Don's Starter.

Let me give you my conclusions at the start, and I will elaborate further down the post. Don's starter may be:-
1. An absolutely unique starter derived from Saccharomyces Cerevisiae yeast instead of the more common Candida Milleri yeast, without any of the characteristic sourdough flavours.
or
2. It may be that Don has been given some unusual instructions regarding the creation of a starter.
or
3. Don may have been given some starter that has not been started with the correct instructions.
or
4. Don has jokingly decided to do an old sourdough bakers trick of sending what is purported to be a sourdough starter, but is instead a commercial yeast starter, just to see if the recipient knows the difference. I can take a joke.

Laughing

Laughing

What I am saying is that while it has produced a lovely tasting bread, and without the benefit of chemical analysis to prove otherwise, I consider this starter to be based on commercial yeast.
I'm a firm believer that "If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck etc etc".

On receiving the starter I rehydrated it with my usual method. It became active very rapidly (1 hour) compared to other starters I have rehydrated.
On reaching what I consider to be working strength after several refreshments, it had a very strong "Beer" smell, unlike any of the other starters I have.
When I first read Don's recipe I was quite suprised at the proofing times he quoted and was unable to reproduce those short times using my starters in my first two attempts at this recipe. However with Don's starter these short times were reproduced.
I thought I could feel a little difference in the proofed dough at shaping time but didn't think much about it at the time. My suspicions first really became aroused when I smelt the loaves baking. Those who know me personally will vouch for my acute sense of smell and taste.
When cooked the crust was noticeably different to usual, and on tasting my suspicions were confirmed, characteristic commercial yeast taste and aroma, and a complete abscence of anything resembling a sourdough taste.
Now I may be completely wrong it may be that this starter was created with some grapes or raisins or some other fruit, because saccharomyces cerevisiae (the yeast that produces beer, wine, and bread) is particularly attracted to these. But I still cant explain the lack of any flavours produced by a Lactobacillus of some type. (49 different ones identified to date).

So based on, it acted like a duck, it felt like a duck, it smelt like a duck, it tasted like a duck, and it didn't taste like pork, I would have to say it was a commercial yeast based starter, or something damned close to it.

24 comments

[quote="TeckPoh"]
25 C? Isn't it winter there? But, 25 deg C is cold, compared to our temperature of 29 - 34 deg C. Only once last week after a few days of rain, did we experience 25C in my kitchen. Don't you just pity us?
[/quote]
Only in the wet season. Hot is good, hot and wet is not good.

Working starters live in a proofing box at 25C +/- 1/2C.
Outside temp 5C-17C

Don,

I'm going to pass for the moment.
I am too distracted trying to write these beginners tutorials.

perhaps in a little while.

on the other hand. have you got an Aussie? would you like one?

Dom


Hi Don

I dont mind trying. Send em over

Smile

25 C? Isn't it winter there? But, 25 deg C is cold, compared to our temperature of 29 - 34 deg C. Only once last week after a few days of rain, did we experience 25C in my kitchen. Don't you just pity us?


[quote="TeckPoh"]
LOL, I agree! And, I think it's not used to the cold.
[/quote]
25C is cold?

Laughing

LOL, I agree! And, I think it's not used to the cold.


Don, maybe your starter is just homesick

Laughing

Isn't it fascinating or maybe called it weird... Never expected the starter to behave like this when it landed on foreign land.

Embarassed

No hard feelings... Am taking it on a lighter note...

Laughing

Anyone game to try it??? Dom?

Wink

Cheers...
Don

Nina & Dom, I do appreciate your thoughts regarding modifying the starter to perform in more desirable ways.

Don has assured me that this starter was created in the normal way with just flour and water, and I have no reason to doubt his word. So my main concerns are with the starter in its present form, and I am doing further experiments to see if I can get a better understanding as to just what is going on.

As it stands at the moment, having eliminated joke & subterfuge from the possibilities, Don's starter is either unique in it's actions or has somehow become contaminated.
If it is contaminated then it is only useful if one wishes to do quick baking without the characteristic sourdough complex of flavours.
Much the same applies if it is just a unique starter, for what is the point of having a sourdough starter in which the yeast component is so rapid in its action that it either over rides or does not allow the development of the desired flavours.

I am endeavouring to delve deeper into the extraction of flavours, but I must admit that without any reason for bias I still think this starter has been contaminated.

Oh for a friendly microbiologist.

fascinating thread.

we really don't understand why different starters behave differently, and what is going on in them at the microscopic level.

I'm with Nina - if the starter is behaving in a rushed manner it may not have time to develop flavour.

Here's an experiment for you Bill. Why don't you try combining Don's starter with your own? You could try mixing the two as a new hybrid starter, or add 1/2, 1/2 prepared starter to a dough. See whether that achieves a balance between speed and flavour...

dom


Nina, I think what Bill is trying to say is that if he wanted to bake with commercial yeast he would. He doesn't want to bake with commercial yeast and so isn't much interested in a sourdough starter that is exactly like a commercial yeast.
Am I right Bill?
Teresa

Bill, could it be related to the speed of the starter?

I managed to bake a bread yesterday that is low in sourdough taste and smell (not on purpose though). It tastes more like bakers bread than any other bread I've baked.
My starter is quite fast, also because of the heatwave we have I guess, and while I did retard the dough in the fridge I don't think I did it long enough for the flavour to really develop.

If the final proofing is only 45 min like Dons recipe calls for then maybe the starter is moving too fast for the flavours to develop properly? If that is the case (just guessing of course) maybe you should try an approach more similar to working with commercial yeast (less starter, colder water and proofing temperature, doing a quick sponge, see my suggestions to Carol:

http://www.sourdough.com.au/phpBB/viewt ... =1855#1855

)

TP, it's not only the lack of any sour, it does not have any of the characteristic sourdough smells or flavours.
As I said in my review, it may be an absolutely unique starter. I have four other starters from around the world and none of them lack a sourdough taste.
I really would like to find out why.

Hi Bill,

[quote]
Unfortunately to me it does not taste or behave like a sourdough starter either.
[/quote]

Appreciate your comments...

Wink

Cheers...
Don

Cheers...
Don

Questions for:

Bill: Why don't you see if the starter gets more sour if you leave it to ferment longer?

Don: Do your breads taste sour?


[quote="donyeokl"]
So it's a duck that does not behave like a duck...

Laughing

Cheers...
Don
[/quote]
Unfortunately to me it does not taste or behave like a sourdough starter either.

Crying or Very sad

Hi Bill,

There's no contamination if I must say... I have not been baking bread for at least a month or 2 before I started on this sourdough journey, I guess its the wild yeast and the environment here is Singapore that made it so different...

Razz

So it's a duck that does not behave like a duck...

Laughing

Cheers...
Don

Cheers...
Don

Further thoughts on your starter Don. It may well be that since you have been a user of commercial yeast in the past, in the early stages of creation your starter may have become contaminated with commercial yeast, which by its very nature would have overpowered any other yeast in your mix.

Well I must admit that they tasted good Don, just didn't have any sourdough taste. Will be handy to make a quick batch of rolls for lunch.

Hey Don, tell us how you worked out the recipe for Vienna Loaves, the bread turns out so wonderful. Did it take a lot of experimentation? I have a lot of work for some of my recipes, others almost make themselves.
Teresa

Hi Teresa,

[quote]
Hey Don, tell us how you worked out the recipe for Vienna Loaves, the bread turns out so wonderful. Did it take a lot of experimentation? I have a lot of work for some of my recipes, others almost make themselves.
[/quote]

I started off baking this recipe using yeast and liked the bread a lot (this was an accompaniment when my mum cooks spicy chicken curry). I then spotted a similiar recipe in Dan's site and tried it. They turn out pretty similiar to mine so when I started learning about sourdough baking, I played around with the recipe a little here and there. I did not experiment much as I had only basic knowledge about sourdough, so when I got it to where it is, I was happy and left it that way (call me boring and not ambitious

Wink

). The recipe did not change much from the yeasted version except that I used bread flour now as compared to using AP flour initially and the hydration was changed from 62% to 66%.

Well, I guess I was lucky with the experimentation( it almost make themselves)... Hope you like the bread and be baking them often...

Razz

Cheers...
Don

P/s My starter is proof that I'm a novice with all things sourdough missing in it...

Laughing

Cheers...
Don

Hi Bill,

[quote]
So based on, it acted like a duck, it felt like a duck, it smelt like a duck, it tasted like a duck, and it didn't taste like pork, I would have to say it was a commercial yeast based starter, or something damned close to it.
[/quote]

Thank you for trying the starter. The loaves look good but unfortunately it did not smell and taste like what you expected. The starter was made with just water and baker's flour without anything else added. No grapes, raisins or commercial yeast. I guess the lack of sourness might be because I've been putting back into the bottle the unused portion of the refreshed starter whenever I do a bake.

So I guess, it acted like a duck, felt like a duck, smelt like a duck, tasted like a duck but was closer to pork... No commercial yeast mate...

Razz

Cheers...
Don

Cheers...
Don

Hm, now I'm really curious too...

My own white starter was created using Dan Lepards recipe from The handmade loaf. Besides water and flour he adds a bit of youghurt and some raisins. I do think the starter has a sweetness to the smell and it's not on the slow side (but then again that could be the summer temperature here speeding it up). But not as fast as Don's recipe either. And definitely no commercial yeast taste or smell. (I always sniff my baked bread as a crazy person when they are cooling, nothing like that sourdough smell!

Laughing

)

Thanks, Bill. I love to read analysis like this. Teaches me to observe more during my own breadmaking.

So, Don, I'm curious to know the origins of this mystery starter...