SF style sourdough bread - comments, questions and answers
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Mark send this email:

Hi Samartha,

I tried your rye starter formula and think it is great. I've made other starters with white flours and combinations of flour but this was the fastest and easiest and had the least amount of waste. I have got to believe if someone followed your directions it would be as reliable as any mail order starter (I've never tried one though.).

I made bread with the baby rye starter today ("Pain de Meteil au Levain" formula is found at www.bbga.org/formulas/meteilaulevain94.html -I substituted rye for whole wheat starter). and had decent results, any short comings were those of this baker and not of the starter.

I would like to comment on the flour comparison however, I thought you might have jumped to conclusions without weighing all the evidence. Flours are difficult to compare without the science at your finger tips.

However comparing baking results of a flour that has malted barley to an unmalted flour is unfair if you don't take that into account. Malted barley has enzymes which aid in breaking down the starches into simple sugars which provide more food for the starter organisms which will make more gas and in turn leaven your loaf faster.

When master bakers select flour they are far more concerned with the quality of the protein than they are the quantity. In general for artisan, or hand crafted breads the protein content should be around 12% and the wheat would be hard red winter wheat.

Spring wheat is higher in protein but lower in protein quality yet is more common. (The miller is capable of testing and adding whatever might be necessary to enhance his product, even hazardous substances like potassium bromate.

Thankfully King Aurthur has never used these types of sustances and I respect their products.) I'm sorry if I've gone on too long. I really enjoyed making the baby rye starter and will hang on to it to bake another day and again etc...

Cheers! Mark
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