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Sourdough Question

BlueSmokeBlueSmoke Posts: 1,678
edited 10:40AM in EggHead Forum
I finally got around to watching a "Kitchens of Biro" I taped July 11. Biro made bruschetta from bread he made from scratch; including the starter.[p]To make his starter, he combined:
8 ounces seedless grapes, crushed
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups bread flour
1 1/2 cup water
pinch salt[p]He mixed this thoroughly and let it sit covered at room temp for 24 to 48 hours.[p]Has anybody tried such a technique, i.e. using naturally ocurring yeasts?[p]TIA


  • BlueSmoke,[p] Sure, but the variations depending on your local area, humidity, temp, many other factors, are major. I spent many years in SF Bay Area ... one of the great soudough areas anywhere. I can purchase some of their starter and maybe get one or two loaves that are somewhat close ..... then our local, natural, wild yeast (dry, hot, high desert, no major seawater nearby) takes the starter to something pretty mediocre. I maintain one anyway (old Oregon Trail starter), and just adjust my expectations.[p] I bet you will enjoy the formula you posted.
    Tom B (EggSport)[p]

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Tom B. (EggSport),
    the starter is itself a strain, which is kinda important. there's a mix of funky yeasts floating around, and thought the starter is usually a wild deal, over time the less-competitve stuff loses out, and stronger yeasts come to the front.[p]i think a sour-dough starter truly started from open-fermentation would be different than that same starter strain a few months later.[p]can you start sour-dough from just open fermenting it on top of you counter? or do you really NEED a starter?
    interesting stuff

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • BlueSmoke,[p]So he is relying on the natural yeast on the grape skin just like winemakers do? I'm not familiar with Biro, but I wonder how much faith i'd have in yeast (and whatever else) is on the skin of grapes found at publix, kroger, or Harry's. If one had access to organic grapes on the vine, like in califonia wine country, I'd give it two thumbs up.[p]I heard there are also natural yeasts in the air and you can do sourdough starter just by leaving the starter exposed to air. I am fascinated by this, being a fan of sourdough, just not sure how reliable it is.[p]One idea might be to find someone that has an established starter and see if the would turn you on to some. At least then you'd have a known starting point.[p]I'll be watching this thread with interest... I LOVE SOURDOUGH!!!
  • Chef ArnoldiChef Arnoldi Posts: 974
    that method was developed by Silverton. i personally don't like it. i started a "seed culture" using wholw wheat flour & water, increasing the size for 4 days up to a week and from there built a "mother" that is used for baking.
    see Peter Reinhart books
  • Clay QClay Q Posts: 4,435
    Yeah, but without the grapes. Yeast spores are floating all over the place and its a matter of finding them a good home to grow. Potatos are used in making starters but it turns into swamp muck. I like to start with commercial yeast and culture it up for a mild sourdough.
    1 packet yeast
    2 1/2 cups warm water
    2 teaspoons sugar
    2 1/2 cups flour
    Mix in a glass or ceramic bowl. Set out in a warm place to ferment with a loose cloth cover(if you have flys in the kitchen). Mix once each day for five days. On day six you will have a bubbling musty but happy starter.[p]I think the grape starter method is pre-history old world stuff. Do the grapes need to decay to have fermentation? Might be fun to try.

  • BlueSmokeBlueSmoke Posts: 1,678
    I love sourdough too, so when I heard him mention a "natural starter", it pricked my ears.[p]As far as starter goes, I have a lump in the refrigerator. I just let it warm to room temp before adding the flour and water for the next batch, then take a lump of that batch to start the next.[p]Guess I'll pick up some Publix grapes and see how it goes - at worst I'll waste a few cents and make a stink. Not like it's the first time for either of those... (grin)[p]Ken

  • BlueSmokeBlueSmoke Posts: 1,678
    Thanks. Your formulation sounds like what I used before I switched over to a levain starter. Now I just keep 6 to 8 ounces of dough, covered, in the refrigerator from one batch of bread to the next.[p]I don't know, but I think the grapes do have to ferment (aka decay).[p]Ken

  • PujPuj Posts: 615
    BlueSmoke,[p]I'm in year 9 of using my Silverton starter, which is found in Nancy Silverton's book "Breads from the LaBrea Bakery". Her starter takes 14 days to grow, using organic grapes, water and bread flour. It was a very interesting, and rewarding process. I remember building it over the 2006 Christmas holidays.[p]Over the 9 years that I have had my starter, it has never failed. I have let it go dormant for months, and it has refreshed each and every time.[p]Let me know if I can help.

  • BlueSmokeBlueSmoke Posts: 1,678
    Thanks for your offer. I'm going to try the Biro "thing", starting today. I'll let you know how it goes.[p]Ken

  • BlueSmoke,[p]One more thing- you might consider using bottled spring water rather than the tap stuff. Chlorine is pretty effective at supressing yeast growth- though I know at least some folks who have had luck using the city stuff. [p]At least, it's something you can try if the first batch doesn't work out.
  • Puj,[p] Nancy Silverton is a tough act to follow when it comes to breadbaking. If I changed starters, hers would be my solid, first choice.[p]Tom B (EggSport)
  • Carolina Caniac,[p] Great and relevant comment! I did not think to mention it, and I go to a lot of trouble to keep good "SPRING" water around for all of my bread baking. R.0. water or many "non-spring" bottled waters just don't provide those important extra goodies that impact the taste of good bread. Tap water is last choice in most locations.
    Thanks for the thought![p]Tom B (EggSport)[p]

  • PujPuj Posts: 615
    BlueSmoke,[p]I look forward to reading about your successes. Have fun.[p]Puj

  • GeneGene Posts: 99
    Carl Griffith's 1847 Oregon Trail Starter is Free With a Self addressed Staped Envelope. Get Address off Google Classic Sourdoughs by ED Wood is very Good. Seecrets of a Jewish Baker by George Greenstein is very good also.

  • FL BobFL Bob Posts: 39
    Yes you can. It may take longer to develop than having an activator such as grapes.

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