sourdough starter

Starting mine and I had thought to use just a bit of 1/2 day old pizza dough, maybe 1 tbsp, to jumpstart the process. I used whole wheat flour in the first day before switching to AP. The reason for the whole wheat is that some bakers believe the wild yeast you want is most likely found within that flour. I have always thought ambient yeast would just take over anyway.

The starter is really taking off after 2 feedings. Is there any reason to think altering the initial water/wheat mix would result in a different sourdough starter?

I decided to look up some science on this. The answer is yes, could be a different result, and maybe, the house microbiota takes over in the long run.

Very interesting read for baking nerds.

Kenny H

If you are really interested in this topic and are on CT, you should contact “sourdough”. He has been at it for years. He lives in Austin, TX. I have had the pleasure of eating some of his creations and they have outstanding.

I have been fiddling with sourdough for years. Different strains have noticeably different flavor profiles and leavening abilities. The ambient yeast that resides around your house or in the flour you purchase may not be the best. I prefer a more sour dough so I find the San Francisco strain to be to my liking. Some of the online sourdough starters are a bit pricey but I have found them to be worth it if they are a good product. has a nice SF starter.

If you started with a pizza dough leavened with a commercial yeast, I’d bet that yeast is now what you’re cultivating in your starter. i.e. not a wild yeast and if there’s no lactobacilli, not a sourdough.

FWIW I agree with rfelthoven on I’ve played around with a few wild cultures from the bay area, and none have been as reliable or had as good a flavor for me, as the Italian cultures from there.

Thanks for the resources guys. Definitely going to order some starters and start propagating.

I started another batch with just whole wheat and water, rolled on the counter. Just to see.

I’m going to keep backslopping the first batch, see what happens. It’s obvious the commercial yeast took over, very floral and ethanol. When the ethanol spikes quickly like that, lactobacilli don’t get a chance to get going.

That was one of the interesting things from the article I linked, the backslopping process was an important variable because the quantities involved could change the pH and alter the yeast/lacto balance over time. Also, biodiversity in all cases decreased over time.

I read somewhere that rye flour was best for generating a starter. I always included rye when I began a starter. But I had very mixed results here in NY trying to produce one from ambient yeasts.

The King Arthur bread book says rye flour is very good for feeding any starter.

So the native sourdough starter is doing great on day 3. Very active and smells just like sourdough. Probably 4-7 more days to go.

I continued cultivating the commercial yeast starter and interestingly it continues to smell sweeter and less of alcohol after nine days of backslopping. Could that mean some other microbiota are getting in the action? I think so. Any thoughts?

The french bread we made from it was excellent.

commercial yeast is a different animal than the sourdough yeast from what I understand.

Thanks for that link Ron. Sounds like it is doing exactly what my nose says, adding more lacto bacteria.