The Wild Yeast Sourdough Experiment – Day 7

Fast-forward another day, and we are now on Day 7 of the wild yeast sourdough experiment I began last week.

The premise:  there is wild yeast on wheat flour you buy, especially wholegrain.  I have wanted to culture a sourdough starter with local Swedish bacteria and yeast (wheat is Swedish too) the original way – i.e. without adding bakers’ yeast or fruit (yeast growing on fruit surface is, generally speaking, the wrong species of yeast anyway).

The past few days, I’ve been feeding the starter culture white wheat flour rather than wholegrain, as per idea idea that wholegrain has more microbes on it, and once the culture is started, it is better to let it multiply in a cleaner medium than keep introducing new organisms into the mix.  So, to summarize, I started the culture with whole wheat flour, tap water and a few drops of liquid from natural yogurt bucket, and then continuously fed the starter white flour and tap water at 2:1 volume proportion (roughly equivalent to 1:1 weight proportion) twice per day (morning and evening) after discarding half of the starter each time to avoid waste.

I have not sterilized anything after the initial washing-out of jar with boiling water before adding tap water and flour to start.  Again, the theory here is that a healthy growing culture should be able to keep pathogens out on its own – which it appears to be doing fine.  I have heard that some people have mold growing on the sides of the jar of culture, but mine hasn’t as much as shown a spot.  On morning of day 2 of culture, the top layer of the starter looked slightly darker than the rest of it and there was a slight sweet off-smell, but the colour disappeared after the first feeding of day 2, and the scent was gone a day or two after and had not come back, which indicates that the culture is both, healthy and is fighting the competing (pathogenic and otherwise) organisms on its own.  So far so good!

Now, at the end of first week, the starter is doing great.  Both yesterday and today it has risen to about-or-over twice its volume between feedings (check), and the smell is now clean and fresh fermenting sourdough smell, with no off scents (check): it passes the two culture quality tests, and today it is a week old so it also passes the “don’t use starter before it is a week old” instruction.  I have discarded half of it and fed it last night, but this morning I doubled it (instead of discarding half) as I would like to try baking with it once it has risen to twice its volume again (hopefully in a few hours).  The raising and bake-off of bread are obviously the ultimate test – and objective.  Wish me luck!

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