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A proper introduction



Greetings esteemed sourdough community!

I have been lurking around the site and forum for close to a year now, making use of the resources and insights available. As such, I owe tremendous gratitude for the amount of knowledge that I have absorbed. Thank you all! I intend to become a more active member of the community, sharing my experiences so that others may benefit.

Right now I am working at a small artisan bakery in my home town in California, although I am learning more (it seems to me) working on my own small-scale bread production at home (black market bread out of my brick oven). All I want to do is learn and grow; I simply want to be the best baker I can be. This forum is helping, and in turn I will contribute more.

I offer additional thanks to Shiao-Ping, whose posts are informative and inspiring. Below is my take on the miche formula she posted on TFL: Gérard Rubaud Miche


231 users have voted.


patricia sarr 2010 December 13

Thank you, Leon. I'd like to try your recipe, but you didn't say how much starter you used.  I'd be grateful for a clarification.  You didn't say how many loaves this recipe makes, either, and I'd like to know that as well.  Looks like you made it free-form rather than in a loaf tin...  Anyhow, grateful for more details.  Trish

Maedi's picture
Maedi 2010 December 13

Hey there saccharomyces!

Welcome to the site, your loaf has lovely irregular holes and looks great. Would you be interested in briefly writing about your work or home bakery for our bakeries section?

I'm the web geek around here, so just send me an email if you need anything.


@patricia Are you sure you're posting in the right discussion?

HopesHope 2010 December 14

I'm not only a newbie here on the forum but I'm also a nebie at making sour dough.  


I started a starter a week ago, using no yeast.  The flour I used was Whole grain whole wheat, and water.   After 24 hours I got a very delicate sweet sour smell, but very little bubbles and no rise, and this has been the case for me.  


Sould I throw it away and start over, should I wait and see what happens, and if so, how long do I wait for?   I love the smell, it just doesn't rise for me.    





saccharomyces 2010 December 14

@Maedi - you bet I'll add some content to the Bakeries section! Thanks for the warm welcome.

@HopesHope - Starters can take a good long while to develop, if you're starting from scratch (which I assume you are based on your description). If you didn't inoculate the mix with wild yeast from some organic fruit or use some rye flour (both good sources of yeast) then it's going to take a long time for the yeast become abundant. Give it time; keep feeding it. And if you're developing a 100% hydration starter, don't expect too much rising. Good luck!

HopesHope 2010 December 14

I am not using anything in my starter other than the flour and water... 

I just checked it again and it has bubbles and that delicious sweet sour aroma to it.   If 100% hydration means equal parts flour to water,then yes that is what I'm doing.  


How long should I feed it, before I can use it..  Some say 7 days some say 14 days.   I think I read that if you don't use it at the proper time, it may die.  Is this true?


Thanks for you help, I really appreciate it.




Millciti's picture
Millciti 2010 December 14

Depending on how busy any of us are you may or may not get a response right away.   There is a lot of great info for starting a new sourdough starter in this topic:   Dom has helped many of the baker's here to get a true starter going.

Best practice is to not keep starting over... but work through the startup process.  Most people without using anything other than water and flour can get a healthy starter going in 7-10 days.


Before you know it you will be polishing your sourdough baking skills!



P.S. Nice looking loaf SacC!  Amazing crumb shot!


HopesHope 2010 December 14

I'll use the link, and I have an update on my starter.     Yesterday, I started a new starter using a mixture of flour unbleached white, and whole grain whole wheat.   This morning a little bit of bubbles, I fed equal amounts of water and flour and now it's all bubbly and I have a rise, and a beautiful sweet sour smell.  yayy!  LOL  


Can I use it now, or should I continue to feed it for the 7-10 days?


I will have a look at the link, hopefully it will talk more about using whole grain whole wheat flour, as I want to learn more about that. 

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2010 December 14


Right now I am working at a small artisan bakery in my home town in California, although I am learning more (it seems to me) working on my own small-scale bread production at home (black market bread out of my brick oven). [/quote]

Greetings Saccharomyces.  What small town do you live in and what bakery do you work for?

rossnroller 2010 December 14

HopesHope, it's unlikely you have an active starter ready to leaven bread after only a day. The bubbles you see do not necessarily indicative a thriving starter. Once your starter is ready, it will be mousse-like in appearance, swollen and puffy with aeration.

Whether it takes 5 days or 14 - or whatever - will depend on several factors, including your room temperature (warm = faster development; cold = slower). You will need to keep discarding excess (or using it in some pancakes, chapatis) and feeding your fledgling starter for some time, as per SourDom's instructions. The best thing to do is precisely follow those directions Terri has linked to. Many of us here developed our first starters in that way.

You'll get there, but it probably won't be overnight! 

All the best and welcome!

HopesHope 2010 December 14

I saw a picture of what it's suppose to look like, all bubbling over and such, so I will wait for that. 

I'll keep feeding it as usual...  It's now real frothy and full of bubbles.  Patience is the key here.


I read somewhere here on the forum that the less water you use, the more sour the starter is.   Is there any truth to that?


Thanks for the welcome!

Millciti's picture
Millciti 2010 December 15

Once you have a good starter going you can develop the specific type of starter for the breads you are looking for, but not yet.  Sourdough is named, for the acids produced by the lactic acid bacteria, and other acids formed in the process.   These acids are extremely important in the development of your starter or culture.  You really do want to encourage the acidity of your starter, especially right now.   These acid bacteria actually help to discourage the wrong type of bacterial growth in your starter and then in your dough.   From wikipedia "The sour taste of sourdoughs actually comes not from the yeast, but from a lactobacillus, with which the yeast lives in symbiosis. The lactobacillus feeds on the byproducts of the yeast fermentation, and in turn makes the culture go sour by excreting lactic acid, which protects it from spoiling (since most microbes are unable to survive in an acid environment)."

More to read on the phases of the cultural development in your starter courtesy of Debra Wink at the fresh loaf - .  You may want to start a second starter from Debra's Solution if you really are in a hurry.   Then you can let your starter's race to see which one wins!  At the fresh loaf do a search by "Wink" to find lots of other interesting stuff to read while you are waiting.

Also you may want to start your own forum to continue this discussion as we have hijacked poor Sac-c's introduction.  Well Sac'C you have officially joined the forum, if your posts are getting hijacked!!  Welcome to the Sourdough Companion!  By the way did you do anything different than Shiao-Ping?  I would really like to try this bread.




HopesHope 2010 December 15

LOL I will be patient... 

I hate everyday throwing away some of this starter, so what I do, is every other day, I put it in a plastic bag, and freeze it.  Hopefully that's ok eh? 


Thanks for everything, I'll quit being a pain.

Millciti's picture
Millciti 2010 December 15

Is starter that isn't starter yet.  I tried to use the cast off starter that I built my starter with...  Strange is not a good enough word to describe the english muffins that I made.  One got missplaced in a plastic bag and when found later appeared to be something an alien would have left behind! 


So toss till day seven at least...  Save from day seven on and if everything is going well what is left from day seven should be safe enough   And you are not a pain.  You are just as most of us once were and still are - excited about trying this type of baking!


HopesHope 2010 December 16

LOL about the English Muffins!


You are right, I am very excited about learning how to make sourdough.   I will get a scale to also weigh the amounts of ingredients as well...   I have read that Sour Dough is easy to digest, and I'm really doing this for my health, and because I love bread.   When you can make your own bread with your own yeast, it's healthier than commercial bread with the preservatives. 


I spent the whole day here and at Wild Yeast  and read, as you suggested..

Anyway, thank you for all your help Terry.  

HopesHope 2010 December 17

This morning checking my science project lol it was all bubbly just like the picture.  I took 1 cup out, and fed the rest and put it in the refrigerator.   Please tell me I did right.    The 1 cup I have in the cupboard to get sour. I did not feed it. Am I doing this right?  


The other thing is this.   The sweet sour aroma is gone, it just smells like yeast.  

What I am understanding is that we put the yeast in the fridge, and when we want to bake, we take the amount needed and let it sit to sour.   Is this correct?


What I did was to start 3 starters,  1 is well over a week, going into 2 weeks.  It's sour but no bubbles no rise.   The other one I started on the 13th of this month, is the same, it's sweet sour, there is some frothing, but no rise.


When do I know it's not going to work, and just throw them away?


HopesHope 2010 December 19

The yeast is very good.   I can say that there is a real difference in making bread between using commercial yeast, and wild yeast.  I have never felt a softer dough using the wild yeast.   It was so easy to work with.  


I took the one out of the frigerator, because I read that it develops its sourness by sitting in a warm place.   So once it turns sour which won't be long I think, I will then put it in the fridgerator only because I don't have a big enough container to maintain all of what I had.    I really didn't think I was going to be successful at this, but I was hoping that with the 3 I would get one.   lol


I guess my nose will tell me when it is sour enough to my own taste before I can actually call it sourdough, eh?


Making sourdough starter is a great teacher of patience, and even greater during the rising process. 


Thanks for listening



rossnroller 2010 December 19

Hope, not all sourdough bread is sour in taste - although many people are under the impression that it is, and that if their bread doesn't have this sour quality it is in some way a failure. In fact, most SD bread has only a mild sour tang at most. For me, sourness can overpower the subtler flavours of the often complex flavour profile of SD bread, thus detracting from the bread rather than enhancing it.

You might be interested in having a listen to the radio program excerpt here (link half way down the page), in which John Downes discusses this very point.

If you particularly like sourness in your bread, though, you will find posts on this site on how to get that. Just do a search.



HopesHope 2010 December 20

I will go and listen to the tape you suggested.   I remember reading somewhere either here or at FreshLoaf or Wild Yeast that stated that sourdough isn't really sour.    The Yeast now smells like sweet apples, and some smells like whiskey, I think I'm happy with that. 


I have to learn more patience in this process.  My yeast doesn't rise quick, after the bread is molded into a loaf like I've read with others, so since I'm not sure, after a couple of hours I bake it anyway, and I get a flat bread, but it's soo good.


I have to tell you also, that I do my measuring by weight, at least until I get a good scale, then I'll change my ways in baking. 


Thanks again Ross for your help so I can understand, more about sourdough. 


I remember soudough as SanFranscisos SourDough it was sooo good..  When I started this, I thought about what I remember it smelled like.   This yeast is soooo good to work with..  I will never go back to using commerical yeast, it's not the same. 

HopesHope 2010 December 20

What is considered a "mature" sourdough.      I read some recipes which call for a "mature" sour dough. Does this mean "aged" as in 6 months or longer?


Also while I'm at it here...  What is a "window pane"?   I also see this sometimes in recipes and in blogs. 






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