Люда (mariana_aga) wrote,

How I activated South Africa Sourdough Culture from Cape Town.

Ed Wood, Sourdough International sells this starter and gives the following instructions:

The culture arrives in a dry dormant state - blend of microbes and whole wheat flour. It is activated by feeding it water and whole wheat flour or white flour. Keep it in a 1 quart wide mouth glass canning jar.

Room temperature is 68-72F/20-22C
Warm water is 75-85F/24-29C

Warm place for the first stage is 85-90F/29-32C
Cool place for the second stage is 70-75F/21-24C

1. Mix 1 oz of culture in flour with 3/4 cup white flour and 1 cup warm water (24-29C) and proof in a warm place at 29-32C for 24 hours.

2. Add to it 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 3/4 cup of water. Proof at 21-24C for 12 hours.

3. Add to it 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 3/4 cup of water. Proof at 21-24C for 12 hours.

You will have a full jar of partially activated culture, 980g. Discard half. Add to it 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 3/4 cup of water. When the mixture in the jar expands at least 2 inches within 2-3 hours after the feeding, activation is complete. Use the starter immediately or store it in the refrigerator.

I attempted to activate one packet with whole wheat flour right from the start by following these instructions and failed to obtain a good starter. The resulting starter had no fragrance and was unacceptably acidic.

The second time I successfully activated the culture with the white flour in the first step and only the second and third feedings were with the whole wheat flour. The process went like this:

Stage 1. Warm activation of lactic bacteria.  I mixed 1 oz culture from the packet with 110g of  white all purpose flour and 240g warm water (30C, Canadian Spring bottled water). I kept it at 32-33C until it became sour. Within 16 hours it became foamy and bubbly, due to the microbes in the whole wheat flour, smelling like warm milk.  By the 24 hour mark it went flat, divine fragrance, smells like good yogurt. Its pH decreased to 4.5.

Stage 2. Cold propagation of yeast and lactic bacteria. I added to the mixture in the jar 125g whole wheat flour and 180g cold spring water.

6 hours later at 21C it tasted sour again, bright flavor of kefir, more acetic than lactic. 12 hrs later at 21C it reached pH of 4.0, but sourness was barely detectable, total titratable acidity (TTA) was only 4 and it should be 8 for 50:50 the white-whole wheat mix.

I warmed it up to 33C and continued to keep it warm to accumulate proper TTA, which took additional 10 hours. 18 hours after feeding it had pH of 4.0, TTA of 5.6, the sourness was already nicely detectable and flavor (odor) changed too.

It was nicely foaming, but I had to wait and wait, until its TTA got to the safe level of 8.0 to feed it.
6 hr mark is the same as freshly fed.

22 hrs after the second feeding it reached the goal TTA.

The third feeding showed that the starter was fully activated. I expected it to rise spectacularly, so after feeding the step two mixture 125g whole wheat flour and 180g cool water I discarded half of it.

In 2 hours at 21-24C it rose up 3 inches. It reached proper TTA of 8 in 8 hrs after feeding.

Total time to activate the culture in the packet - 46 hours: 24 hrs in step 1,  20hrs in step 2. Then I fed it and it took 2 hrs to test the performance of the yeast in the  starter (подъемную силу), 8 hrs to test its lactic bacteria capacity to accumulate proper acidity in 8-10 hr after feeding, while keeping it at room temperature.

Test bake. 70% whole wheat, 30% white all purpose flour, 4 hr sponge @29C, no time dough, 2 hr proof in tin @29C, 1hr bake @425F/

Moderately sour, nice fragrance. This lovely culture is indeed quite suitable for whole grain baking.

Second loaf

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