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Sourdough Starter I

Reviewed: Oct. 14, 2011
Lancelem has a point. From Silverton's The Breads of La Brea Bakery: ... [Sometimes] cookbooks instructs readers to use commercial or baker's yeast in the initial batch. But commercial or baker's yeast is so much stronger than wild yeast that I have to wonder: What's the point of going to the trouble of raising and maintaining a starter over days, weeks, and years, if you are going to include a strain of yeast guaranteed to bully out the wonderful, naturally occurring organisms in the air? ... In the production of baker's yeast almost all lactic acid bacteria are eliminated before the yeast is packaged for sale. This recipe looks like a poolish that has been propagated. A poolish is a commonly used preferment which adds a lot of flavor. The day before you bake, you add a small amount of yeast to flour and water and leave it out to ferment, then add it to the dough the next day. You can get great results. The starter itself behaves like it's predominantly still commercial yeast. Sugar is used to feed commercial yeast; I've never heard of feeding a natural starter sugar. Also, if you can feed it once after a week of storage and use it, it's probably still mostly a commercial strain. Most bakers recommend at least one day of feeding after a week in the fridge. With two or three feedings a day. Mine needs about six feedings to get reliable. Whatever strain of yeast it employs, people seem to love the results so thanks for posting!
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