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Sourdough?

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by OFADAN, Dec 26, 2009.

  1. OFADAN

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

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    Okay, Gunner and Will from the Costco wheat thread got me to thinking 'bout getting some sourdough started and experiment with.

    I don't know "nuth'n" about this so I'm going to ask a bunch of ignorant questions and hopefully my NWF brothers & sisters can get me on track...

    Once I get a batch of sourdough started (I found this website as a place to begin my learning journey) http://www.io.com/~sjohn/sour.htm and hopefully this guy knows what he is talking about...

    It is my understanding you only pull a portion of the starter and use it in a bread recipe. However this fella on this sourdough website sez to dump the entire starter into the recipe.

    Can someone straighten me out - do I have to make a new starter each time I bake a loaf of bread or can I just use a portion? If so, how much is adequate to get the dough started?
     
  2. willseeker

    willseeker N. Portland. Well-Known Member

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    You do not use all the starter! Use about 1/4 to 1/2 a cup per loaf of bread and then replace what you used with equal amounts of water and flour. This will keep the starter active.

    I make enough dough for about 6 to 8 loaves at a time. With that much dough I use about two to three cups of sourdough starter. Refrigerated this dough will keep for up to two weeks.

    Great book for easy artisan style bread is:
    "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day"
    by: Hertzberg and Francois, I got it at Bobs Red Mill in Millwuakee.

    Will
     
  3. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    It takes only a tiny amount of starter to do the job as it is a living organism and it multiplies very quickly. However, the more starter you use, the faster it rises (works) to where you can use it. Room temp is best for working the new batch for cooking.

    If your starter is old (hasn't been used for a while even if refrigerated) it will be very sour. Now you want to freshen it for flavor. You can do this by simply putting a very small amount of it in a larger amount of flour and water and letting it work until it bubbles up. Alternatively if you need to bake "now," you can put a tiny amount in your main mix and just allow extra time for it to work ('rise,' or 'bubble up')

    I've only seen people put all of their starter in the new batch, let it rise, and then reserve a little of it for starter before beginning to add other ingredients or (heaven forbid) baking it. I'm a bit paranoid so I still reserve a tiny amount of my starter in case I make a mistake.

    This method of using the starter and reserving some after rising gives you really fresh starter every time and that's the sole purpose of that method. Again, old starter is still usable but very sour and must have the extra step of freshening. Fresh starter can be used as is.

    You can tell if it's sour by tasting it. It won't hurt you. It also gets a liquid on top - a brackish sour stuff - when it's old. It's all good to use for freshening though. Just stir it good and use a very small amount in fresh flour and water.

    HTH
     
  4. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    Wasn't meaning to contradict you at all - your method works great. I was typing while you posted and didn't see your post. :thumbup:
     
  5. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    BTW, don't keep your starter in a sealed container such as a jar with a tight lid. It can explode the jar. Don't ask me how I know. :)

    I keep mine in a Tupperware juice pitcher with the lid pushed on not too tightly. If there were a problem, it could push the lid off. It's about 1/4 full.

    Please also allow me to bring to this thread the idea of owning at least 3 pieces of antique cast iron cookware - a skillet, a pot with a lid and hanging handle, and a teapot for keeping some hot water going all of the time. This is for use over a fire. Again, the new stuff in the stores is junk. It's rough and the metal's no good. Get some heirloom stuff. Get Grandma's stuff.

    You can make flapjacks, biscuits and other things in the skillet, and bake bread in that pot if needed, or a dutch oven is great too.
     
  6. OFADAN

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

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    You guys rock! Thanks. I'll get the two books - the sourdough Jack book on Amazon and the Bread in Five Minutes a day to launch my process.

    So to get started just mix a cup of warm water and a cup of non-bleached or all-purpose flour into a container. Secure the lid (does it need to be tight or allow some air?). The put this mixture in a warm 70-80 degree area and feed it in 24 hours.

    So far correct guys?
     
  7. willseeker

    willseeker N. Portland. Well-Known Member

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    Dan, you were probably posting when Gunner wrote: "do not store starter in a tighly sealed container". The yeast is eating and expelling gas :psorry couldn't help it...just as in any fermentation and will explode if not allowed to breathe.

    I use glass or food grade ceramic for my starter and dough as I don't trust some plastics anymore.

    Yes, room temperature water and I've heard you talk about purified water before, so I assume you will not use tap water. It has chlorine and flourides and ...well don't use it.

    Will
     
  8. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    NOOOOO!!! NOT Amazon. Those guys want a fortune for Sourdough Jack's. I see that book on Ebay for $5.00 pretty regularly. Just watch for a deal. Ebay link :thumbup:
     
  9. aflineman

    aflineman Both South of Eugene and East of Portland. Active Member

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  10. Silver Fox

    Silver Fox Puyallup, WA Well-Known Member

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    Gunner, funny thing as I am driving home this morning, I thinking of all the old cast iron cookware my mom has hanging on her walls, most have been in the family when they came up the Applegate trail, and how usefule those items could be again and what their replacement value would be. Compared to the made in china junk now, the stuff is irreplaceable. I think I am about to inherit a gold mine (no mom isn't dying anytime soon) in cast iron.

    SF-
     
  11. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    Yep. My Mom still has it all including the one with the impressions of corn in it, the teapot, a one gallon hand cranked cream churn, skillets, pots - the whole deal. When I was really little we lived in the sticks around here and she cooked on a wood stove. We had a phone and electricity and a refrigerator and all, just not an electric stove. We got that new electric range when I was about five, but I remember the wood stove and the shed full of wood. That old house is still being lived in by someone.

    Oh, we had a wringer washer and clothes lines on the back porch.
     
  12. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    Yep, not real sourdough. The idea of having to add milk which you might not have, and refrigerate it which you might not have, and the other ingredients and handling rules it out for me. I'm thinking of the real sourdough starter that was in use by people who had nothing but some flour, sugar and salt and water. Sometimes they didn't have the sugar or salt.

    Sometimes that sourdough got cooked on a flat rock next to a fire. Hey, if you're hungry... :)

    They would add extra flour to the starter to make a lump for easy transporting on the horse, and away they'd go.
     
  13. OFADAN

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys! Gunner, got the old cast iron situation under control. That is all I cook on either Griswold or Wagner only - no modern stuff for me.

    Will, on the water situation, I do have chlorinated water running to the house but I installed a commerical filter on it that is suppose to remove all (read most) the chlorine. I'll let it stand 30 to 60 minutes also to remove any residual water "just in case."

    So I'm assuming once the starter is in a sustained mode of only needing feeding once or twice a week. Oh and as I understand "feeding" means remove half the starter and add half new water and new flour. Correct?

    The starter then does not need refrigeration if I don't have any available. I'm assuming this is how our forefathers/mothers did it? Is this correct? The refrigeration is a "nice to have" but not a "need to have"...is this correct?

    Gotcha on the ebay...I'll go a looking there. Thanks for the link.
     
  14. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    While we have refrigeration, it lasts longer without freshening yes. However the old timers did fine without it.

    If my starter was really old and sour I'd just put a tiny dab in fresh flour and water to freshen. I don't like a sour flavor but you might. I rate "San Francisco Sour Dough" loaves in the store (those round ones) as about 4 on a scale of 1-10 for sour. They're fine.

    If you use really fresh (freshened) starter and just let your bread work overnight on the counter, it won't be sour at all imho. You'll need to experiment to see what degree of sour you like, and treat your starter accordingly. You can get your baked goods really sour and some people love it that way. It's not really sour in a strict sense - just try it. It's so subjective and personal. It's like "how much garlic do you like in your pasta sauce?" :)
     
  15. willseeker

    willseeker N. Portland. Well-Known Member

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    You can feed the starter daily, as it will consume most of the flour and water in one day. If you feed once a week, all it will do is go dormant until the next feeding.

    You don't have to mix with half again. If you use one cup of starter for your recipe, replace the starter with 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup flour. The darn thing is pretty hardy and forgiving. Hard to mess up.

    My starter is on the kitchen counter. No refrigeration needed.
     
  16. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. Old timers didn't have refrigeration. I refrigerate mine to slow down the feeding only, because I use it in spurts. I get on a kick and use it a lot, and then don't use it for several months. Then I have to freshen it.
     
  17. willseeker

    willseeker N. Portland. Well-Known Member

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    :thumbup:
     
  18. OFADAN

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

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    Oh this is just neater than heck...thanks guys.
     
  19. aflineman

    aflineman Both South of Eugene and East of Portland. Active Member

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    It is nice for folks who don't know much about sourdough and are just starting out. If you forget to feed it, it will still be good for awhile. A good sourdough needs to be used and fed everyday, something many folks don't have the time nor inclination for.
    I go through stages where I will make a starter and have bread and other goods everyday, then life gets in the way and I find I have not been taking care of my starter like I should. This one works for me in times like that.
    Speaking of starter, I guess I should make a real one for now. Looks like I will have time on my hands for the foreseeable future.
     
  20. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    You can leave real sourdough starter alone in the refer for at least a year or two and it will still be good, but you'll have to freshen it. It's a living organism and you just need a microscopic amount of the organism to inoculate a fresh batch of flour and water. Granted it may take 3 days at room temp to bring the new batch back to cooking strength, but when you do it will be as good as new.

    I've had my starter for about 30 years. We got the idea from friends who used it and we liked the baked goods. I've never stopped using it, but I go off and on with it.

    You only need to feed it every day if you need a new batch every day for cooking. Every time you use it, you use 1/2 of what you have for your new baking batch, and add that 1/2 back as flour and water and you'll have new sourdough overnight. If it gets real old and sour, you don't do that. You use all fresh flour and water and a dab of starter to inoculate it.

    Here's Sourdough Jack's instructions. Remember, at first he's talking about using the tiny dab of starter which was included with his book. This would be the same as freshening a really old sponge with a tiny dab for inoculation.


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