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« Wonderbread indeed! | Main | Oven barbecue, Chinese style. »

May 09, 2004

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Comments

Owen

I've used a method I found in one of my baking books (can't remember which one) that slows down this constant growth process. I only keep the starter out for about an hour after I ahve fed it and then I put it covered loosely in the fridge. When I need to use it I take it out, split it in two, feed both halves and put one back in the fridge after an hour covered (so it is the same volume) the other one then becomes the starter for the thing I want to make. I admit that I have to be prepared to plan ahead a little and take the starter out the night before so it can sit and wake up and grow nicely overnight, but this seems to work for me and is much less wasteful. THe book (wish I could remember which one) that talked about this also said that they thought you got better flavor out of a slow grown starter (growing cold) than a fast one - it is sort of like your reviving technique but also sort of like regular growing. Anyway, the end result is that while very slow, I don't have to throw anything away and my starter remains sort of in control.

Alberto

Owen, thanks for the tip and the clear explanation of the method. It seems a good way to avoid wasting all the good starter. I'll definitely give it a try. Thanks again!

ladygoat

Sourdough waffles sounds sooo good! And that you're not wasting any starter is just an added bonus. I'd almost want to make starter just to have the waffles!

Alberto

ladygoat, why not guve it a try? Adopt a new pet: your own sourdough starter ;-)

Russ

I do the fridge thing too. I have a culture that I started in 1979, and it is still going strong. It thrives on neglect. In summer it lives in the fridge, and in winter it lives on the bench.
These days I mainly use it for waffles and sourdough buttermilk pancakes, which generate the kind of excitement we used to reserve for Santy Claus.
I get it out of the fridge, feed it the night before so it is snappin' when I want to use it. I have never split it and I probably use it once each month or so. It seems to work just fine.
Couldn't throw any of it away - it would be like losing my foreskin all over again.

Alberto

Russ thanks for the explanation. My fear with such a method was that the starter might be not "strong" enough to use for bread making, but from what you say I see that's not the case. Just a question to clarify a doubt I have: how much water/flour (in respect to starter) do you feed the starter with before using it?

Russ

I don't feed it after I use it, so there is a gap at the top of the jar. I basically replace whatever I used last time. This is not all that scientific (but we're talking about bread after all, not AIDS vaccine) and generally I use about the same amount each time, so I guess I feed it about what I will be using. It probably amounts to about 20% to 25%.
Anyway, see how you go. We made a batch of pancakes yesterday and I had to zorch it with the cattleprod to keep it in the bowl.

Alberto

Ross: thanks for the explanation. Great visual description.. "zorch it with the cattleprod" :-)))

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