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Thread: Home-made Sourdough Bread

  1. #1

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    Default Home-made Sourdough Bread

    On Saturday I created my sourdough starter. I was meant to feed it yesterday, but neglected it. Off to a great start there! Apparently its supposed to take up to a week (usually three to four days though) for it to be 'ready' as a starter and to be used for making bread. It's been sitting on the stereo behind the tv (the best 'warm' place there was) since Saturday arvo, and I think it may actually be ready tonight! It's quite frothy, but mainly the top half I think.



    The instructions I used to make it said it could be ready "more quickly" than the three/four days, but two days? With no 'feeding'? It also said "When your starter develops a bubbly froth, it is done. You have succeeded." It was frothy. Smelled a bit funky (probably because I'm feeling green at the moment, and even serving baked beans to my kids made me sick!) too.

    I 'fed' the starter anyway and returned it to behind the tv.

    My questions... (if anyone lasted through all that mental dribble!)

    Does anyone make their own sourdough bread? Do you make anything other than loaves of bread? (Ie, can you make cheese and vegemite rolls, pizza bases, that type of thing)

    Does it taste any good?

    Is my starter actually ready?

    When you feed the starter, does the water need to be warm or cold? (Especially when it's living in the fridge)

    Thank you!!

  2. #2

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    I hope there is someone on here who can help me! I threw out the starter and made a new one just now. The one I threw out had separated at the bottom, with yuk looking water. Smelled yuk too.

  3. #3

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    Hi Netix,

    I know this is late after your original post, but I saw your other thread where you succeeded and wanted to say congratulations!! You've inspired me to create my own George lol. I hope you don't mind, but I have a couple of questions?

    I'm on day 2 of my starter, and it has the little bubbles and the right smell. Did yours take the full 5 days to be properly ready? I'm hoping to have it ready for Friday night or Saturday morning to bake & take to my parents.
    Also, I'm feeding it every 12 hours like the site says with 1 cup of flour & 1/2 cup water. But now only two days in the starter is huge!!! How much bread did yours actually make? I'm thinking I'll get at least two loaves out of this. Or do you reckon I could feed it less? Just halve the amount every 12 hours?

    Thanks, hope you don't mind all my questions!

  4. #4

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    Hey, that's okay, and I'm sorry that I haven't been online to answer your questions! Thank you so much, I never imagined I would inspire someone to make bread!

    I take it you're looking at the bio-oz site, and if you read the recipe to make a loaf, it calls for four cups of starter (George). So far, I've only been making half size loafs, as I am a bit slack on feeding George (I definitely don't do it every twelve hours! But, he seems happy enough). You could divide it and have two starters going at the same time if you wanted to. Are you making it in a glass container? Only asking, because if you are, its so much easier to see how far down the mix the bubbles actually go. If its not in a clear container (like maybe a mixing bowl), when you give it a stir (before a feed), have a look as you turn the mixture over with a spatula if it seems bubbly inside.

    Sorry, back to your question, I would say that you could halve the amount of feed successfully.

    I think mine took two days to be ready, but it took ages (and I mean about sixteen hours) to rise into a loaf, but I wasn't sure how much it was supposed to rise while I was waiting (and I did read somewhere about letting it rise for something like eighteen hours ). In the end I gave up waiting (impatience!) and turned the oven up to bake it. The result was good, a heavy loaf (but I'm comparing it with supermarket wholemeal bread, I don't know what sourdough is meant to be like at all having never bought it), and a very crispy crust. Probably wasn't good for trying to make a sandwich with (since the bread was so heavy), but makes the most wonderful toast (as I discovered last night... mmmm <drool>).

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    Thanks for your reply, it was perfect timing!

    Unfortunately I don't have a clear container big enough to hold it so it's in a mixing bowl. But tonight there was no mistaking that it was ready - between 1 & 7:30 it had grown enormously and was so fluffy, bubbles all the way through I was wondering how long I'd need to let it rise to be able to bake it tomorrow, and was thinking a couple of hours lol. So yeah, perfect timing for your post to come through lol.

    I reckon I'll go to feeding only every 24 hours, rather than 12 cos we just can't eat all the bread that would make, so it's good to know yours worked that way.

    I've now got three half-loaves rising, and can't wait to bake them tomorrow!! Fingers crossed they turn out ok, the plan is to take at least one to the parents' place to have with dinner for Dad's birthday.

    Can't wait, thanks for your help!

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    Hey, that's great! I usually just have George in a 1 litre jar from the Reject Shop, with the clip down lid. OH, nearly forgot, with the first George I made, I left the lid sitting down closed, but I don't know if that was part of what made it go bad, so this time around, I fiddle with the wire clip for the lid and get the clip to prop the lid open just a little bit.

    I did read somewhere that it is very hard to kill a George, and even starving them is pretty difficult, so I don't think you have to worry about him going hungry. Even if you go away on holidays! PS, My George doesn't live in the fridge, he still lives behind the tv so that he stays active (not dormant) and so I can use him when I like, not have to wait for him to reactivate.

    I made up a loaf last night (at about 5.45), just a half size one. This time I kneaded it for longer (much closer to the ten minute mark as specified in the recipe) and had a much nicer feeling dough than the first one I made. Put it into the loaf pan and put it on top of the gas heater in the lounge. I put a thermometer next to it and it soon got up to thirty degrees. The tin stayed there all night, and I think the heater stayed on most of the night too (GRR! Hate that!). Checked on the rising of the loaf this morning, and it had FILLED the tin completely! I guess that this loaf will be much fluffier and lighter than the first! (The first loaf only half filled the tine after it had risen) Can't wait, because like you, I want to take mine away to my Mum's tomorrow. I put it in the oven just before 8am, so will take more photos (the only thing I've been able to document on film!) when its done. It smells divine!

    Also, even though I depleted George last night, I fed him and probably because the heater was on all night, this morning he was all bubbled up again. So I fed him again, I want to make another loaf soon for a friend of mine who loves sourdough. I think that the temperature of George has a great deal to do with how quickly he grows (okay, I did know this before, but now I can see exactly how important it is!)

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    Wow this is an inspiring thread, I am looking forward to trying my own next week when we get home from a weekend away!
    Sourdough bread is very heavy when you get it from the shops so your's sounded right Netix.

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    Yay! Thanks for the reassurance Mrs Mac. Definitely most appreciated! Especially as I just got this loaf out of the oven, and it still feels heavy. It looks terrific though, and is almost the same size as 'normal' supermarket bread. It's making little ticking or popping kind of noises sitting on my kitchen bench! Looks super yummy though!

    lol, Just thinking to myself, I bought this super heavy-duty looking bread tin a while ago (second hand of course), and wondered "honestly, will I EVER use this??", but had the good intention of making my own bread. So again, yay, I have used it!

    ETA, I think its odd (but good!) that when the bread is done it just falls out of the tin, and the tin is clean!

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    <facepalm> I just realised why George is so active this morning! I just had to give him a good stir as he had already bubbled up to almost the top of the jar, even though he was only fed at 8am! He's been sitting on top of the stereo unit, with the thermometer next to him, which has said all morning, about thirty degrees. At first I thought it was from the heater (which is just next to the stereo and tv) or the tv itself. But no, I just noticed the stereo is turned on, hence why it is so warm. Ryan put it on this morning while I was inspecting the rising loaf!

    At least now I know of a warm spot to leave him or a rising loaf if I don't want to put the heater on! Just thought I'd share that, as yesterday I was putting the thermometer in different places all over the house trying to find a nice warm spot for rising loafs.

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    Lol Netix, mine was like that! The heater had been left on (he's sitting on a tall speaker right where the heater blows) and I couldn't believe it when I got home and it had grown so much. I've now dropped back to feeding once a day and it's still really good and fluffy.

    With my 3 loaves, they rose wonderfully overnight! I had all three next to each other in a roasting dish, with baking paper underneath them and pulled up in between so they don't stick. Baked them at lunch and tried one when we got home from work - it worked!! I was so proud of myself lol. Can't wait to take it to Mum & Dad's for the weekend. I do think though that the longer kneading must work - one of mine is noticeably 'better' than the others, and I think I kneaded that one longer.

    Thanks again for starting this, I'm so happy with it!

    Good luck MrsMac, enjoy your 'George'

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    I actually ended up making two loaves on Friday, that's how active George was. After that, I left him in the kitchen away from the still warm stereo! He had bubbled up so much that he was touching the lid of the jar. That could have got messy down the back of the stereo and tv cabinet! I nearly went out after I put him there, so I'm glad that I didn't, it would have been an awful mess waiting for me.

    I think once a day feeding will be fine. I was talking to my Mum about kneading, and she said that plain flour doughs must be kneaded for at least ten minutes, but self raising flour need only be kneaded until the dough is smooth/ingredients combined. I think it is actually noticable when the dough changes, it just seems to become so smooth. They will rise better with the longer kneading.

    How long do you bake your bread for and at what temperature?

    What did your Mum and Dad think? I'm glad someone else is getting something out of this, not just me.

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    George is one month old (and a couple of days, but who's counting?!? lol), and I'm just wondering how everyone else's starters are going? I left George alone (no feeding) for a bit over a week, just resting behind the tv (stereo off), and a crust formed on the top (just a dry layer), which I peeled off with a spatula (and threw out), then I fed him last night. He spent the night in an ice cream dish since his jar is soaking (), and he has actually bubbled up on the kitchen bench which I was not expecting.

    What breads have you made? (Or just tried to make?) I've made square loaves and plait loaves (both large and small, the small ones look like they might be good with some herbs, and you pull them apart for dipping (like in a nice oil, if you're into that)).

    I think this bread is so delicious toasted. nom nom

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    Hey Netix, your George is going amazingly! I've stopped mine unfortunately DH didn't like it for his sandwiches at work, he prefers 'normal' bread. And I just don't eat enough bread to use it. So I made a few more loaves but they never got completely eaten, and I had a whole pile of George that was being used. I think I might start one up again to make some bread for Christmas, and other occassions when I know I might want some. Should only need a week or so I figure so I'll do that!

    I so agree with you on toasting the bread though. I took some to Mum & Dad's and we used it for bruscetta (sp?) with bacon and tomato and stuff on top - ohhh yummmm!

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    Thanks, he is much lower maintenance than I expected. Yeah, I'm not sure that I would have it for sandwiches either, mainly because I haven't managed to make a loaf that was really soft on the inside yet.

    I saw something on the Martha Stewart show the other day (I don't normally watch it), and there was a Patisserie who had a George that was 42 years old apparently. Not a bad effort! It was older than he was! I think his kitchen staff maintain it for him though, and talks about having to feed it every four hours! He gave a recipe for traditional Panettone, and made the starter with pureed apple and sparking mineral water, then added flour later. (Every four hours forever!)

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    Far out, 42?!? That's an old George lol.

    I'm guessing they feed it more cos they'd make a lot more bread in a Patisserie. And that Panettone sound sooo yum! Might have to look that up when it gets closer to Christmas I reckon!

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    Oh, it does, but its SO involved! I don't know if its on her website, I'll have a look, but if its not, I still have the show recorded to write down the recipe, lol.

  17. #17

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    Default George is back!

    Yep, not sure if it's with a vengance, but he's back nonetheless.

    I started him up again by mixing one cup plain flour (just ordinary, cheap, nasty wheat flour) and about three quarters of a cup of water. The water (ordinary tap water or out of the kettle) was about blood temperature to get things happening quicker. I mixed it together in a bowl, then poured it into his glass jar (glass so that I can see what he's up to in there), and left the lid propped open just a little. I've not tried using mineral water, as some recipes recommend.

    He's back on top of the stereo which I have just turned on to keep him warm. I'm anticipating that in the morning, he will have started to bubble (active and starting to ferment). Sometime after he starts to bubble, I will add another half cup or so of flour, and just under half a cup of warm water, stirring until well combined. Add a little more or less water depending on what consistency you prefer.

    I prefer to make my starter thick, as opposed to a really thin crepe-like batter. I also don't discard any of the starter. You will see a lot of starter instructions telling you to throw out half of the starter. I don't see the point. Just add less feed (the flour and water), and use him up when you bake. If you will be baking a lot, then add more flour and water (ie, maybe a cup of flour instead of my usual half cup).

    Also, I never fed George every twelve or twenty four hours. Sometimes I would feed him every day (sometimes twice a day if he was really warm and active and I wanted to bake a few loaves in quick succession), but I often neglected him for a couple of days here and there. The longest I left him unfed was about five days. He wasn't very warm (almost dormant, but not in the fridge), and all that happened was a dry crust on the surface. I peeled that off (threw it out) and gave him a feed and some warmth. Happy as Larry. Or George rather. Every couple of feeds I would scoop him out of the jar into a clean bowl to feed, and I would give his jar a wash. It doesn't have to be sterile (I've never sterilised anything before in my life!)

    The recipe I used calls for two cups of starter, which in the one litre jar I use, is perfect. When the starter is all bubbled, I give it a stir with a spatula to collapse the bubbles, then scoop it out into the cup measure. It leaves enough starter in the jar to give another feed (whenever you want, you don't have to do it then and there), and keep going.

    The creature you will create in your George is capable for living for thousands of years apparently. Under the right conditions of course.


    The recipe I use for baking bread from my George (bear in mind that I HALVE the recipe and still get a full size loaf): Ooops, nearly forgot, I usually add about a tablespoon of sugar (white/caster I don't know which it is!) to my dough.
    Spelt or Kamut Sourdough Bread

    4 cups active starter
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 cup water
    2 teaspoons sea salt
    6 cups spelt or kamut flour

    Mix all together and knead into ball adding more flour or water if necessary to get a firm but not too sticky dough.
    Knead on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.
    Place dough into greased heavy duty good quality bread tin, cover and place in warm area until dough has doubled in size.
    Place in moderate hot oven for 40 Ė 50 minutes. Remove hot bread from tin, tap bottom of bread, if it sounds hollow itís cooked, if it doesnít sound hollow put the bread back in the oven straight on the oven rack and cook another 5 or 10 minutes. Allow bread to cool on a biscuit rack.
    from bio-oz website

    I highly recommend anyone interested in making their own George to look at the bio-oz website. Just google bio-oz, click on the recipes tab, and then on the sourdough tab underneath.

  18. #18

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    GREAT!!!!! Thread- will be starting Obi Wan Calzonie this w/end! Thanks muchly x

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