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 15-10-2003, 01:24 AM
Kenneth
 
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Default Help with dead liquid starter needed!

On Tue, 14 Oct 2003 20:01:06 -0400, Don Hellen
wrote:

I haven't made any sourdough bread for
much longer than that, and my liquid starter seems to be
beyond revival.


Hi Don,

I would not give up on it just yet...

Try this (there is little to lose):

Take a small amount of your "dead" starter, say a tablespoon full, and
put it in a container. To that, add about a half cup of flour, and a
half cup of water. Mix it up, and put it aside in a reasonably warm
place for a day or two.

Watch it for signs of fermentation (bubbles, increased volume etc.)

If it comes alive, repeat the process, that is, take a spoon full of
this mixture, toss the rest, and add more flour and water as above.

If it revives, and is fermenting strongly, you can then put it back in
the dilute state you prefer.

The process of very diluted feedings that I have described is called
"washing" and has brought back some starters that I had thought were
long gone.

HTH,

--
Kenneth

If you email... Please remove the "SPAMLESS."

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Old 15-10-2003, 07:53 AM
Bob
 
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Default Help with dead liquid starter needed!

On Tue, 14 Oct 2003 20:24:46 -0400, Kenneth
wrote:

I haven't made any sourdough bread for
much longer than that, and my liquid starter seems to be
beyond revival.


Take a small amount of your "dead" starter, say a tablespoon full, and
put it in a container. To that, add about a half cup of flour, and a
half cup of water. Mix it up, and put it aside in a reasonably warm
place for a day or two.


Watch it for signs of fermentation (bubbles, increased volume etc.)


If it comes alive, repeat the process, that is, take a spoon full of
this mixture, toss the rest, and add more flour and water as above.


If it revives, and is fermenting strongly, you can then put it back in
the dilute state you prefer.


The process of very diluted feedings that I have described is called
"washing" and has brought back some starters that I had thought were
long gone.


Just out of curiosity, how do you know that you have actually revived
the old starter and not begun a new starter from the flour-water
mixture?

IOW, if a starter is really dead, how can it be rejuvinated by any
means?

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Old 15-10-2003, 08:45 AM
Samartha Deva
 
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Default Help with dead liquid starter needed!

Bob wrote:

Just out of curiosity, how do you know that you have actually revived
the old starter and not begun a new starter from the flour-water
mixture?


The same way that people "catch" the organisms from the air or use
baker's yeast, grapes, potatoes, sugar and lasagna, sometimes with
drums, chanting or at certain moon phases when the birches sprout to get
a starter (I am not going to bring up the virgin stuff here, but it is
said to be still happening somewhere in France). It all works, that's
the magic.

IOW, if a starter is really dead, how can it be rejuvinated by any
means?


It can, you just read the right book or web site and it works.

And, besides - as long as the resulting starter does it's job, what's it
to you to know exactly what is growing and how - either old or new?

You just gotta loosen up about it and it falls in place. Once you can
revive a starter which has mushrooms or orange mold growing and take
pictures before and after, you are a hero.

There are reasons for this to happen the way it happens but you are
smart enough to search this out yourself and once you figured it out,
you can start resting cases en masse. Just remember to start new threads
every now and then to keep them shorter. It's a real pain to look for
something interesting based on the subject line and then it's endless
blah (I am not saying that this happened here recently, because I did
not read everything - just a general experience when looking for
something with a search engine).

Now, the yeast added when growing a new starter has several functions.
One important one is to show instant success. With a normal starter
birth, without yeast, it takes a bit longer and can be slow. With
baker's yeast, there is almost immediate action which is good for
impatient people which can't wait very long and it makes good party
talk.

Baker's yeast cannot take the vinegar produced from sourdough LB's and
dies away within three generations (or refresh's), that's been
researched. There are several ideas about it. One is that it is futile
to add yeast and some people don't like yeast anyway because they are
allergic. But it can compete initially for resources and prevent the
"real" sourdough organisms from establishing for a while.

The other idea is that the yeasts will die and their bodies are welcome
for the nutritionally demanding LB's to gorge themselves on and grow
fat. The fat LB's story I keep for later.

Maybe you get some ideas out of this.

Samartha





--
remove -nospam from my email address, if there is one
SD page is the http://samartha.net/SD/
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Old 15-10-2003, 01:21 PM
Charles Perry
 
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Default Help with dead liquid starter needed!



Kenneth wrote:

Speed of recovery...


The speed of the recovery is greatly helped by good Karma in the kitchen
and the good will of the Bread Faeries.

Regards,

Charles

--
Charles Perry
Reply to:

** A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand **




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Old 15-10-2003, 02:44 PM
Bob
 
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Default Help with dead liquid starter needed!

On Wed, 15 Oct 2003 01:45:11 -0600, Samartha Deva
wrote:

With a normal starter
birth, without yeast, it takes a bit longer and can be slow.


I tried to get a rye-water mix (50-50 by volume) going based on the
technique written up on your website. I thought I might have succeeded
- I saw what looked like tiny bubbles after about 24 hours - but alas
it was a shoo shoo(*) after 48 hours. I covered the mixture to avoid
"catching" anything.

As an expedient I used some "Pillsbury Medium Rye Flour". I am waiting
until I sort all this out before I make a trip to the health food
store. The ambient temp was 80F, which should have been warm enough.

This is the second time I tried to get a rye starter going. The second
time I added an equal amount of bread flour (and water) to the rye
mixture after 24 hours thinking it was starting based on what I
thought were bubbles. But even that second kind of flour would not
start.

Baker's yeast cannot take the vinegar produced from sourdough LB's and
dies away within three generations (or refresh's), that's been
researched.


Hmm... that's an important thing to know.

As a public service in the spirit of trying to keep the local pedants
at bay, I point out that you are attempting to co-join two
incompatible entities in your sentence, viz, "baker's yeast" and
"sourdough". According to one "expert", you must use the term
"olddough" if it has anything to do with baker's yeast.

So in the interest of harmony on these bread forums I ask your
indulgence as I post the pedantically-correct phraseology:

"Baker's yeast cannot take the vinegar produced from olddough LB's and
dies away within three generations (or refresh's), that's been
researched."

There, now it's technically accurate and we won't have to put up with
any pedants - for now anyway.

Maybe you get some ideas out of this.


I am getting all sorts of ideas. What I want, however, is some
successes. I am disappointed that the rye starter did not work because
I truly want to make a genuine sourdough - none of that "olddough"
crap for me.

Maybe I need to expose it to the air inside my house after all. I have
done that with yeast-based starters. However, I believe the baker's
yeast in those starters overwhelmed any thingies in the air. Without
yeast, those thingies, being part of the air of Houston, could produce
diesel fuel for all I know.

---

(*) shoo shoo - quaint New Orleans expression for a firecracker that
did not explode. It comes from the fact that such a firecracker
usually makes a sound resembling "shoo shoo". In its generic use it
means anything that ends up a dud.

Next time, I will try to work "lagniappe" into a sentence.


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Old 15-10-2003, 02:45 PM
Bob
 
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Default Help with dead liquid starter needed!

On Wed, 15 Oct 2003 12:21:39 GMT, Charles Perry
wrote:

Speed of recovery...


The speed of the recovery is greatly helped by good Karma in the kitchen
and the good will of the Bread Faeries.


You left out the thingies floating in the air. Or are those what you
refer to as Bread Faeries?


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Old 15-10-2003, 05:25 PM
Rod & BJ
 
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Default Help with dead liquid starter needed!


"Bob"
This is the second time I tried to get a rye starter going. The second
time I added an equal amount of bread flour (and water) to the rye
mixture after 24 hours thinking it was starting based on what I
thought were bubbles. But even that second kind of flour would not
start.


Were you using treated tap water? Presumably some locales leave enough
chlorine in the water to inhibit new culture wannabes. Simply boiling it or
letting it sit out for 24 hours allows remaining chlorine to dissipate.
Soggy




Baker's yeast cannot take the vinegar produced from sourdough LB's and
dies away within three generations (or refresh's), that's been
researched.


Hmm... that's an important thing to know.

As a public service in the spirit of trying to keep the local pedants
at bay, I point out that you are attempting to co-join two
incompatible entities in your sentence, viz, "baker's yeast" and
"sourdough". According to one "expert", you must use the term
"olddough" if it has anything to do with baker's yeast.

So in the interest of harmony on these bread forums I ask your
indulgence as I post the pedantically-correct phraseology:

"Baker's yeast cannot take the vinegar produced from olddough LB's and
dies away within three generations (or refresh's), that's been
researched."

There, now it's technically accurate and we won't have to put up with
any pedants - for now anyway.

Maybe you get some ideas out of this.


I am getting all sorts of ideas. What I want, however, is some
successes. I am disappointed that the rye starter did not work because
I truly want to make a genuine sourdough - none of that "olddough"
crap for me.

Maybe I need to expose it to the air inside my house after all. I have
done that with yeast-based starters. However, I believe the baker's
yeast in those starters overwhelmed any thingies in the air. Without
yeast, those thingies, being part of the air of Houston, could produce
diesel fuel for all I know.

---

(*) shoo shoo - quaint New Orleans expression for a firecracker that
did not explode. It comes from the fact that such a firecracker
usually makes a sound resembling "shoo shoo". In its generic use it
means anything that ends up a dud.

Next time, I will try to work "lagniappe" into a sentence.




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Old 15-10-2003, 06:32 PM
Bob
 
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Default Help with dead liquid starter needed!

On Wed, 15 Oct 2003 09:25:51 -0700, "Rod & BJ"
wrote:

This is the second time I tried to get a rye starter going. The second
time I added an equal amount of bread flour (and water) to the rye
mixture after 24 hours thinking it was starting based on what I
thought were bubbles. But even that second kind of flour would not
start.


Were you using treated tap water? Presumably some locales leave enough
chlorine in the water to inhibit new culture wannabes. Simply boiling it or
letting it sit out for 24 hours allows remaining chlorine to dissipate.


I have a GE activated charcoal filtration system on the cold water
side of the sink. The water that comes thru that system appears to be
reasonably free from chlorine, at least to the taste and smell.

I could try distilled water if you think that is what is causing my
problem. Or maybe I need to get "full grain rye flour" as the recipe
indicated. I plan to go to the health food store tomorrow so I may
pick up a bag.

The rye flour I am using does not indicate if it has been treated.
That may be the problem - the natural yeasts were killed off in some
manner.


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Old 15-10-2003, 07:12 PM
Bob
 
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Default Help with dead liquid starter needed!

On 15 Oct 2003 17:39:53 GMT, Ignoramus4027
wrote:

In article , Bob wrote:
I have a GE activated charcoal filtration system on the cold water
side of the sink. The water that comes thru that system appears to be
reasonably free from chlorine, at least to the taste and smell.


and where do you think the chlorine goes?


Are you saying that my filter is not getting rid of chlorine? The
advertisements claim that it will remove chlorine. But then who really
believes ads.

In any event if it is the water that is contributing to the problem, I
can easily solve that with a 50 cent gallon bottle of distilled water.
In fact that is probably a good practice for working with any kind of
starter, even those employing baker's yeast.

I learn something useful every day on these forums.



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Old 15-10-2003, 08:28 PM
Bob
 
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Default Help with dead liquid starter needed!

On 15 Oct 2003 18:35:52 GMT, Ignoramus4027
wrote:

I merely asked a question. If tons of chlorinated water pass through
the filter, then where does the chlorine go. I have no specific
knowledge of your filter, I just find it surprising if it could
"remove" chlorine.


I am afraid that is one of those existential mysteries of life. For
all I know the activated charcoal traps it. Or the filter converts it
to something that attaches itself to the other crud in the water.
Unfiltered Houston water is rich in everything known to man that can
be found in water. You can use it untreated to nourish your worm farm.


To really remove chlorine, boil the water or just let it stand in an
open container for a while.


I am afraid that is not good enough for Houston water. You still have
to put it thru a charcoal filter.

just boil water if you feel conscious or you have too much chlorine in
it... I do not but that's because I am lazy. 4-5 minutes per loaf is
all I can handle.


I think I will just buy that gallon jug of distilled water for 50
cents.

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Old 15-10-2003, 10:10 PM
Rod & BJ
 
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Default Help with dead liquid starter needed!


"Bob"

I could try distilled water if you think that is what is causing my
problem.


I'd think the filter would suffice but using distilled , boiled etc. removes
one variable easily

Or maybe I need to get "full grain rye flour" as the recipe
indicated. I plan to go to the health food store tomorrow so I may
pick up a bag.

The rye flour I am using does not indicate if it has been treated.
That may be the problem - the natural yeasts were killed off in some
manner.


Always a possibility.....starting your own always has a bit of trial and
error. A good argument for trying Carls or another established
culture....But its a kick to do your own, my current starter was started
with a dark rye almost 4 years ago(quite happy with it). Both the rye
(subsequently fed with white flour) and a cracked wheat started out with a
lot more vigor than a previous attempt with bleached white. Soggy


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Old 15-10-2003, 10:29 PM
Bob
 
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Default Help with dead liquid starter needed!

On Wed, 15 Oct 2003 14:10:17 -0700, "Rod & BJ"
wrote:

my current starter was started
with a dark rye almost 4 years ago(quite happy with it). Both the rye
(subsequently fed with white flour) and a cracked wheat started out with a
lot more vigor than a previous attempt with bleached white.


Then dark rye and distilled water it is. I will get these components
tomorrow when I am out, so I will have to wait until Friday morning to
see if I get results.

The product I have in mind is:

Bobs Red Mill
FLOUR,OG,DARK RYE
Ingredients: Ground dark rye.
$2.39 for 22 oz.

That should do the trick since I won't be using more than 1/2 cup per
attempt.

I am concerned that if I wait too long for the starter to begin
fermenting that the reason there is any activity is caused by a
foreign pathogen. Samartha recommends 10-12 hours and expresses
concern if it takes longer.

How long did you have to wait before you got noticable fermentation?
Did you cover your original starter? I plan to cover mine just to make
sure something does not drop by unexpectedly.

I also plan to convert the starter to white flour after the rye flour
goes thru one rise and fall.


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Old 15-10-2003, 11:55 PM
Rod & BJ
 
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Default Help with dead liquid starter needed!


"Bob"
I am concerned that if I wait too long for the starter to begin
fermenting that the reason there is any activity is caused by a
foreign pathogen. Samartha recommends 10-12 hours and expresses
concern if it takes longer.
How long did you have to wait before you got noticable fermentation?


I'm a little fuzzy on the time....its almost 4 years and I was still rather
ill at the time but its seems like it showed activity within a day or two.
10-12hrs seems kind of short but I do recall being impressed with the speed
and vigor it showed but previous to that I had used white flour and I think
3-5 days was considered normal for activity. I'm not sure a fear of a
"foreign pathogen" is really a justifiable concern.....I would think molds
etc. are quite evident by color, possibly smell and/or appearance. Not to
mention baking temps of eventual bread would kill most if not all creepy
crawlies. It does or can take weeks or longer to get a stable predicable
culture and just because you get a viable culture is no guarantee you'll
like the flavor or characteristics

Did you cover your original starter? I plan to cover mine just to make
sure something does not drop by unexpectedly.


I loosely covered mine with plastic.....I presently use a Saran quick cover

I also plan to convert the starter to white flour after the rye flour
goes thru one rise and fall.


I do or did as well.....Soggy


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Old 16-10-2003, 02:29 AM
Bob
 
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Default Help with dead liquid starter needed!

On Wed, 15 Oct 2003 15:55:16 -0700, "Rod & BJ"
wrote:

and just because you get a viable culture is no guarantee you'll
like the flavor or characteristics


I am a bit concerned about that.

If you begin with the same ingredients and work in the same
environment, don't you expect roughly the same result?

Or are there other critters at work here?

Did you cover your original starter? I plan to cover mine just to make
sure something does not drop by unexpectedly.


I loosely covered mine with plastic.....I presently use a Saran quick cover


Then the likelihood of airborne critters is greatly lessened.



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