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sour dough starter

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
i want to make a sourdough starter, but I can't figure out if it needs yeast or not. Some recipes say you need yeast or you'll screw it up and some recipes say nope, no yeast. What's worked for you?
post #2 of 9
I've done both. No yeast means you need a bit longer before you have an active starter. It's also much more attuned to your local yeasts. I've had starters not be sour, but still raise my bread. I had one starter that actually made the bread taste cheddar cheesy--yum!

Sourdough starters made with yeast are 'cheating' a bit, since it's not a true, natural yeast that makes it sour, BUT it does ensure a powerful, really sour starter.

A regular sourdough starter is just equal parts water & flour, poured into a jar & covered with a towel. Each day pour out half & add in enough flour & water to fill it back to 'regular'. So if you pour out one cup of starter, put in a cup of water & flour mixture. Do this for 7 days. When you start seeing bubbles on the top you know it's active.

The yeasted ones only take a day or two out on the counter to 'finish' the fermentation & get sour.


hth!

Ami
post #3 of 9
I think I'm going to try to make this sourdough starter this week.
post #4 of 9
I had the best success with using a starter culture which is rich in successful yeasts and bacteria to the flour and water mixture. It really helped.
post #5 of 9
I wondered about starter too. I did 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water water the day before yesterday. Yesterday I dumped out half and added 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of flour. I'm excited to see if it works out or not!

What kind of flour do you use for your starter? Bread flour, or whole wheat, or white, or white wheat? The NT book said to use rye flour but that seems like it would be really heavy and then my DH wouldn't eat it...
post #6 of 9
I was reading about sourdough in the King Arthur Flour cookbook just the other day. They talked about if you are trying to make a starter in a kitchen where you haven't done any bread baking, it could be really low on natural yeast. In that case, you may want to do a yeast starter. But, if you are doing it in a kitchen you bake bread in a lot, a non yeast starter should work really well and quickly.
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pepper44 View Post
I wondered about starter too. I did 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water water the day before yesterday. Yesterday I dumped out half and added 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of flour. I'm excited to see if it works out or not!

What kind of flour do you use for your starter? Bread flour, or whole wheat, or white, or white wheat? The NT book said to use rye flour but that seems like it would be really heavy and then my DH wouldn't eat it...
I just used regular AP flour, since that was all I had. Whole wheat would give a stronger yeast, I've read. Maybe half & half?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hlkm2e View Post
I was reading about sourdough in the King Arthur Flour cookbook just the other day. They talked about if you are trying to make a starter in a kitchen where you haven't done any bread baking, it could be really low on natural yeast. In that case, you may want to do a yeast starter. But, if you are doing it in a kitchen you bake bread in a lot, a non yeast starter should work really well and quickly.
Interesting. I didn't bake a lot, but my starter went really fast. I did it in the middle of summer though, so maybe the 90*+ days might have helped that.

I found that my starters weren't really sour, but I think it's because San Jose yeasts just aren't that sour. Nothing like San Fransisco for example. It still leavened my bread really nicely, just no strong sour flavor.

Also, if you don't want to use commercial yeast, but need something, you can crush a half a handful of grapes, *put it in a cheesecloth first* and then pour your flour & water mixture in on top of it. Grapes have a natural yeast covering them (the white film), which will help your starter really get going.

Ami
post #8 of 9
You can get a free starter culture here

http://home.att.net/~carlsfriends/source.html

I sent for it a few months back and have been making yummy sourdough every weekend for a while now!
post #9 of 9
I've been using hte same starter for years. I've sent it all over the place and given to many friends! I don't use commercial yeast, only sourdough. You can make things like cinnamon buns or rolls NOT sour at all just by using mores starter and not retarding in the fridge overnight
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