sourdough starter : LUSENET : FAQ : One Thread

First attempt at making a sourdough starter. Is in a large covered plastic bowl. Is now overflowing everywhere. If I put it in a larger container will it be o.k. or do I have to start all over. Should I just throw the spill over away----if I can save what's in the bowl do I have to add anything? I started with 2 C. lukewarm milk, 2 C. bread flour and 2 1/2 tsp. yeast. I used bread machine yeast, is that o.k.?

-- Anonymous, April 05, 2000


Your sourdough culture will be fine. It is recommended to use a container about 4X as large as the starter so that there will be sufficient room to grow and fall. You will probably not have to salvage what has spilled, but expect the relative reduction in strength or vigor according to how much was lost. As a note, be cautious about cross contamination when adding or starting any and all cultures.(Not just breads) Sour starters are traditionally prepared using a potato broth medium combined with a high gluten flour to create a soupy substance. This substance is then allowed to spontaneously ferment. What you are doing is preparing a tasty medium for wild yeasts (S. exigus, Lactobacillus sanfransisco) commonly found in our environment, to sow their seed and begin a thriving colony or stromatolite of yeast beings. Once fermentation begins, the mixture is allowed to bubble or ferment until activity is strong and the presence of the desired sour is noticeable. At this point, the starter is then mixed with more high gluten flour to achieve a stiff dough. This thick starter is then added at varying percentages (15%-40% standard) to the final dough. The starter should be virile enough to leaven the finished product, as well as add the desired flavor to the finished bread. However, you may add tiny amounts (.02%)of instant yeast to the final dough to provide added vigor and shorten the final proof time.

The key to good sour breads is slow, cool fermentation after mixing and makeup. This contributes to the buildup of several different types of acid compounds that collectively come across as the "sour".After the long cool proof, the loaves or breads are scored and placed in a hearth (stone or carborundum) oven (350-400 F) with plenty of low pressure steam. The steam aids in the expansion of the product as well as providing the characerisitc thick, chewy, blistered crust. After the desired bake and color are reached the loaves are then cooled. As the loaves cool, it should be noted that a utopian hearth bread will begin to "sing". The contracting crust will begin making a crackling noise as it cools. This is the standard of a great hearth product. You can also purchase sourdough starters from many different companies here in the U.S.

-- Anonymous, April 06, 2000

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