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Substitute for pineapple juice in sourdough starter - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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  • Substitute for pineapple juice in sourdough starter

    I wanted to try the starter in American Pie, but I'm deathly allergic to pineapples so I can't start with pineapple juice. Is there another fruit juice that I can substitute? TIA!

  • #2
    There is some evidence that making a starter slightly acidic at the beginning helps the yeast establish itself. That said, sourdough starters can be created with just flour, water, and time. Two of the biggest issues in making your own starter are the water and patience. You don't want to use tap water, as most water has been chemically treated and often retain a high chlorine content. Also, don't use distilled water. Just buy a gallon of drinking water that's been purified by filtration, reverse osmosis, or ozone. All purpose flour is perfect...no special flours needed. Mix flour and water up in about a 50/50 proportion in a ceramic or plastic bowl (2-3 cups is a good amount to shoot for). Use a wood, plastic, or stainless steel spoon to mix...old fashioned metal utensils often had a zinc component that would kill yeast cells. You're looking for a batter-like consistency. Put some cheesecloth over the bowl and put in on your kitchen counter. The idea is that wild yeast is extremely common and the airborne spores will end up in your batter. If you'd like a little jump start with the yeast inoculation, put a small cluster of table grapes into your batter. Grape skins and stems contain lots of yeast cells and provide an excellent boost for the "primal" starter.

    Now comes the patience part. You need to refresh your mix consistently for several days. Wild yeasts are slower growing than commercial ones and need oxygen to reproduce. Every day, pour off 2/3 of the mix (the grapes can go after the first day), and refresh with water & flour. Mix well to make sure the flour and water have gotten a good air refresh as well. Do this process daily for 3-5 days and you should start seeing small bubbles overnight in the batter. You can start on a longer refresh period as your sourdough/levain is established. I refresh my levain (named Bill), 2-3 times a week. Bill lives in a loose lid crock in my bread prep room. Some folks like to keep their starter in the refrigerator, but with that method you do need to bring it out and do a refresh before using...I seldom could plan that far in advance .

    Hope that helps. I've had Bill with me since 1974 and made a lot of waffles & breads with his help. Be prepared for some occasional hootch (clear, amber, alcohol topping) on your levain after a long time since refresh. Also, fruit flies love a fragrant starter in the fall...

    You don't have a location listed in your profile, but if you're in the U.S. and have trouble getting a starter going, I'd be happy to send you some of Bill to get you going.
    Mike Stansbury - The Traveling Loafer
    Roseburg, Oregon

    FB Forum: The Dragonfly Den build thread
    Available only if you're logged in = FB Photo Albums-Select media tab on profile
    Blog: http://thetravelingloafer.blogspot.com/

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    • #3
      Thanks. I've made starters before with grapes and onions. I just thought it was interesting that Peter Reinhard changed his formula from the Bread Baking Apprentice to American Pie to start with pineapple juice instead of water. I wanted to try that to see how it compares to the other starters.

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      • #4
        I've put in a link to a paper on Population Dynamics of yeasts in sourdoughs and one on Yeast Species Composition. What I gathered from the articles and from other reading I've done is that the 4 predominate yeast species in sourdough are dynamically linked to the flour type. Use primarily AP flour and the population diversity is skewed differently than if you use a rye flour component. Bottom line is that, how you start the culture is not as important as how you maintain it.

        I would be surprised if there would be any difference in the mature culture between one started with pineapple juice and one started without. It's important to note that the juice is only used in the initial stages and would soon be diluted out with the repeated refresh of the culture. I would suspect that using pineapple juice simply provides a better food source/acidity environment for the wild yeasts initially. That would result in a quicker development of the levain...not the health, quality or composition of the mature culture. Once a starter uses its oxygen, the yeast switches from aerobic growth and CO2 production to anaerobic metabolism (and alcohol production). This is also the point at which the growth of the bacterial component of a tasty sourdough is favored and additional flavor elements introduced to the mix. Sourdough is really a balancing act between the yeast and the bacteria that are found in this delightful association.

        https://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc...68160517301198

        https://academic.oup.com/femsyr/article/10/4/471/577079

        Here's another link to a project that has a goal of world wide sourdough analysis...I was bummed out that I missed the window of submitting a sample of Chef Bill to the group.

        http://robdunnlab.com/projects/sourdough/
        Last edited by SableSprings; 04-16-2018, 12:34 PM.
        Mike Stansbury - The Traveling Loafer
        Roseburg, Oregon

        FB Forum: The Dragonfly Den build thread
        Available only if you're logged in = FB Photo Albums-Select media tab on profile
        Blog: http://thetravelingloafer.blogspot.com/

        Comment


        • #5
          Great links, thanks.

          My allergy is so severe that I don't want to risk any residue from the juice. Like a bad peanut allergy.

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