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Sourdough starter ?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
After seeing all the great pics of sourdough bread/biscuits on this site, I had to try some!

Perused the internet & decided to attempt two different recipes (better way to trial & error).

What should the texture of the dough be like? One recipe is really thickened dough & the other is very watery, almost soupy.

Both seem to be bubbling nicely after 4 days, but I have no clue which is right (or if they both are)????
post #2 of 15
Most of the time mine is pretty thin, works really good, the fresh loaf didn't last long enough ta even get a pic of it ta post!
post #3 of 15
Your starter should be fairly thin. When you add flour and water to make the sponge, it will be thicker but not so thick as to rise in the bowl. Even when kneading the bread dough, I like to keep mine a little looser than some to make a more tender loaf. Hope this helps.
post #4 of 15
seems to me like you got two different recipes? One for a starter and one for bread no? The starter is watery for the most part or thin you can call it. I suppose that someone could have devised a recipe where you leave your bread dough to accumulate yeasts? dont sound familiar though.
post #5 of 15
Think of starter as an ingredient. Mine is generally the consistency of pancake batter more or less. I do have a starter recipe, which has worked well for me, although purists might insist the starter has to have been passed down from your ancestors that worked the Klondike gold fields. There are then as many different sourdough bread, roll, cake, etc. recipes as there are the same for standard baked goods.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks folks!!! I appreciate the responses.

One is slightly thinner than pancake batter & the other is much thicker (think flapjacks!).

One recipe was 3/8 cup flour & 1/4 cup water.
The other one was 1/2 cup flour & 1/2 cup water.

Both indicate to throw away 1/2 and replace with the original recipe.

If none of this sound right, please let me know.

Dying for biscuits right now!!!!!
post #7 of 15
Ifin I ain't usin it fer a bit, I'll pull out one cup a starter, put in a jar an give ta a friend, then add back in one cup a flour an a cup a 100* water, stir round a bit an let the critters eat! Easier ta make a batch a biscuits then throw it away!
post #8 of 15
one of the things that helps with sourdough starters, is to add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar to a 1:1 starter (one cup by weight each by volume) of water and flour. it lowers the ph enough that the lactobacteria and the wild yeast (which LOVES the acid conditions) can get a start over the regular (and not so pleasant) bacteria that make your kitchen smell like moldy dog-hair gymsocks.
post #9 of 15
There is a site called Carl's friends that will send you a dehidrated starter pack that they claim is 150 years old for the price of a stamp. We just got some for our 4H kids and did a couple of loaves with it - nice starter. It could be you need to get a good start to make things happen for you
Ours is a little thicker than pancake batter
Let me know if you want the link
post #10 of 15
Different people keep their starters at different hydration levels... so a thin, liquid-like starter might be 1:1 flour:water, whereas a firm starter might be 3:2 flour:water. Generally speaking you can do either one and adjust the final recipe accordingly. Head over to The Fresh Loaf for all you ever wanted to know... I also recommend this book.
post #11 of 15
I've spent half my day on that site..... I saw BBA at Barnes & noble teh other day and considered it, but will go tomorrow and get it!!

thanks for the tip!!
post #12 of 15
I'm a newbie to sourdough starters too. We started ours last month. I fed it for a couple of weeks before trying some San Fransisco Sourdough Bread. It turned out pretty good too. I think the trick is to get the starter strong and stable before using it. Ours lives happily in the fridge now. We take it out and feed it to wake it up then it goes right back into the fridge to put it to sleep again. We are getting ready to make a bunch of different things with ours...

post #13 of 15
Guys - there is a great site that is similar to this one for bread
It is called the freshloaf.com
It is a great tutorial with some great advice on all aspects of bread
Good luck with the bread

if anyone needs a great starter go here
post #14 of 15
Have been maintaining and playing with the starter I made myself. Seems to work fine in baked goods, but it's thin and when I feed it, I see a quick rise of about 25% or so, but within a couple hours, it falls back (quickly). If left overnight, it also gets a nice layer of hooch on top. Seems to me to have a nice smell and flavor. Still.....not sure I'm doing this right.

So I checked the bread making links found above in this thread, and that suggests a very thick starter. Where I had been adding no more than 50% of my starter volume with milk and flour (say 1/2 cup of equal parts milk and flour to 1 cup starter), this site turns that on it's head. Water, not milk, and the proportions are all out of whack.

They suggest:

1 part starter, 2 parts water, 2 parts flour. This by weight.....not volume.

I have started a test batch in these proportions and will report back.

I mention this as I know my starter had gotten thin, and apparently a lot of yours are too. Must not be a critical issue with a lot of room for error, although they do suggest feeding more often and feeding up a batch of fresh starter right before using it. I've not been doing that.

On a semi-related note, when you pull back the curtain of mystery about sour dough, apparently what you have is bacteria converting the starch in the flour to sugar, and yeast fermenting the sugars to alcohol, throwing off CO2 in the process, which is trapped as bubbles in the bread. Since I've been using milk (which has lactose sugar) instead of water, my yeast may be going to town on the lactose sugar up front, but the starter is weak on bacteria downstream. Maybe that, along with being thin, is why is jumps up and down for a few hours, then fizzles out? Again, will report back later.
post #15 of 15
Results of my test of a different way of handling my starter:

That started out as 100 grams of starter (marks on the jar are 100 ml, so only the bottom part of the jar below the first mark from the bottom was starter). To that I added 200 grams of water and 200 grams of KA bread flour. All combined, the jar was less than half full (about 400 ml of volume). Starting point was marked with that red line. A thick, heavy starter not unlike a wad of wet dough.

It started working within half an hour or so and this is what it looked like after 6 hours, in a 65* room. That more than doubled. About 210%. At that point, into the refer. This morning, it has fallen back to about 160% of where it started, but is still puffy and no hooch on top. Has a good smell and flavor to it.

I guess I proved to myself the starter is good. That and there are more ways than one to handle a starter. Have not made anything with the new stuff yet, but will.

I might add to what I said before that sour dough is more than a means of carbonation for leavening, it's also that sour flavor that is the byproduct of the fermentation process. And that is affected by not only the starter culture, but how it's handled, aging, etc. Almost like cheese, beer, wine, and a lot of other things. As much art as science.
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