Starter Questions

I have a question about a starter that I tried last week.  This was for San Francisco sourdough starter from the 1800's.

It says to use either  organic grapes or honey to the dough ball to start the fermenting posses.

I couldn't find any organic grapes here yet so I used honey. It did not say exactly how to use the honey so I dribbled a little on the ball of dough. I fallowed the directions for keeping it moist and by the third day was smelling pretty bad and had not frothed or increased in size. The smell was bad enough that I threw it out. The ball was hard and of course sticky from the honey.

 I would like to try it again but this time be sucessful at it LOL. How do I use the honey or organic grapes? do I put them inside the dough ball or next to it?  Also can I put a lid rather than a cloth over the top of the jar as I live in a very dry climet.  Can any one help me on this?

 

Thank you so much!

 

Angel

Method

I have a question about a starter that I tried last week.  This was for San Francisco sourdough starter from the 1800's.

It says to use either  organic grapes or honey to the dough ball to start the fermenting posses.

I couldn't find any organic grapes here yet so I used honey. It did not say exactly how to use the honey so I dribbled a little on the ball of dough. I fallowed the directions for keeping it moist and by the third day was smelling pretty bad and had not frothed or increased in size. The smell was bad enough that I threw it out. The ball was hard and of course sticky from the honey.

 I would like to try it again but this time be sucessful at it LOL. How do I use the honey or organic grapes? do I put them inside the dough ball or next to it?  Also can I put a lid rather than a cloth over the top of the jar as I live in a very dry climet.  Can any one help me on this?

 

Thank you so much!

 

Angel

10 comments

 I'm not the right guy to ask about this.

 

If your starter is from a batch from the 1800s, you don't need more than water and flour.

 

If your saying you are using a recipe from the 1800s, then I'm guessing that there either were no "organic" grapes or that all food was "organic", if by that you mean, not sprayed with pesticides.

 

The white "dust" that forms on grape skins is pichia yeast. It's not for bread fermentation, in my OPINION.

 

Sourdough starter should be wet. By wet, I mean you can leave a cloth on it as it's not going to dry out before you both use part and replenish part. If yours is dry, that's not a recipe I know.

 

Honey is somewhat antiseptic. If something "bad" was able to grow, I'ld be surprised. But it's possible. If you don't like the smell of your starter, don't use it. I have used starters with truly rancid odor and find the bread to be delicious. Yet, you must use your own best judgment.

 

Lastly, in my post, about the 70 lbs of starter, I use water and flour. My facts are from reputable bread scientists.

Thank you so much for your answer.

 The recipe was from the 1800's I got it from a cookbook I barrowed from the librabry. It was adapted for modern use. I am thinking so that the bread could be backed in a modern oven rather not a brick oven.

 I have made regular bread and the amish friendship breads so I know that the starter should smell yeasty. My starter smelled like very very bad breath.

 

 

Do you have a good recipe for a starter that I could use for the SanFracisco bread?

 I'm not 100% clear on what you mean by San Francisco starter - did you use an existing starter as a basis for your starter, or do you mean that you followed a recipe for San Francisco starter?

Lactobacillus Sanfranciscensis is the lactobacillus first identified in the sourdoughs made in San Francisco, but it's not unique to that location - it can be found in many sourdoughs all over the world. There are many strains of lactobacillus and wild yeasts which will produce sourdough.

The bad smell also happened to one of my starters - but after reading more about it I decided to persevere and it disappeared after a couple of days. It's probably leuconostoc, which can thrive in the early stages giving the bad smell, but is despatched rapidly by a healthy starter. My starter soon developed the lovely fruity smell of a healthy starter, and is vigorous and healthy.

There's a very good guide to creating a starter here on Sourdom's blog:

sourdough.com/blog/sourdom/beginners-blog-starter-scratch

I agree with Secret_ingredient - the organic grapes won't do much as the yeast is not the right kind - the yeast is actually already carried by the flour you use. Some people recommend using pineapple juice to help get it started, but I didn't find it necessary. Mixing a very little honey in wouldn't hurt (the sugar feeds the yeast) but again is not strictly necessary.

When you're getting a starter going, it should have a fairly runny consistency (like batter).

Kym.

You don't need grapes to create your own starter.  All you need is flour and water.  You expose it to the air for two or three days and feed it more flour and water.  There are recipes all over the web.  Just follow one.

make sure all your equipment is sterilised. any form of bacteria can contaminate your starter.

my started is in a jar which i sterilised with steam and i pour boiling water onto my spoon before i stir it. and the water i add has been boiled and cooled.

 

your starter should be runny like batter. i've been adding a couple of drops of maple syrup each time i feed it just to aid the growth of yeast.

 

and lastly because it's winter here and NOT the optimal temperature for the starter to grow, i've been sitting my jar in a warm bowl of water to raise the temperature.

 

i hope this could help. good luck.

On the other hand, you can use water straight from the tap, spoons and utensils straight from the drawer, not clean your container for years, use your finger for clearing surplus etc etc and still get good results.

Go figure.

Farinam

I'm with farinam. I do use filtered water, mostly to avoid chlorine smells, but my starter jar in the fridge gets incredibly messy and all my bowls and utensils go through the dishwasher with everything else. You have to work EXTREMELY hard to kill a starter once it is established. Just follow Sourdom's tutorial recommended by Panfresca earlier and in a fortnight you'll have a lovely jar of bubbly, fresh smelling starter.

If you don't think the yeast on grape skins is suitable for building a starter, you may be interested in the following quote from the Brasserie Bread website

 

Brasserie Bread’s starter is 16 years old and was originally created using organic grapes, organic flour and water.

 

BB is one of the better known artisan bakeries in Sydney. 

I never sterilized any of my utensils or containers when I started my sourdough. I didn't use water from the tap though as I wanted room temperature water and I was hoping to remove the chlorine, so I stored previously boilied water in a jar and used it (still continue to use this this once it has cooled to room temp) once it's cooled to start my sourdough. 

 

Flour, water and 4 - 6 days of daily feedings at room temperature is all my starter needed.

Also, I don't keep a liquid starter. My starter is at about 70 to 80% hydration as I incorporate the whole 200g in my recipes, allow them to ferment overnight and then take 200g of the dough out, replacing it in the fridge until the next time I bake (rarely ever sits for longer than 7 days but I read that a 'sponge' starter can survive longer without being fed). I find my doughy starter to be much easier to maintain and I never throw any of it in the garbage. I've even salted my dough before remembering to take my starter out with no problems.

My best starter is a cross that was started in Colorado, then stealthily transported into Eleuthera, Bahamas and refreshed there.  That climate and perhaps the different flour sure did wonders.  It's still a happy little starter.  

The point is, try taking a bit of starter on vacation to see what you can gather for wild yeastie beasties somewhere else.  I put a couple of tablespoons into a quart sized ziploc, sealed it, rolled it up but kept the profile flat, then put that in another small ziploc and tucked it in my checked luggage clearly marked.