sourdough, yeast starter.

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ChrisGreaves
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sourdough, yeast starter.

Post by ChrisGreaves »

Bonavista_20200527_112054.JPG
Am I doing this wrong?

On the left is my ginger beer plant, based on my memories of 60+ years ago. The plant is fed (sugar, ginger) and the liquor is drained off to add to a syrup to bottle. The sediment remains to kick-start the next batch.

On the right is my sourdough plant, based on the same principles.
Note that abundance of water; same technique as my ginger beer plant.

I am starting to think that the sourdough plant should be mainly sediment with a 1/4-inch film of water atop, and that instead of using the liquor to mix into flour to make a new loaf, I should be using, say, 1/2 a jar of sediment as the basis of my new loaf.

Since moving to Bonavista I have been ringing the changes in terms of water source, temperature of the mix (including a mini-greenhouse on the back porch on sunny days), and can crank out loaves using dried yeast quite happily.

The cost of dried yeast is not an issue; my pride tells me I ought to be making my own yeast for bread.

If you bake sourdough loaves, or if in the past you have used a yeast plant for bread, please advise:-
Did/Do you use the liquor or do you use the sediment to mix a new batch of dough destined for the loaf pan?

Thanks :munch:
Chris
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Nick Vittum
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Re: sourdough, yeast starter.

Post by Nick Vittum »

Definitely the dough (sediment) saving enough to start a new reserve of starter. The liquid is call hooch and some people desperate for alcohol have drunk it (though I don't recall that it tasted very good or was even that rich in alcohol)

PS: I can't really tell how much you've got there but it doesn't look like enough. It's been years since I've done this, but I recall using about a cup of starter for a small batch of bread (2-3 loaves)
—Nick

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ChrisGreaves
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Re: sourdough, yeast starter.

Post by ChrisGreaves »

Nick Vittum wrote:
27 May 2020, 15:39
Definitely the dough (sediment) saving enough to start a new reserve of starter.
Thanks for the confirmation Nick. More and more it sounds as if I have been breeding and using the hooch (or "liquor" as I think it is officially known) instead of the sediment.
PS: I can't really tell how much you've got there but it doesn't look like enough. It's been years since I've done this, but I recall using about a cup of starter for a small batch of bread (2-3 loaves)
The jar is a jam jar, typically <500ml, and I have about 1cm sediment. Definitely not enough.
I added six teaspoons of wholewheat flour yesterday and will continue to add flour until the jar holds about 2/3 sediment with a 1/2 cm liquid on top.
Then I shall give myself a fighting chance by using 90% of the sediment as a starter and rebuilding the plant. Since I bake a loaf about once every two days, I may set up a cycle of three or four jars so that I always have a cup of starter on hand.

I went looking for dried yeast yesterday and found none on the shelves. I suspect that a great many people have gone back to baking their own bread over the past three months.

Thanks Nick.
Chris
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HansV
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Re: sourdough, yeast starter.

Post by HansV »

ChrisGreaves wrote:
28 May 2020, 08:16
I went looking for dried yeast yesterday and found none on the shelves. I suspect that a great many people have gone back to baking their own bread over the past three months.
Yes, baking bread has become very popular during the lockdown.
Regards,
Hans

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ChrisGreaves
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Re: sourdough, yeast starter.

Post by ChrisGreaves »

Update:
I have been baking bread off and on since the early 1970s, and over the past ten years have wandered the WWW looking at "recipes" for sourdough starters. In general the web pages seem to be some sort of mystic cult. I have not yet come across a page that intones "While wearing your brightest yellow dress, balance a cat on your head and rotate yourself three times before adding more flour", but the day cannot be far off.

I bake once or twice a week; more frequently in winter (much toast-and-jam or grilled-cheese) and less frequently in summer (salad for lunch and grilled pork steak for supper).

My "recipe" has boiled down (to coin a phrase) to this:
(1) Tip the entire jar into the mixing bowl, add 3 cups flour, mix, rise for an hour, mix and rise and then bake. That takes care of the next loaf of bread.
(2) Into the near-empty jar, add a half-cup of water, screw on the lid Point (c) below); shake the jar, pour the fluid remnants into a second (cleaned) jar.
(3) Let stand over night.
(4) Add a cup of flour, top up with water to make a sludge.
(5) Leave it alone.
(6) Three or four days later, return to step (1)
Now I know this sounds complicated, but it is way simpler than “adding a teaspoon of flour each day” or “checking on the bubbles” or “keeping an eye on the level of <your favorite item in here>”.
The process is much simpler than most web pages make out, and I imagine the kitchens of 200 years ago where bread-making followed a regular schedule – every day for example – and the cook or housewife had no time for gazing into the navel of a starter-jar. That is, home baking was a micro-production line, regular as clockwork.
FWIW:
(a) I did NOT expose my original jar of flour and water to the elements; I used a scrape of dough from a batch made using baker’s Yeast from a jar or sachet. That means that my dough is not really sourdough, but Fleischman’s Yeast dough; I just don’t buy jars of yeast anymore.
(b) In Bonavista I use rain water, because the tap water is too heavily chlorinated and chemically sanitized.
(c) I use two jars in rotation, plastic jars with plastic screw lids, which (lids) I leave loose enough to let the CO2 gas escape, but tight enough to discourage fungus gnats from adding protein to the dough.
Bonavista_20200910_153756.JPG
Above is my jar after adding water immediately after using the bulk of the starter. The 1/2 cm of white at the bottom of the jar is dough; the rest is cloudy water. These contents will be tipped right now into a second cleaner jar.
Bonavista_20200910_153819.JPG
Here is the second jar about an hour after filling. Much of the new flour has settled to the bottom; the rest is floating on top, still dry, but will settle into the mixture over the next day or two, providing a gradual feed to the plant. The cloth is part of an old handkerchief; the elastic is from my collection of hair-bands i collect while walking around. I don't always use a screw-on lid.
Cheers
Chris
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