Sourdough (rec.food.sourdough) Discussing the hobby or craft of baking with sourdough. We are not just a recipe group, Our charter is to discuss the care, feeding, and breeding of yeasts and lactobacilli that make up sourdough cultures.

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Old 12-09-2006, 02:43 PM posted to rec.food.sourdough
WRK WRK is offline
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Hi Jeff:

If you ever get bored or have the initiative perhaps you could re-borrow a
portion of the start you gave to your friend. Since she is close, perhaps
one grown to its second (or third) stage and nearly ready for bread making
(plus another mother). It would be interesting to see if you get tangy
bread from it following your normal recipe. Moreover, how long the new
mother continues to be so after coming home with you.

{I have heard that cultures can drift, too. In contrast, I have heard that
they are stable and do not change -- many are hundreds and some purported to
be thousands of years old. Finally, I have heard that there is a small
probability that the indigenous microbiology is heartier in certain
conditions than that in some cultures and thus can get a foothold. I have
read mention of evolution where the culture adapts to its food source and
environmental conditions. I don't know what is true. Yet, I have also
heard (and believe) that the techniques of the baker and the environmental
variables, temperature, humidity, proofing times, etc. are hugely
responsible.}

Ray

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jeff Miller"
To: "'A ported usenet news group'"
Sent: Monday, September 11, 2006 10:42 PM
Subject: yeast/bacteria balance


My understanding has always been that no matter where the culutre came
from,
within a couple of months, your local microflora will take over in your
starter. If that's true, then that would explain why your cultures change
their flavor characteristics.

Is this true? Or am I repeating a sourdough urban legend here?

Sure seems true. My starter has always had a very, very mild flavor unless
I
work the Dickens out of it by keeping it stiff and doing two long, slow
bulk
rises before the final proof. However, when I gave some to a friend of
mine
who lives just 6 miles away (though it's not near the river, like me, but
is
instead at a higher elevation near a wetland), within three months, she
had
super tangy bread. And I know she's not doing anything differently from
me.
I taught her how to make bread, myself.




--
Jeff Miller

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Old 12-09-2006, 04:40 PM posted to rec.food.sourdough
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WRK wrote:

Yet, I have also
heard (and believe) that the techniques of the baker and the environmental
variables, temperature, humidity, proofing times, etc. are hugely
responsible.}


Nearly everything that one can post about this is anecdotal, given
we're not busy with electron microscopes and RNA smears. Here's my two
cents.

Cultures stored in the refrigerator tend to be milder. I suspect this
is so because the yeast side of the population mix is more tolerant of
lower temperatures and also its growth rate is stronger below 85 F
than LBs. So when you refresh the culture from cold storage... what
grows first? Yeasts. When you return the room temp. culture to the
refrigerator what stops growing first? LBs. It is logical that over
time, with repeated cycles, the yeast side will dominate the stater.

My answer to this has been to store starter as a small dough ball. And
I keep it in the cellar, not the refrigerator. The dis-advantage to
dough ball storage is that at refreshment time, you have to break the
ball up into little pieces and rehydrate. OTOH... nothing (especially
the water) is starting off at 38 F. so there is less opportunity for
the yeasts to get a head start. When I put the culture away, a spoonful
is kneaded with flour back into a dough-ball. This dehydrates the
culture (but does not dry it) and drastically slows the subsequent
growth rate.

My starters are maintained on freshly ground white wheat berries... but
red wheat or rye works equally well. And they make either sour or mild
bread depending on the inoculation ratio and the temperature employed
for dough building.

An aside... if your bread is milder than you like... try adding a small
amount, like 80 grams, of cooked barley or oat mush to the sponge
stage. I specify oats or barley since the outer seed hulls are removed
before sale, and the remaining inner ones are soft. Moreover... after
cooking this remaining hull is largely reduced to mucilage. It will not
interfere with your rise or crumb. What you are doing is boosting
maltose (Google saccarification). This enhances the souring
possibilities.

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Old 12-09-2006, 05:24 PM posted to rec.food.sourdough
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If you do it like I do it, namely by totally refreshing a small amount
of starter for each bake, and allowing plenty of time for the rise,
approximately the same balance will be achieved for each bread
batch. It matters very little what was started with, as long as it
had the right living organisms in it.

You can futz around with the starter culture as much as you like,
and unless you are baking it directly, or eating it raw, it changes
nothing.

--
Dicky
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Old 13-09-2006, 01:45 AM posted to rec.food.sourdough
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Hi Will:

Thank you for a helpful and informative reply. Unfortunately, in Florida we
seldom have cellars g.

Yet, within your reply I am interested in the growth rates of the yeast and
LB's. I have perused some of the information on the growth curves including
the Michael G. Gänzle, Michaela Ehmann, and Walter P. Hammes' study
(http://www.pubmedcentral.gov/article...i?artid=106434 -- not that I
would pretend to understand most of it but I get the drift that 85F is a
good compromise temperature to encourage growth for both the LB's and
yeast.).

Coincidently, I have been looking at the Detmold 3-Stage Process discussed
on Samartha's site (http://samartha.net/SD/procedures/DM3/index.html ). I
note that (if I am reading it correctly) his starter hydration varies from
140 in Stage 1 down to 66 at stage 2, then back to 90 at Stage 3.

While the Detmold 3-Stage Process is for use with rye breads, does
hydration have any affect on either LB or yeast growth rates in wheat
breads? That is, is there any difference in LB/ yeast growth rates in a
150% or 200% hydration culture versus a 50% to 60% hydration culture, or
even less at the same ambient temperature?

Are you storing your cultures in dough balls simply as an effort to level
the growth rate playing field between the LB's and yeast, or is the
extremely low hydration a factor? I have read anecdotally that bread made
with a chef (meaning a lump of old dough, in case I am using the terminology
wrong) are more ______ {choose one or mo sour, complex, assertive, tangy,
etc.}. I have never tried it, but it seems that is close to what you are
doing.

So far, I did not find, except perhaps an indirect reference by Dick A in a
post, where varying hydration during starter development has been discussed.
I inferred from that post (Dick A's) that normal sourdough hydration
percentages did not have any significant effect on growth rates. However,
there was no mention of hydrations in the 150% to 200% range nor in
extremely low hydration rates.

Again, thanks to you and everyone else for some very helpful information.

Regards,

Ray

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Old 13-09-2006, 03:22 AM posted to rec.food.sourdough
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WRK wrote:
Hi Will:

Thank you for a helpful and informative reply. Unfortunately, in Florida we
seldom have cellars g.


That was certainly true the last time I was there g. I did note a
prevalence of wine coolers though. That will work. The game plan is to
keep the dough ball starter at about 50-60 F.

Yet, within your reply I am interested in the growth rates of the yeast and
LB's. I have perused some of the information on the growth curves including
the Michael G. Gänzle, Michaela Ehmann, and Walter P. Hammes' study
(http://www.pubmedcentral.gov/article...i?artid=106434 -- not that I
would pretend to understand most of it but I get the drift that 85F is a
good compromise temperature to encourage growth for both the LB's and
yeast.).


The Ganzle material takes some time. There's a lot there. Different
pieces become clearer as various baking issues present themselves. You
might also look at the Ganzle/Wing discussion that Samartha has copied
as well. It covers a lot of the same ground... but is less dense.

While the Detmold 3-Stage Process is for use with rye breads, does
hydration have any affect on either LB or yeast growth rates in wheat
breads? That is, is there any difference in LB/ yeast growth rates in a
150% or 200% hydration culture versus a 50% to 60% hydration culture, or
even less at the same ambient temperature?


In general the more water, the quicker the fermentation. The Detmold
process is also managing ionic balance. This affects pH and acid
loads.

Are you storing your cultures in dough balls simply as an effort to level
the growth rate playing field between the LB's and yeast, or is the
extremely low hydration a factor? I have read anecdotally that bread made
with a chef (meaning a lump of old dough, in case I am using the terminology
wrong) are more ______ {choose one or mo sour, complex, assertive, tangy,
etc.}. I have never tried it, but it seems that is close to what you are
doing.


I started the dough-balls because I was tired of hooch. It simply
seemed like a cleaner way to go. And I kept them in the refrigerator.
At the time I was running 5 starters, using two a week. So the down
time for any particular starter was 2.5 weeks. By moving to dough-balls
I eliminated the water trap effect. I was also building and discarding
starters frequently and noticed that they would start "sharp" when new
but become mild over time. I knew that big bakeries like Acme in S.F.
did not refrigerate starter, they used it 24/7 and they maintained it
in expensive bio-reactor style fermenters. Since it seemed logical to
move from the refrigerator, I moved the dough-balls to the cellar. The
senescence stopped. They stayed sharp. It is not exactly like the old
dough technique. If you are interested in that, Jeffrey Hamelman uses
preferments extensively throughout his book. My starter dough balls are
very small, no bigger than a ping pong ball. Dick Adams alluded to
starter build size earlier in the thread. Staying very small, 20--40
grams, and building each time is key to healthy starter and balanced
microbe populations.

So far, I did not find, except perhaps an indirect reference by Dick A in a
post, where varying hydration during starter development has been discussed.
I inferred from that post (Dick A's) that normal sourdough hydration
percentages did not have any significant effect on growth rates. However,
there was no mention of hydrations in the 150% to 200% range nor in
extremely low hydration rates.


You will find hydration covered in the Ganzle/Wing material. I think
the most important single variable however is inoculation percentage.
That is an art. My practice now is to build small, thick sponges from
very small amounts of starter. So I'm using about half my total water
for the sponge. I complete the balance when I build the dough. That way
the acid never gets away from me, it's well buffered in the sponge and
it's well diluted going into the dough.



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Old 17-09-2006, 07:17 PM posted to rec.food.sourdough
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Dick Adams wrote:
You can futz around with the starter culture as much as you like,
and unless you are baking it directly, or eating it raw, it changes
nothing.

--
Dicky


Dicky I'm surprised to hear you say that. Maybe I'm not understanding
your intention. But Since being inspired by your methods I've been able
to make much better bread, by changing the way I feed the starter and
then the dough.

Are you talking about (futz around) where you store and how you store
the starter?

Jim

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Old 17-09-2006, 08:47 PM posted to rec.food.sourdough
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TG wrote:
Are you talking about (futz around) where you store and how you store
the starter?


Having read Dick's posts for years, I'll try to share how I interpret
his attitude on this issue. Dick is not always terribly straightforward.

Dick seems to feel that many people obsess over the starter. He calls
it "startermuckery." People who collect dozens of cultures - but use
them so infrequently that they can't tell the difference between them,
or really know how this culture should be handled.

In the end, unless you are a microbiologist, it's not about the starter,
it's about the bread. The starter is just the way you get there.

Are starters different? Sure. Does it really matter? Usually, no.

Spending too much time messing with the starter is usually a waste of
time. Instead, you would be better served by making bread

Mike

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Old 18-09-2006, 04:12 AM posted to rec.food.sourdough
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"TG" wrote in message ups.com...

Are you talking about (futz around) where you store and how you store
the starter?


Thinner, thicker; warmer, cooler; longer, shorter; English, not-English,
glass, ceramic; capped, not capped, stirred, shook, sat, etc.

Etc., etc., ...

Not to say that some day, some resourceful starter diddler, will not
succeed to reinvent this particular wheel in some small and possibly
interesting way.

However, a good sourdough fermentation will always start with the
amplification of yeast activity, and end by waiting for the flavors and
acidity to develop.

Or I will eat my oven mitt.

That's not to mention rye sourdough. There one must be respectful,
though remaining always suspicious, of the extensively-reported
procedural complexities. (Heck, if anybody could make real rye
sourdough bread, what would we do with all of these picturesque
old-world bakers?)

--
Dicky
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Old 18-09-2006, 11:12 AM posted to rec.food.sourdough
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Dick Adams wrote:
"TG"wrote in:
Are you talking about (futz around) where you store and how you store
the starter?


Thinner, thicker; warmer, cooler; longer, shorter; English, not-English,
glass, ceramic; capped, not capped, stirred, shook, sat, etc.

--
Dicky


Okay Dicky,

I think we talking at odds here, I think we agree but getting the wrong
end of the stick.

You're not saying that you can take an old unfed starter out of the
fridge and make great bread with it are you?

Because that would be the same kind of thinking that says an English
starter is better than an American.

If the qualities of the bread are inherent to the starter then it
doesn't matter what you do to it, it will always be good. If the
qualities are not inherent, and nothing can have inherent qualities,
then it does matter what you do to it. Which bits matter most or not at
all is the only thing worth considering. I know from your methods in
your instructions doc that you think what you do to the starter as far
as feeding goes matters. Otherwise why would you suggest a feeding
regime.

My experience tells me that feeding matters. I agree with you that
folks going on about their crock, and their 'active' starter they just
got in the post is annoying. Because it is the kind of thinking that
posits inherent qualities on some or all parts of the starter process.
It's just ignorance. But you can't chuck the whole thing out and say
nothing matters at all, that's just the other side of exactly the same
coin.

Jim

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Old 18-09-2006, 03:39 PM posted to rec.food.sourdough
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Mike Avery wrote:
TG wrote:
Are you talking about (futz around) where you store and how you store
the starter?


Having read Dick's posts for years, I'll try to share how I interpret
his attitude on this issue. Dick is not always terribly straightforward.

Dick seems to feel that many people obsess over the starter. He calls
it "startermuckery." People who collect dozens of cultures - but use
them so infrequently that they can't tell the difference between them,
or really know how this culture should be handled.

In the end, unless you are a microbiologist, it's not about the starter,
it's about the bread. The starter is just the way you get there.

Are starters different? Sure. Does it really matter? Usually, no.

Spending too much time messing with the starter is usually a waste of
time. Instead, you would be better served by making bread

Mike



Hi MIke,

I agree that obsessing over a starter, having countless starters and
obsessing over the container for the starter is pointless.

There is a small minority here that automatically assumes that everyone
else is utterly ignorant. Ignorant at a fundamental level about how
things are not just some of the time but all of the time. The irony is
that they have thrown the baby out with the bath water and hold the
exact same view only in reverse, the other side of that exact same
coin, as it were. In refuting the permanent and inherent they have
become equally ignorant nihilists.

I realise that these days there's a growing majority that think that
all things are inherent and yet by contradiction think they are created
by some being a few thousand years ago. But not everyone thinks in
these terms and not all that follow a 'religion' think in these terms.
Moreover there are many so called intellectuals who at a deep level
think in these terms but profess otherwise. The important thing to
remember though is you cannot assume just because someone hasn't been
making sourdough for fifty years that they are utterly and
fundamentally ignorant about how things exist.

Does having countless starters, experimenting with your starters, mean
you are stupid or curious? How is one, new to sourdough, supposed to
know what is truth and what is 'old husband tales' if one doesn't check
out a few things for oneself? Checking things out is quite smart in my
book.

I can fully appreciate Dicky's frustration when he has gone to so much
effort to share information with people to have it thrown back in his
face or just thrown aside along with the rubbish. But If one is really
interested in sharing good information one has to be consistent. One
has to be respected by many.

I remember having a discusion with Samartha he seemed only intent on
'winning' the discussion taking it so far that he contradicted what
he'd said earlier. A new person writes off that so called teacher
straight away as untrustworthy.

You say 'would be better served by making bread'. Isn't treating your
starter properly not part of the process of making bread? And with all
the crap about how else is someone new to sourdough supposed to get to
who is telling the truth without some personal investigation? When you
don't know anyone at all in the 'community' who do you ask to get the
answers you can rely on. Who can you ask 'who is a good person to ask'.
The majority of people these days prefer to put their trust in charm
rather than reason. I respect Dicky for cocking a snook at this. But he
goes too far.

We aren't born with total knowledge of all things. We have to learn.
Some do want to learn. Despite whatever I might say, I always have an
open mind and love to be proved wrong. How else does one learn new
things? You know, if people just came here and followed exactly what ,
say, you suggest Mike, they would be equally guilty of all the things
that Dicky seems to be having a pop at. It's only by testing and
investigation of the 'teacher' that you can then say, 'well, I don't
understand why, but he says it's right so I'll do what he says and then
perhaps I'll come to understand later'. It's taken me a few years to
cut through all, or at least some of the crap and know what matters and
who else knows what matters. I know Dicky is one of these few that
knows, and there's a few others. But since it's this ignorance that
annoys Dicky, wouldn't getting rid of the ignorance by not giving so
many contradictory replies serve this better. If you see Dicky's
'confounding of newbies' as being without some error on Dicky's part
then surely that, with all respect, makes him no more than a troll as
some profess.

I come here with the motivation to help, to learn and hopefully to
dispel some of that deep seated ignorance. It's the ignorance about how
things are that is the real problem not enquiry or holding some bad
information.
Jim



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Old 18-09-2006, 07:24 PM posted to rec.food.sourdough
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TG wrote:
I know Dicky is one of these few that
knows, and there's a few others. But since it's this ignorance that
annoys Dicky, wouldn't getting rid of the ignorance by not giving so
many contradictory replies serve this better. If you see Dicky's
'confounding of newbies' as being without some error on Dicky's part
then surely that, with all respect, makes him no more than a troll as
some profess.


I dunno TG... after you've been reading here for a while and some lulu
writes (yet again):

"My starter has been sitting in the back of the refrigerator for the
last 6 months and now it's got some brown stuff on top of it. Does
anybody know what this is? What should I do? Thanx."

I always pray for Dicky to help them G.

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Will wrote:
...
I dunno TG... after you've been reading here for a while and some lulu
writes (yet again):

"My starter has been sitting in the back of the refrigerator for the
last 6 months and now it's got some brown stuff on top of it. Does
anybody know what this is? What should I do? Thanx."

I always pray for Dicky to help them G.


Yeah you're right. I know. lol, I thought that might weaken my case a
bit though. lol. Well you can't let him get too big headed. : -)
Thanks Will.

TG



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