Home Bread-Bakers v098.n039.11

RE: sourdough starter

Mitch Smith <smithm@mvp.net>
Sat, 16 May 1998 21:14:19 -0500
Takt EZ <TaktEZ@aol.com> wrote:
>Sounds like your starter is doing just exactly what it's supposed to 
>do. After you put a live starter in the fridge it will separate into two
>components.  The gray looking liquid on top is the alcohol which was 
>formed in the fermentation process.  It was called "hooch" by the miners 
>in Alaska and the Yukon and some miners were known to drink the 
>stuff after their supply of whiskey ran out and they had nothing else 
>alcoholic to drink.  The white stuff on the bottom is the residue of the 
>flour after the protein has been fermented out.

A slight correction. Whether wild or commercial yeast, protein is not 
the substance "fermented out" in bread/wine/beer making. Yeast
metabolize sugars into carbon dioxide and ethyl alcohol. Yeast can
metabolize complex carbohydrates, albeit more slowly; one of the
advantages of a slow fermentation is that enzyme actions will convert
some of the starch into fermentable sugars which aids fermentation,
and also adds flavor.

In bread making, protein is the basis for gluten formation, which is the
elastic net which traps the carbon dioxide, allowing the dough to rise.
Generally speaking a high protein percent is undesirable in beer and
wine making as it clouds the liquid.

In making the sourdough starter itself, protein has little effect one
way or the other since no gluten development is required of the
starter itself.

- Mitch