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Old 10-22-2004, 11:57 PM   #1
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How do I use dough starter instead of yeast?

I have a breadmaker machine and when I made my last batch of dough I saved out a half cup of the mixed dough that had yeast added to it and put it in a container in the fridge. That bread rose fine. It is whole grain wheat with a little sweetener to help the yeast.

This time, instead of adding yeast, I added the half cup of risen dough, and prepared a sponge method, allowing 1/2 cup less flour than normal to compensate for the 1/2 cup of dough starter.

It's been two hours since the machine kneaded the sponge starter. When no bubbles appeared, I unplugged the machine to let the bubbles appear. Still no bubbles after two hours. I guess I'll have to add the store-bought yeast to get it going properly.

Shouldn't saved-out dough 'leaven' the new batch of bread dough?

What's the trick to this, please? Should I freeze the saved-out starter dough instead of refrigerating it? Thank you for any help you may give.

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Old 10-23-2004, 08:52 AM   #2
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This is certainly a thought-provoking post and I sorry to say that I won't be much help to you. But I do know that there is a weath of baking scientists here who will be of help on this subject.

My concern is that the 1/2 cup of reserved dough was, first of all, not enough leavening for the loaf in which you tried to utilize it as the starter. The 1/2 cup of reserved dough would have been, in my mind, a small portion of the original dough and, therefore, would have contained a small portion of yeast. I don't believe this contained nearly enough yeast to rise a new loaf by itself. Perhaps by fermenting this amount beforehand (24 hours or so) would have helped.

What say you, dear bread experts at Discuss Cooking??? I would also appreciate some instruction here!

Welcome to the board, cook789! I look forward to reading what your post provokes!
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Old 10-23-2004, 07:46 PM   #3
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It sounds like you were trying to use a finished dough as an "instant" starter instead of using a starter to make a dough. You can make a starter from the dough .... but it's going to take a few days, weeks, or months. But, if you're willing to give it 4-10 days to get your starter going there are a couple of solutions:

You could use an Amish Friendship Bread starter such as the one at http://vabutter.tripod.com/ginnysrecipes/id35.html and then use an Amish Sourdough bread recipe such as the one at http://www.armchair.com/recipe/amish/amish025.html - these sound like what Dad's hospice nurse gave me 5-6 years ago and the bread was really good. Unfortunately, I only got to make it once ... as Dad got worse I was too busy taking care of him and my step-mom to keep the starter going and I eventually lost the recipe.

If you're looking for a good primer on sourdough/sponge starter breads - a good place to explore on-line is http://www.baking911.com/bread_starters101intro.htm
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Old 10-24-2004, 10:59 AM   #4
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hi all - I'll add my 2-cents worth but everyting I say is entirely academic - I've no hands-on experience to offer. That said...

Quote:
Originally Posted by cook789
...when I made my last batch of dough I saved out a half cup of the mixed dough that had yeast added to it and put it in a container in the fridge. That bread rose fine. It is whole grain wheat with a little sweetener to help the yeast.
> a pre-ferment is generally made with bread flour, water, yeast so the ingredients are optimal for yeast development. Sweetener, oil, whole grain flours are generally not used in a pre-ferment (sometimes a little salt is used). ?Maybe next time don't use whole grain wheat for the pre-ferment?

> the pre-ferment is allowed to rest for about an hour before being added to the final dough so that the yeast becomes active again - (the pre-ferment can be chopped into several pieces when taken out rather than being left in one lump since the temp of the dough interior returns to room temperature faster for a lot of little lumps as opposed to one big lump)

Quote:
Originally Posted by cook789
Shouldn't saved-out dough 'leaven' the new batch of bread dough?
Yup, in theory it should. I think audeo's comments are right on point
Quote:
Originally Posted by audeo
My concern is that the 1/2 cup of reserved dough was, first of all, not enough leavening for the loaf in which you tried to utilize it as the starter. The 1/2 cup of reserved dough would have been, in my mind, a small portion of the original dough and, therefore, would have contained a small portion of yeast. I don't believe this contained nearly enough yeast to rise a new loaf by itself. Perhaps by fermenting this amount beforehand (24 hours or so) would have helped.
> recipes I've seen that use a pre-ferment as part of the final dough always do add some additional yeast (besides what was used in the pre-ferment) so they're not relying entirely on the pre-ferment to supply all the leavening power plus the pre-ferment is a big proportion of the final dough (about half).

======================

I've actually been yearning to try this approach to bread-making. Wouldn't it be neat if a bunch of us could all do it and report back on our progress and results (like audeo and otter did in Weekend at Brining (With Otter & Audeo). Any takers?
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Old 10-24-2004, 10:25 PM   #5
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Hi. All I can eat anymore is whole grain bread or flour products. Anyways, the Bible says 'a little leavening leaveneth the whole lump', and they used whole grains in those days, so there's got to be a way. Also they didn't have Frigidaires in those days either.

I'll have to think about what you are apparently saying, to save out the yeast-treated dough before letting it rise. Perhaps if I prepared two loaves at once, and took out one before it rose. Then each new time, I could add another loaf-worth of more flour and water, but no yeast, and knead it, but save out the second loaf-worth before it rises.

I keep a log book of my attempts. When we first got the breadmaker, our efforts were almost comical. Now, we've narrowed it down quite a bit.

For instance, the $7 jar of yeast instructions said to put in two teaspoons of yeast per loaf. I tried one teaspoon and a dash of honey, and it rose fine. I tried half a teaspoon, plus a few drops of honey, and it still rose fine. I use the sponge method.

So we only use 1/4th as much yeast anymore, cutting that cost way down. Maybe I can try 1/8th tsp. next time. It's amazing how little still works. If nothing else, I can keep trying with smaller and smaller measures of yeast.

I will continue experimenting with saving out 'a little leaven' and using it in the next loaf, and if I get anywhere with it, maybe by saving out more, then I can let people here know what works. This could take time, though. We only make a loaf twice a week. :)
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Old 10-25-2004, 09:19 AM   #6
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hi cook789

Quote:
I will continue experimenting with saving out 'a little leaven' and using it in the next loaf, and if I get anywhere with it, maybe by saving out more, then I can let people here know what works. This could take time, though. We only make a loaf twice a week
Either post your "basic" whole wheat bread recipe here or pm me with it. I will also experiment with the "pre-ferment" approach and we can pool our efforts.

Just to make sure we're on the same page here, we're both talking about using some of the dough from the prior baking to leaven the current baking, right? (NOT maintaining a liquid yeast/flour/water starter - like a sourdough or the "amish friendship" starter).

We can post back to this thread in about a week or start a new thread.

Hope to hear from you.
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Old 10-26-2004, 04:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cook789
Anyways, the Bible says 'a little leavening leaveneth the whole lump', and they used whole grains in those days, so there's got to be a way. Also they didn't have Frigidaires in those days either.
Since you used a biblical reference - I went in and dug out my copy of "The Good Book Cookbook" by Naomi Goodman. First, leavened bread in biblical times was a sourdough. Second, it is NOT a piece of dough that you use to leaven the next lump - it is a portion of the sponge. There are 3 basic steps:

1. STARTER - in the old days you would mix 2 cups flour and 2 cups water and allow it so sit uncovered for 2-10 days, stirring occasionally every day, to get "infected" by the wild yeast spores floating around in the air.

Obviously, you could follow any sourdough starter recipe that uses packaged yeast instead of just chancing what's blowing in the wind.

2. SPONGE - combine the starter with 2 cups flour and 2 cups warm water. Allow this to sit covered for 8-12 hours in a warm place (basically until it doubles). Now - save back at least 1 cup of the sponge in a cool place for 1-2 days to use for the starter for your next batch.

3. DOUGH - now you follow the recipe to make your dough using as much sponge as the recipe calls for.

PROOFING - after the dough is mixed and kneaded - the first rising will take 2-5 hours. Form the loaves and allow to proof for another 1-3 hours before baking.

One thing that is important is that you only use wood, glass, glazed creamic, or plastic for the starter and sponge (NO METAL).

Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

The evening before baking, prepare the sponge:

1 cup (225g) starter
2 cups (450g) whole wheat flour
2 cups (600ml) warm water

Mix together in a wooden or plastic bowl (do not use mental bowls or spoons) and let sit overnight in a warm place. Remove 1 cup os sponge and set aside to be used as a started in the future. The next day, prepare the dough:

6 cups (1.4kg) whole wheat flour (plus 1 cup bench flour for kneading)
2 cups (600ml) warm water
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (for oiling bowl)
sesame seeds or black cumin

Combine flour, water, salt, honey with sponge into a smooth dough and turn onto a floured board. Knead for 10 minutes, or 300 times, adding more flour as needed to keep dough stiff and surfaces floured. Add the oil to the bowl and coat well, add the dough to the bowl, and turn over to coat well with oil. Cover, and allow to proof in a warm place for 3 hours or longer.

Reknead briefly and shape into 2 loaves. Let sit in a warm place for another 2 hours. Slit the tops, so loaves will not crack while baking. Brush tops with water occasionally to retain moisture. Preheat oven to 350 F and bake about 1 hour.
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Old 10-28-2004, 08:36 PM   #8
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Audeo, subfuscpersona, Michael in FtW, and everyone,

I'm going to print out and study this. When I made a sourdough starter, it apparently went bad somehow, because the bread I made from it did not rise until I added more yeast, and the loaf had a bad flavor to it.

On the subject of using less yeast, I tried using 1/8th teaspoon yeast to 5 cups flour, using a breadmaker machine. Usually it sponges in one hour or less, but this time it took 2 1/2 hours. However, when it did finally sponge, it was as good as if I had added the usual 1 or 2 teaspoons. So there is a way to use yeast and still save money. Also, the bread texture seemed to have more 'character' than usual, which was nice.

As for not using any yeast at all, I will have to print out this web page and study the suggestions in detail, and see what I can do with your instructions. I am a little leery of making any kind of a sourdough starter after the stuff I made seemed to go bad and useless in the fridge. I only waited the usual time of one hour for the 1/2 cup of sourdough starter I put into the sponge to form into bubbles, so maybe I was too hasty. But the bad taste was something to think about. The loaf had to be thrown out.

The other way I tried, using saved out dough from an earlier loaf to start the next, I may also have been too hasty, and perhaps if I had waited two or three hours, or overnight, maybe it would have finally bubbled. That would be a nice way to go, just saving dough from the last batch so I can avoid the sourdough flavor.

I always liked sourdough, but that homemade sourdough starter was nasty stuff and the loaf was unpalatable.

cheers and best regards,

cook 789
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Old 10-29-2004, 11:24 AM   #9
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Good luck to you!! And, for heaven's sakes, please keep us up on your efforts and discoveries!!!

Your method truly intrigues me!
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Old 10-29-2004, 09:17 PM   #10
 
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Noted this thread and thought to look this (ie sourdough bread) up in a pioneering book...

You add warm water to flour, and mix, and leave stand in a warm place, until it "sours" (due to wild yeast spores, as has be recounted)

When you make your bread, save a small portion of your dough, add more warm water, cover, set in a warm place, and its ready for the next batch...

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Old 10-30-2004, 08:54 PM   #11
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Rereading the posts it seems to me there is a basic confusion here between a "pre-ferment" vs "sponge" vs "long-term starter"

While all of the above have yeast which provides the "rising" power they are fundamentally different.

It seems to me that cook789 is fundamentally interested in reserving risen dough from from prior bread making and using it as the sole (or primary) leavening agent in subsequent bread making. To the best of my knowledge, this is commonly used by professional French bakers for baguettes. Baguettes are basically made from yeast, wheat flour and salt - no oil/butter/fat and no sweetener - so the basic recipe contains within it the optimal ingredients for providing a leaven (with the exception of salt, which retarts yeast growth).

cook789 is adding a twist since s/he wants to add the reserved dough to a sponge (which is essentially a batter-like substance) rather than the "straight dough" method, where the "pre-ferment" is added (after a resting period) directly to all the other ingredients. Essentially, cook789 appears primarily interested in "recycling" risen but uncooked dough as the leavening agent.

cook789 - if you're still reading this thread, then I would like to make a few points

> as you have already learned, many (if not most) recipes for a (non-sweet) yeast-rising bread call for too much yeast. Most commerical recipe writers assume that bakers have little time to spare and want bread ready to bake within a (relatively short) time period. Many are also addressing an inexperienced audience so calling for "too much" yeast in part compensates for the beginner's inability to know when the bread is properly kneaded.

> if you're interested in "recycling" dough from one baking to another, then chose a recipe that has little or no fat/sweetener or or reserve your "pre-ferment" before adding fat/sweetener/non-wheat flours to the dough that's actually going to be baked.

> when using your reserved "pre-ferment" as levening, be patient. Only repeition and experience will let you judge the timing of the rise. If the dough has an unpleasant smell (it's hard to come up with meaningful adjectives here, but "alcoholic", "sour" or "too yeasty" come to mind) then you've got a failure and no choice but to throw it out. Dough starting with a small amount of yeast can take a long time to rise. If the ambient temperature is in the low 70F (or lower) as long as you monitor the dough, you can end up with a quite respectable loaf (just don't expect an additional "loft" during the actual baking)
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Old 10-31-2004, 03:35 PM   #12
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Sourdough originated as a means of maintaining a east culture before dried east and refrigeration were available. Now it is essentially only a means of obtaining a delightful flavor.

The internet offers a plethora of information on the “correct” way to make and maintain sourdough starter. And all of them probably work just fine. But sometimes the method is rather complex and demanding.

Being an inherently lazy lout, I have found I can obtain that wonderful flavor in a simple, straightforward way – which I’ve mentioned on this forum many times before, but will do again.

Merely dissolve a packet of Active Dry Yeast in a cup of water, then stir in a half cup of flour. Mix it very well, incorporating as much air as you can, as air enables the yeast to proliferate more rapidly.

Set the bowl aside at room temperature. Next day, stir it again as before and set aside.

Do it again the next day.

After 2 ½ to 3 days, it will develop a strong but pleasant sour and yeasty aroma. If you can catch it then, you will get the best flavor. After that peak the flavor tends to diminish slowly.

Add salt, then mix in enough flour to result in the degree of softness or stiffness you desire your dough to have.

Let it rise until a finger punched into the dough leaves a hole that doesn’t begin to fill.

Form into a loaf, and let rise until a finger dent remains dented.

Bake until the color you want is attained. Lower temps give a thinner, softer crust.

This will make a simple Sourdough French Bread with a surprisingly true sourdough flavor.

Or at least it works for me.

Good Luck! :D
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