Avatar for Arducius


Member since Feb 2009 • Last active Mar 2018
  • 8 conversations

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  • in Miscellaneous and Meaningless
    Avatar for Arducius

    If you seal the jar (as in air-tight) then eventually the microbes in the starter will use up the oxygen and go dormant. If you're unlucky then the gases given off by the microbes will cause the pressure in the jar to increase and your jar explodes.

    I should clarify though - I keep my starters in a non-air tight glass kilner jar (normal kilner with rubber seal removed) and an old plastic peanut butter tub (we buy it in 1kg tubs) with the top not completely on. I use these because they are what I have, and they will do the job of letting gases in/out and holding a starter with room to bubble up a bit.
    The other things I ferment* I generally use a jar and muslin/tea towel.
    You can, of course, keep things in air-tight containers and the world won't end but if it were me I'd burp them at least once a day (I do this when making sauerkraut). Just take the lid off and put it back on to let the pressure equalise, or just leave the lids a bit loose.

    I expect a muslin would do no harm apart from maybe your starter might dry out on the top of a bit. Also when I feed my starters I give them a good stir to break up the bubbles (carbon dioxide) and encorporate air and therefore oxygen.

    *Kombucha, vinegar, ginger beer, mead - so far. I've only started fermenting things fairly recently but a lot of the same principles apply as it's all microbial action.

  • in Miscellaneous and Meaningless
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    So for anything with rye, long cold fermentation is key? Or just long?

    I ferment my rye for 3-4 hours at room temp and get good results (see recipe upthread) but as with all fermentation generally the longer you go the more complex flavours you tend to get developing.

  • in Miscellaneous and Meaningless
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    I assumed that the flour was the food

    This is correct. There are carbs available in the flour that the yeasts will metabolise, but there are also microbes* will occur naturally on the grains and therefore will make their way into the flour.

    and that leaving the vessel open for a period of time was to encourage wild yeast spores to settle onto the starter.

    Microbes need oxygen so never seal your vessel unless you want an explosion (guessing you probably knew that anyway). I ferment a few things at home and normally cover jars with a tea towel which allows free circulation of gases and microbes but keeps insects out.

    *I use the term to include yeasts but also [not necessarily bad] bacteria

  • in Miscellaneous and Meaningless
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    Anyone every been tempted to leave a start outside to get more wild yeast spores

    No, if you're using organic flour then you will have plenty of microbes that haven't been killed by pesticides available in the flour.

    Also microbes in the air will come into your house anyway.

  • in Miscellaneous and Meaningless
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    Duly noted!

  • in Miscellaneous and Meaningless
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    So I took a reading the other day, was going to give it a week before another reading, what am I looking for? Two very similar/identical readings before I bottle?
    (@Kat_Balou but also anyone else with the know-how)

  • in Miscellaneous and Meaningless
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    Thanks, I will give that a go!

  • in Miscellaneous and Meaningless
    Avatar for Arducius

    I did not :( this is my first ferment and I dived into it without really knowing what I was doing (still don't!)

  • in Miscellaneous and Meaningless
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    General brewing question: I have a batch of mead on the go and it's past time for bottling but this was a bit slow to get fermenting at the beginning (all natural yeasts, nothing added from a packet) and I still see the odd bubble coming up from the sediment at the bottom, and the odd(er) bubble goes through the air lock. Do I:

    a) Leave it until there are no signs of fermentation before bottling
    b) Bottle anyway and hope for the best
    c) Syphon off into a new jug, leaving the sediment behind and see if more sediment and bubbles form. It's currently in a glass demijohn with bung and airlock so I'd just put it in a new one.
    d) something else

    Any thoughts from the pro brewers of the forum?

  • in Miscellaneous and Meaningless
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    Wholemeal rye sourdough
    This is really easy to make and even easier to fit around your busy schedule. The bread is really good too but quite a wet dough. I make this one in a small 450g loaf tin, and I haven't tried making a bigger loaf. Because of the water content it might not work so well but I'm planning to start experimenting with my ryes a little so may report back.
    This dough is very wet, and too wet to shape really but I willl explain how it can be (sort of) shaped below the main recipe.
    Again, I use organic flour because sourdough, yeast etc. Doves Farm because Sainsbury's (and the actual farm is less than 2 miles from home).

    • 160g wholemeal rye flour
    • 160g rye starter (I feed mine wholemeal flour but I'm sure white rye would work too)
    • 160g water (160ml, just cold tap water again)
    • salt to taste

    I've forgotten the salt before and it still makes a really good loaf because rye has plenty of flavour, but I think the texture is a little different with the salt.

    1. Mix flour, water, salt, and starter in a bowl.
    2. Dust the inside of your tin with flour .
    3. Put dough mixture into tin.
    4. Wet the back of your hand with a little water to stop the dough sticking and press lightly down to get the dough into the corners of the tin and even out any lumpy bits.
    5. Cover the top of the dough with flour, you need a fair bit here as its a wet dough, just sprinkle until it's all covered.
    6. Cover with a plastic bag and prove for 3-4 hours. You should see a noticeable rise and the flour on top will have cracked and formed a pleasing pattern. Alternatively prove in the fridge overnight. I have had good results with both proving types.
    7. Pre heat oven to 220 celcius.
    8. Bake bread for 45 mins. I don't bother with steam for my rye loaves. Again I check temp with a thermometer but it's always hot enough so you'd probably be fine without.
    9. Cool upside down to help stop the crust from "lifting off" and eat!

    Not a great photo but you get the idea.

    This is very little work for really nice bread. Much easier than the white sour above.

    If you want to shape your dough, you can't really do more than a delicious rye cow pat shape with this one but you need to coat the proved dough with flour by adding extra flour to the bowl and scooping under the dough with your scraper and lifting a few times and then turning out onto a well-floured surface. Handling a dough this wet is difficult/impossible without a peel (which I don't have) and you end up with a pretty flat splodge of a loaf so I haven't bothered with this one since the course.