Sour Dough - Wanna Try It?

Discussion in 'Breads' started by hog warden, Jan 31, 2010.

  1. hog warden

    hog warden Smoking Fanatic

    A couple months ago, I decided to branch out and try my hand at sour dough. After a couple false starts, I made myself a starter. It's been OK, but "self taught by an idiot" and all that. I've made my share of mistakes.

    Yes, you can order a start (Carls), get a start from a start, or make your own very high quality starter, which it turns out, is easier to do than you might think.

    But as with most things like this, there is a lot of voodoo, hoodoo and all kinds of doo. But start digging and you will find it's no great mystery.

    If you have a notion to try this, like I did, and want to make your own high quality starter, go here:

    Follow along just as he shows you, and it will work.
  2. smokingohiobutcher

    smokingohiobutcher Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    MAAAAN I cant wait to try this I soooo like a good sour dough.
    Have always wanted to try it and figured it was too hard to start.
    Thanks Hog Warden!
  3. hog warden

    hog warden Smoking Fanatic

    By all means, give it a go!

    To cut through some of the smoke:

    Use the pineapple juice and a whole grain flour version, like rye or whole grain wheat. These grains...rye in particular..... have the yeast and bacteria on them that will come alive to make your sour dough. It's not in the air as we have been told. The pineapple juice gets you to the correct acid phase the fastest. The desirable bacteria and yeast spores wake up and the whole thing takes off in just a few days.

    The process is temperature sensitive. It will get going faster at 75* to 80* than it will at the 60* to 65* which are common indoor temps this time of year. Will still work at colder temps, just not as fast.

    You don't need to make or keep massive quantities. Teaspoons or tablespoons, not cups. After it gets going, 1 part starter: 1 part water: 2 parts flour by volume is a close approximation of how it is to be maintained. As a general rule, once your starter is chugging along, thicker is better. These beasties are very active when they get going and eat through the flour pretty fast. That translates into a high rise, sour loaf when you get around to making bread.

    I know there is a wide variation in how folks keep and use their starters. Some thick, some thin, etc. It works for them and a lot of others, so this proves there is no right or wrong way. The process outlined in these posts is simply a well proven one used by a lot of highly skilled bakers.

    But this just gets you past the starter phase. The rest is on you!
  4. cajun_1

    cajun_1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I take it that with 2T rye flour to 1 T pineapple juice, this just a paste for the first 3 days?
  5. smokingohiobutcher

    smokingohiobutcher Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Got me some Rye flour today. Gonna give it a try tomarrow.
    Wish me luck!
  6. hog warden

    hog warden Smoking Fanatic

    2 Tbs juice and 2 Tbs rye flour (equal parts by volume) The absolute amounts are not critical. You don't need more, and you will eventually keep only a portion of it to "seed" the starter as you feed it, tossing the rest. No need to use a whole cup, then toss it.

    It's about like ketchup. It will sag to level in a mixing cup.

    For the first 3 to 4 days, add new juice and flour to the old. For the first 3 to 4 days, you may not see anything happen. You don't want to dilute the acid and livestock growth you are getting until it starts to work a little. Once it starts bubbling, the bacteria and yeasts are feeding on the flour. They need food to keep going. By then, you can start converting to a white AP flour and water, dropping the juice and rye. If it's working, save 1/4 cup of the stirred down starter, to that add 1/4 cup spring water (not tap.....may have chlorine or other chemicals) and 1/4 cup AP flour. Keep that going at least a week.

    Remember, the juice is to drop the Ph to an acidic level right off the bat to bypass a phase or two of nasty bacteria growth that eventually drops the Ph. You gain 2 to 3 days right off. Yeast spores don't wake up and start growing until the Ph goes acidic. Pineapple is one of the best choices to get the Ph right.

    If around day 4, 5 or 6, you get active growth for several hours, then it collapses and you start getting a clear liquid on top (hooch) after 24 hours, you need to up the feeding schedule to twice a day (12 hours) to keep a strong active culture growing. Once well established (about 2 weeks), you only need to feed it, then send to the refer to store it for days to weeks at a time until you are ready to use it.
  7. jeffesonm

    jeffesonm Smoke Blower

    Good info here. I've had good luck refreshing my starter with a 1:2:3 ratio starter:water:flour.
  8. hog warden

    hog warden Smoking Fanatic

    OK, not sure if anyone tried this, but to prove it can be done, I started some various starters about the same time I started this thread. As of this morning, after feeding, here are 4 samples:

    And after 7 hours..........

    They have grown from a little more than double to some over 4 times!

    Saving a discard from the one on the far original starter from several months turned into this:

    Highly edible!
  9. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That is some nice looking bread and starters. Do you think the loaf is a tighter consistancy due to the starter? We have been making sourdough for a long time and the bread is much looser
  10. hog warden

    hog warden Smoking Fanatic

    That starter was raising 3 to 4 times it's size after feeding. I doubt it's the starter. It wasn't as sour as I had hoped and that probably is the starter....but also how it is handled. Both the "sour" and "looser" are likely caused by operator error, meaning the way I did the baking. I was following my directions.

    What baking process do you use?
  11. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    My baking process at the moment is Mrs Scarbelly until I retire and have some more time on my hands - She is on travel until tomorrow so I will have to check with her to see which one she used last time
  12. hog warden

    hog warden Smoking Fanatic


    The interior.....


    These were done using the OJ/Rye starter I made a few weeks ago.

    For these, I played with the percentages of wheat to white flours. Basic process was to mix them up completely and let the ferment at room temps for 12 hours or in the refrigerator for nearly 24 hours before shaping, letting rise, then baking, which was done a couple ways.

    Both taste pretty good, have good textures, but could use some more "sour". That will come with age on the starters and I think longer fermentation times on the doughs.

    But it works!

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