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Old starter, poor technique, but DELICIOUS Sourdough failure!

noboundaries

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I had sourdough starter in the fridge that I'd used for English muffins. It was unfed for at least 6 months! There was a half-inch of hooch on the top of the sleeping starter.

I dumped the hooch, fed the starter, and gave it a day to wake up. Time for another attempt at sourdough. My first two attempts last year ended up as pizza dough. Time to try again with a 75% hydration and a 75/25 mix of bread and whole wheat flour.

Mixing the ingredients, no problem. Stretching, folding, creating tension, and proving are skills I have not mastered by ANY means. My latest effort, though, a couple of batards, still tasted great even though they were a bit underbaked. The wild crumb (not enough folds), is no good for sandwiches, but it was PERFECT for dipping in EVOO, balsamic, and a little salt/pepper.

As soon as these two are gone, time to try again! Eating failure is DELICIOUS!

Mangia!

Ray

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noboundaries

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Well it sure looks good .
Thanks, Chop.

Sourdough is like one LOOOOOOONG smoke. 12-15 hours for the starter to wake up. Another 5-8 hours of slapping, folding, and resting. Another 12 hour prove in the fridge, maybe a few more hours on the counter, then a 20 minute stone-bake with steam at 475F, followed immediately by a 15-20 minute bake, no steam. I underbaked on the second bake (8 minutes) because the loaves were brown enough for me, but they needed a little more time.
 

bauchjw

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Wow! That is commitment! I’m jealous of those…even if you think it’s a failure! Would be nice with a warm bowl of Chile!
 

motocrash

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Mangia I would!
Heh, I have a nephew who wouldn't eat any bread with holes in it when he was little, too funny.
 

noboundaries

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Wow! That is commitment! I’m jealous of those…even if you think it’s a failure! Would be nice with a warm bowl of Chile!
The temptation to peek at the progress of the starter or dough every hour reminded me of when I used to try to "look to cook" a smoke. The dough cares about as much as the brisket or pork butt. Nothing much has changed and you get the feeling it's saying, "What...you again? Leave me alone to do my thang."
 

SmokinAl

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Judy makes sourdough something at least once a week, maybe more. Because she says she has to feed the starter or throw some of it away, and she doesn’t like to throw anything away, so we always have a freezer full of some kind of bread. As we speak she’s making pita bread!
Al
 

noboundaries

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Judy makes sourdough something at least once a week, maybe more. Because she says she has to feed the starter or throw some of it away, and she doesn’t like to throw anything away, so we always have a freezer full of some kind of bread. As we speak she’s making pita bread!
Al
Lucky you, Al!

I had no desire to do the whole feeding starter regularly thing, so I kinda concocted my own process that gives me a sourdough starter with a sweet, fruity, tangy smell and effective leavening.

I didn’t follow a standard sourdough starter process back when I started my starter. I never threw anything away. Except for a two hour counter startup, I did everything in the fridge. Whenever I saw hooch start to develop, I'd dump the hooch and feed it a teaspoon more flour and teaspoon more water, always keeping it in the fridge. The gas development is MUCH slower than the standard starter process. If I wasn't going to use it for baking anything, I didn't feed it and let the alcoholic hooch layer act as a seal against spoilage.

After dumping the hooch and feeding it last Thursday, if has some nice bubbles in it this morning. It will be a week or more before I'll make another couple of loaves, so I won't de-hooch it or feed it until a couple of days before then. It is WAY easier this way doesn't require regular use and feeding. I kid you not, it was at least 6 months since I last used it. My wife says it's been closer to a year.

I use it for English muffins, pizza dough, and now bread.
 

BrianGSDTexoma

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Once I have a good starter I dry it. I only use the dried now. Takes one tsp to get going and with in 2 days ready to bake.

 

SWFLsmkr1

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Old starter, mature starter.
Bread still looks good.
 

forktender

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I've used startee out of the refer that hadn't been fed is 3 to 5 months, I do it all the time. I just make sure to pour off the hooch and feed for at least 3 days on the counter.

Sourdough starter is much tougher than most people give it credit for. I also add at least one teaspoon of my rescue starter to it. Which is just dried and frozen S.D. Starter discard.

Hell, they have revived sourdough starter from King Tutankhamun's tomb that's from year 1325 BC, now that is some old old S.D. starter.
 

noboundaries

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Thanks, Dan. Great info on the starter. I've done three more loaves since the above post. Still learning. I've got a sourdough focaccia cold autolyzing/fermenting as I type. Every single loaf has been an exercise in adaptation. Fun. Fun. Fun!
 

forktender

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I love focaccia, it's a tradition at my families during the holidays.
Do you sauce yours or just use herbs and cheese?

My favorite is sauced with marinara, green onion, black or kalamata olives and anchovy, I can eat a half sheet pan myself .:emoji_laughing::emoji_thumbsup:
 

noboundaries

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Do you sauce yours or just use herbs and cheese?
Depends how I'm going to use it. I make something we call a "$50 sandwich" using focaccia. It doesn't cost $50, but I usually spend that much or more at the grocery store when getting the stuff for the sando, plus other general necessities. I just use herbs and course salt for the sandwhich.

I'm trying a new ad hoc recipe that includes mashes potatoes in the dough. So far it's been another exercise in adaptation with a 100% hydration dough. Fun stuff! It's for a $50 sandwich.

I love sun-dried tomatoes, chopped Italian-cured black olives, roasted garlic and onions, plus a little chopped salami when making a topping. Mmmmm...
 

noboundaries

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Well, the focaccia is cooling. Once again, lots of adaptations. Mashed potatoes were included in a recipe I threw together. Had to add some flour and yeast during folding. It never really developed the gluten structure I wanted after 6 folds and rests.

Looks great. We'll see if it's a brick or not in a little while.

A hour after taking out of oven. Tastes great. Underbaked (40 mins at 450F). Oh well. Definitely no potatoes next time.
 
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smokeymose

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Great thread!
I decided to get my feet wet with sourdough after picking up a bread cookbook in the checkout lane last week.
The first 2 or 3 days of discard didn't bother me much but it's day 5 now and it's more than doubled
and I hate to just throw it away.
day 5.jpg
The book has a couple of discard recipes but they don't appeal to me.
When I feed today I think I'll put the discard in a jar in the fridge and see what happens.
 

forktender

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Great thread!
I decided to get my feet wet with sourdough after picking up a bread cookbook in the checkout lane last week.
The first 2 or 3 days of discard didn't bother me much but it's day 5 now and it's more than doubled
and I hate to just throw it away.
View attachment 515776
The book has a couple of discard recipes but they don't appeal to me.
When I feed today I think I'll put the discard in a jar in the fridge and see what happens.
It's best to spread it out thinly onto a wax paper covered cookie sheet. Then place it in the oven with just the oven light on for a few days to dry it out. Once it's dry crumble it up and store it in a zippy bag in the freezer.
It will literally last for ever. And it makes it easy to send to friends and family. I call the dried stuff my rescue starter.
If anything ever happens to my starter I just add a teaspoon of the dried starter intoa mixture of flour and H2o and it's ready to use in 2 to 4 days of feeding.
 

noboundaries

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It's best to spread it out thinly onto a wax paper covered cookie sheet. Then place it in the oven with just the oven light on for a few days to dry it out. Once it's dry crumble it up and store it in a zippy bag in the freezer.
It will literally last for ever. And it makes it easy to send to friends and family. I call the dried stuff my rescue starter.
If anything ever happens to my starter I just add a teaspoon of the dried starter intoa mixture of flour and H2o and it's ready to use in 2 to 4 days of feeding.
Great info, Dan! Thanks for posting that process.

Mose, I've seen YouTube videos where people make savory pancakes with the discards using green onions. I haven't tried it, but that's what I'd do.
 
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