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Starting a sour dough starter.

gmacgmac Posts: 1,789
I'm thinking 2017 may see more bread in my life. I love sour dough so I am wondering how to start one from scratch. Any advice would be great. I know it needs to be fed regularly and I assume the sour comes from a lactobacillus of some sort, could use some malted barley as a started for bacteria since it's supposedly covered with lacto. But that's a guess to be honest. 
Any advice would be great. Will check google but I know I will get real, actually proven advice from here. 
Thanks. 
Mt Elgin Ontario - just a Large.

Comments

  • gerhardkgerhardk Posts: 938
    edited December 2016
    Sourdough is a balance of yeast and lactobacillus, the yeast is naturally present on flour but in very low concentration.  The way I started mine was with flour and water and giving it a stir a few times a day.  After a few days you will see bubbles forming, after it starts bubbling stir it down a few times and then dump half of it and add flour and water.  After daily feedings for 10 days or so you have a viable sourdough culture.  Maintaining a culture is much easier, I keep mine in the fridge and feed it about once a week.  If we are going to be gone for a while I make the culture much stiffer and keep it in the fridge. It has survived 6 weeks of neglect in that state.

    An easier method is to have someone give you a little bit of their culture.

    Gerhard
  • kl8tonkl8ton Posts: 2,296
    I failed to jump on it but Craigslist by me had someone with free starters from family culture.  98 years old I believe. I can't find it now. 

    Check your local CL.

    LBGE - 36Blackstone
    Grand Rapids MI
  • I will send people dry starter if they send me a self addresses stamped envelope.  It will take about a week to get healthy. 

    I suggest most most people start their own.
    day1 25 g WW or rye flour + 25 g water mix 
    day 2-14, 25 g from previous day + 25 g whole grain flour + 25 g water. Mix.  

    I have started a few. Never fails.  After that you can change every variable imaginable to tweak flavor.  If you are starting out I suggest any of three Bread baking books. Tartine Bread, Josey Baker Bread, or FWSY 


  • gerhardkgerhardk Posts: 938
    I see you are in Mt. Elgin, I can send you a bit of my sourdough in a baggy, post office should have it to you in a day or two.  If you are interested just pm me your address.

    Gerhard
  • girbimgirbim Posts: 25
    I am going to make one this weekend.  I purchased a culture on the internet and it was a disaster.  I was expecting a dough-like form that King Arthur uses, but it was powdered.  I kept it at exactly 90 for the first 24 hours like recommended and it bubbled.  However the two times that I tried to make bread, the bread flattened out like a pancake and did not rise.  i am guessing that the lactobacillus was alive and well, but the yeast was non-existent.  Too acidic of a sourdough culture can do this, but I was following the directions carefully.

    I plan on using a more advanced Peter Reinhart recipe that calls for a mash, but his basic recipe is described here:

    http://breadtopia.com/make-your-own-sourdough-starter/

    If this attempt fails, I will give up on sourdough.
    Large BGE

    Minneapolis, MN
  • @girbim don't give up.  Once you get the hang of it it is quite easy.  I made flat breads for years, I was overproofing. 

    I would suggest starting with a commercial yeast loaf. Once you learn how to read the dough.  How it is ready for the next step, then you should move to SD. 
  • gerhardkgerhardk Posts: 938
    If you are reviving a culture from dried culture it will take a week or so to bring it back to being active enough to bake with.  General rule of thumb is that after feeding the sourdough culture it should double in volume in 6 to 8 hours.  There are variables such as the temperature of your work space, and the hydration of sourdough.  You might have just been a little impatient to get baking.

    Gerhard
  • girbimgirbim Posts: 25
    edited December 2016
    Thanks for the suggestions.

    Bigbadben, I'll try not to give up.  I have regular yeast loafs down pretty solid.  I plan to branch out to try whole wheat and sourdough breads for a change.  My instincts are not as sharp with sourdough cultures yet.  

    Gerhardk, I did daily feedings for about week before trying to use it and about 2 weeks for my second attempt.  I had a thin culture and it would always start bubbling in a couple of hours, but it seemed like it might be too thin to double in volume.  It did take off for one of my two cultures and started gaining volume after just letting it sit on the counter for a couple of days without feeding.  It just wasn't what I was seeing and I interpreted it as an infection.  The yeast may have finally taken off and I could have dumped it just when it was useful.

    I'll have the seed culture started in a couple of hours.  I just started the mash that the seed culture calls for.  The mash is supposed to provide the nutrients for the culture.  3 tablespoons are used on days 1 and 2.  It is a little like the all grain brewing that I do.  Flour, diastatic malt, and water are held at 150F in the oven for at least an hour.  My oven only goes down to 170, so I will need to fuss with the oven a big more.

    Dave
    Large BGE

    Minneapolis, MN
  • gerhardkgerhardk Posts: 938
    Dave I think when you are making beer you are adding yeast so holding the mixture at 150º might be to kill off the wild yeast, when making a sourdough culture you are promoting the growth of wild yeast.  I think the temperature that yeast starts to die off is fairly low, I think around 120ºF.  When I created my culture it was all done at room temperature.  I know some people that want to hurry the process or have a cold kitchen will put it in their oven with just the light on as a heat source.

    Gerhard
  • gmacgmac Posts: 1,789
    gerhardk said:
    I see you are in Mt. Elgin, I can send you a bit of my sourdough in a baggy, post office should have it to you in a day or two.  If you are interested just pm me your address.

    Gerhard
    That would be great. I will send you a pm. Are you in Canada?  I assumed that crossing the border would be an issue. Will send a pm. 
    Mt Elgin Ontario - just a Large.
  • ShiffShiff Posts: 1,707
    I tried making my own starter but had problems. Then I found this reference to a free starter from family and friends of an 1847 sourdough starter.  It has worked well for me.  It is available free, but I put a few bucks in the envelope with my request to help defray their expenses.

    http://www.carlsfriends.net
    Large BGE
    Barry, Lancaster, PA
  • gerhardkgerhardk Posts: 938
    gmac said:
    That would be great. I will send you a pm. Are you in Canada?  I assumed that crossing the border would be an issue. Will send a pm. 
    I don't live too far from Mt. Elgin, just north of London between Exeter and Grand Bend.  I will send it on Tuesday so if Canada Post does it's job it should be there Wednesday or Thursday.

    Gerhard
  • gmacgmac Posts: 1,789
    Thanks @gerhardk
    Mt Elgin Ontario - just a Large.
  • gerhardk said:
    I see you are in Mt. Elgin, I can send you a bit of my sourdough in a baggy, post office should have it to you in a day or two.  If you are interested just pm me your address.

    Gerhard

    Caledon isn't far from MT. Elgin

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

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