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Old 08-03-2009, 12:22 AM   #1
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Sour Dough Starter?

Hi everyone,


I have a question on sour dough starters?


Would this work for a very basic sour dough starter, 1 cup water, 1 cup flour, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon of suger, 1 packet dry yeast to jump start it?

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Old 08-03-2009, 05:36 AM   #2
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None of my sources (books, recipes or experience, including The Bread Baker's Apprentice - a James Beard Cookbook of the Year Award Winner) 1.) use salt or sugar (they are only used in the actual baking process and 2.) use a dry yeast to "jump start." This is because it's the naturally occurring yeast in the air of your location that you want. Any imported yeast in your mixture will "go to war" with your local yeast and slow any progress you had hoped to gain by taking that shortcut in the first place.

Also, the ratio of a starter is 2 parts flour to 1 part water (filtered or bottled water - NO CHLORINE. It will kill or degrade your yeast.) The entire process takes about two weeks on average before it's ready to use. And you have to feed it (add 1 cup of fresh flour and 1/2 cup of water daily after removing an equal amount) for the first few days and then weekly thereafter.

Now, if you want something faster, you can order San Fransisco-style sour dough yeast over the internet and use that immediately, but don't think that you can use that starter for very long, because your local yeast will eventually kill it off and replace it. Yeast is very regional and specific for each micro climate. A distance as short as 20 miles can make a difference in the variety of wild/local yeast that's available.

One more thing - as your starter matures (ages) it will grow stronger and develop a flavor all its own - one that can be really, really good and unique just to you and your area.

Good luck and I wish you well - it's worth the effort!
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Old 08-03-2009, 06:14 AM   #3
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Note:
Day 1 - Add 2 cups flour, 1-1/2 cups water
Day 2-4 - Add 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup water
Weekly thereafter - remove 1 cup of starter and then add 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup water

Don't worry that the dough is stiff at first just as long as the flour is hydrated. It will soften to a sponge within days. You will notice a rise in volume by Day 4. This is your seed culture (starter or also known as a Barm)

I use a ceramic crock with a glazed interior and a loose fitting lid, much like a cookie jar, to hold my starter.

Have fun!
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Old 08-03-2009, 12:35 PM   #4
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Thank you Arky, I will go ahead use 2 cups flour, 1 cup water, 1 dry yeast packet "for a jump starter" and go from there....
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Old 08-03-2009, 12:38 PM   #5
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"Any imported yeast in your mixture will "go to war" with your local yeast and slow any progress you had hoped to gain by taking that shortcut in the first place." -Arky
I agree.
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Old 08-03-2009, 12:42 PM   #6
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Thank you Wyogal, I like your war analogies :)

What if I don't add any starter at all?
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Old 08-03-2009, 12:44 PM   #7
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If you read it carelfully, I was quoting Arky, to remind you that the advice was to NOT add yeast to "jump start" your starter.
It is not my analogy, I was just agreeing with Arky's.
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Old 08-03-2009, 12:49 PM   #8
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I always used a teaspoon of sugar when I fed my sourdough. I don't know if that's a better way, but it sure made good biscuits and pancakes.
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Old 08-03-2009, 02:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Constance View Post
I always used a teaspoon of sugar when I fed my sourdough. I don't know if that's a better way, but it sure made good biscuits and pancakes.
There's an old adage, "We are what we eat." Without sugar, the yeast converts the starch in flour into complex acids as well as carbon dioxide. I don't know if yeast converts sugar into those same complex acids (the stuff that makes the dough taste "sour") or not, but I only work my sourdough the same way they do in San Fransisco, and that works good enough for me.

Now, I DO add sugar to the mixture to make things such as waffles, biscuits, etc. but only as I prepare them for the griddle/oven.

But then again, Constance, I'm not going to argue with your success! Whatever works for you! We all have different yeasts around our home.
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Old 08-03-2009, 02:29 PM   #10
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What do you keep your starter in?
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