I am hooked to this combination and I suspect that I will always bake sourdough with kefir from now on.
I have not tasted anything quite like this, nor eaten a softer sourdough that I have baked. The slight salty taste, the crumb (the best so far), and the smell of this sourdough will fill my dreams – I can tell you that with confidence.
The recipe is quite basic like any other sourdough I have baked;
1. I added to 1 cup of whole wheat starter fed twice (Friday night and Saturday morning), 2tbs of sugar and 1 cup of kefir – mixed well with a spoon until it become somehow frothy (it does become frothy quite easily). Then added 2 cups of bread flour and 1.5 tbs of salt. Mixed and formed a shaggy dough.
This dough formed quite fast without needing to mix too much – I give it to kefir. Somehow it helped bond the dough and voila! I had that healthy looking and soft dough. As it was my practice the last few weeks, I made sure the dough was slightly sticky while adding the flour.
2. I then left it at room temperature covered with a clean towel and stretched and folded 4-5 times time to time. The next day, I shaped it, and left for proving in a bowl covered with a clean cloth and sprinkled with generous amount of sesame and poppy seeds. It proved for 6.5 hours at room temperature in a plastic bag.
3. I baked it in non-preheated oven; 375 F for 15 min first, then 25 min at 350 F (the seeds burn pretty quick if the temperature is high), and then left in a turned off oven for an additional 5 min.
Give it a try and let me know whether you also agree that this is the best sourdough ever! 🙂
What is a Sunday without a home-baked loaf of sourdough?
You got it right – it is almost impossible!!!!! :))))
Since I started sourdoughing last August, except one weekend and when I was away for vacation/business trip, I baked a loaf or two every…single…Sunday! 🙂
I keep experimenting with the rolled cereals/grains in my sourdough loaves. My recent a couple trials including the soaked rolled oat and flax seed in sourdough (for example, here andhere) have been quite successful. I think they help with the moisture even though they lack the gluten so they take up only a small part of the total dough (other wise the loaf does not rise – I know by experience – unless you want a flat and stiff loaf, do not try to have a loaf with only rolled oat).
Anyways, I saw and purchased the rolled rye a couple of weeks ago. Honestly I have no idea what it could be used for, but I thought it would be a nice addition to my baking adventures and a nice ornament for the crust. I was not wrong.
This is the biggest loaf I have ever baked so far; thus rather than a boule I opted out for a baton loaf (I thought it would bake more evenly). Also, I proved the dough in a large plastic bag that kept it somewhat warm (something like a greenhouse effect). I am glad I remembered to do this as I think it reduced the proving time.
tend to the starter and prepare the levain as explained here
mix 1 cup of rolled rye with 1 cup of water, soak for 30 min
add the rye mixture, 1 1/4 cups of starter, 1 cup water, and 2 tbs sugar together and mix well
add 4 cups of bread flour and 2 tbs of salt. Mix and form a shaggy dough. It will be a little bit sticky dough
stretch and fold 4-5 times at 30-60 min intervals
cover, wrap with a thick towel, and rise at room temp over night. My kitchen is around 17 C
the next morning, take the dough on a floured surface, expand and form a rectangular dough, and then fold over itself to form a baton shape
cover and rest for 10-15 min at room temp
re-shape if required and place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet
cover with a thick towel and place in a large plastic bag; tie the ends of the bag and rest for 5 hours at room temp
pre-heat the oven at 375 F
wet the surface of the loaf with your hands and sprinkle with rolled rye. Gently press to make sure the flakes will stick. Score the loaf as you please
bake for 55 min
cool down and enjoy!
my beautiful starter has been very happy today 🙂
this is the rolled rye and water mix… I know… I know… it does not look great, but trust me, it does the dough really good 🙂
this is the dough right before I left it for the overnight rise
and, in the morning I was met with my dough 🙂 it has risen so much! this is always delightful to see 🙂
the shaping did well, but the loaf is really huge.. the biggest I have ever baked 🙂
and 5 hours later, it has risen well – time to score 🙂
I like this pattern of scoring – very practical and looks great. I also love coating the surface with seeds or flakes – this time rye flakes 🙂
this loaf has been great. I mean, look at these air packets… hmmm. I am al most sure this is one the best loaves of mine ever 🙂
This is my second time adding semolina flour into sourdough.
This time something really worked; this was the best rise I have ever seen with my starter 🙂
Not sure whether I have a starter that evolved and works robustly at our cold climate (rises even at ~17C, which is the temperature of my kitchen) or it was the semolina flour that kicked the dough a little bit, I am not sure. But whatever it was, this recipe is something that I sure will try again in the future 🙂
1.5 cup of starter that is fed with 2/3 cups of whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup of water a night before and again in the morning
Add to the starter 1 tbs of salt, 2 tbs of sugar, 2 cups of bread flour, 1 cup of semolina flour, and 1 cup water. Mix well and knead 4-5 minutes
Cover and let rise at room temperature, with occasional stretch and fold (I did a total of 5 of these)
Let rise at room temperature over night
The next day, shape the loaves (I tried one baton and one whirled loaf; the latter one did not turn out to be great-looking, but you can try to shape your loaves as you wish. I floured a large piece of parchment paper and placed the loaves on it on a cookie sheet). Place in a big plastic bag and let proof at room temperature for 2 hours
After proofing, heat the oven to 375 F and bake the loaves for 45 – 50 min
Sprinkle with a minute amount of water, cool for 5-10 min, and enjoy 🙂
after stretch and fold and right before leaving it to rise over night at room temperature. Dough has developed quite well
that is how it was in the morning! almost escaped from the pot 🙂
nice dough with lots of development 🙂
I admit I am not good at shaping the loaves….
after 2 hours of proofing at room tenperature
and after 45 min at the oven, this is how they have looked 🙂 beautiful!
It gives a strong, slightly sticky dough that forms a great crust and very soft crumb (the softest I have seen in a sourdough). The carrots, I believe, help with the moist crumb and with a fairly good rise. I also believe that yeast loves the carrot (or carrot juice coming out of the grated pieces). In anyway, I suggest you give this loaf a try and see how you like it 🙂
1. Grate 4 mid-size carrots
2. Add 1.5 cups of sourdough levain to carrots (I fed 2/3 cups fridge-stored starter with 2/3 cups of whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup+1 tbs water and let rest over-night at room temperature. In the morning it was risen and bubbly. I fed it again two hours before I prepared the dough)
3. Add 1 cup water, 4 cups bread flour, and 1.5 tbs salt. Mix by hand or using utensils.
4. Leave at room temperature (covered) to rise: I had a social to attend, so left it for 4 hours and stretched and folded it twice in between.
5. Place in the fridge over-night
6. The next morning, take it out and rest at room temperature for around 1 hour
7. Shape the dough (I formed a baton today), cover with kitchen towel, and let rise for 1.5 hours
8. The last 20 min; pre-heat the oven and the roaster (if you are using one) to 375 F. Flip the loaf upside down on parchment paper
9. Score the surface, and bake in the roaster; 35 min closed lid and 25 min open lid. Turn off the oven and leave the loaf in the roaster/oven for an additional 1 hour (since this is a moist loaf, I found that this step helps with baking inside the loaf)
lovely carrots 🙂
the Monster starter at work 🙂
the initial dough – somewhat juicy but not runny at all
I was welcome by a fluffy and strong dough in the morning 🙂
I use flour sprinkled baking cloths to help rest and shape my loaves.
this is the final loaf 🙂 mind the irregular shape. What a beautiful loaf Iit has been. I am so lucky 🙂
This is my finest sourdough so far. I could not be more excited 🙂
For many, the amount of levain in the recipe may be too much, but it just worked wonders for this loaf. I added this much this time because I had extra starter that I did not want to waste.
I reduced the oven temperature to 375 F this time as I am a little bit annoyed by the 400 F (too high; not sure what happens to the roaster at such high temps).
The dough was a little bit sticky but not runny and there was a very nice oven spring, which always pleases me; it is magical 🙂
I note that while the majority of the flour is white flour, the colour and the texture of the whole wheat (from the starter) is quite dominant.
This was the softest sourdough I have ever baked and the crispy crust was surprising and very welcome 🙂
Levain: 3/4 cup of Monster sourdough starter, 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup water. Mix well and place in a clean glass jar. Left at room temperature over night. The levain should have risen ( around 2x), smelling a little bit sour, and bubbling the next day.
Add to the levain (around 1 1/3 cup), 3/4+2 cups bread flour, and 1 cup water. Mix well with hand or a spoon. Leave at room temperature covered with a lid and stretch and fold 4 times every 30 min. Leave at room temperature for an hour and then place in the fridge for the night
In the morning take the dough out and let rest at room temperature for 5 hours or so. It should slightly rise
Add 1 1/2 tbs of salt and gently knead and shape (I tried a baton this time). Place on a parchment paper and let rise for 1 1/2 hours at room temperature
Pre-heat the oven with a roaster (or dutch oven if you have one) at 375 F.
10 min before putting the loaf in, place another sheet of parchment paper on top and flip the loaf (I do that because I think it helps with the air packets to occur on both top and bottom of the loaf.. any ideas anyone?)
Place the loaf in the heated roaster and bake for 30 min with closed lid and then another 20 min with open lid.
happy and energetic levain 🙂
this is how it looked right before placing it to the fridge for over night rest
and the next day, it is slightly risen. I was not very hopeful at that point but kept going
after 5 hours of room temperature rest, dough looks a little bit more fluffy
my shaping adventure today was a disaster at the beginning; since the dough is somehow sticky it does not hold its shape well and tends to spread
yet, it turned out to be just great, thanks to oven spring. there has been a noticable expansion of the dough (both the length and the height); very pleasing 🙂
does it not look awesome? 🙂
the largest number and volume of air packets I have ever had in a sourdough so far 🙂 very soft crumb and chewy crust. very nice contrast and it was a delight to try it with a chunk of butter 🙂
I changed my mind and rather than making a sourdough for tomorrow, I decided to sacrifice (!) my early-levain to bake some fresh bread today, also containing commercial yeast.
My first time trying small loaves, which turned out to be pretty good. I think I will try this in the future. The small loaves are softer and easier to manage, and they delighted me with their individual characters 🙂
This is also my first time mixing the commercial yeast and wild yeast in a dough. I suspect that the wild yeast was not at good levels as expected; I had only fed my starter and aliquoted my levain a few hours before I decided to bake this bread. The taste of the loaf did not give a hint of sourdough.
initial dough – a little bit shaggy but not overly sticky
at the end of the rise; well developed thanks to stretch and fold
small loaves covered in stretch film prior to proofing
look at these beauties 🙂
the air packets are not bad, are they? very nice chewy crust and a very soft crumb; I loved these loaves!
1. Add 1.5 cups of warm milk (1%), 1 tbs of sugar, and 1 tbs of dry active yeast; mix well, cover with a kitchen towel, and rest for 10 min to activate
2. Add 3.5 cups of bread flour, 1 cup of sourdough levain, and 1 tbs of salt, and mix and knead for one-two minutes.
3. Place in a new pot/bowl smeared with vegetable oil, cover, and let rise for 20 min. At the end of the 20 min, stretch and fold 4-5 times, cover, and rise. I repeated this for 5 times today.
4. Cut portions of dough, shape with your hands (I did not use flour or a counter top for this purpose), and place the loafs on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Put stretch film over the loaves (to prevent dehydration), place the cookie sheet in a large plastic bag, and proof for 1 hour at room temperature
5. Pre-heat the oven at 375 F. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of the loaves, and bake for 30-35 min
I tried one sourdough recipe with semolina flour this time. I was worried because it did not rise as much, but the oven spring was there as well as the air bubbles in the loaf 🙂
It contained 1 cup of levain prepared from my Monster sourdough starter, 1 cup of semolina flour, 1.5 cup of bread flour, and 1 cup of water and salt as desired. Minimal kneading at first; 6 stretch and fold every 30 min or so; and resting at the fridge overnight. The next day, I left it at room temperature for 2 hours; shaped, and proofed for 1 hour 15 min; baked at a preheated oven (at 400F) in a roaster (25 min closed lid and 25 min open lid).
Taste is somehow unusual, but the crust was rich and crumb was soft and quite palatable.
As usual, immediately enjoyed with the butter 🙂
initial dough – does not look smooth and elastic 😦
after 6 stretch and fold and right before placing in the fridge for overnight rise; it has risen somehow, which is pleasing and I guess the dough structure is strong
gently spread and folded into a boule and placed in a bowl upside down. I had thought it was too small and possibly would give me another brick-like loaf (I was wrong!) 🙂
scoring right before placing it in preheated roaster and oven
thick chewy crust with soft crumb :0 I always love to see the air bubbles in the final product – somehow makes me feel accomplished 🙂
I try to bake every weekend to quench my interest in yeast and its activities, and to consume.
This week, I had planned a “left-over” bread that included the left-over green olives (they have been in my fridge for some time now) and the piece of the sourdough starter I was supposed to throw away yesterday (my starter was on its 5th day yesterday and quite a monster, I must say). Since I was inspired by a blog (which, sadly I cannot remember now), I also added poppy seeds to dough.
It was a dough that rested at the fridge over-night (I prefer this kind of dough – in my opinion it makes better breads).
Overall, the green olives were not enough and kind of got lost during the kneading/stretch and fold attempts. I do not know what to think about this now… Poppy seeds are okay and not overwhelmed the taste, which is pleasing. The dough had a slight sour taste – I am almost sure that it was not because of the starter but the olives, but I may as well be wrong. Crust was crispy while inside was soft and tasty.
I also experimented with the roaster I purchased a while ago to see whether baking bread in a container like roaster really makes a difference. I prepared two loaves from the same dough and baked one in a baking dish without a cover and another one in the roaster at the same time. In fact it does; the crust of the roaster-baked loaf was more browned and better looking. I may as well continue to bake breads in the roaster.
I seem to have shallow scoring cuts on the loafs. I will remember to make deeper cuts next time.
On a final note, parchment paper seems to be a baker’s best friend. If you do not have a roll, you may consider having one. It keeps everything clean and helps with not using vegetable oil, spray, or cornmeal that we would otherwise use in the oven dishes while baking.
1. Activate 1/2 teaspoon of dry yeast in 1.5 cups of warm water and 1 tablespoon of sugar by mixing all and resting at room temperature for 15 min (cover the bowl).
*Note that the amount of dry yeast is really low. I find that dough that rests at the fridge does not need a lot of yeast
2. When the yeast is activated, add 1/2 cup of sourdough starter, 2 cups of bread flour, 2 cups of whole wheat flour. Mix with spoon or hand and let rest at room temperature for 20 (the autolyse step)
3. Add 1/3 cup of green olives (you should add more if you are looking for an olive loaf), 1 tablespoon of salt, and 2 tablespoon of poppy seeds and knead on a clean, flour sprinkled surface for a couple of minutes to make sure the ingredients all mix.
4. take the dough in a clean, vegetable oil spread bowl (i use a pot) and let rest at room temperature for 30 min. After that do stretch-and-fold for a total of 4 times, each time with 30 min rest in between.
*this technique is supposed to eliminate the need for kneading and develop the gluten structure equally. Basically hold a corner of the dough, stretch it as far as you can and then fold it over the dough. repeat this with other corners of the dough (4-6). Turn the dough over so that the folded part lies at the bottom
**my experience with kneading is pretty conflicting. I cannot knead even though I know it would make my bread structure better. So I failed in today’s attempt too as the dough did not become a mature, elastic dough. That is why I decided to stretch-and-fold
***you will notice that over-time the dough becomes fluffy but not necessarily overly risen
5. Put in the fridge over-night. I left the dough in the fridge for a total of 12 hours and then let rest at room temperature for 2 hours
6. Take the dough out and spread over flour-sprinkled surface, degassing at the same time. Cut into two loafs, shape, and let rest on the bench for 15 min (covered)
*since the dough is not sticky, there is no need to add more flour than required
7. Re-shape if needed, cover, and proof for 1 hour 45 min at room temperature. I used a bowl to proof the round loaf and a cookie sheet for the baton/francala. Cover the loafs so that they will not dehdyrate and keep warm.
8. Pre-heat the oven to 400F (keep the roaster inside too). When the proofing is done, transfer the loafs in the oven dish (I used this for the round loaf with parchment paper at the bottom) and the pre-heated roaster.
9. Score the top of the loaf and bake for a total of 50 min; after the first 25t minute take the lid off the roaster.
activating yeast – the small amount of yeast causes a small foam 🙂
shaggy dough ready for autolyse
after the autolyse, add salt, poppy seeds, and green olives into the dough
form a nice dough ready for stretch and fold
place in a clean pot brushed with vegetable oil to keep it hydrated
after 14 hours of fridge rest. my dough has a funny shape 🙂
expand the dough on the bench and degas
cut the dough into two and shape
after the bench rest, I placed the round loaf in a bowl with a clean clothe for proofing
this loaf was proved covered with a long/deep lid of a pot; no shaper/basket was used
after the proof, the loafs have risen a little bit (but not too much). transfer the round dough upside down and score the surface
proofed baton loaf
final product; I need to score deeper
the air bubbles are very pleasing to see 🙂 (round loaf)
The Monster started to smell sour this morning and has been rising incredibly, especially after the feed today. 4 hours after the feeding today, I had to transfer it to a new, bigger jar as it had risen up to the lid and was ready to escape! :).
I could not be more excited! I hope that is what it is and it is really a sourdough starter, but not some weird micro-organismal activity.
Here is the chronicle of Monster:
Procedure: Mix in a bowl 2/3 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup filtered water with the help of a fork. Transfer into a clean jar, cover top with a piece of fabric (clean and thin enough to allow air in/out), secure the fabric with the help of an elastic band around the lid, wrap the jar with a small towel (keep the lid part uncovered by the towel), place in a shelf away from the kitchen.
*There is no need to keep the starter away from the kitchen. I just have had pest problems lately, which prompted me to keep the starter away from their active areas.
**I started the starter in the evening around 6.30 pm. I tried to feed it everyday at around the same time.
***I decided to wrap the jar with a towel because I live in a relatively cold climate.
day 1 – right after mixing the flour and water
Observations: no apparent rise, a few tinny bubbles, smells like whole wheat – nothing exciting.
Day 2 – before the feed
Procedure:Mix the starter with the help of a fork; take it out in a bowl and add 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup of water. Mix all well with the help of a fork. Cover, wrap, and rest the jar/starter at its usual place.
*I made a mistake here. I was planning to add the same amount of flour and water as Day 1 but somehow got confused and ended up with smaller amounts added.
Observations: There was a slight rise, a few large bubbles, somewhat unevenly elated surface, and no distinct smell. There was liquid accumulated at the bottom of the jar.
*slight rise was promising 🙂
Day 3 – right before the feed
Procedure: Remove 1 cup starter. Add 2/3 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup water in a bowl and mix well with fork. Add the remaining starter and mix everything. Transfer the mixture into the jar, cover, wrap, and rest as before.
Observations: There is ~0.5 cm rise in the starter – first measurable rise so far. There was no distinct smell and little, if ever, bubbles.
*I decided to take less starter out today, considering the fact that it was not flourishing. So I reduced it by 3/4 cup, rather than 1 cup.
**I forgot to take a photo before the feed today.
Procedure: Remove 3/4 cup starter out. Add 2/3 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup water, and the remaining starter in a bowl. Mix well. Transfer the mixture into the jar, cover, wrap and rest as before.
*from today on, the starter become a less runny/batter-like. I prefer this kind of starters – my feeling is that it helps the yeast flourish better.
**I removed a smaller amount of starter today, as the remaining amount did not look enough to me.
Observations: When I checked it in the morning (yes, I have a habit of checking the starter 6-7 times a day – it is very exciting! 🙂 ), it had risen 2.5 x of its original height 🙂 It also smelled sour for the first time and there were many small bubbles and a slightly uneven surface.
In the evening, it had collapsed a little bit ( I think that is because had exhausted itself – definitely it is the time to feed.)
5th day – right before the feed
Procedure: Take 1/2 cup of starter out. Add 2/3 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup of water, and the remaining starter in a bowl. Mix well. Transfer the mixture into the jar, cover, wrap and rest as before.
*I removed less starter today compared to previous days. I kind of improvise. Many people use standard measures/amounts and follow them every day, but I like to adjust things as they develop.
**I noticed that the starter does not have a smooth texture; it must be the particles in whole wheat flour that give it rather a crumby look.
Additional observations the same day (day 5):
2 hours after the feed: The starter had doubled in size. The best activity so far. No distinct sour smell yet.
5th day – 2 hours after the feed
3 hours after the feed: The starter reached the lid! Now knowing what to do, I decided to try to mix it well with a fork and hope that it would not rise till morning. No distinct sour smell yet. Forking caused the starter to go back to its size right after the feed.
Day 5 – 3 hours after the feed. Monster has reached the lid 🙂
4 hours after the feed: I was being naive – even I mixed it and it went down to its original size, the Monster did rise and reach the lid again in an hour.
Time to change the jar. I mixed the starter well with a fork, and transferred all of it into a larger jar. Repeated the usual step; cover, wrap, and rest, as before.
5th day – 4 hours after the feed
5 hours after the feed and 1 hour after moved to a bigger jar: the Monster has doubled in size. Unfortunate that I could not take a picture (battery was charging). It is such a Monster!
6 hours after the feed and 2 hours after moved to a bigger jar: boy, the Monster is at work – it has risen so much 🙂
5th day – 6 hours after the feed and 2 hours after moved to a bigger jar. It tripled in size 🙂 the blue (-5) is where it was two hours ago. Is it a Monster or what? 🙂
I cannot wait to see it tomorrow!
Day 6 (added after the post)
Observations at noon: At noon, the starter had collapsed. It smells slightly sour and seeing bubbles were very pleasing. I decided to feed it and use the left-over starter to prepare a levain for sourdough bread.
*This is the only day that I fed the starter twice – one at noon and one at evening (its regular feed time)
6th day – noon. looks like it needs some feeding…
Procedure for first feed of the day: Mix well with a fork. I took out 2/3 cups of the starter to prepare the levain. To feed the remaining starter, in a bowl add 2/3 cup whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup water to the remaining starter, mix well with a fork, and transfer back to the jar. Cover, wrap, and rest at room temperature for an additional 6 hours.
Observations prior to the second feed of the day: Six hours after the new feed, the starter had doubled and had nice bubbles. The slight sour smell was there, too. The texture is pretty stiff (i.e. not runny at all, which I kind of like).
*At that point, I decided it was time that I put it in the fridge for future use.
Procedure:Take 1 cup of starter and add 2/3 cups whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup water, mix well, and transfer into a new jar and cover with a piece of cloth. Let it rest at room temperature for 1 hour prior to placing into the fridge.
Observation -3 hours after the fridge: I was right naming this starter “Monster”. Can you believe that this starter is continuing to rise in the fridge???
I love my Monster 🙂
3 hours after in the fridge. is it normal for a starter to rise so much in the fridge?? I was right calling it Monster. I really was… 🙂
A couple of thoughts.
This was so far the most robust starter.
I am thinking a couple of things may have contributed to it:
whole wheat flour (rather than all purpose flour I had used in the earlier starters)
mixing the starter together with the fresh flour and water in a bowl (i.e. not in the jar). Not sure whether aeration (i.e. getting out of the jar) helps the starter/yeast somehow.
I also used fork rather than the spoon to mix the flour/water/starter – fork may be doing a better job than the spoon. Maybe, again in terms of aeration.
I am almost sure, even though I have no evidence for this, stiffer starters (not runny) rise faster.
I have started my 4th sour dough starter today, with 2/3 cup flour and 1/2 cup water. I mixed these with a fork in a bowl and then transferred the starter-to-be in a clean glass jar. I covered the lid with a clean and thin clothe, secured with with an elastic band, wrapped the jar with a little hand towel (only because here is colder than many other places), and put it on a shelf to rest.
I go check it time to time by lifting the clothe-lid – curiosity 🙂 I read somewhere else that it is okay as there would be some bacteria or wild yeast in my surroundings that this would help them to be captured in the flour+water mix, and thus, enhance the starter. True or not, I have no idea. My primary driver is the curiosity – is there a bubble? A rise? Some sort of smell? Something???? 🙂 🙂
Of course, it is not realistic to expect that such a young starter mix will do all of these, but, hey, I am excited 🙂
I will use whole wheat flour for this starter. My plan is to feed it everyday by first taking up around half of it and adding the same amount of flour and water as stated above, except the 2nd day when I plan to add these ingredients without taking out from the starter (to nourish it a little bit at the beginning – the wild yeast is not in great amount anyhow and cannot strive very fast). Use of fork, if you do not have a whisker, is a better idea than using a spoon to mix the flour and water together.
Anyways; this is my fourth starter attempt. Why?
I started my first one while I was on vacation – the first one, even though the weather was warmer, did not flourish well in 5 days. So I started a new one. Maybe I was impatient or it really did not work out, I do not know.
The second one was a thriver and I baked breads with it 🙂 it was a sour dough alright 🙂 Unfortunately we had to let it go right before I left home; my family does not bake breads frequently.
In both of these, I added 4-5 dry chickpeas in the mixture, slightly cracked. My sister heard that that would make a great sour dough starter. I think she was right mostly. I would recommend it to everyone. I also kept and tended to these two starters in the kitchen, which I am sure had both the wild yeast and the commercial yeast, as I was baking bread with dry yeast then, too. So, the commercial yeast would have also been captured in the starters. Would they make sour dough, too, I wonder though? if not, then I can safely conclude that they were wild yeast in my starter, as the bread I baked with was pretty sour 🙂
Then I arrived my home here and I started another one with only flour (all purpose, white flour) and water. Today was the 11th day. It was sour alright, but very very sour-smelling. The first week or so it just smelled like wheat, but nothing else. And the bubbles was not something I saw before – very lifeless looking, small bubbles. It did start to rise in the last few days, so it was telling me that the wild yeast (and bacteria) were there. But today, I decided it was time to let it go, too. I would not bake with this thin-looking starter. I need something stronger. So, here I am on Day 1 of my 4th starter 🙂
I cannot claim to be a successful sourdough maker, yet I have a couple of observations and “feelings” about the sourdough starters:
1. usually the starter rises like 1/2 of its initial height on the second day after feeding (not counting the flour and water mixed in). It makes me excited each time, as we expect a rise in sourdough starter. But it is not permanent and get lost later until it starts to rise again maybe on the 6th-10th day (which ever the first rise and large bubbles happen). I think these are the bacterial actions in the 2nd day, rather than the wild yeast activity. No need to get too excited.
2. hooch can appear on the second day on. I do not like it and prefer to throw away. Once it occurred in the middle of the starter, which I had to mix with the starter. Personal preference, that is all.
3. the denser starters seem to thrive better than batter-like starters. I do not know why, this is my feeling. If i do see that the starter is runny, I opt to add more flour than water to make it a denser one. you noticed above that I add less water than the flour (cup-wise) even though everybody is recommending a 1:1 ratio (by weight). Looks like 1 cup flour = 240 grams and 1 cup water = 236.5 grms (so almost the same weight). I found in my experience, such a ratio makes batter-like starters (which I do not like for some reason) and thus I cut the water a little bit. Again, a personal preference.
4. I must admit I did not measure my water and flour carefully in the previous trials and rather have had batter-like starters one day and denser ones next day, and so on. I know I must be more systematic and use a constant ratio all the time but this does not happen with me. Again, a personal preference.
5. As expected the starter gets more runny the next day; must be the action of the yeast and bacteria in the flour/water/starter. Just an observation. I guess it makes sense as even a dense dough after the first rise or the proof gets softer/more hydrated than the initial dough.
6. checking the starter for rising or bubbles is a very exciting activity. When I see them, I feel like I accomplished something and feeling pretty happy and excited about my life 🙂
Anyways, let’s see how this 4th sourdough starter adventure of mine will develop 🙂