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  #26  
Old 03-24-2020, 09:40 PM
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Default Re: In which I form a monster so hideous that even I turn from him in disgust

I got pretty good at the fancy sourdough boules, so I decided I should start working on making a regular sandwich style sourdough bread, like rectangular loaves with a tighter crumb and softer crust.

They're coming out pretty danged good now, so here is the recipe. Despite the fussy looking measurements, it's OK if you don't get them exactly right. That's just an artifact of me scaling things up and down until they work right and fit the loaf pans so it comes out in sandwich bread shape.

In the morning, make a levain out of:

40 grams sourdough starter
40 g. whole wheat flour
40 g. bread flour
80 grams water, about 70-something fahrenheit

Mix the ingredients, keep at 70-something F for about 5 or 6 hours, or until it's starting to get little bubbles in it.

Then, start your autolyse stage by combining:

1112 g. bread flour
165 g. whole wheat flour
74 g. rye flour (if you don't have rye flour, just add the equivalent weight of one of the other flours)
1000 g. 70-something F water
Optional: about 2 tsp. diastatic malt, if you have it. (It's pretty easy to make if you have some barley and a spice mill or mortar and pestle.)

Leave that set for about an hour or so.

Once that's done, add the levain to the rest, mix it in a little bit, then sprinkle about 27 g. salt and 50 g. water on top. If you're doing this with your hands, wash them thoroughly and don't dry, because it helps to have wet hands to keep it from sticking too much.

Leave this in at room temperature or a little warmer for about four hours, interrupting three times at roughly equal intervals to stretch and fold the dough. (Note that this is a much lower hydration dough, so it won't be nearly as flexible as that one.)

After that part's done, dump the dough onto a big cutting board and divide it into two equal parts. Do one final stretch and fold, and try to form them into sort of loaflike shapes. Leave these uncovered on your board for about half an hour.

Then, do a final shaping to get them as loaflike as you can, and transfer them to two loaf pans. Coat the tops with a bit of flour, put a clean lint-free towel on top, and then cover them in plastic if you can. Plastic grocery bags are good for this.

Leave them in your fridge overnight to about 18 hours, then test them to see when they're proofed by poking the top of the loaf. A fully proofed loaf will spring back mostly, but still leave a small indentation on top.

Heat your oven to 500F, then score the tops of the bread down the middle at a 45 degree angle. Put some water in a baking pan and put that on the lower rack to steam the bread. You might also want to brush the tops of the loaves with melted butter or cooking oil to keep them soft.

Put the bread in, lower the oven temperature to 450F, and bake for about an hour until it's done. It should sound hollow when you knock on it, and the inside temperature should be about 190F. I can never tell if something sounds hollow, so I usually check with the thermometer.
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  #27  
Old 04-08-2020, 12:17 AM
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Default Re: In which I form a monster so hideous that even I turn from him in disgust

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Best guess, commercial strains are bred for production over survival -- too domesticated to compete with wild organisms. Eventually they get out-competed by a less helpful organism.
I stumbled over the real answer here. I was kind of right and kind of wrong. It's not just being outcompeted by wild yeast -- it's fucking the wild yeast. In your fridge. In your jar. In your bread! In five generations or so it goes from being strain-perfect to wild.

Which honestly sounds like a safer way to get a wild yeast than culturing your wall and hoping you don't bake botulism bread...

I am still here in this thread for reasons. For the last while I've been managering a grocery (long story) and we're literally selling yeast faster than we can buy it. It may be time for crazy mad science. It may be time to make culture starters from the last good packet and tell these little old ladies how to use them.
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  #28  
Old 04-08-2020, 09:28 AM
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Default Re: In which I form a monster so hideous that even I turn from him in disgust

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  #29  
Old 04-08-2020, 06:13 PM
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Default Re: In which I form a monster so hideous that even I turn from him in disgust

Flour and water isn't really a hospitable environment for much of anything except yeasts, though, especially after it's gotten started and is developing alcohols. Other ferments can be tricky like that and attract various cooties, but I've never even heard of that happening with a flour and water leaven.

If you do have a little commercial yeast, though, you can use the poolish or biga techniques to stretch it waaay out. You just take a little tiny bit of yeast and a lot of flour and water and then leave it long enough for it to propagate. It takes a lot longer so you have to plan ahead like you do with most sourdoughs, but it might be worth it in case the yeast shortage lasts a while. Commercial yeasts do come out different from wild ones, so if you really like the lighter type crumb you get with commercial yeast, that might be a solution.
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  #30  
Old 04-08-2020, 06:50 PM
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That is exactly the plan, culture some commercial yeast and be real careful about it so it's mostly commercial yeast. Every 4 regenerations, clean and boil the jars and start over with another precious packet.

I've got 3 1L jars filled (not full) with flour-water mixture to boil (to kill the wild yeasts in flour - it's full of them).

This has been an interesting exercise in physics so far.
  1. Follow instructions to make a flour-water mixture which turns into absolute paste.
  2. Ignore instructions and add water until runny.
  3. Put jars in my gigantic pot and watch them stubbornly float.
  4. Weigh the jars to the bottom with a plate and water jars on top. Put a plate underneath the bottom jars to prevent the jars overheating.
  5. Turn heat to maximum.
  6. Turn off stove. Put out fires.
  7. Clean disused main burner of 5 years of accumulated bread tags.
  8. Try again. There should be a loud THUD as the water rises an inch and douses the stove.
  9. Remove jars, discover the plate suction-cupped to the bottom by accumulated steam.
  10. Fail to remove plate. That is a damned good vacuum there.
  11. Shatter plate and leave where it is. Replace jars.
  12. Try again...

If I can finish this without killing myself and my neighbors, I will culture 2 and leave one sealed, to see if the sterilization really worked.
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  #31  
Old 04-08-2020, 07:44 PM
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Default Re: In which I form a monster so hideous that even I turn from him in disgust

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Originally Posted by Corona688 View Post
I've got 3 1L jars filled (not full) with flour-water mixture to boil (to kill the wild yeasts in flour - it's full of them).
(Start at about :44 to watch embedded)

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  #32  
Old 04-09-2020, 08:54 AM
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Default Re: In which I form a monster so hideous that even I turn from him in disgust

So I have boiled them, and the flour has converted from a liquid to a gel. Hm. Can the yeast colonize this still?

[edit]

Well, I've tried it. Added 2 more cups of warm water to each jar, and half a packet of yeast to each of the test jars. The jars all made that sealed-jar hiss. I may have invented the least efficient method of baking biscuits known to man, but the biscuits seem to be dissolving, very slowly.

It's unfortunate that I had to open the control jar, but I don't think anything could have grown on that medium without more water. I took appropriate precautions but still suspect it's going to be wild instead of dead.
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  #33  
Old 04-09-2020, 07:51 PM
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Default Re: In which I form a monster so hideous that even I turn from him in disgust

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  #34  
Old 04-10-2020, 07:18 PM
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Default Re: In which I form a monster so hideous that even I turn from him in disgust

So, I did not make a yeast culture. I made some sort of indestructible biscuit which hasn't dissolved in 24 hours of sitting in yeast-tainted water. I think the yeast is eating it a little, with slight bubbles. I think I'll try again with a *LOT* less flour, and add a bit of sugar for food.

[edit] Apparently it is possible to sterilize flour in the microwave. Man, that's a lot easier.

[editing the edited edit] So, I think I did somewhat succeed, but not in the way I expected.

The "control" jar, without yeast, still has this ... permanent hardtack gel biscuit floating in it with no apparent growth. The 2 yeast ones were, on careful look, much bigger than the control jar -- swollen with trapped carbon dioxide. They didn't float free, they required tools to remove.

I've left the control alone. I'm boiling my jars again, after which I'll microwave flour, let cool, add water and yeast.
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  #35  
Old 04-12-2020, 06:24 PM
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Default Re: In which I form a monster so hideous that even I turn from him in disgust

so, zero damned activity.

How on earth did I fuck up flour and water and yeast?
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  #36  
Old 04-12-2020, 06:50 PM
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Default Re: In which I form a monster so hideous that even I turn from him in disgust

I found a PDF about how commercial yeast is made, and a few other things about people making Hermans and things like that. (Hermans look like they're actually more of a wild yeast leaven that's kickstarted with commercial yeast.)

The common theme seems to be that most of them add a fair amount of sugars, from molasses or fruits or milk or something. So maybe that helps to maintain a bit more of a monoculture, at least at first.

But if you're making it at home, I'm guessing you won't be able to get the air circulation necessary to propagate without eventually picking up wild yeasts that are floating around in the air.

(Parenthetically, this was my best guess as to what happened with my magical yogurt culture.)
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Old 04-12-2020, 07:46 PM
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Default Re: In which I form a monster so hideous that even I turn from him in disgust

Good idea, I'll add some sugar.
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  #38  
Old 04-13-2020, 12:56 AM
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Default Re: In which I form a monster so hideous that even I turn from him in disgust

Alternately: No sugar, take a walk on the wild side.
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  #39  
Old 04-13-2020, 05:59 AM
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Wow, sugar was a good idea. It started foaming almost instantly.
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  #40  
Old 04-13-2020, 07:21 AM
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Default Re: In which I form a monster so hideous that even I turn from him in disgust

you get that with fermentation, says the woman who makes beer.
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  #41  
Old 04-13-2020, 08:41 AM
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OMG, I want to make beer too! I'm pretty new at fermentation, but I feel like that's what it's all been leading up to.

On another note, I've had several people answer my Craigslist ad for free sourdough starter, so Gladys has a bunch of babies out there now and I'm real proud.
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  #42  
Old 04-21-2020, 02:18 AM
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Default Re: In which I form a monster so hideous that even I turn from him in disgust



Credit: Kendra Wells – The Nib
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  #43  
Old 04-28-2020, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Title Text
Once the lockdown is over, let's all get together and swap starters!
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  #44  
Old 04-30-2020, 04:24 AM
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I had just been thinking that for some reason Ginger Brian (my ginger bug, for inattentive readers) was incompatible with life when I opened it up, and PA-FLOOM! It bubbled up so heartily I thought it was going to bust.

It's alive!

Time to make sody pop!
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  #45  
Old 05-09-2020, 03:12 AM
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UPDATE: I just tried the first batch of sody pop from Ginger Brian, and it is drinkable.

DRINKABLE, I TELL YOU!

It was a pretty random concoction of green tea, a tetch of hibiscus, a tiny bit of lemon, and a cinnamon stick, plus sugar and Ginger Brian, but it's not bad according to me and my son at least. (Truth, though: Matlock said it was almost vinegary.) This was just a smallish test batch to see if it'd work, so the bubbliness is sufficient for now, and the bubbliness is good.

The next batch, I'm thinking either bubbly agua jamaica or orange ginger.
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  #46  
Old 05-16-2020, 06:27 AM
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Old 05-17-2020, 12:02 AM
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I was being lazy so I put Ginger Brian in the fridge for a while hoping but not entirely sure it'd just go dormant and not die.

Turns out it barely even went dormant, so I am starting the jamaica now and once it's done and cooled, I will add the ginger bug and start the initial ferment.

Also:

1. I do not keep my ferments in squeeze condiment bottles.
2. That tweeter needs more fiber in their diet. The real Werner Herzog does not live by shoes alone.
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Old 05-18-2020, 06:16 AM
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Default Re: In which I form a monster so hideous that even I turn from him in disgust

Your not even speaking English anymore...
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  #49  
Old 05-21-2020, 01:37 AM
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Update: HARD jamaica soda.

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Old 05-21-2020, 11:14 AM
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