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starting a starter

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
All the threads on sour dough have got me wanting to start another starter :). I used to have one going all the time, then we had to move and I chucked the last one instead of transporting it several hundred miles. Which is kinda sad, because I had used figs from my old house to get it going. I had walked past the fig tree and could smell them fermenting and decided to try and tap the wild yeasties that had to be there. It really was the tastiest I ever used.

When I first got into the sour dough thing I searched the net and my books and found two rather solid looking recipes. The cooking temp was 375 on one and pre heat to 500 then lower to 450 then after 20 min lower to 350 in the other. I stuck with the 375 one because I’m lazy. So over in another thread I see that a higher temp was recommended. So now I’m really inspired to tackle another sour dough, just because I have learned something new.

I baked a lot of sour dough bread back then (I couldn’t stand to pour out any of the starter when the feedings increased its bulk) and would make bread chips and croutons that I used up in catering. The bread chips always brought huge compliments and everyone wanted to know what brand I used.

Pre the fig starter, any time I “lost” a starter I would whip one up with buttermilk and honey and it was good to go fairly quickly.

Figs, buttermilk, honey….Does anybody have any “creative” sour dough starter recipes that impart a neat flavor?
post #2 of 4
I went to the local wonderful bakery, and asked if I could buy some of their starter. Legend has it that is has been around for over 50 years!! It worked out great.
post #3 of 4
check out the King Arthur Flour website. They have several starters used with great success by friends.
post #4 of 4
The Carl Griffith starter is very good. And the price is right, too. Free. Carl Griffith Sourdough Page

If you want to try your own (fairly) sure fire starter, start with the poolish/sour-starter recipe I used in the Pumpernickel recipe in this forum. After you switch to the white flour from the rye, you'll have 2 cups each of flour and water. Every day for a week, just throw out 1/2 the starter and add 1 cup of flour and another cup of water, and mix. After a week, double the starter, so you add 2 cups each, and on the eighth day you'll have a hearty, sour starter that's 99% local, wild yeast. At least that's how it's supposed to work. The wild yeast is heartier and will displace the commercial colony, and if it's not and it didn't the starter based on the commercial yeast deserved to live.

Like you, I've used fruit to create mothers, but it hasn't worked for me here in Monrovia; the good-for-nothing lazy, wild, desert yeast is a big part of the reason I started working with the Jewish rye type starters resulting in the Pumpernickel. The sheer wonderfulness of my method notwithstanding, why not stick with the fruit?

If you can get sourdough bread you really like, go ahead and use some as an altus when you create your new mother.

When you bake, remember that starter makes dough act a lot more hydrated than it is -- including baking. I know you do anyway, but trust your feel more than your measurements. Also, sourdough works well with an autolyse approach if you haven't tried that yet. I don't have a starter going right now, they're too much of a PITA. It's like keeping an undependable, ungrateful, rotten, lousy, white cat named Lola Getz. Plain old pain sur poolsih is enough of a challenge at the present state of insanity.

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