Tag Archives: sourdough

BBAC No. 30: Basic Sourdough Bread

First, an admission.

I made and photographed this bread around Dec 10th but it’s now Jan 23rd so I’ve held off posting for well over a month. Why? A few reasons: Holiday season, other breads wanting to get made, getting a wee bit “done” with the challenge, among others. But now it’s time to try and get back into the groove, especially since we’re now into the Sourdough section of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice which I was probably most excited to get to during this Challenge. So yes, this is really an “old” post that I’m simply finally getting around to writing up.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to get around to the next several breads in the Sourdough section in a more timely fashion.

So let’s get this show on the road then.

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Why Discard Starter: A Mathematical View.

DiscardingYou see this question pop up all the time in sourdough discussions:

“Why do I have to discard? I hate the idea of throwing anything away. Can’t I just keep feeding the starter?”

Although reducing the waste we produce as a species is a good thing, there are times when it’s actually more logical to NOT do so. And feeding a starter is one of those times.

Let’s first see about the starter when you’re just starting it up from scratch.

Early in your starter’s young life, within the first two weeks or so of starting a starter from scratch, there is absolutely no good reason to save the excess “flour soup” you’re cutting back. It has done it’s job and is spent, and unless you’re building excessively large amounts (see the Starter Step by Step series to see the recommended  quantity), it should only be about 2 tablespoons of flour each day, this is not worth worrying about. Even if ditched directly into the trash or compost, it’s still not “wasted” any more than that nice dinner you ate yesterday was “wasted”: it was used to feed your starter, so it had a purpose and served it well. So right off the bat, we need to get out of this idea that bit of flour you used to feed our yeast is wasted.

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Sour Rye with Caraway (from The Back Home Bakery)

BHB-rye02HEAD

I’m a very big fan of rye breads and one of the primary reasons I got into bread making was to make this style of bread. Early on in my quests for good “deli” style rye, I came across a recipe that Mark from the Back Home Bakery  in Kalispell, Montana had posted on his website along with a few other recipes. He has at this point removed those recipes (I ran across them literally two days before the removal deadline) since he was moving his operation up in scale and set up a real live bakery in his house. If you want to see what a small artisan bakery is like, be sure to drop over to his site at TheBackHomeBakery.com. And if you’re lucky enough to live near Kalispell, you can visit his booth at the Whitefish Farmer’s market on weekends and get fresh (made that very morning!) baked goodness.

(Mark has since moved his operations to another town and set up his new bakery in a mobile trailer, very impressively put together, drool-worthy in fact – if bakery set ups impress you. Check out his online space on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SinclairsBakery)

So that’s a long way of explaining that I won’t be reprinting Mark’s Sour Rye recipe here but I’ll go through the step-by-step  nonetheless as there are probably similar recipes out where you can emulate the process I go through here.

UPDATE… Continue reading

Sourdough Starter – 1 Week Update

Intro • Day 1 • Day 2 • Day 3 • Day 4 • Day 5 • Day 6 • Day 7 • Final Thoughts[Day 15]

2009_08_26-Day15Day 15 Update

It has been eight days since this Step-by-Step Starter from Scratch project was posted on Day Seven and here is where the boys stand right now.

After about 5 days of twice a day feeding at 15g:30g:30g [S:W:F] for a total of 75g, I’ve reduced them further and they are now at 10g:20g:20g, a total starter size of 50g. Although this amount may seem small, it would actually allow, from the excess, 30g of starter which is all that the Vermont Sourdough recipe needs, still leaving 10g more of extra starter. So this is still plenty and means there’s less flour needed or discarded. Any recipe that required more starter would simply need that 40g of “excess” built up to the necessary amount a day or so prior to baking. That 40g can immediately be built up to 200g in just one feed using 40g:80g:80g.

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Sourdough Starter, Step-by-Step & Side-by-Side: Intro

Juice added & stired

Does the thought of starting your own Sourdough Starter from scratch make you break out in cold sweat? Don’t let it because it’s EASY!

Looking at the blog’s stats, there’s a constant stream of people who pop in here searching “sourdough starter” and it is becoming apparent that it may be helpful for me to finally get one written up.

Instead of starting an experiment “from scratch” and sort of poking my way around the technique and making a lot of guesses, good or bad, in the process, I figured it would be more logical to take a very well researched and detailed account and simply follow along, giving an illustrated account of what’s happening in my kitchen.

After doing a fair bit of searching, I have chosen to follow a formula designed by Debra Wink who is not only an excellent home baker but also a trained microbiologist. The combination of interests seems to me the best source of information to get both the “what’s actually going on in that paste” and “this makes great bread”.

The formula that she created, with help from a number of other sourdough enthusiasts, follows this basic philosophy:

A simple flour and water paste can be made into a sourdough starter but offers a good environment for much more than the specific strain of yeast and bacteria we desire; these other organisms can impede the growth of our “friendly” critters and make the actual development of a viable starter take much longer than it needs be. Continue reading

Sourdough Starter, Day One: Getting it Together

Intro[Day 1] • Day 2 • Day 3 • Day 4 • Day 5 • Day 6 • Day 7 • Final Thoughts • Day 15

Basic Procedure for Making Sourdough Starter

by Debra Wink

If you are the curious, investigative type (or a sourdough purist :-) ), this can be done with just water in place of the juice throughout. But for many (not all), a vigorous gas-producing bacterium will grow on day 2 and quit growing on day 3 or 4, followed by a few days or more of agonizing stillness. The fruit juice or cider should keep this bacteria (and a few others that are smelly) from growing and delaying the process. Either way, the end result will be the same sourdough starter.

Starter-Setup

Our Sourdough Starter Mis-en-Place:

Walter will live on the left and get normal tap water (Walter, water.. get it? Oh, I are soooo clever!) PJ will be on the right and get unsweetened Pineapple Juice. Yeah, that’s avery large can of pineapple juice for three servings of 2 Tbsp each. Continue reading

Sourdough Starter, Day Two: Mid-day Surprise

Intro • Day 1[Day 2] • Day 3 • Day 4 • Day 5 • Day 6 • Day 7 • Final Thoughts • Day 15

Day 2:

add . . .
2 T. whole grain flour*
2 T. juice or cider

20090813_Day2A 20090813_Day2B 20090813_Day2C

Other than a slightly lighter/yellower colour and a slight aroma of pineapple in the right hand jar, neither mixtures show any change from how I left them the day before. Even the spatula marks in the goo stayed the same.

(Side note: As with nearly all photos on this blog, you can click on small ones to see them full size.)

I add the rye flour and appropriate liquids to both and set them aside for one more day. We now have 4 Tbsp flour and 4 Tbsp liquid in each jar. The kitchen temp is currently 79ºF/26ºC. We’ve turned the AC on at night.

Tomorrow is our last day to add rye flour and pineapple juice. This second/third day period is typically when “other” bacteria(s) start to perk up and give a rise while our desired yeast is still dormant, waiting for the environment to be just right. Wally’s jar should therefore show activity or a “false rise” which will last a day or two then die out, then not much happening for a few more days before the pH is at the point where the desired yeast decides to wake up. Continue reading