached flour, here is what happened: basic sourdough bread spreaded sideways in spite of baking it on the baby lodge dutch o. It was equally delicious though.

I made 2 loaves of basic, and 2 loaves with raisins. For the raisin bread, I substituted by weight the amount of water with soaked raisins (soak your raisins in hot water, covered, until it cools off).

These loaves were final shaped on a WELL floured siliocone mat, uncovered. Convection was used throught the entire baking. The baked bread was inmensilly less spongy.

The raising bread was baked at only 400oF to prevent over burning.

Breakfast was great this morning.

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RE: making Basic Sourdough Bread with only expanded starter, all I did was skip Step 3 (I didn't add the final flour and rising and shaping). I allowed Step 2 to rise until doubled for about 2 hours in my oven set at 100oF convection (bread rise setting), and then bake it. Nice golden crust and tangy flavor.

RE: making genoise quintuple? I think you will need a 20 quart mixer!!!!!!

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we measured the bowl and it rises that much in the bowl (not during baking though).

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Rose - will the genoise recipe really be able to be mulitplied by 5?

quadruple = 4 units
quintuple - 5 units

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p.s. matthew--funny you should question the word quintuple bc in my new book i was going to write that génoise batter quintuples but i wrote quadruples instead bc i wasn't sure quintuples was a word or if it were if anyone would understand it!

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guys--it could be that it's after 2 am but though i've read these postings at least 4 times--i can't entirely follow what hector is doing--you don't mention how long it takes to rise without going through step 3--but if it works--stay happy with it! i'm too tired to read it again!i think it's one of these things that's easier to do than describe. if i understand correctly,you just baked it a day sooner with a higher amount of sourdough and that's why it's so orange and dense.

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corrected:

Matthew, good question!!! No, I didn't just add more flour/water to get a big Step 2. I followed the recipe from the beginning, but I doubled/tripled/etc many times more. I started from Step 1 with more starter than the recipe calls. When Step 2 was done I weighted it and took only 1008 grams and added 16 grams of salt (Step 3 uses 6 grams of salt for 504 grams of dough, for I added 16 grams to my 1008 grams of dough.... add the water, flour, and starter from step 3 and it is 504 grams). And NO, I have never yet added yeast to this recipe, because I don't think I should. My breads are coming very nice and the rise is fantastic. I think yeast is added when you want to speed up the process, but I do love watching my dough rise slowly....... I started making Basic Sourdough Bread because my roommate is sensitive to sugar and yeast (some erroneous allergy tests after all). The first time I tried it, I felt that a miracle has happened where only flour, water, and salt can make a bread. Also, the bread is "fat free" since you don't add any butter, milk, or dry milk (plus less to worry to stock in your pantry). I make this bread about once a week, and sometimes plenty of it. I have estimated that the shelf life of this bread is 1 week at room temperature or 3 months frozen!!!!! I also managed to store it in my refrigerator for about 1 month without a problem of humidity... well my refrigerator is set to 32 degrees(The acid in it is a good preservative). I like to toast slices and make paninis. Also, by far, the best baking method I use, is to do the final shaping in my lodge cast iron dutch oven, and also bake it in there. It is good and practical and the bread does not loose volume during the baking. Sorry I write sooooo much!!! and welcome to the Basic Sourdough Bread community.

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Matthew, good question!!! No, I didn't just add more flour/water to get a big Step 2. I followed the recipe, but I doubled/tripled/etc many times more. I started from Step 1 with more starter than the recipe calls. When Step 2 was done I weighted it and took only 1008 grams and added 16 grams of salt (Step 3 uses 6 grams of salt for 504 grams of dough, for I added 16 grams to my 1008 grams of dough; add the water, flour, and starter from step 3 and it is 504 grams). And NO, I have never yet added yeast to this recipe, because I don't think I should. My breads are coming very nice and the rise is fantastic. I think yeast is added when you want to speed up the process, but I do love watching my dough rise slowly....... I started making Basic Sourdough Bread because my roommate is sensitive to sugar and yeast (some erroneous allergy tests after all). The first time I tried it, I felt that a miracle has happened where only flour, water, and salt can make a bread. I make this bread about once a week, and sometimes plenty of it. I have estimated that the shelf life of this bread is 1 week at room temperature, 1 month refrigerated, or 3 months frozen!!!!! The acid in it is a good preservative. I like to toast slices and make paninis. Also, by far, the best baking method I use, is to do the final shaping in my lodge cast iron dutch oven, and also bake it in there. It is good and practical. Sorry I write sooooo much!!! and welcome to the Basic Sourdough Bread community.

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Hector,

I just made this recipe for the first time, finishing it tonight with great results, and in exactly 36 hours, just as Rose says.

I'm not sure I follow exactly what you are suggesting. If you follow through step 2, you only have 200 grams of fed starter. Did you quintuple (is that a word?) the starter or did you simply feed it more flour and water? At any rate, you doubled the recipe somehow because the finished dough is 502 grams. I also wonder, do you spike the dough with commercial yeast? How long is your rise?

I will be interested to hear Rose's response.

P.S. Or is 1008g a typo?

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"Basic Sourdough Bread with just starter:" Because I needed to eat tonight, I baked my bread before Step 3 (before adding/mixing the last flour and water). I kneaded 16 grams of salt with 1008 grams of the completed Step 2. Proof it until doubled, baked it and loved it. The crust was a beautiful orange golden and the taste was intense.

Can I do this whenever I have requests to make "true tasting" sourdough bread? But for the rest of us, we will need to add more flour and water, wait about 8 hours and have "light tasting" sourdough bread.... which is also good!!!

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it sounds like it is close to freezing. i wonder if after being refrigerated for so long without feeding it if it has that much life left to it. you'll certainly need more starter. you'll have to consider this experimental bread!

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Following as close as possible Rose's Basic Sourdough Bread, this giant batch I made on is "still in progress." Following the timeline of Rose's recipe, on Feb 20th, I baked one loaf: DELICIOUS as sual. There was still plenty dough left, so I punched it down and stored it in the refrigerator. On Feb 24th, I baked a second loaf: DELICIOUS, too. Neither loafs were sour at all (I was expecting my second loaf to be more). It is now March 4th, and I still have enough dough for 2 more loaf. It is still in the refrigerator, it has risen about 100%, but it still looks fairly stiff and ok, and I can't smell any foul or sour at all. I need bread for March 8th, do you think it will be good? Will it be very sour? Should I "expand" with about 25-50% fresh dough? My refrigerator is always at 32 degrees (yes, on the cold side), and I do verify the temperature with a couple of refrigerator thermometers I place on the shelves.

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Just wanted to share that I am making 2 large sourdough loaves each on a 5 quart cast iron dutch oven. I am using Rose's Basic Sourdough Recipe. The saga began at home and continues at my office at work. Yesterday, late afternoon at home, I started expanding my stiff starter with 4 times more the normal recipe. After 6 hours, I did the second expanding without discarding any starter... so I added about 1200 grams of flour and 600 grams of water. I had to use a 16 quart stock pot to mix this, plus the muscle of 2 of my dinner guests (wish I had a 20 qt mixer...). I left the stockpot in my lanai overnight (it is about 65 degrees outside), lid on, and covered with a towel to deter thiefs. When I woke up today, the rise was wonderful and the aroma was tasty. I grabbed enough of this expanded starter for a 6 loaf recipe... and was left with quiet a bit more of starter that I will use within 24 hours (thanks Rose for indicating that this can be done within 24 hours). After kneading in the flour and water, I filled each cast iron dutch oven to about 2 inches high. The pots were previously brushed with EVOO. I had to come to work today, so I checked into my office carrying 2 pots, all I needed is a broom to look like a witch carrying these cast iron pots with handles. I brough a large wood spoon and some flour, too. After sitting on my desk and go thru my email, one hour more or less, I punched the dough with my spoon and some flour. Then I did 2 letter turns inside the same pot (not impossible task, pretty practical and mess free actually). After one more hour, I punched again, and did 2 letter turns. By the time I get home, the bread should have risen about 4 times, and I will bake them in the same pots, lids on for 15 minutes, then lids off....ok Rose, I am sure you must be saying by now that I should try to dump these doughs on a hot stone or hot cast iron pot instead... Bread for all, cheers. /H

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Hector Wong
Hector Wong
01/24/2007 05:43 PM

Dear Rose, here some pictures of another experiment.

And what I have to write about this is:

I have started baking bread 4 years ago with your Wonderful Plain White Bread from "Rose's Celebrations." Since mid 2006, I am now using your Basic Sourdough recipe from "The Bread Bible." I developed my own starter at home, and I call it Keiko. Here are some pictures of my New Year's Eve party.

For my New Year's Eve, I used those copper/aluminum molds I think are made to hang pretty on a wall or to be used as jello molds. One is shaped as star, another as a rooster, and another as a fish. You can see more or less on these pictures.

I brushed the inside of the pans with a little olive oil, and placed the dough after its final punch. I proofed until it doubled in volume, covered. I placed the dough still on the pans on top of my baking stones. I am happy with the results (well... you see a nice crust on the top, but the sides are more cake-like but still crisp, and I love the overflowing edges).

I served the bread with "carve yourself" roasted turkey and pork loin. Baby assorted lettuces were grown 2 months prior; I placed the planter on my table and wrote a note "organic lettuces just rinsed, please pinch yourselves." My turkey gravy is thin (not thickened with starches) and it was kept warm in my fondue pot. Also on the table, I placed my little Weber Q gas grill for those who preferred their sandwiches grilled or warm. All the bread was gone before midnight!!!

THANK YOU for all your wonderful books. /Hector

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yes--the starter is fed and increased until it it doubles within minimum 12 hours. i'm not sure if you don't have my book or just aren't reading about sourdough in it! but either way, it will be very helpful to you to read the sourdough chapter bc it's too complex to address in a posting on a blog.

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Rose,
I've finally been successful creating a starter without commercial yeast that doubles when fed. I actually have two now! For the benefit of others out there who are having difficulty with this, the only flours that have worked for me are the Gold Medal Organic and Rye flour.
Anyway, I would like to use one of them in a recipe but am confused about when it should be used. Should I feed it and let it expand and use it at the peak of activity?
Thanks for your help!

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joy, in my book i give the amount of commercial yeast that can be added to sour dough as added insurance without destroying the culture so surely it isn't necessary to have a separate whisk for the two types of starters.

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I was told by a professional baker in the family that commercial yeast will kill wild yeast if used in the same recipe. It was suggested that I use one whisk for the commercial yeasted dough and a separate one for sourdough made with wild (S.F.) yeast starter. What is your take on this?

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Oh Rose, One thing I wanted to add to anyone baking sourdough who really wants to add more "sour" to their loaves... I added some white whole wheat to the recipe I have been using(the one in the Bread Bible), as you had suggested to add more flavor to a sourdough loaf...I did add a bit more though than the recipe suggested(I have been experimenting), a total of 1/3 of the total amount of flour. It has turned out wonderful! More sourness, but not overwhelming and you can still taste all the wonderful wheaty flavors from the added whole wheat. I am very, very pleased! Good luck to all.
Stacy

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so glad you're caught up in the unequaled joys of bread baking. tomorrow i'll be testing a new steamer for the oven which shows a lot of promise. more grilled sandwiches for dinner tomorrow night! (no one's complaining)

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stacy hawkins
stacy hawkins
11/ 2/2006 12:01 AM

Thanks Rose! Wow, what a great comment and theory, I totally agree. I just love the answer! I spoke with my husband and he thought he liked to agree with the theory of the the original culture winning out mostly, but an influence of the others blending , like you had said
A few days ago, I ventured out and tried to start my own starter from some organic rye and water(had always used ones I ordered) and after only less than two days I had my starter rising to the top of my quart jar! Wow! I am so excited, so i am now feeding it still for several days and following the schedule that you have in your Bread Bible. If I had known that it was this easy, I would have done this in the first place, and not worry about buying a culture! I can't wait until it matures and I can try baking a loaf with it! I will let you and readers know what happens. Thank you for inspiring me Rose, who would think something so wonderfully human as making and baking bread would be so fun, fufilling and full of learning! Take care
Stacy

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stacy--buried somewhere in my huge book is information that would answer your question with essentially the following: there are conflicting theories about this. some feel the environment of the region where you're feeding the starter will change its nature whereas others feel that if the culture is strongly established it will fight off the invasion of other yeast and bacteria. maybe the truth lies in a combination of the two. i can say that after 30 years of marriage that's the case! i.e. we are still what our original natures were but over time have absorbed some of the influence of the other.

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stacy hawkins
stacy hawkins
10/30/2006 02:20 PM

Thanks Rose!
I can't wait to experiment with the focaccia again!
Regarding the whole wheat white flour I will do some investigating. I also use the Kamut in all my whole wheat recipes and my family loves it. In the regular whole wheat I read that some of the bitterness might be from the bran and you can make your own flour mixture so that you don't get that bitterness(I believe I read this in your book)! I was happy to read that, but then saw somewhere else that it might effect the fiber content and didn't want to get rid of that . So Kamut is my choice right now. I do look forward to trying out the whole wheat white in some recipes also though. I would also like to start grinding my own grains for freshness at some point too.
I would though, like to pick your brain on something if I could impose on you again? I have been thinking about this the past few weeks regarding my sourdough culture. As I have told you, I bought a San Francisco starter culture a few months back and that is what I have been using with very good results(after consulting with you after my first experience was a disaster). However, I noticed that in your book(The Bread Bible) on how to make your own starter, that you start with organic rye and bread flour etc. Question; If I am feeding my starter(San Francisco) with bread flour and occasionally organic rye, and water from my well, would that after a while incorporate the natural yeasts of the flours I use to feed it, and take over the San Francisco culture and actually become it's own unique culture? My husband is a Micro-biologist and Pharmacist and will surely enjoy the answer if we can fiqure it out- just have not asked him yet! Have you heard anything on this question/theory? Thanks once again for your patience and input and so glad you are doing better! Take care!
Stacy

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try refrigerating the dough overnight as cold accentuates the sourness.

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I have tried several starters and they work as far as making bread, but I don't have the "real" sour dough smell and the taste is very mild, but good. How can I strenghten the sour dough smell and taste?

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delighted to hear all this stacy and yes--my back is so much better.

i've converted my basic rustic bread to a great pan foacaccia by adding 11% oil and having the total hydration at 69% (this ratio always includes the flour and water in the starter). it becomes puffy with large irregular holes. so yes you can certainly play around with it.

king arthur has a toll free help # with very knowledgeable people at the other end about their products. i'm pretty sure, from my memory, that white whole wheat flour requires the same hyration as red whole wheat flour--i don't use it bc i usually grind my own and then can avoid the bitterness that is actually rancidity. i like the flavor of regular whole wheat when it's fresh. but it's great fun to try out all these things and make your own conclusions. when using a small amount of flour other than white wheat i love to use kamut for its sweet nutty taste. best to have a little flour mill so you can buy these grains as whole grains. it's good exercise and the grains never go bad.

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stacy hawkins
stacy hawkins
10/25/2006 05:27 PM

Hi Rose! This Stacy Hawkins once again! My last posting(in a different forum here) was about trying to get my sourdough a little more sour. I have come to the conclusion that I was just getting used to my sourdough! I tried some regular store bought bread(ugh) then my sourdough... wow! Now I taste my mellow tang, wonderful, springy , moist work of art! I am having so much fun with it! My family is hooked and wonderfully spoiled! I tried the focaccia recipe with the starter and it is really great! Thing is my daughter is wanting to see if we can convert that into the sheet focaccia from your "Bread Bible"( we put it into a well oiled 12" deep pan pizza pan). The sheet focaccia recipe seems a little moister than the other focaccia recipes, of course because you pour it into a pan, but also the dough seems moister and she really likes it. Can we convert the recipe? Would we just account for the extra flour and water from the starter etc? Another question I have is in regard to the "White whole wheat flour". I have ordered some from King Arthur and was wondering if you would treat this as any other Whole wheat flour, I was curious to try it out with the sourdough starter, but was not sure if anyone had done this yet? Oh, I also love the idea of using the stiff starter to add to other bread recipes! Can't wait to try it, and treat my extended family to my new found treasures! I was reading your "Bread Bible" and I believe you said something like... that could it be you were only happy when bread was baking? I completely identify with that!! I am starting to feel like something is missing from my day if I am not seeing the dough rise or converting some of my liquid starter to a stiff starter the day before I make my sourdough bread! What a life! Take care and hope you continue to heal up!
With Warmest Regards,
Stacy Hawkins

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the brownish water is the alcohol and other waste products produced by the yeast. my bet is that it's still alive but very weak and needs mucho replenishing and strengthening as per my instructions in the book. be patient--i think it will come back--they almost always do. smell is hard to analyze long distance but wait until it's behaving correctly, bubbling up and increasing and the smell should improve as well. i find sour dough starter smells a bit like house paint--a smell i love. but each starter has its own special qualitites. let me know!!!

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Kristine Tellefsen
Kristine Tellefsen
10/ 4/2006 01:05 PM

I bought a commercial sourdough starter (Baker's, which seemed to MAYBE be the SF strain based on their packaging), followed the instructions (let sit at room temp 3 days and then 4 days in fridge in covered glass jar) and then used your recipe for sourdough bread using a starter. The bread did not rise at all... I am baking, right now, a loaf about 1" high! I am wondering if the start died or if there is any way to salvage it (it is a liquid starter - 2 cups flour to 2 cups water, total, and I used one cup of it for the bread, with a little less water added to the dough than in your recipe, so the dough was just slightly stiffer than your Rosemary Foccacia, which by the way we LOVE LOVE LOVE) - when I replenished it, it did not really bubble a lot after sitting out overnight, it has a very strong smell, so I don't know if maybe it went bad - it separates quickly after mixing and the water on top is brownish. However there are no colored streaks in it. Any suggestions?

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marilyn, thanks for the idea--i look forward to trying it!

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Marilyn Leahy
Marilyn Leahy
08/16/2006 02:12 AM

Hi Rose

I finally got my copy of your bread book and am digesting it as quickly as possible. I was impatient to begin as soon as possible so I made a quick sourdough starter. I used roughly equal amounts of potato water, flour and plain yogurt. It bubbled right up within hours and then I just fed it for a couple of days to get a feel for how long it took to double. Smells good, lively quick and easy. The finished bread is mild rather than sour with wonderful keeping qualities. Sunset magazine developed the yogurt starter about 20 years ago. Have you tried using yogurt?

Marilyn

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you're right! you've caught two editing mistakes. the 1 tsp yeast needs to be added for the sponge, and cross out the words or the night ahead. the rest is correct. however, i have tweaked the recipe and am now adding a little more water total 1 cup, a little more oil (1/2 cup) and a little less honey (total 6 tablespoons to prevent overbrowning) and baking the bread as two loaves to also prevent over-browning.
i use a cushionair sheet or double pan also to prevent overbrowning of the bottom and bake it at 325 instead of 350.
re the vinegar, it is to relax the gluten to make it more stretchy but in my new recipe i am using old starter instead which gives wonderful depth of flavor, more moistness (always a problem with challah) and much more stretch. i will post it on my return as i leave in a couple of hours.

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Hello, Regarding your Traditional Challah recipe:
In your chart on p 517 you list 1 tsp of yeast, yet under the chart in step 1 paragraph, yeast is ommited in the list of ingredients. If the sponge is started the night before, can it stay outside all night with raw eggs? In step 2 paragraph, the instructions are ambiguous (at least for me). In other words, the next morning (and here I am Saturday morning), do I add more yeast, flour, and salt to blanket the sponge I made the night before? Based on your introductory material in the book, this sequence is not consistent.
I also wonder about the huge amount of honey (8 TB!), eggs (5), and oil(1/3 cup) in proportion to a total of almost 6 cups flour.
Last, but not least, I am curious why you add cider vinegar to the recipe.
Many thanks,
Diane

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whew! as i was reading your entry and got to the starter i thought "oh no--not trouble with the starter," so i'm vastly relieved you've had such success with it. it's actually a very simple thing but hard to explain when one doesn't follow some of the basic rules!
unless you are baking bread every other day and therefore feeding the starter every day you must keep it refrigerated to keep it in good health. i do note on the recipes when to take it out and start feeding it. i give it 1 hour because when cold the yeast is dormant and can't eat and grow as quickly as when it warms up!
the outside of the bread dough is supposed to dry in order to give it support as the acidity of sour dough makes it very soft. but if it's too dry you might want to cover the banneton with a plastic box (homemade proofer). that way the flour rubbed into the cloth of the banneton will still form a crust but not as thick a one.
once you have a starter you can add it to just about every bread you make! it doesn't have to be fed first--it still gives wonderful flavor and texture.just last week i made the 10 grain torpedo with added starter (75 grams + 1/8 teaspoon salt) for a pot luck party. normally bread when cut and sits around for several hours turns into stale toast! but with the starter it stayed perfectly moist. you have to add more salt bc of course when adding starter you have more flour and water and need to balance the salt content. the instant yeast stays the same. challah, by the way, really benefits from added starter as it makes it so elastic it's a pleasure to braid!

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Bill Cahill
Bill Cahill
01/12/2006 03:12 PM

Rose, I love the Bible. After having great success with the "Heart of Wheat" I wanted to try a Basic Sourdough. I followed the instructions for a creating a starter, and it worked perfectly. So a few questions that are not clear from the book:

Should I generally store my starter in the refrigerator?
If so, how long before baking should I remove the starter from the fridge?
The outside of my first attempt dried during the rise in the banneton - how do I prevent that?

Thanks

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the liquid that forms on top of a sourdough is the alcohol produced by the yeast during fermentation (as it breaks down the carbohydrates in the flour to sugar). you can just stir it back in. but be sure it's a brownish liquid--not mold.

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Linda Wentzel
Linda Wentzel
01/ 4/2006 09:17 AM

My sourdough starter from King Aurthur recently died after several years. I got a new starter from my son. It seemed ok for 2 weeks and then it began forming a grey water on the top between feedings - is it still ok to use?

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i totally agree with you. inge was complaining about the pages long starter and while it's true that i have many pages explaining sourdough starter, the actual instructions in the bread bible are indeed just 2 pages long and no more than 5 minutes a day! point well taken!

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Ianofthemews
Ianofthemews
01/ 3/2006 07:46 AM


Sorry Rose but I have to disagree. Making your own starter is easy (Takes less than 5 mins per day for a week and then 5 mins a week after that) and cheap. Sure, things can go wrong but more often than not they don't. Man kind has been making leavened bread for 5000+ years, so I think we have got the technique pretty much sorted out now.

Inge, if you are looking for a reliable and easy starter recipie buy "The Handmade Loaf" by Dan Lepard and if you have any problems check out the forum on his website at www.danlepard.com where bakers both professional and amatuer will be more than happy to help you out. In the book he shows you exactly what you should do each day and provides a photo of each step.

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