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newbie sourdough question

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:22 pm
by Johnh57
I was given some King Arthur SD starter for Christmas. After feeding and splitting and feeding again we made 'Rustic Sourdough Bread' from the KA website. It was fine - but the recipe called for yeast as well as the starter.

So I decided to try a San Francisco style sourdough per the "Bread Alone' book. I took the starter from the KA and basically turned it into the Chef per the Bread Alone book. Then made the Levain, then the Poolish, then the bread. It actually worked! The bread is great - even using brand x all purpose flour.

What has me a bit baffled though is that the San Fran sourdough recipe used 1 cup (8 oz) of the Levain to create the Poolish. There is plenty of Levain remaining to feed, maintain and bake again. However, using the Bread Alone book again to create a classic Pain Au Levain the recipe wants the full batch (18 oz) of Levain to make the bread.

I'm a little perplexed about how to manage the Chef/Levain so there is something to work with in a few days to bake again.

If I've followed the instructions correctly I should have created about 18 oz of levain following the BA method. 8 of which I used to make the San Francisco style bread. To the remaining Levain, the instructions are to add 1/2 c flour and 3/4c + 2 TBS water to return the Levain back to a chef to maintain.


Edit: The book says the procedure makes 18 oz. of Levain - however the total weight of flour and water following the BA methods is 30 oz. So I suspect I'll have 12 oz left to feed and maintain after using the 18 oz. I need a decent kitchen scale!

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:15 pm
by Snags
I keep my starter in the fridge (it gets fed one tablespoon of flour and water every 2 weeks)
I pull out one tablespoon of starter and feed it 1 cup of flour and one cup of water and leave it out on the bench over night to grow
The next day
I then add half of that mix to one loaf/2 pizzas and the other half to 2 chiabattas.
I now make bread with out precise weighing just by eye
(My loaf or pizzas is 3 cups of flour and my chiabattas are 4 and as much water that is needed usually a cup and a bit and a little bit more for the chiabbattas)
It really doesn't seem to matter much how much starter I put in as long as I get the right moisture levels in the dough and allow it time to rise it all works.

In the beginning I treated it like a science experiment, now I am happy to just muck in and guess and its just as good and more fun.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:47 pm
by Johnh57
thanks snags

Unfortunately I'm an engineer. It is a science experiment :lol:

Just trying to plan a little and hoping not to outpace the starter - or kill it!


PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:58 am
by Snags
Have a read of this ,its how I started 2 years ago. ... -a-starter

PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:25 pm
by Johnh57
Thanks again Snags. Very good article. That article and reading some on The Fresh Loaf forums I'm starting to comprehend the use of the starter.

I think I already have waay too much starter lurking in the fridge!

Re: newbie sourdough question

PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2016 10:35 pm
by gsevelle
I realize this is an old post and I hope by now you have gotten comfortable with maintaining your starter.

I for one have kept my most recent starter for over 5 years now and made it from scratch I pull it out of the frig. feed it and use it once it is nice and active again. Over the past five years I've read a number of posts on how to maintain, recover and use sourdough starter and have decided to use the KISS approach. After reading a website article about how sourdough was transported and maintained by our forefathers coming across the plains in covered wagons I decided that I could relax on the exact approach and work by feel. Here is what I do.

Day 0
Remove the starter from the frig. Use a cup of unfed starter (per recipe) for waffle sponge the next morning. (normally there is about a quart of starter in the jar)

Feed the starter that is kept in a 1/2 gal mason jar with about 3/4 cup of flour and about 1/2 cup of water ( I go by feel and like my starter to have the consistency of a thick pancake batter)

Set the starter in a warm part of the kitchen, if leaving overnight in the winter I turn on the under cabinet light and set the starter in the corner.

Day 1
Feed the starter again as above, I do not turn any out at this time.

Day 2-4
Continue to feed as above but will remove about a cup or so of starter at each feeding

Day 4-5
Starter is normally ready to use.
Repeat feeding replenish starter

I've been know to use some rye flour in place of UbWF and even add a teaspoon of active yeast from time to time. If it looks like there is to much "liquor" the build up on top as the water separate I'll pour a little off. Starters are pretty tough and take being rough handled, remember they were bouncing on the side of a wagon many years ago.