Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Trying Ars Pistorica's sure-fire way of creating a Lb. san franciscensis-based sourdough starter. My first attempt was not so sure fire, although it had a lot of promise.

So as a friend of mine recently asked me to help him with a starter for his restaurant, I thought I might try this method, as it seems faster than others.

It does however depend on some measure of temperature control. So what you'll probably need:

1. Insulated container. Maybe a large insulated cooler. I'm trying my CrockPot instead.
2. Gentle heat source. I'm using a heating pad this time.
3. Good instant-read thermometer. I trust my Thermapen more than my Polder.
4. Quart or gallon-sized ziploc plastic bags. It should be easiest to submerge the mixture this way.
5. Whole grain rye flour and whole grain wheat flour. For this, I went to my local health-food store today and bought 1lb of organic rye berries, and 1lb of organic hard red winter wheat. I plan to lightly grind them in my spice grinder and/or blender to break up the berries into a somewhat coarse flour. Later I used King Arthur Whole Wheat flour as my substrate.

I'm reposting the original formula, with temps in Fahrenheit because I live in the US.

Initial Build  (start: 4/16/2013, 8:00a)
20 g flour, rye, whole-grain
240 g water, 77F (25ºC)

Combine ingredients in a large Ziploc bag and seal, removing all excess air. Fill a large, plastic container (such as a cooler) with water that is 98.6F (37 ºC), ensuring the temperature is exact. Drop the bag into the water, placing something heavy atop it to prevent it from floating. Place the container’s lid on, and let the bag sit for 18 – 24h. Check the water’s temperature often, adding more hot water as needed to maintain a constant 98.6F (37 ºC). (From mariana_aga's blog, a range of 95-104F (35-40C) is recommended for this stage).

My notes: ground 20g of organic rye berries, fed 240g of water, into small Ziploc, which went into 98.6F water in a 4-cup glass measuring cup, on top of a heating pad set to "high", in my oven with the oven light on. I expect this will produce the same level of fizz as the first attempt will.

Refreshment #1 (start: )
100 g flour, wheat, whole-grain

Refreshment #2 (start: )
100 g flour, wheat, whole-grain
45 g water
30 g starter, from refreshment #1

Combine all three ingredients in a bowl, and then mix thoroughly until a homogenous texture is achieved. Let ferment for 24h at 68F - 86F (20 - 30ºC).
Final dough temperature 86F (30 ºC).

Refreshment #3 (start: )
50 g flour, wheat, whole-grain
32.5 g water
4.125 g starter, from refreshment #2 (or the last refreshment)

Combine all three ingredients in a bowl, and then mix thoroughly until a homogenous texture is achieved. Let ferment for 24h at 68F - 86F (20 - 30ºC) in an air-tight, plastic container.
Final dough temperature 86F (30ºC), if day's high temperature is below 84.2F (29ºC), and 68F (20ºC) if day's high-temperature is above 86F (30ºC).

Refreshment #4 (start: 4/14 6:30pm) 
Same quantities as Refreshment #3

Refreshment #5 (start: 4/15 6:00pm) 
Same quantities as Refreshment #3

My notes: I fed with a little bit of whole grain fresh rye today, to see if it would help actually get some leavening going. After 12 hours, still nothing visible: no puffiness, no nothing. Room temp is about 72F today. Gotta say that I'm disappointed in the process so far, especially considering the life that the starter showed in the first 48 hours. I'm going to keep the same batch going but I will try again. 

No comments: