Wild Yeast Sour Dough Starter

Discussion in 'Bread' started by sjm1027, Jun 16, 2018.

  1. sjm1027

    sjm1027 Member

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    I am new to Baking Forums. I love to bake and eat good bread. About 4 day ago I read an article about making wild yeast sour dough started. It takes 5 days before you can use it. I am on day 4 of feeding the starter and will be making my first loaf on tomorrow.
    Has anyone here ever used a wild yeast starter and does the taste vary or uncontrolled because it's wild yeast and not a starter that I could buy from King Arthur Flour? Does anyone know what the difference is between wild yeast starter and a sour dough starter that you could bet from a baking company? Can you make a more controlled tasting starter if you used regular store bought yeast?

    Sorry for all the questions on my first post.
    Steve
     
    sjm1027, Jun 16, 2018
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  2. sjm1027

    Becky Administrator

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    Welcome to the forum Steve, great to have you here! :)

    I've not made a sourdough started myself, but I have friends who have done it. It seemed to be quite a long process between making the starter and perfecting the end result. The first loaves he got were quite dense, but they got better over time. Here in the UK I haven't seen branded sourdough starters to buy, if you want to make sourdough you have to make your own.

    I looked up the ingredients for the King Arthur starter and it is just their enriched flour and water. If it were me I'd just make it myself ;)
     
    Becky, Jun 16, 2018
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  3. sjm1027

    sjm1027 Member

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    I agree with you Becky. I tasted a very little bit on day 4 as they suggested in the instructions and boy was it sour and musty. Exactly as it should be. I plan to make a loaf of bread for Father's Day. Then I will start to read about bagel making and try my hand in that.
     
    sjm1027, Jun 16, 2018
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  4. sjm1027

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Hello and welcome.
    The simple answer to your questions is there is no difference between a starter you would purchase and a starter you cultivate using your own flour. Here’s why.

    The term “wild yeast“ is completely misleading. It implies capturing airborne yeast. But that is not the case. Yeast and bacteria is on the wheat. The wheat is milled into flour. The yeast and bacteria is already in the sack of flour.

    Sourdough starter is a result of the yeasts and bacteria, lactobacilli. The yeasts and lactobacilli live in a symbiotic relationship. It’s not the yeast, but the addition of lactobacilli that makes the difference. Without lactobacilli there is no sourdough. Yeast alone does not make sourdough.

    When water is added to the flour the lactobacilli converts the starch into sugars for food. In consuming the sugars the lactobacilli expels lactic and acetic acids. The level of acetic acid gives sourdough the tang.

    The acidic environment causes the demise of other microbes. But the strains of yeast that are in flour thrive in the acidic environment.

    Lactobacilli main food source is maltose. Most strains of yeast consume maltose. But the bread friendly yeast in flour is unique in that it does not. So the yeast and lactobacilli do not compete for the same food source. This allows the lactobacilli and yeast to exist in harmony.

    There’s no difference between the yeast starter you would purchase and the starter you are cultivating using your own flour. In fact, purchased starters are a scam.

    With each feeding you remove half of the starter. You replace the amount discarded with fresh flour and water. You introduce the bacteria, yeast, and other microbes that are in your flour into the starter, while removing the microbes from the original starter.

    Within a few feedings you have completely replaced the original starter with your brand of flour and local water.

    Since the yeast and bacteria is already in the flour, its the brand of flour used that determines flavor.

    Factors such as frequency of feedings, humidity, and temperature influence the level of bacteria. That in turn changes the flavor.

    For instance if you want a bread with a pronounced tangy flavor, you need more acetic acid. So you reduce the amount of water with each feeding, reduce the feedings to allow some hooch, which is acetic acid, to develop, then mix some of the hooch back into the starter.

    For a less tangy bread such as a panettone, you increase the feedings to four hour intervals over several days. The increased turnover of fresh flour and water lowers the acetic acid level by remove a lot of the lactobacilli population and existing acid in the starter.

    Link to a good blog on bread

    https://www.theperfectloaf.com/beginners-sourdough-bread/
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jun 16, 2018
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  5. sjm1027

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    When you start your research on bagels, read up on baking baking soda— no that’s not a typo, I mean to take baking soda put it in the oven and bake it. This article will explain why. I think cooks illustrated also has an article on baking baking soda for use as a alkaline solution for bagels and pretzels.

    https://mobile.nytimes.com/2010/09/15/dining/15curious.html
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jun 16, 2018
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  6. sjm1027

    sjm1027 Member

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    On no, so I made my sour dough bread this morning. Everything went well. I heated the oven to 75 degrees and let the dough sit with a towel over it. It’s been 7 hours now and no signs of rising. I only have one thought that it could be.
    I have a Viking Mixer and it has a stainless steel bowl. I know when I was making my starter the instructions said to use plastic or glass. Once I used the dough hook today I kept the sour dough in that stainless steel mixing bowl all day. Could it be that?
    Does anyone have any idea how I can salvage what I have right now?

    Thanks,
    Steve
     
    sjm1027, Jun 16, 2018
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  7. sjm1027

    sjm1027 Member

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    Thank you very much for explaining that to me. You certenly know your stuff. I have a lot to learn and I see this is the place to find expert advice. This will give me something to read tonight.

    Steve
     
    sjm1027, Jun 16, 2018
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  8. sjm1027

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Hello Steve, sorry to hear of your dough did not rise. The metal has nothing to do with it. The reason you use plastic or glass for your sourdough starter is the high acid level will damage certain types of metals, such as aluminum.

    To help you troubleshoot I’ll need some information.

    1. What type of flour is in your starter?

    2. Is the flour used in your starter bleached or unbleached?

    3. Was your starter fully doubling in size every day for several days before you mixed your bread dough?

    4. Are you using a scale to weigh out the starter to discard and flour and water for each feeding?

    5. What type of flour are you using for the main dough? Is the flour bleached or unbleached?

    6. What is the recipe for the bread, include all ingredients including the weight/amount of sourdough starter?

    Just an aside, it’s better to place the dough in a bowl, then place the bowl in a large plastic bag. Then very loosely close the bag. Place in an off oven with the oven light on. The oven light provides plenty enough heat for the dough to rise. By covering the bowl in plastic you create a humid environment that encourages yeast development.

    The only time you would need to turn your oven on is if it’s extremely cold in the kitchen and the oven walls are very chilled. Even then you would turn the oven on for one minute then shut it off. Turn the oven light on.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jun 17, 2018
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  9. sjm1027

    sjm1027 Member

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    thanks for your help, see answers below

    To help you troubleshoot I’ll need some information.

    1. What type of flour is in your starter?
    King Arthur all purpose flour

    2. Is the flour used in your starter bleached or unbleached?
    Unbleashed

    3. Was your starter fully doubling in size every day for several days before you mixed your bread dough?
    Yes, lots of activity and doubled daily

    4. Are you using a scale to weigh out the starter to discard and flour and water for each feeding?
    Yes added 4 oz flour and water daily

    5. What type of flour are you using for the main dough? Is the flour bleached or unbleached?
    Same flour was used unbleached

    6. What is the recipe for the bread, include all ingredients including the weight/amount of sourdough starter?
    3 cups flour
    3/4 cup starter
    2 cups warm water at 90 degrees
    Teaspoon salt


    Just an aside, it’s better to place the dough in a bowl, then place the bowl in a large plastic bag. Then very loosely close the bag. Place in an off oven with the oven light on. The oven light provides plenty enough heat for the dough to rise. By covering the bowl in plastic you create a humid environment that encourages yeast development.

    I’ll try that next time. I used a dish towel

    The only time you would need to turn your oven on is if it’s extremely cold in the kitchen and the oven walls are very chilled. Even then you would turn the oven on for one minute then shut it off. Turn the oven light on.
    I turned the oven on for 20 seconds it was around 75 to 80 degrees


    Thanks for your help. I put it in the oven just now just to see what happens
     
    sjm1027, Jun 17, 2018
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  10. sjm1027

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Overall your process looks really good Steve. I think the problem is with your recipe and the method of measurement.

    What jumps out is the hydration.

    Depending on how you measured your flour, 3 cups = 360g - 420g.

    2 cups of water would be 480g if you used a standard 8 oz liquid measuring cup.

    480g water / 360g flour =1.33
    480g water / 420 flour = 1.14

    You have more than 100% hydration based on the water in the main dough alone. That doesn’t include the 100% hydration starter you added. That is way too much water for all purpose flours. The only flour that can take 100% hydration is whole wheat. And it maxes out at about 1.05.

    The gluten structure completely breaks down when there is too much water.

    With all purpose flour, .80 hydration is about as high as you want to go. Even then, that’s a lot of hydration for a flour with 11.7% protein content. With King Arthur AP flour, .75 hydration might be better.

    It might help to understand a little bit about gluten structure. Gluten doesn’t actually exist in flour. Rather there is the “potential” for gluten. The potential is based on two water soluble proteins: glutenin and gliadin.

    When you introduce water you introduce hydrogen molecules; the hydrogen molecules allows the two proteins to bond. When they bond they then create the gluten structure. The tighter the bond the stronger the dough.

    However if there’s a saturation of hydrogen molecules present, there is no room for the two proteins to bond. So the gluten structure doesn’t happen. No gluten structure, no rise.

    There’s a few fundamental things you can do in your bread baking to help you achieve success.

    1. Use weight measures for everything from feeding your starter to mixing your dough. Volume measurement is the most in accurate way to bake. Ratios are critical in baking. You need to be able to calculate your ratio of water to flour. Volume measurement does not allow you to do that.

    2. Test your starter before you bake. Simply take a big teaspoon full of starter and drop it in a glass of water. If it floats it has enough captured air to raise dough. Sometimes a starter can look full and active but still not be strong enough to rise dough.

    3. Take your dough temperature. The colder the dough the longer it will take to rise. Conversely if your dough is too warm from the mixing, it may damage the yeast and the dough may never rise. Ideally after mixing you want your dough to be around 70°F.

    Sterilize the probe of your instant read thermometer to avoid introducing any bad microbes into the dough.

    4. As I mentioned earlier place the dough in a large plastic bag and loosely secure. Then place in an off oven with the oven light on.

    5. To monitor the temperature in the off oven place an instant read thermometer or an in oven probe thermometer on a tray next to the dough.

    6. Where commercial package yeast works in an hour, bread made with a starter takes about 8 hrs to fully rise. So give it time.

    Hope this is helpful. Happy baking.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jun 17, 2018
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  11. sjm1027

    sjm1027 Member

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    You were correct in saying it was more than 100% hydration. It was very wet and sticky. Smelled great and actually tasted very good but very dense.
    Thanks for the great explanation I have learned quite a bit. I do have an instant thermometer and will start taking dough temps going forward. The loaf looked awful. I couldn’t score the top because it was so wet and got blowouts on the sides. Both sides look exactly the same. I was surprised to see I had holes on yer bread so there was some fermentation going on. I will keep you informed on my second loaf for sure. Here is a picture showing the cracked side.

    http://s464.photobucket.com/user/sj...-452F-94E9-3654DB5D3E1C_zpsz8kbg6tz.jpeg.html

    Thanks Steve
     
    sjm1027, Jun 17, 2018
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  12. sjm1027

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    I’m soooo glad you’re not discouraged. Baking is all science, so there is a learning curve. And even with experienced bakers, we work a recipe multiple times to get the results we want.

    Baking in a loaf pan changes the hydration requirements as well. You will need to be closer to .50 hydration. Below is a link to a King Arthur Flour sourdough sandwich loaf.

    When baking in a pan, it creates greater density of the dough as the pan keeps the dough from spreading.

    The sides of the pan against the dough reduced surface exposure, and insulates the dough from direct heat. These two factors slows the rate of heat absorption and moisture evaporation.

    To produce the proper rise you need lower hydration.

    This KAF recipe calls for bread flour in the main dough. As a general rule the higher protein bread flour is a better choice for bread. But you can use all purpose flour for this recipe given the low hydration level.


    https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/sourdough-sandwich-bread-recipe
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jun 17, 2018
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