Differentiating Starters

TeckPoh's picture

Watching the different pace of each starter's activity in [url=http://www.sourdough.com.au/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=174]Teresa's thread[/url]was very interesting. It's quite obvious that every starter eats at a different pace.

This makes me feel like trying out your fav starters but I don't think my taste buds are discerning enough to detect differences. I have 2 starters, Jack's and Dan's rye. However, I tend to make different breads with the 2 (Dan's for wholemeal ones), so it's difficult to put my finger on their individual resulting taste. Even with one starter, I find the breads vary in sourness with every recipe, due to, I think, different proving times/methods....I'm sure there are more factors.

My Silly Question of the Day....how do you then tell apart the flavour of your starters from one another? Something which only a parent can distinguish?

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Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 May 7

Aha! One of the most difficult things to describe is a taste, let alone a subtle difference in taste.
This question of taste difference between starters was answered for me on the arrival a while ago of Teresa's Northwest Sourdough. My own starter produces nice tasting bread with a rounded solid sour. When I started using the NW starter I noticed a sharper, more lemony type of sour which is very nice. What I have discovered is that to my taste the NW starter realy suits white loaves and sweet loaves, and my starter goes very well with rye, wholemeal and grain loaves.
Both starters are capable of producing fine loaves of any style, but as I said at the start, how do you describe a difference in taste apart from saying one has a rounded type of sour and the other has a sharper lemony sour.
I do believe that Teresa has found this also.

northwestsourdough's picture
northwestsourdough 2006 May 8

It is like trying to tell someone the difference between, buttermilk, sourcream, yogurt, kefir, etc. YOU can tell the difference but how to describe it to someone who has not tried them? All of my starters taste different, act different, give different results, etc. It is important to discover their weaknesses and strengths and put them to use. For instance I did not know until the stater experiment, that my dumb barley starter took over 11 hours to proof! I thought it just couldn't do the job! I don't have much use for a starter that takes that long, but it can be put to use in a recipe where there are multiple stages , I guess. No wonder at four hours why it was still flat! Since it doesn't please me much , I have used it as a motherdough or biga dough and it does last long for that.
The Alaskan sourdough starter would be great for quick breads like waffles and flapjacks, it was certainly fast.
Have a great day,

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