Your Questions About Sourdough Starter Feeding

Carol asks…

Does anything chemically happen when you put sugar and milk in a bag for 10 days?

Any chemical cooking reactions that happen when you put sugar, flour, and milk in a ziploc plastic bag for ten days? You also take out the air. Someone gave me this as a starter for some bogus “amish” bread. I know it’s not for rising because rising bacteria requires oxygen. Didn’t know if there was any sense to this madness.

sourdough answers:

Theoretically, the sucrose (sugar) and the lactose (milk sugar) would ferment and create alcohol, which would feed the wild yeast you are trying to ‘catch’ in the air around us.

However-do not use milk. Mix flour, water, and a little sugar. Leave open to the air till it starts to bubble and smells sour (do not seal in a bag. Yeast cannot survive without air. They are living plants (not bacteria).

This is the starter you use if baking without commercial yeast. Also known as ‘sourdough yeast’. Pioneers didn’t have a local supermarket to run to if they wanted bread, or even baking yeast. They had to use this air born yeast.

There are a number of recipes for the use of this yeast. Amish bread, herman bread, and of course sourdough.

This is not madness (except for the milk and ziplock bag). It has been used for eons.

Laura asks…

If I don’t plan on using my sourdough starter for a couple of days or a week is it best to refigerate it?

Or is it best to pour some off and feed it daily? Once my starter is strong and going does it still need to be kept in a warm place.

sourdough answers:

Alaska– once your starter is strong and doing well you can leave it in the frig. Just take it out of the frig. Feed it and leave siting
on the counter top or in Alaska maby a warmer place for 12 hours before you use it.
If you use the starter once a week this will work fine. I have a starter in my frig. And this the way I handle it.
Hope this helps you I know it will save you time and ingredients. Jim b

Linda asks…

can i use sour dough starter plus yeast?

never gotten lucky with the sour dough, i made a starter, but i guess it got too dry with adding too much flour, can i use yeast as well in the bread and just use the starter for sour taste?

sourdough answers:

Add more liquid and let it rest. Have you fed your starter today?
Sourdough Starter

Yeast Starter:
1 pkg. Active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups warm water
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbs. Granulated sugar or honey

Sprinkle the yeast over the first amount of warm water and sugar, stir and let set 10 mins. Add second amount of warm water and flour, beat until smooth, cover with a cheesecloth and let set in a warm place for several days ,stirring several times per day.

When ready the starter should have a sour smell with small bubbles gently rising to the surface. The whole precess will take from 5 to 10 days depending to some extent on the time of year. Place in a jar and refrigerate.

For each cup of starter used, add 3/4 cup of warm water , 3/4 cup of flour , 1 tsp. Of sugar or honey and stir well. Cover loosely and allow to set at room temp. For AT LEAST one day. Refrigerate.

FEEDING: If starter is not used regularly stir in a tsp. Of honey or sugar about every 10 days.

Maria asks…

How do I store a sourdough starter?

sourdough answers:

Sourdough is best stored at room temperature or slightly warmer. Anything outside of this range will change the proportions of the bacteria and yeast, which affects the flavor of the result. It can be safely stored in the fridge, but temperatures over 80F are too hot. If you store your starter in the fridge, then let it sit out several hours after feeding before returning it to the refrigerator. This allows the yeasts to get active and feed. The temperature in the fridge is enough to slow down the yeast, but not the lacto-bacteria. So after a while your starter will begin to smell boozy and have a sharper tang to it than you might want. To fix this, just dump out 90% and start the feeding cycle again.

Long-term storage can be done by drying some starter, causing the yeast to go dormant. Exactly how long yeast can be stored this way varies, but it is enough for trading starters.

Lizzie asks…

Fat content in sourdough and grape starters?

So I’m doing my school’s final project and am researching about the differences in nutritional value between bread made using a sourdough starter and a grape starter. I used Carl Griffith’s Oregon Trail sourdough starter, and I made the grape starter by soaking some grapes in a mixture of honey and water until it fermented, and then strained the liquid and mixed in some flour, feeding it every day until I got a starter. After the results from the lab came out, it turned out that the bread from the sourdough had more fat in it than the one from the grape starter. I didn’t use any fat in making the bread, just flour, water, and the starter. Does anyone know why the results are that way? Does it have anything to do with the grapes?

sourdough answers:

Experimental error.
Perhaps 2 different batches of flour were used having differing fat contents, someone switched flour while you weren’t looking.

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