43

This is not true anymore, and modern recipes omit that part. Back then, when silverware was made either from silver or pre-stainless-steel-alloys the acid in sourdough (and other foods*) would interact with the metal and corrode/color the metal and/or spoil the food. So put your sourdough in your (stainless steel) mixing bowl and knead it in your kitchen ...


23

Hydration numbers aren't that meaningful by themselves -- whether an 80% hydration level can produce a high-rising free-form loaf will depend on a lot on the types of flours or grains that are used. (Usually, 80% hydration is most appropriate for flatter or roughly shaped breads: ciabatta, focaccia, pizza dough, rustic baguettes, etc.) With the specific ...


20

I don't think you're doing anything wrong, I think the dough is just more slack than you're used to. As @Jay noted, it can take some practice to work with a wet dough. But once you do, you'll be rewarded with a much more open crumb and a better final product. In my experience, I've found wetter dough and higher oven temps = better artisan bread (in ...


18

If it is turning to "slime", losing shape, and becoming sticky again, you are probably not building enough strength in the dough. First, I would try the same recipe, holding back 50 - 100 g of the water. Work with a slightly lower hydration until you get the feel for things. Then, make sure your initial kneading/stretch and fold takes at least 8-10 ...


17

Sure, you can begin a new sour dough starter with the discard from a feeding. However, the reason for discarding isn't simply to reduce the amount. As your starter matures it also becomes much more acidic. Acidity is problematic for yeast and bacterial activity and, ultimately, the rise and flavor of your final product. So, you discard during feeding time ...


15

Absolutely you can. When you use the starter to make bread you make an arbitrary decision of which part of the starter you use and which to feed, the part you scoop out is just as viable as the part you keep. When you discard some instead of using it the same rule applies, so all you need to do is put some in a container and feed it the same way. You can ...


13

The hint is in the name, sourdough. Per the University of Wisconsin Extension: Properly prepared starters are safe because they become acidic due to the fermentation action of lactic acid-forming bacteria present in the mixture. These bacteria and the acid environment formed inhibit the growth of other bacteria, but do allow yeast, if added, to ...


12

(1) One critical element that hasn't been emphasized in answers so far is that the microorganisms that establish your starter mostly come from the flour not the air. The idea that the creation of a starter involves "catching wild yeast from the air" is commonly repeated in many, many books and resources, but I'd be interested if anyone has ever seen a ...


12

You might want to try a desem starter. Have a look at the desem primer, which is also linked on the Wikipedia page. Starter instructions are given toward the end. Common lore says that desem starter should never get above 65F, which sounds perfect for your situation. (It's actually fine if it gets warmer than that, though.) Traditional conditions for ...


12

Absent a definitive answer here, I'm going to take a stab at this based on some experience I had with difficult sourdough starters. Note that I make a lot of sourdough items but do not do any kind of multi-stage prefeeding ritual. Sourdough is a culture of multiple types of bacteria and wild yeast. Sometimes wild yeasts do not reproduce rapidly or produce ...


11

Sourdough is a combination of yeast (which provide rising power) and bacteria (which make the starter sour and keep other nasty things from growing in it). New starters will usually establish strong bacteria growth long before they get strong yeast growth. The bacteria growth will start within the first couple days, which will make your starter begin to ...


11

The short answer is yes, sourdough breads are generally more resistant to fungus due to the fermentation process of the sourdough starter. The reasons for this are only now becoming understood. This study from the Journal of Applied and Environmental Microbiology says: Sourdough is different from traditional bread because it takes an extra fermentation ...


10

Note: This answer goes in a bit more detail than necessary to answer the question. If you truly only care about the hydration, please only read "Water/flour ratio" and "Flavor of the bread". I have added the other information as well since the effects are similar to that of a change in hydration. I've frequently baked (about once to twice a week) with ...


10

That is referred to as "hooch". It is water and alcohol. It forms when the yeast has passed its peak activity. I've noticed that it corresponds with the increase of bacterial activity when the starter gets more sour. The hooch will not form when you are feeding regularly. It is harmless and can be discarded or mixed back in. Sourdough is a balancing act. ...


10

I'm going to work on the assumption that your dough is fully worked and at the right hydration level. If your dough is losing shape it's possible it's too high hydration or you haven't develop the gluten enough. Gluten development uses water so lowers the free water in the dough. Keep in mind that if you are just getting into sourdough and high hydration the ...


9

At the beginning, you are throwing out a lot because you are just feeding the culture. You're just seeding the growth medium (fresh flour and water) with the young culture, so you want to be sure that the ratio of food to culture is appropriate. Once the culture is established, you don't have to throw out any, but you do have to keep feeding it. This ...


9

Short answer: YES, a sourdough culture can change when moved to a different location. But the amount and types of shifts are unpredictable, and other factors (feeding schedule and regimen, kitchen conditions like temperature, nutrients from flour, etc.) can also cause significant changes. Also, environmental conditions can include not only microorganisms ...


9

As you have already intuited in your question, what you do to adjust is going to vary based on the ingredient, and how much of that ingredient you add to the bread. I can try to address some of the specific cases you mention: Walnuts This generally should not be a problem with adjusting hydration, other ingredients, or cooking times, although if you add ...


9

Treat it like any liquid. You don't need much. Just put some in a 100 ml plastic bottle if carrying on. Alternately, if checking your bags, put your starter in a larger plastic container with a screw cap...like a Nalgene bottle, for example. You can build it back up once you get to your destination.


9

If you don't want to transport liquid (= active) sourdough because you don't want to risk it to spill out of your container, note that you can either mix some of it with more flour than usual until you get a dryish crumbly mass that can be stored in a plastic box or bag or spread a thin layer on parchment and dry it. Break up the "sheet" and store it in a ...


9

Filtering water may not remove all or even any of the chlorine in your water, it depends upon the filter. Chlorine is the bane of sourdough starter's very existence. In 2017, Nashville tested the free chlorine (the chlorine 'left' in water after it has done its job of killing nasties in the water treatment facilities and the pipes on the way to your home) ...


8

You can easily replace the liquid in most bread recipes with beer. This can have a very pronounced effect on your final dough as there is a lot more chemical and biological fun happening in beer than there is in water. In my experience, the dough with beer will usually rise faster than a similar dough with water. Generally, the flavor difference won't be ...


8

Lactic acid bacteria reproduce more rapidly in a wet culture and acetic acid bacteria produce more rapidly in a dry culture, so the hydration will change the flavor of your bread by controlling which organisms it is most favorable to. Beyond that, wet starters usually rise faster and dry starters rise slower, so people often use dryer cultures if they know ...


8

Sourdough starters are rarely completely ruined, unless you're growing significant amounts of mold or something. It is possible that your refrigerated "break" early in establishing your starter ended up hurting the yeast population and accidentally selected for something else (perhaps undesirable bacteria) that is now growing and creating odd odors. It's ...


8

Starters are typically maintained at 100% hydration. That means equal parts water and flour. So, in your case, mix equal parts water and flour. Measure 1 cup of that, and add it to your mix. Of course, this will mean that all of your starter is gone. Alternately, feed your starter (equal parts water and flour) with more than you need, and let it sit on ...


8

I would discard this batch, carefully clean everything and start over. If you truly mixed well in the beginning, then the fluffy bits are probably mold and the black spots are somewhat fishy as well. After only 24 hours, you won’t have a strong culture going under that top layer and the mold problem will likely continue. Remember that a sourdough means that ...


8

It's hard to say exactly what went wrong, I've worked with plenty of high hydration doughs and sourdoughs so I have a few ideas though. I can see from your picture that you did get yeast action in your dough, with lots of holes and good structure, so you did something right, probably most of it. Shape Firstly, whole wheat flour absorbs more water than ...


7

Instead of using more flour when handling the dough is to use oil. For wet doughs, I coat my hands and work surface with a little olive oil. Any oil that does end up in the dough is not enough to alter the recipe and your dough stays moist. Be sure to only use a little oil, though, as too much will keep your dough from readily sticking to itself when ...


7

If you've truly gone anaerobic and the smell is off, you are growing things other than the intended cultures... As a rule, I simply feed mine flour and water. No sugar. The cultures can get along fine with the flour. (I did read in a reputable baking book about adding leftover water from boiling potatoes, for the starches, but I haven't had a chance to try.)...


7

This question involves a lot of sub-questions that don't have simple answers, so this response is a bit long. From my experience producing dozens of starters from scratch over the years, I have to disagree with some of the details given in the other answer. There are two goals in the early days of a starter: Produce an environment hospitable to the ...


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