Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Observations on sourdough starter

Not like I'm an expert after two weeks! But, here's some observations...

As I mentioned in the first post, I used the instructions here for the first week. At the end of the week, I opted to thin my starter out; it is now the thickness of a relatively thick pancake batter. I've had better success with it as a thinner starter.

I still feed it twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. I was feeding it a 1/2 cup of home-ground whole wheat flour, thinning it with water to get the desired pancake batter consistency. Then, one day while I was experimenting with rye bread, I ran out of ground wheat flour; I was too lazy to grind some more, so I used the rye flour instead. Wow! Did it ever grow! I would say it grew twice as fast. I cut back to 1/3 cup of rye flour and it still is growing like crazy.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do long-term. I might move it back to whole wheat flour; that's what I bake with most of the time. But, it sure is fun to watch the bubbles from the rye starter!

I don't think it matters much to the bread, although the rye might give a tarter flavor. I might fork the starter and have two going for a while and do a taste test. That sounds like a fun project. But, I think I'll wait for the starter to get a bit older first. They say that the starter keeps maturing for about 30 days. After that, the flavor has stabilized.


Tim Bulkeley said...

Thanks for another interesting series :)

The site you linked to includes strong advice to begin by getting a starter from someone else and not starting your own. "If you haven't ever worked with sourdough, you don't know what a good starter should look like, smell like, or how to handle it. This is like starting your bicycle riding experience by building your own bike."

I know no one round here who bakes sourdough, is it worth trying my own?

jps said...


I started mine from scratch, so I don't see why not. And I certainly had no experience with sourdough! But, I like to experiment : ) I did use rye flour, which seems to be a natural for sourdough.

Let me know how it works if you try it!


Tim Bulkeley said...

Thanks, with that encouragement I will, though I don't have rye flour to hand, Barbara likes Rye breads, so I may have to get some next time I'm in town. In the meanwhile maybe wheat...

Joel and Renee said...

I've never seen someone get so excited about rye bubbles! - j