Sourdough Starter

Theory In a Glance

Sourdough is one of the oldest natural yeast in the world, long before manufactured yeast era. The idea is to nurture wild yeast at your own house, by fermenting a mixture of flour and liquid.

The next question is, where does the yeast come from? This nurtured yeast has different genus from the manufactured one. The yeast is naturally present on the wheat plant. This explained the need to use whole flour in the first 3 days of nurturing sourdough starter. Whole flour undergo less manufacturing process in the mill. But off course, there were also some people whose suceeded using white flour and yogurt. In the process, we are also trapped small amount of wild yeast in the air. That’s why every starter is unique, they’ll taste and smell different, depends on the ingredients and environment. The most famous sourdough starter in the world comes from San Fransisco, US.

Another question arise, if the mixture of flour and liquid sit in a room temperature for days, do they got rotten? Beside yeast, sourdough starter also contains lactobacilli. Together they creates simbiosis which develop natural leavening and distinctive aroma in bread. Lactobacilli prevents the growing of unwanted bacterias because of its acidity. The final result – sourdough bread – also has longer shelf life in room temperature comparing to normal bread. The acidity also supress the alcohol level which is a by product of the fermentation process, prevents it becoming khamr. We could conclude that this natural yeast is save for Moslem.

How does this dynamic duo – yeast and lactobacilli – worked? Lactobacilli break the complex carbohidrate in the flour into simple sugar. Yeast is fed with this sugar, which produces large amount of tiny carbon dioxide bubbles, causing bread dough to expand beautifully.

Natural yeast has several health benefits, such as :
1.  It breaks unwanted enzymes in wheat, maximize its nutrition from vitamins and minerals.
2.  Turning wheat into more digestive food and prevent high blood pressure. Natural yeast contains prebiotik and probiotik.
3.  Lactobacilli has multivitamins B1 – B12 because the yeast produces oxygen which is good for your blood cells.
4.  Sourdough Microfloras have amino acid, without protein that forms gluten.
5.  It has the ability to transform phytic acid in wheat into natural antioxydant agent.
6.  Bread with natural yeast is slowly digested, causing people to feel full longer. Slow fermentation produces organic acid that could decreased your Glicemic Index (GI) in bread (2004, Emerging Food Research & Development Research). This GI remain the same even until your next meal (2009, University of Guelph, Ontario).
7.  Natural yeast is claimed be able to cure heartburn and acid reflux desease.

Beside health benefits, the usage of natural yeast is practical and a lot cheaper, because you could nurtured it for hundred of years.  

How To Make Sourdough Starter, Step by Step    

If you google, there’s a lot of methods to nurture a starter. I tried twice. First time I used wholewheat flour and fresh pineapple juice. Second attempt I used wholewheat flour and water.

First I’ve decided to use Debra Winkk’s method (food microbiologist). Her hypothesis is : fresh pineapple juice has the right PH, prevent the existance of unwanted bacteria (Leuconostoc) in the early stage of nurturing. This could cut down the length of time needed. I consider my first project is a sucess, harvesting once, used it to make beautiful rustic loaf. Until the incident happen, I accidentally neglect PJ (yes, I name it) until he got moldy. Sadly, I had to let him go to the sink…

I than undergo the next project. This time I used water, name him Walter. I try to jot the details here. Please remember that we need art as well as science in this process, so time is not rigid. Let’s start with just a small amount of mixture…

Tools :
Measuring spoon (or kitchen scale)
Spoon for stirring
Glass jar with lid, cleaned, rinse with hot water.
** If the weather is extremely hot, store your starter in an aircon room or refrigerator (door section). Because I worked outside for 12 hours, I stored Walter inside fridge. Take him out at night and placed him in an aircon room.

Day 1

15 gr wholewheat flour
15 ml water
Put all in a jar. Stir. Loosely cover the lid. Store on the kitchen counter.
Usually there was no sign of activity in this 24 hour.

Day 2

15 gr wholewheat flour
15 ml water
Stir the starter. Put all of the ingredients in the jar. Stir. Loosely cover the lid. Store on the kitchen counter.
Two – four hours after feeding, Walter shows bubbles. At the end of day 2, he even doubled.

image

Day 3

15 gr wholewheat flour
15 ml water
Stir the starter. Put all of the ingredients in a jar. Stir. Loosely cover the lid. Store on the kitchen counter.
The activity remains the same, the bubbles are more vigorous. There’s a yucky smell, I know this is the sign of Leuconostoc. It didn’t happen with PJ. Sometime people had misperception with this stage, they thought their starter expand because of the yeast. They quickly harvest and made bread out of it. But unfortunately it’s the Leuconostoc that produces bubbles, not yeast. The yeast is still dormant, sleeping until your starter gets to the right PH for them to grow. But do not worry, we will remove the bad bacteria within time.
The next days I will use ratio between Starter (S) : Water (W) : Flour (F). I have decided to use 100% hydration on every feeding.

Day 4 –  Day 5

S:W:F = 2:1:1

A.M
30 gr starter
15 gr high protein flour
15 gr water
P.M
15 gr high protein flour
15 gr water
I name this upcoming stage as a “cleaning stage”. In this stage the diet is already changed into white flour. Take 30 gr of starter, discard the rest. Prepare another clean jar. Put the starter, flour and water. Stir. Loosely cover the lid. Store on the kitchen counter. Feed the starter in the next 12 hours with the same amount of flour and water. Repeat this step in day 5.
Walter didn’t show much activity. Still waiting, sometime milimetering. Hooch (liquid on the surface) appears once in a while. I discard it using clean spoon. This is a sign that Walter is hungry, so I fed him. This is normal, don’t worry. The alert signs are strong fragrant (like acetone) and pink furry mold on the surface. If your starter shows these signs, sadly you should start a new one. Like my late PJ…

Day 6 – Day 7

S:W:F = 1:1:1

A.M
15 gr starter
15 gr high protein flour
15 gr water
P.M
15 gr high protein flour
15 gr water
Take 15 gr of starter, discard the rest. Prepare another clean jar. Put the starter, flour and water. Stir. Loosely cover the lid. Store on the kitchen counter. Feed the starter in the next 12 hours with the same amount of flour and water. Repeat this step in day 7.
Walter is awake. The yucky smell is much decreasing.

Day 8 – Day 9

S:W:F = 1:2:2

A.M
15 gr starter
30 gr high protein flour
30 gr water
P.M
30 gr high protein flour
30 gr water
Take 15 gr of starter, discard the rest. Prepare another clean jar. Put the starter, flour and water. Stir. Loosely cover the lid. Store on the kitchen counter. Feed the starter in the next 12 hours with the same amount of flour and water. Repeat this step in day 9.
Walter is starving easily, so I increased the diet. He is up and ready. Doubled, even tripled. The aroma changed into a nice yeast smell, with a slightly sour twang. Finally it’s time to harvest. I’ve succeded in raising him. I could use him to make bread from now on. Just store him in the fridge, feed and use or discard every 5 days.

image

How To Use Your Starter
   
Read the recipe, focus on the flour. Replace instant yeast with your starter. The amount is 35% – 40% of the flour. For example, if the recipe need 435 gr of flour, the starter is 35% x 435 gr = 152 gr (150 gr).
Take your starter out of the fridge. Bring it to room temp. Take 30 gr of starter, put it in a clean bowl. Add 60 gr of bread flour and 60 gr of water, stir. That way you will have 150 gr of total starter. Mix the starter with the rest of the ingredients. Ferment the dough 8 – 10 hours. Remember, natural yeast is not as agressive as instant yeast.
Every time you took some of the starter for baking, don’t forget to save a small amount, feed it, than put it back to the fridge for later time use.

Source :
King Arthur Flour
The Fresh Loaf
Yumarama
Caleb Warnock

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s