sourdough starter...

Discussion in 'Breads' started by daveomak, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    We have been having trouble with the "mother" culture..... We moved her 8 years ago and the water is a little alkaline.... how much... I don't know.... Been reading where some folks add a little vinegar to the water and the same for the bread dough....  

    I don't have pH strips but should get some, or buy water in the jug... Culligan water is 37 cent a gallon here, when bought at W-Mart....  not a big deal for good sourdough....  

    So, what do my friends in hard water areas do to promote a good healthy sourdough starter "mother".....  If you use pH strips, what range is your target ???  

  2. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Dave, wish I could help you?

    Not an expert here?

    Adding acid would scare me?  Starter is supposed to produce its own acid.

    I have made many starters using yeast.

    Making a starter from just water and flour was a challenge, but I finally got it done after a few tries.

    I think just the regular feeding is the way to go?

    Yeah, some folks add sugar.  Some use milk.  Some use potatoes and all that.  Main thing is to produce the "beer" and the acid, in as natural way as possible.

    The "San Francisco" starter will soon be the local starter after a few months.

    I called mine "Kissy".  The Kingsburg starter I made from flour and water.  Then I left her in the fridge too long without feeding her.  Then she died.  I sure do miss her.

    Good luck and good smoking.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
  3. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hey Dave ...I always use bottled spring water, our water is chlorinated... and that reminds me I'm out of spring water and I know they are hungry....Sorry never tested the ph
  4. Never had a problem with water in all the many years that I had starter (can't have the starch now.)
    I always used hard rural well water, but the pH was close to neutral.
    Sounds like spring or distilled water is the way to go.

    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    This starter is a no yeast type.....  I just read adding rye flour will acidify the starter then use plain AP flour for the rest of the feedings....  Started it from Whole wheat and unbleached bread flour....   
    Dan,  I started with distilled water and moved to our tap water..... no chlorine... now I have some Culligan...  may end up with spring water..
    Paul, our local assn. doesn't do anything to the well water....  It's tested every 6 months or something like that...  It's been in business for 49 years...  All I know when you boil it, there is a lot of white precipitate left in the pan... I think I will pay attention when the next analysis is sent out....
    Martin, yeah, I'm gonna have to do something... just trying to figure out what...  I just picked up some Light rye flour and it is bubbling like crazy...  maybe the Rye was what it needed....   It hasn't formed any beer yet....  just put it in the refer yesterday after 6 days from the initial start....  Too bad Bride's starter died.... holy [email protected] was it sour and delish....   That is where all this started.... here starter dying....

    You never learn anything until something goes awry...  well, the starter dying is where the learning started....  never had to think before this...  probably shouldn't have started thinking.....  My head hurts...     

    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
  6. How about some thoughts on how to get a new starter going................potato water..?
  7. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I recently read something about potato starter.....  Can't recall for sure but I think there could be a problem with some specific type of bacteria that isn't good..... If I run across it again, I will try to remember to  put the good or bad  findings in here...
  8. I used potato/flour mix to start a mother starter. Worked well, and then fed with AP or HP flour. Used rye a little but not a lot. I need to pull the starter out of the fridge, been in there too long (hope it's not dead). I also messed around with the moisture content of the starter quite a bit. For some reason, I wasn't fond of the liquor on the top so I started reducing the amount of water I added with the flour, thickening it up. Good activity but was just thicker without the liquor. 
  9. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Dave....our water (city) leaves that residue too....heard it was the lime content in the water. Have friends who do starters here. Will check in with them and see what they think.
  10. FWIW, here is a post of mine from another forum a few years ago.
    It's a pretty much foolproof way to get a natural starter going, especially for those who have had trouble, but, of course, it should work good for anyone.
    I posted the following after a few forum members had repeated failures.

    "I'm too passionate about Sourdough to witness folks failing left and right without a fight!!!!! I've witnessed way too many give up over the years! Never, ever, give up!!!

    There are a couple 'secrets' that you can use to significantly increase your chances of culturing a healthy sourdough starter on the first try.

    Sourdough yeasts and bacteria thrive in an acidic environment.
    Creating an acidic environment (using acidic fruit juice the first 3 days of starter culture) from the start will ensure that conditions are right for good starter production and help keep nasties from getting a foothold.

    Aerating (mixing) the starter 2-3 times per day (until the starter is ready for use in a recipe), not just when the starter is fed, will help keep the mixture evenly acidic which helps to ensure that the bennies have perfect conditions and the nasties are discouraged.

    Here's the formula for success in more cases than not!

    Day 1: mix together...
    2 T. whole grain flour (rye or wheat)
    2 T. unsweetened pineapple juice or orange juice
    Cover and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.

    Day 2: add...
    2 T. whole grain flour
    2 T. juice
    Stir well, cover and let sit at room temperature 24 hours. At day 2 you may (or may not) start to see some small bubbles.

    Day 3: add...
    2 T. whole grain flour
    2 T. juice
    Stir well, cover and let sit at room temperature 24 hours.

    Day 4:

    Stir down, measure out 1/4 cup and discard the rest.
    To the 1/4 cup add...
    1/4 cup flour (any good non additive flour can be added at this point)
    1/4 cup filtered or spring water

    Day 5 and beyond.....continue the same daily procedure until the mixture is very active and yeasty, is the starter stalls add 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar to the other added ingredients daily...that'll lower the PH and make things active again

    Using just flour and water incubates a gas producing bacteria, among other nasties, called Leuconostoc, that mimics the activity of yeast for the first few gives off carbon dioxide bubbles, but then subsides creating a poor environment for yeast and leaving a nasty end product! Acidity fights Leuconostoc and other nasties!

    That may very well be what has happened in your case.

    Leuconostoc is, allegedly, becoming more and more prevalent on the surface of wheat and subsequently in flour.

    I can back up the argument for acidity with some interesting links if anyone is interested.

    Here's some interesting reading relating to the use of acidic juice to kick-start the starter......"

    Good luck!

    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
    daveomak and shannon127 like this.
  11. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Martin....  You always seem to know "where to find the links" that really explain stuff thoroughly....  Great info....... Now I know all the ins and outs of sourdough....  [​IMG]   
  12. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks everyone for your advice... and help....   Got a new starter going.... ain't very sour yet but getting there.... The starter is sitting on my new hot water tank I installed s few weeks ago.... (That is a very long story..)  I had just "excited it" (starter) with a feeding and got a batch of dough going..

    I'm doing a "No Knead" bread.... add the stuff..... let sit 8-12 hours or so...  texture was sticky and fairly wet....  

    roll out of the SS bowl on a floured board, add flour to the top.... rest.....

    Divide into whatever you are baking.... in this case...  my first SD loaves....

    Didn't rise the second time as much as I figured.....  should have weighed the 2

    blobs of dough so they would have been more even....

    In a cold oven... 375  for 70 min.    IT of bread was 208 deg and I pulled it....

    Thin loaves...... nice crumb.... fairly sour.... delicious bread....  crust is really good....

    Sourdough grilled ham and cheese..... cheetos....  tomato soup.... 

    Very Original......  LOL

  13. MMMmmmmm!!!


  14. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Bread looks really good to me Dave!  [​IMG]

  15. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Crumb looks good.

    Pass me some!

    Getting a rise without added yeast is tricky, but worth it.

    I have heard that spring is a good time for making starters outdoors to capture the natural yeast spores?

    Good luck and good smoking.
  16. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks folks....

    This was the Std. sourdough bread recipe....  Next will be a light caraway rye...  that's my goal.... I love that stuff....   

    One small step at a time...    
  17. With all this sour dough talk, I decided to pull my starter from the fridge and see if she was still alive. I don't really remember how long she's been in there, probably close to six months give or take. Smelled sour with a little hooch on top. Mixed it all up, threw in some flour and a little water and left it on the counter. Fed again the following day, wasted a bit the next and fed and she's as alive as she was when I put her away.

    Now all I need to do is schedule some baking.
  18. deanoaz

    deanoaz Meat Mopper

    Dave, if you can get Squirrel to reply, she knows all about sourdough management and it might be good to send her a private message.
  19. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    OK, thanks.....  Dave

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