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sourdough recipes & wild starters!

post #1 of 516
Thread Starter 
I'd love to hear from other sourdough bakers.... I started a batch of wild sourdough starter a few weeks ago.... I figure it's going fairly well, I get nice loaves of dense sourdough (I use all ww) .. it does take a long time to rise, but I think that's to be expected with leaving out sourdoughs in cool kitchens. Good long soaking/breaking down time, so I'm cool with that. Usually takes two days from sponge to bake. I use the basic instructions from Wild Fermentation.

So. I've noticed over the last two weeks that my starter has gotten progressively stinky and really intense... the starter seems to be less bubbly, and I'm seeing more liquid collect at the top- dark, fermented liquid. And over the last three days, there's this yucky thing collecting on the top of the liquid- that stringy yeasty stuff. I've been feeding it, and stirring it, but it just seems to get stinky and lapses into a liquidy state quicker. It still works. But now with this stringy yeasty stuff collecting on top, I'm not overly anxious to use it. I need to use it soon, though, or start a new one!

How many days does your starter need to get going again after taking it out to do some baking? How many days would you let it sit out before using it to bake or refrigate it?

I saw on the NT thread that oceanmomma started hers out under a nice lovely tree, with all the proper energies and scents and pollens surrounding it. I just stuck the flour and water in a jar and put it in the pantry. No special love there. Maybe I should start a new one, and ask my DH to place some lovely crystals in it?

And I want other sourdough recipes!! I do an all whole wheat loaf and get a nice dense european style loaf. I love it! But I'd like to do other stuff sometimes.... how about pancakes? I used a recipe from Wild Fermentation, and they weren't as fluffy as I'd have liked. Delish, though.
post #2 of 516
There's a really great book called "Alaskan Sourdough". I just returned it to the library. It has some nice simple sourdough recipes. YOu have to convert the white flour to ww, put it's inspiring.

I've been doing only sourdough for the last 3 weeks or so, and it's going well. I've made bread using only starter, salt and whole wheat flour, but I've also made it using yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, whey, and rye flour. I usually pour out all (or almost all) my starter. I don't scrape the pot though, I leave what's left on the edges to keep it going. then I just stir in equal parts of water and ww flour and it bubbles up within a day. I have always heard that the more you use it, the better it gets.

I recently read in another book that if your starter separates, you can pour the top liquid off, then add some more water, flour, and stir it up. Some books say to just stir that liquid back into it, but I prefer to pour it off (for whatever reason- I don't know!) I'm not sure what you mean by yeasty stringy stuff, but maybe this will help. Otherwise, if you aren't using it daily, you might try refrigerating it. Or pour some into the compost heap and feed it fresh flour and water.

for pancakes and waffles, I thicken my starter at night so that it's the consistency of thick cake batter. In the morning, take about 2 c. of the thickened starter, and mix in 2 eggs, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp vanilla. Stir it, then finally stir in 1 tsp baking soda. It will froth up when you add the soda. Pour onto hot griddle or waffle iron. Be carful not to agitate the batter too much after you have stirred in the soda, or it will "fall". This recipe makes waffles that are literally mostly air!! In Alaskan Sourdough, the author talks about using soda to lighten sourdough. It really does! Sometimes I make sourdough bread with a little soda added, and after it's baked I slice it thin and dry it in the oven for crackers. Works wonderfully.
post #3 of 516
btw, I just "caught" my starter on the kitchen counter too It's not quite warm enough to catch one outside here yet. But I'm really happy with it anyways.
post #4 of 516
Laurel's Kitchen's Bread Book has an amazing sourdough bread called Desem - it is very, very delicious. All ww, too. And if you bake it the way they say to, the crust is crispy and crusty. Desem is the BEST bread I have ever eaten or baked.

All the best!
post #5 of 516
I saw the lady I know who is the best baker ever today & asked her about the stringy yeasty layer on top & she says it sounds like there is something there that shouldn't be. She also says that she hardly kneads her bread. Just until it gets springy. Apparently the less you knead it the better the flavour.

Oh & I captured my culture in the bush not under a single tree I call bush what you probably would call a wood. Altho' ours is technically called "coastal scrub". I'm plotting to go down the ocean beach with a jar of flour & water with some holes drilled in the lid soon as I need a rye starter. It's probably safer from the wildlife there than out the back block. I just have to worry about all the tourists blundering around the dunes looking for penguins or sea lions to take pictures of.

A couple of useful sites http://www.sourdo.com/ very inspiring this one & it tells you how to wash your culture.

Also this one looked nteresting & has heaps of links

post #6 of 516
Thread Starter 
My starter is doing wonderfully now that I cleaned it out a bit, started a fresh one, and keep using it as soon as it bubbles and froths. Now I need more recipes!!! For stuff like pizza crusts, sourdough biscuits, muffins and so on?

I tried the pancake recipe that Hibou posted, it was yummy!

But today I made the most delicious sourdough flatbreads... they were the BEST! The recipe is here- sourdough flatbread

We had them for lunch with some leftover lamb, and my homemade yogurt dill cucumber sauce. Mmmmmm.....
post #7 of 516
I use regular sourdough bread dough for pizza crusts. I just roll it out thinly.

If you google "sourdough cake recipe", all sorts come up such as

http://home.teleport.com/~packham/sourdrec.htm Sourdough croissants look very tempting.

or this one which is a sourdough xmas cake which looks very nice.


I spose the thing to look out for is the flour is being properly fermented not with the starter just being used as a leven if that makes sense.

The flat bread recipe looks nice. I'd ditch the vege oil in it & change it for olive oil or butter myself. I've got a batch of sourdough in the fridge so it rises overnight to bake tomorrow. I'll give the flatbreads a go next.
post #8 of 516
I'm sooo glad I found this thread! That's MDC for me, I have a question or get an offbeat idea and BAM all the knowledge I need is right here.
I just started a batch, on my counter, it's still a little spring chilly here so I hope it will do okay. My gramma made the BEST sourdough rolls when I was little, every Saturday beans, weiners and rolls! It's a New England thing. I'll grab that recipe and post it. Thanks for the other links.
post #9 of 516
post #10 of 516
i started my starter a couple days ago with dry active yeast, now i want to throw it out and try again only with wild yeast. but its so hard to just toss it out when its still 'good'...
post #11 of 516
I've just started making sourdough. I 'caught' my starter on the kitchen counter also and by the time I was ready to use it for bread it smelled like wine. The first batch of bread I made was delicious, tangy, moist. I used rye for the starter and spelt for the bread. I see someone mentioned using the starter as soon as it starts to bubble. Is this the 'protocol'? I haven't done this but rather just kept adding rye and water each day until I had the desired amount. I did notice that there were a couple of days where it bubbled and then not.

Hibou, I'm going to try the pancake recipe. I have never been able to get the NT pancakes to work so I just gave up on pancakes but this sounds like it might work. Are they very sour?

I've been putting the starter in the fridge until we need to get it going again. We don't eat enough grains to keep it ongoing so I've been taking it out as needed. I see other folks keep it on the counter and feed it daily. How much flour/water are you adding? When I'm getting it ready for bread I add a cup of both. But perhaps I could add less and then it wouldn't need refrigeration in between bakings?
post #12 of 516
Is there a good basic sourdough link for a complete beginner? Like, what does it mean when you say you "caught" it on the counter?! I read somewhere I think that you take a cup of flour and cup of water and let it sit out, but from there I'm totally clueless. And could I use fresh-ground wheat berries instead of already ground flour? How much flour, in the course of a couple weeks, will I expect to go through? Sorry for the beginners (that just doesn't look right!) questions. This is why I too love MDC!
post #13 of 516
OceanMama- Thanks for the great links!!!! I have printed off 8 pages of recipes to try!

MyLittleWonders- I started my starter from the Wild Fermentation book. Stir together 2 c each of warm water and flour, cover loosely to keep bugs out, but let air in and leave in a warm place. Stir daily and add a few T of flour, when it starts bubbling it's active. You add a few T of flour every few days, less often if you refrigerate it. Replace what you take for recipes with equivalant amount of equal parts flour and water- making sure to leave just a little starter in the jar. Add some water to your starter if it starts getting solid, it should be like a pancake batter consistency.

I think that's the basics. Anyone else feel free to correct me if I got anything wrong.
post #14 of 516
Originally Posted by carnelian

Hibou, I'm going to try the pancake recipe. I have never been able to get the NT pancakes to work so I just gave up on pancakes but this sounds like it might work. Are they very sour?

Not really. Any sourdough bread that uses baking soda will be less sour. Soda sweetens.

Dh asked for blueberry waffles this week, so I added some blueberries and cooked them in the waffle iron on Monday. We ate them NT-style, with homemade cultured butter, loads of fresh raw whipped cream, fresh fruit, and maple syrup.
post #15 of 516
I have never read wild fermentation so I just guessed. I'd read bits here & there on the net about capturing wild yeasts so I sort of fudged together everything. I waited until my starter looked bubbly which only took about 4 days but it was the middle of summer. I took it inside & strained it out to get rid of anything dodgy that may have fallen in. Then all I did was fed it a bit more flour & water every day or so until it looked good & bubbly & smelt nice. No real science to it at all. Then I made bread with it to see what happened. IME it usually takes about 3 goes with a newly captured starter to get decent bread so if the first two loaves are bricks, don't give up.

In terms of how long to leave the starter, I just go with when I can fit in making the bread. I think the whole process is very forgiving & you can always bung the whole thing in the fridge overnight if you run out of time.

A few impotant things I have learnt which have made a massive difference to the quality of my bread is firstly preheat the oven to 200deg C. Cook the bread for 10 mins or so & then turn the oven down to 180deg C. Secondly the kneading thing or lack of kneading I mentioned earlier. The other trick she taught me was to leave the bread in the fridge overnight for the final rise which with my starter controls the rising quite nicely.

I keep my starter in the fridge in a jar. I use it once a week or maybe once every two weeks. It's always been fine.
post #16 of 516
post #17 of 516
Hmm, should I be feeding my starter even while it's in the fridge? I've not read WF either but it's on my list of books to buy.
post #18 of 516
Well, I tried Hibou's waffles-they were the perfect texture! Light and crispy-but, my kids hated the taste. I have used only rye flour for the starter-do you think if I used WW that maybe the flavor wouldn't be so.....overwhelming?

Hibou-which bread recipe do you use from the bread book you mentioned?

Thanks to all of you for keeping this thread going-I am determined to find a few reciped that we all love-just takes some trial and error!
post #19 of 516
I got up early this am to put another batch of bread into the oven for baking. I let it rise for about 24 hrs and it came out beautifully. We had it with some delicious raw honey for breakfast. Honey is not part of our day to day or even week to week but slathered with butter the fresh bread was just begging for some wild raw honey to complement the tang of the sourdough.
post #20 of 516
Originally Posted by oldermamato5

Okay, I have a starter hopefully catching some yeast on my counter top - I used about 1/2 cup of fresh ground WW and about the same of water. Do I need to feed it now or wait until it starts getting bubbly?

Once I have a starter (this is going to be an interesting experiment!), does anyone have a link to a good bread recipe? I was going to try to stick with fresh ground WW berries, but if I need to, I can use some white flour too. Also someone mentioned using some baking soda ... recipes would be great! We love sourdough and I'm tired of buying it, so it would be nice to perfect the art of making it, especially without having to use commerical yeast.
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