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Old 03-04-2009, 03:49 PM   #1
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ISO help w/sourdough starter

Does anyone have a recipe for a good one? (and instructions on how to keep it going?) I had a starter I used for Amish friendship bread but that just didn't have the nice sour taste so I have finally run that out and would like a more tradtional sourdough starter.

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Old 03-04-2009, 05:30 PM   #2
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Sourdough is really quite easy to make. Sourdough gets its distinctive flavor from wild yeast that is present nearly everywhere, even in outer space! Simply mix together water and flour into a medium past, place into a ceramic container that has a lid. Leave the container open on your counter, in a warm area for a day or two. Wild yeast will settle onto the mixture from the air and it will begin to bubble. When that happens, you may add just a bit of sugar, and more flour and water, then place the lid onto the mixture and refrigerate.

Teh yeat organizms will eat the sugars and starches from the flour, and give off acid as a by-product. That's what makes the sour flavor. Wild yeast have a higher tolerance of an acidic environment than do comercial yeasts, which allows them to continue living in the acidic environment. Comercial yeast give up acids too. But before the slurry develops the sour flavor, the yeast becomes inactive do to the acid they have produced. Wild yeast are tougher and continue thriving longer.

To keep your sourdough active, use it frequently, and add more flour and water as needed. If you aren't going to use it for a while, every week or so, add another 2 tbs. or so of flour, along with a bit of water, again making a thin paste. This will dilute the acidity and give the yeast something to eat. They will again become active, multiply, and create the sour flavor you desire.

Different strais of yeast are responsible for the different flavors of sourdough. San Fransico sourdough doesnt' taste the same as Boston sourdough. And Both are different than my sourdough up here in U.P. Michigan. That's because our wild yeast varieties are different.

Ideally, get a bit of sourdough starter from someone who already has a successful culture going. Add flour and water to it to freshen it. Use as needed.

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Old 03-04-2009, 05:53 PM   #3
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I've had this in my files for years...I don't remember where it came from.

1 Beer -- flat
1 1/4 cup Flour Mix well, let sit on counter 5-10 days, stir 3 x per day. When it begins to separate into
creamy thick bottom and thin liquid top, it is ready to use in any sourdough recipe.
Yogurt Sourdough Starter 2 tb Natural plain yogurt
1 c Low fat milk
1 c White flour Heat milk to 100F on thermometer. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt.
Pour into scalded glass jar or bowl, cover with plastic and place in a warm location for 18 hrs. Consistency will be like thin yoghurt. Stir in flour until well blended, cover again with plastic and pierce with fork to release gases. Place in a warm draft-free location at an even 85F for 2 days; stir several times each day. It should have a strong sourdough smell and show bubbles. Refrigerate until ready to use. When replenishing starter, add lukewarm milk instead of water.

Sourdough Starter
4 c Lukewarm water
1/4 c Sugar
1 pk Activated dry yeast
5 c Unbleachd flour
Pour the water into a crock or a wide mouth gallon jar. Pour in the yeast and let it dissolve. Stir. Add vinegar, sugar and flour. Mix. Cover w/cloth and set in a warm place to sour..(2 to 3 days). When activity STOPS, the mixture flattens out. An amber colored liquor comes to the top..And it SMELLS.. THAT'S IT! Mix it up. It will look like whipping cream. Put it in a GLASS JAR with a screw type lid; place in refrigerator. IT WILL KEEP FOR MONTHS. Growing better as it continues to age at a very slow pace. It is super in pancakes; waffles; coffee cake; rolled bisquits; quick drop bisquits; cinnamon rolls; cobbler; BREAD; cake; oatmeal cookies; etc..

Potato Sourdough Starter 2 tb Sugar
1 pk Dry yeast
4 c Flour
4 c -warm water
1 Potato; raw quartered
Dissolve yeast in warm water; and then mix all ingredients in a 1-gallon crock. (Do not use metal container) Cover with a close-fitting lid and let the starter rise until light (12 hours in warm weather, longer in cool weather). Do not let the starter get cold, ever. After using part of the starter, add 1 cup warm water, 2 teaspoons sugar, and enough flour to mix to the starter's original consistency. Add more potato occasionally as food for the yeast, but don't add more yeast. Use daily for best results. Starter improves with age.

1 quart water -- lukewarm
1 package dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
4 cups flour
Put water in 1/2 gal jar, add yeast and sugar to soften, stir in flour. Cover with a clean cloth. Let rise until mixture is light and slightly aged, about 2 days. Mixture will thin as it stands; add flour as needed. As you use starter, replace with equal amounts of flour and water. Sourdough Starter #3 2 Cups flour 2 1/2 Cups water -- tepid 1/2 Lb red grapes -- stemmed Wrap grapes in one yard washed cheesecloth and crush. Mix flour and water. Add grapes in cheesecloth bag....(Do all this in a crockery bowl or stainless steel pot or bowl. As with any sourdough, do not use aluminum). Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for six days. Stir once a day with wooden spoon. At end of six days remove grapes. Starter is ready to use if you want an especially sour taste....if you prefer a milder starter feed it with one cup flour and one cup water for three day period before using. Refrigerate between feedings, (after mixture has bubbled). Always let starter return to room temperature before feeding....replace amount used in each recipe with like amount of flour and water. Allow starter to bubble before refrigerating.

*Note: I always put a teaspoon of sugar in with the flour and water when feeding.
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Old 03-06-2009, 09:37 PM   #4
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I started my sourdough years ago over one week without commercial yeast. I used a little whey and let the flour and water ferment. Now it lives in my refigerator very happily. I try to bake every week, but when I cant, there is no problem with refreshing it and the results are usually good.
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Old 04-28-2009, 07:33 PM   #5
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The critical elements of sourdough

It's interesting - and mildly humorous - to see the many suggested ingredients noted here to create a sourdough starter. If we look at the basic elements needed for sourdough, the only absolutes are flour, water, and bacteria (from the air and/or the surface of natural materials such as fruits, etc.). It's the process that's important in creating sourdough, and as long as you start with the necessary absolutes, and give the process enough time, you'll get a healthy sourdough starter.

I say the process is the most important component because most folks attempting to make sourdough are too impatient to wait long enough for the process to be complete. When you first mix your flour and water together, and introduce bacteria from the air and/or other sources, you have created an amazing "zoo" environment where many, many different kinds of bacteria, good and bad, begin to do their magic.

Some are faster than others, and some are more aggressive than others - and in fact, one of the less useful bacteria is very aggressive in the early, less acidic, environment of your flour/water mix - and this is what you see on day two and three of your process, when you notice bubbles forming.

But this early, active bacteria is about to be killed off by the increasingly acidic condition created by the natural process of the starches changing into sugars which are then consumed by the many bacteria in your mix. On day four, the bubbles will be gone, and many folks will consider their effort failed, and pitch the mix!

This is too bad, because, had they been more patient, they would have allowed their mix the time it needed to create a nice acidic condition, which is absolutely necessary for the good, sourdough bacteria to begin growing and multiplying. This will not happen before day 6 or 7 - maybe even longer.

I'm not suggesting that a basic flour/water/ base is the only way to go in creating a sourdough - my own best sourdough creation was made by using back-yard apples and grapes along with the flour and water - but I am suggesting that most other "additions" such as noted above are unnecessary - How would you ever know if any of those additions did anything positive? Most likely, as long as you included flour, water, and enough time for the process to work, you'd have a successful sourdough anyway!
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Old 04-28-2009, 08:38 PM   #6
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WOW! So many ways to accomplish the same thing. About as many as there are chili or BBQ sauce recipes. And everybody's right. Do it your own way, if you like the taste.

Two important things for all starters:

1. Don't forget to feed it. If you're not using it, share some with a friend. BUT feed it!

2. While sitting out, DON'T cover it tightly or you're gonna have a mess to clean up. In fact I never cover mine tightly; I put a cheap shower cap over the vessel, it works well in the fridge and out.
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