Starting a starter

I am new to this forum having found it doing a web search.  Yesterday I got the sourdough bug again and decided to get a starter going.  I have dabbled in sourdough in the past and read several web pages and books about it.  Sometimes it sounds complicated but when I think about early settlers and ancient civilizations having sourdough, I realize they most likely did not have a complicated process for getting a starter going.  I just started with equal measures of water and unbleached flour and set it covered with a dishcloth outside for a few hours yesterday.  Today I have bubbles although not doubling in size as I assume that will take a few more days of feeding and nurturing.  I also ordered a package of "Alaskan" sourdough online to see how the two starters will compare in flavor and rise.  Curious if anyone else has tried comparing starters and what their experiences have been?  Do you note a difference in flavor?  

Shelly

5 comments

Hi, Shelly. I´m introducing myself to this stuff of sourdough too, but for me it´s a little more complicated, ´cause I live in Brazil, where flour is just horrible. We have a very low protein content on our flour, and especially when it comes to whole wheat flour, it´s often adulterated with oder stuff (here it´s very common we find something called "farinha de rosca" (in portuguese) added to the flour, that I could translate more or so like "bread crumbs flour" because it´s nothing else than bread leftovers turned into flour). But then again, they mix that into our flour in order to adulterate it, and despite being made from bread, let´s be honest, its not flour itself, so it wont work like the real thing. But about the sourdough,  I´ve never succeded in making it, because there´s always that strange yellow fluid running aroun the mixture after some time of combining the ingredients, and the misterious fermentation bubbles never really show up. I guess the organisms in the flour act too quickly or are very different from yours there in USA, so I´m almost giving up on trying to create the bugs.....

My starter is bubbling but has not really increased in size yet.  Of course it is only day 3.  It smells great and looks like it is taking off.  Have you thought of doing a potato starter instead of a flour based starter.  then perhaps you can feed it with the Brazilian flour?  I would not give up on the starter so soon.  It takes time and sometimes just a bit of coaxing and nurturing to really get a good starter going.  Good luck!  

 My starter rose about half an inch last night.  Today is day 4 and just fed it.  Convinced now that I captured some wild yeast.  Now to see how well the yeast I captured works :) 

My Michigan starter seems to be working well.  Only took a couple hours for my loaf to double and now it is in the oven baking.  

You can get started with a packaged starter, but eventually it will settle down to whatever your local flora are - it won't retain the original characteristics forever. You should notice some differences in flavour in the first few batches - although of course that will also depend on the flour you use.