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Sourdough starter - is it right yet?

Sourdough starter - is it right yet?

I was struggling to grow a proper sourdough starter for about a year and a half. When my bread got moldy it was always the same - the mold was fuzzy/hairy and it smelled like whitewash (the final white layer on plaster). Moldy bread baked from commercial (dry) yeast also had the same smell. If I put my bread into a plastic bag - even with the bag fully open so the bread was in contact only at the bottom - it would get this fuzzy mold in 2 days. But only on the side where it couldn't breath (where it was touching the bag). Leaving it in the oven on the rack was fine, no mold for 4-5 days. I was religiously following the "wait until the peak starts falling, then feed" starter feeding routine. The rise was good, the smell was mild. If I fed wholegrain flour it got the smell of rotten eggs. If I fed white flour that smell wasn't present so I continued with white (for the record, I started a second starter when feeding wholegrain to keep my "good" white starter intact).


About two months ago I neglected my feeding routine and it started to smell sour. The thing is, I have never tasted, smelled or seen anyone else's sourdough but mine so I am not sure how exactly it should behave. Now I would like to confirm whether my starter has become a proper sourdough starter  or not (is it still a wild-culture starter?).

I baked a loaf of bread from white flour T500 (the whitest flour is 400, bread flour is 850), waited about 12 hours so it was cool to the touch. I sliced off a chunk of bread and put it in a plastic bag, wrapped around it so it had minimal to no air circulation (to promote mold).


PS: press your mouse-wheel to open pictures in new tab

18th of November, wrapped: 

(click image for larger version)



21st of November, the first (white) mold was visible:

(click image for larger version)



24th of November, the first blue-green mold was visible:

Natural light (click image for larger version)

Artificial light (click image for larger version)

Zoomed in (click image for larger version)



25th of November, mold is more pronounced:

You can see 3 different molds (click image for larger version)

And different angle to see molds' texture (it's not fuzzy)(click image for larger version)

Oh I almost forgot. This new mold doesn't smell at all. I could almost say it has no smell but it's so faint I can't describe it. I smelled it right now (27th of November...the mold is MUCH more pronounced than on 25th) and the aroma hasn't changed. Maybe it reminds of moldy bread baked from commercial fresh yeast...but I can't be sure. I suspect the blue-green mold is the one giving off that smell but even if it is, it's still a different mold because this one is super faint while the one from commercial yeast is super smelly.


So what do you think, is my starter a sourdough starter yet or is it still a wild-culture?

Some questions

Some questions

I'm very new to making sourdough bread but my last 2 bake days have been really great.  I have a couple of questions.  

If I refrigerate my firm starter and leave it a week or 2 or more without using it or refresing it, will it become more  sour the longer it is left? 

Is it better to make a bigger starter, remove a bit for each bake day and refeed /refresh once you have only a small amount left or should I just keep a small starter and feed/refresh each time I bake?

I have a multigrain mix I make up for a yeasted loaf.  This has rolled oats, kibbled wheat or rye, buckwheat, quinoa, flax seed, chia seed, and sesame seeds and I usually do a hot water overnight soak. Will this work ok in SD environment? Should I toast the sesame?  and that leads on to is it a flavour thing or a nutrition reason that seeds are toasted? To date I haven't toasted the sesame or sunflower seed if I used it. 


Thank you Fresh Loaf

Thank you Fresh Loaf

I dont do much but I can bake a loaf of bread. It's because you helped me, and for TFL I am thankful. 

Working out length of bulk proofing

Working out length of bulk proofing

When creating ones own recipe how does one judge the length of bulk proofing?

Some recipes don't even call for bulk proofing and another final proofing. Rather, it is possible, to skip the bulk proofing and go straight onto final proofing and baking when doubled (or near enough doubled).

If one does this it generally takes much quicker to reach this stage. I've tried it and even with small amounts of starter percentage doubling takes quicker than what is normally called for then bulk proofing.

If I understand correctly bulk proofing is there to bring out flavour and one can allow it to rise far more than double before knocking back then going into final proofing as long as there is still strength in the yeasts.

If you feed your starter 1:1:1 you have about 8 - 10 hours before all the food is used up. In a dough we generally have a greater ratio of flour to starter - for example the 1-2-3 method - so more time. Or we should have more time according to the way I understand it. But once I left it for overnight and it destroyed the gluten, why?

But i'm rambling now.

What I want to know is how to work out bulk fermentation time? Final proofing is easy as we can judge it by how much it's risen and how the dough feels. And then there are different grains to take into account too.

Come fare il Panino Coccodrillo

Come fare il Panino Coccodrillo

Cari Amici, solo per voi le Spiegazioni per fare il Panino Coccodrillo.

Gli utensili in plastica e metallo che vedete nella foto principale da noi si chiamano 'tarocchi'.

Qui di seguito i passaggi per la formatura del Coccodrillo.


Come vedete non ci sono trucchi o segreti, spero di esservi stata di aiuto ed attendo notizie e foto delle vostre produzioni.

A presto, Anna.

crispy crust softens on cooling :-(

crispy crust softens on cooling :-(

There is a sadness in my life.

I bake loaves of lovely bread which come out of the oven with a crisp crackling crust, but by the time they've cooled down, it's gone soft. They still look picture perfect, but not a whisper of crunch remains.

I bake at the max temperature for my oven, about 270C with fan for the first 20min, then turn it down to about 180-200C until it sounds hollow. I use a preheated cast iron griddle (flat) as a baking stone and I put water in a tray on the bottom to make steam.

My typical recipe is either white AP flour with around 70%  hydration or 50% wholemeal with about 75% hydration. I use milk as the liquid but otherwise don't add fat.

Are the hydrations at fault? But I'm sure I've seen high-hydration bread on here with a lovely crust. The crumb is perfectly cooked, not underdone. The only problem is the crust!

Any thoughts?

Wanting to bake gluten and/or grain free...

Wanting to bake gluten and/or grain free...

Hello, I am not much of a baker yet. I have several reasons why I am here. Most of all I want to eat healthy food that tastes good and I want my health back. I was driven to search the internet for baking ideas after I started to clean up my diet from GMO foods and chemical additives. I thought maybe if I bought a cool book on sourdough bread I could avoid GMO yeast and all the other GMO grains. I found out it isn't all that simple. First off, I have never been able to bake an ordinary loaf of bread I have ever liked. The texture just isn't there. Years ago I bought a bread machine which now sits on my counter because is has Silverstone coating in the pan which is a bad thing. I found out about brominated flour and how it fills up iodine receptors giving us all an increased cancer risk. I tried staying away from the crap my husband would bring home, but I ended up eating it anyway because I like bread. Incidentally he can bake bread to perfection but never does. He will buy flour and let it go buggy first. Staying away from the bleached white flour type breads and eating whole grains didn't make me feel any better. I cut out refined sugars and we started tapping our own maple trees and quit buying sugar at the store. I started talking to a couple of herbalist friends and one did mention gluten sensitivity to me. I kind of brushed it off because I thought I should be having a lot more symptoms. I was, but never connected them to eating bread. The more I thought about it the more I thought maybe I should do an elimination diet. Since I can't bake worth a darn I figured I would figure out how to make corn tortillas. I badgered the other half until he made me a wooden tortilla press. I bought corn flour and made a batch and they weren't exactly what I was hoping for, but I was desperate enough to eat them and made some half decent quesadillas. They don't wrap worth a darn and wraps were what I was hoping to make. I kept looking at the expensive gluten free flours and thinking it is crazy to spend that much on flour. Then I find out about some things called xanthan gum and guar gum and that doesn't sound like things I want to put in my body. Psyllium husks or flax seed meal sounds a whole lot more natural so I've decided I'll use those instead. Anyway, the adult acne and other skin problems and edema have cleared up but a few other problems persist. Last week I happened on to the Second Opinion Digestive Series and the Autoimmune Summit and I watched all the Functional Medicine experts. I fit all the gluten sensitivity and SIBO symptoms. At this point. I pretty much want to go grain free. So I go looking again at the flours and starters and find that to do flours other than grains the only really successful ones you need to add something like kombucha or kefir to it to give it a boost.  I do happen to have those cultures but I haven't been using them and I don't know if they are alive or dead. I mixed up a couple of brews and at this point I still don't know if I need new ones. To complicate matters even further, dear hubby has a kidney stone problem so he has to avoid any high oxalate flours. This pretty much leaves me with figuring out my own baking mix and mixing the flours together myself. I have also determined from the information I have been reading that those with gluten sensitivities often have kidney stones. So I think he needs to be gluten free too. Gluten girl says you have to have a 60/40 mixture of a starch flour and a grain flour(some non-grain flours count as grain flours I guess) to achieve good baking. I am thinking tapioca and coconut. In order to not spend a small fortune per pound I would have to spend about a little over 100 dollars for about 40 pounds total of the 60/40 mixture once I have it combined. I'd like it to be a lot less If anyone has some decent sources. I have contemplated buying shredded unsweetened coconut or even whole ones and making my own flour after making nut milk or oil. I put all of this out there for background because I am trying to figure this all out and maybe there is more I need to know. If you made it this far after reading this I apologize if I gave you a headache. I am hoping I can learn to bake something we can eat and enjoy.

This is a test for Fosk (please ignore)

This is a test for Fosk (please ignore)

Just trying to come to grips with the site for a moment...thanks, and nice to meet you all



Anyone know how to change your username...the posts so far on this topic don't exactly work...THANK YOU!!

Hello from rural southern New Jersey

Hello from rural southern New Jersey

Yes, there is "rural" in New Jersey.  Don't ask "which exit" because the turnpike bypasses the rural parts of the state.  We have farms, county fairs and rodeo (Google for "Cowtown NJ").

I just found this website today.  I so hope it will help me get my bread-baking mojo back.  I've been making my own whole grain bread since the 70's.  My mom's recipe is so good it won a blue ribbon at the county fair.  There were teachers at my high school who would pay top dollar for a loaf of my bread anytime I brought one in.

But two years ago, I discovered by accident that I can't eat wheat anymore.  I went on a low-carb diet and cut out everything more than one processing step away from its natural condition.  All ground grains were off the menu.  Suddenly I felt great.  I lost weight and realized that I had been spending 4-5 hours a day in the bathroom.  (That must have come on very gradually because it was quite a shocker when it suddenly stopped.)  Then I re-introduced wheat and oatmeal into my diet.  Big problem.  Even a trace sends me to the bathroom for hours.  So, I went gluten-free.  My reaction to wheat is so intense, I even had to replace all porous surfaces in my kitchen - plasticware, stoneware, cutting boards, wooden spoons, non-stick pans.  I can't be tested for celiac because the test requires me to eat wheat everyday for 4 weeks prior to testing and I am literally afraid I would not survive those 4 weeks.

The commercially available GF breads are horrible, not just because they are imitation bread but because they are imitating the wrong bread (pasty-white, no taste, no texture).  I was limping along, eating the store-bought bread once a week or so, but then I was laid off.  With no job, suddenly the whole $7-8 per loaf thing (an extremely small and not tasty loaf) went totally out of my reach.  So I've tried to bake my own.   I don't have a food processor or bread machine, I have always made bread the old-fashioned way and it's amazing how many recipes assume everyone has these things in their kitchens. But they do seem to make a difference when baking GF.  Somehow, when the flours cost four to five times as much as the best wheat flours, my tolerance for failed batches of bread skyrocketed. After the fourth failure, I just stopped trying.

Well, tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I'm out of patience (temper tantrum, foot stomping and all) with the total lack of good bread in my life.  So I've tried once more to make a good loaf of bread and in the process, I ran across this website.  

I have a single small loaf of Millet Yeast Bread cooling on my bakers-rack.  I have high hopes -- even though I used a glass baking pan instead of gray nonstick, and let it rise slightly too high before baking, and started it in a warm oven, not preheated -- it didn't collapse in the baking, and it smells great.  I'm going to wait for the feast to try it out, but I'll come back and let y'all know what I'm thankful for in my bread-baking.


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