Home Bread-Bakers v108.n007.3

Re: Sour Dough Starter?

Mike Avery <mavery@mail.otherwhen.com>
Mon, 18 Feb 2008 08:56:43 -0600
While I give advice on starting starters on the sourdoughhome web 
page, I also observe that starting a starter causes beginners more 
trouble than any other aspect of sourdough.  Yes, as I have been 
told, anyone can start a starter.  However, if you don't know what a 
starter should look like, or smell like; if you don't know how a good 
starter will handle, your chances of starting a good starter - and 
recognizing it for what it is - are very low.  I get more upset 
emails on this topic than all other topics combined.

As a result, I always suggest sourdough beginners get a known good 
starter from a reliable source.

The best source is from a friend.  You can get a fresh starter and 
just start using it.  Nothing could be finer!

The next best source is the Friends of Carl ( more information at 
http://home.att.net/~carlsfriends/ ).  Carl Griffiths had a starter that
had been in his family since the mid 1800's.  He gave it away to 
anyone who asked for it.  After his passing, his friends took over 
his crusade, and still give away his starter.  Contact information is 
on the web page.  I suggest that people send the volunteers a few 
bucks to offset the cost of maintaining the starter.  The starter is 
very active, very fast and flavorful.  It is not, usually, a very 
sour starter which puts some people off.

I have heard nothing but good things about Mr. Baker's San Francisco 
Sourdough Starter, available from the Yankee Grocer ( try 
http://www.yankeegrocer.com ).

Sourdoughs International ( http://www.sourdo.com ) has a number of 
good starters.

One starter I do not recommend is the Goldrush San Francisco 
Sourdough Starter.  I tried it, a number of people I know have tried 
it.  The most complimentary thing I have heard said is, "you can do better."

If you insist on starting your own starter, check out my web page at 
http://www.sourdoughhome.com/startingastarter.html  Despite this page 
causing more problems than any other page on my site, I have gotten 
many more, "WOW!  It worked!" emails than complaints.  The 
instructions are good, and they really, really work.

Hope that helps,

Mike Avery 	mavery at mail dot otherwhen dot com
part time baker 	http://www.sourdoughhome.com
networking guru 	Skype mavery81230
A Randomly Selected Thought For The Day:
An alcoholic is a person who drinks more than his own physician.