volunteer sourdough culture trials extended


From left to right:

* Trial 1: Same home milled whole-grain flour repeated with stove top heat rising from the oven temperature held at 95 ℉ / 35℃.

* Trial 1b: Same culture held in reserve from the first batch that was put into cold storage before the rest of the culture was mixed with refined white flour and subsequently failed. Also with heat rising from the stove.

* Trial 1B: Same flour without heat.

These trials were run with no concern for exactitude regarding time. All three ran for approximately 16 hours and were all fed additional flour but not water at 8 hours, more or less. (they were very wet at first, closer to dough at the end)

The first two trials were rinsed down the sink. Those were the two warmed with heat. After all of that, they didn't smell right, and they didn't act right. Had they behaved normally, they would have at least doubled or tripled in the jars, but they didn't. The trial without heat took much longer but looked better and smelled more pleasant. That jar hissed when opened, and that's a reassuring sign. The bubbles visible through the glass were what I was looking for. The heated ones never did hiss when opened, and that's a very bad sign, they didn't rise well, and the visible bubbles were disappointing.

So only one, the slow one cultivated at room temperature (74℉ / 23℃) was feed again to double its weight and (and approximate mass when stirred) with enough additional flour to create a sponge that is near dough, which will loosen as it proofs which produces alcohol and CO2.

Another problem I encountered that might affect this present trial is that when I went back to Whole Foods to get more grain, they didn't have the original type. I bought 5 LBS of what they had because the guy who buys it told me they only keep one type at a time. This is different than before when I had a choice of types. The first type was hard red Winter wheat, this new kind is soft white Spring grain. They obviously originate from different fields at different locations within the country and therefore contain different strains of yeast and bacteria.

Incidentally, the guy I was talking to at WF was incredulous about the grain that he was buying containing yeast and bacteria. I had to put down my hoofie and say, "Well, it does. I have three jars of sourdough culture proving it right now." He appeared delighted to learn that, at least a broad grin formed on his face. I find the employees at WF are all like that -- the fromagiers, the butchers, the greengrocers are all very engaging people. This guy told me if I really wanted that specific type of grain he could contact the other WF around town, or better yet, he could order it by the 50LB bag and get two discounts on top of that along with a much broader range of specific grain types. Now, that's service!

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