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Mar 9, 2009 09:37 AM

What Have I Done and What Can I Do

Hi, everyone. Recently, I've successfully made my own little container of sourdough starter. I feed it weekly and things look like they should even though I have yet to try a recipe with it. I have started to think, however, have I actually trapped wild yeast in there? And, if so, can I use this starter in place of the yeast ingredient when I make non-sourdough products (ie. danish pastries and such)? I know that a sourdough starter is used for sourdough bread, pancakes and waffles, but generally, recipes calling for an amount of starter call for it to sit overnight in a warm place with a little bit of flour and water, and that's what I would normally do to yeast anyway when I make non-sourdough products (although not for that lengthy period of time). I like the idea of using fresh yeast whenever possible and sometimes it's difficult to find it closeby, so why not use what I already have in the fridge?

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  1. You have very likely trapped wild yeasts in there, yes. Often if you start with sourdough cultures ordered via mail order, (like San Fran sourdough) over time the natural, local yeasts can take over. The wild yeasts are no better or worse but can have different flavors.

    As for the starter used in various ingredients other than loaves of bread, feel free but do know that it can sometimes be tricky to determine hydration of the dough when you use more than just a tablespoon or two.