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Starter Confusion

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Ok..... I have made bread from scratch for a few years now and I still have an issue with making sourdough starter. I have read about every way to make starter and I still have the same issue, after a few days the starter begins to separate. I know in some instances that this is normal, however, the smell is somewhat sour (not the correct sour smell).
I am not sure of it is due to a changes in temperature or if my yeast is bad. I do know that after five days the starter is so rancid it is not usable.

Any suggestions?
post #2 of 15
because I have to comply with health codes, I make my sour, let it set out durning working hours and then chill. It makes for a veeerrrrryyyy sllllooowwww sour but it does work, when it seperates just mix.
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
Reply
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
I have not tried that way before. Thanks I'll give it a shot.
post #4 of 15
As a sour starter ferments one of the yeast byproducts is a beer like liquid (very beer like) called "hooch." When it separates out and sits for a bit, it's very much like flat, sour beer (also very much like -- because that's what it is).

You can mix it back in, like m.brown does -- and that's a good way to handle it. Or you can pour it off, and that's another good way. Pouring the hooch off won't damage the starter, just slow it down a little. Since it bothers you so much, I'd suggest pouring it off.

If you put a gun to my head, I might say the starters with hooch are a little more intense and sharper, than starters which have had it poured off. But if it's a real difference -- which it might not be -- it's darn subtle.

Either way, as Ron White said, "it is the same price."

BDL
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
LOL.... I don't suggest the gun to the head idea. I think my issue is the fact that it is too brown. I always understood that the "hooch" is to be light brown in color. Mine on the other hand is very dark. I'll keep trying until I get it right. :)
post #6 of 15
How are you culturing your stater? In other words, what are you using to start it?

This may be a job for Carl's.

BDL
post #7 of 15
Ok...that's it!


I haven't made a sourdough yet...that's gonna change :)

thanks,
dan
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
This last batch I made was with bread flour and flat beer. (not ale)
post #9 of 15
You really need only two things to get a starter up and running; flour and water. There is more than enough wild yeast present in flour to grow a culture. As to separation, starters are living things. At one point my girlfriend made me name mine. If you leave a starter at room temp it will consume the available food faster than if it's in the fridge. If it eats all the food, and doesn't get anymore, it will die. If you are keeping it at room temp you should probably feed it at least once a day. When you feed it you need to at least double the weight of the existing starter. If your starter weighs 16 oz you need to add at least 16 oz of flour and water to fully feed it.
"At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals." D. Barry
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"At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals." D. Barry
Reply
post #10 of 15
It's true that in most locations you can get a starter up and running on local wild yeast spoors. It's also true that most flour has enough wild (but not necessary local to your locale) spoors to get a starter going if your local spoors are reticent or thinly populated.

That said, there are spoors and there are spoors. You can get an excellent starter for the price of postage and envelopes from Carl's Friends: Carl Griffith Sourdough Page. Whether you send away for the starter or not, perusing the site is mandatory for people who like baking sourdough. The downloadable brochure, which isn't advertising but history and recipes, is particularly nice. Quiz tomorrow.

It's very true that starters are like pets. Annoying, messy, needy, non-cooperative, unaffectionate, unpredicatble pets like a certain cat I could name (Lola Getz), but pets.

BDL

PS. Lola, if you're sitting above Linda's monitor reading this upside down, knock it off. You're a cat, and cat's can't read.
post #11 of 15
Lola must know Sammy :)



"At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals." D. Barry
Reply
"At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals." D. Barry
Reply
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
OMGosh that is the cutest thing. Our cats used to decorate our Christmas tree. :) I have no clue as to why they would sleep in the tree.

I started a new batch with flour water. I'll keep you posted on what happens. Thanks for all the help and advice.
post #13 of 15
What are you storing it in?
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
A glass jar, I put plastic wrap over the mouth and holes in it.
post #15 of 15
What ever you store it in, make sure it has room to grow...

"At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals." D. Barry
Reply
"At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals." D. Barry
Reply
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