Thursday, July 13, 2017

Sourdough Starter (Day 1)

After attempting to get a starter to ripen over a 10 day period with no success (I won't get into it at this point, but I believe I know now why it didn't work), I decided to try another similar method... 

I recently found (and read) a rather small book called: Baking Real Sourdough Bread by a place called "The Artisan Bakery School" in the UK.  While I have many sources of information on this subject in books I own and on the internet, I chose this one (for no particular reason). The instructions are very similar to others I've seen (give or take some somewhat minor differences).

Day One:

  • 150 grams of whole wheat flour (whole wheat or rye flour contain more wild yeast than regular flour).  
  • 150 grams of filtered water

I purchased a 17oz glass storage container with a locking lid for the starter.  There's some conflicting information regarding whether the container should be sealed or not, but I chose to remove the silicone gasket and simply close the lid.

Room temperature (72-73 degrees) is optimum for the wild yeast (Saccharomyces Exiguus) to grow and allow for the beneficial bacteria (Lactobacillus) to grow as well.  Lactobacillus (which produces lactic acid) grows more slowly than yeast (depending on the ambient temperature) while Saccharomyces Exiguus grows more quickly at warmer temperatures. These two microorganisms, the sourdough's microflora, have a symbiotic relationship and both work together to produce the balance of flavor, "tang", and texture that is characteristic of a sourdough bread.  To control this balance, the yeast growth needs to be retarded just enough to allow time for the beneficial bacteria to do its thing. 

I checked the temperature of various areas, i.e., the counter, the cabinet above the refrigerator, the oven (light off/ light on), the microwave, and another storage cabinet in a corner of my kitchen.  The corner cabinet appears to be near the perfect temperature at 73.6 degrees.

Here's what it looked like after it was mixed... the 2nd photo is closest to what the color really looked like.

While the container is only 17oz, it should be OK for now, but I do have a 33.75 oz jar on order that should arrive this Saturday.  That will be perfect for maintaining the finished starter indefinitely. (The Boudin Bakery in San Francisco is said to have been using the same mother starter since 1859!)

In the morning, I'll post some pics of what this looks like after 24 hours.  If this works out, I should have a viable starter in less than a week.  If it doesn't work for some strange reason, I'll just buy an authentic San Francisco sourdough starter culture on-line and be done with it :)  
Stay tuned...


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