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Litmus paper to test the PH of a sourdough yeast culture

Flexitarian Mar 12, 2014 05:01 PM

I need some litmus paper to test the PH of a sourdough yeast culture I am trying to activate. Does anyone know where I can buy it in Toronto other than online? (I need it fast).

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    frogsteak RE: Flexitarian Mar 12, 2014 05:06 PM

    litmus paper is sometimes sold at electronics, hobby and hardware stores.

    1 Reply
    1. re: frogsteak
      Flexitarian RE: frogsteak Mar 12, 2014 05:35 PM

      Thanks. I just found out that both Rona and Home Hardware sell ph strips as many people use them for soil testing:



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      youdonut RE: Flexitarian Mar 13, 2014 06:28 AM

      this might be a bit much but if you want accurate digital readings you could always get one of these.


      if you are using tap water for your cultures you might want to know your chlorine levels as well.

      2 Replies
      1. re: youdonut
        Flexitarian RE: youdonut Mar 13, 2014 06:56 AM

        Thanks, but $70 for that tester is a bit much given I only need to know the pH within a certain range, and not exactly, and so litmus paper is fine at $7 for some strips at Home Hardware or $13 at Rona. Lee Valley also has pH testers for $20 and for $132:



        I've been using tap water filtered by Brita. Apparently flouride does not affect the culture and chlorine only does sometimes. I am using spring water just in case as these cultures are not cheap (about $10$-20 each).

        I just called a whole bunch of Home Hardware stores south of the 401 and not a single one has it stock. I guess it is not a stock item and I need it today. The nursery stores only have testing kits for testing soil, not litmus paper. The two Rona stores that have it are way out in the boonies. Arghhh.

        1. re: Flexitarian
          LexiFirefly RE: Flexitarian Mar 13, 2014 08:49 AM

          I had this problem in the early winter, they said they'll have them again in spring, so hopefully soon!

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        Raffles RE: Flexitarian Mar 13, 2014 07:01 AM

        Some homebrew/wine making shops have.

        1. biggreenmatt RE: Flexitarian Mar 13, 2014 09:19 AM

          Cheap as chips at the U of T med school book store.

          Fun little place. Replaced my conventional Pyrex measuring cups and pitchers with kick-ass Pyrex sciencey beakers!

          1 Reply
          1. re: biggreenmatt
            Flexitarian RE: biggreenmatt Mar 13, 2014 05:28 PM

            Now ya tell me! ;)

            I ended up getting them at the Carrot Dispensary across from the main Big Carrot store on the Danforth for $8.99. It was a package of 50 'Alkazone Accurate pH Test Strips for Water' for $8.99. They provide a reading from 3-10 in increments of 1.

            I tested Toronto tap water just for fun and it turned out to have a pH of 4. I didn't think it would be that acidic. I thought it would be closer to 6-7, which is neutral.

          2. Flexitarian RE: Flexitarian Mar 14, 2014 03:13 PM

            Actually to be more specific what I needed really was 'pH paper' and not litmus paper as the latter does not test in a fine enough or narrow enough range. The ph strips I got from the Big Carrot Dispensary on the Danforth simply don't seem to work properly as they even test water to the wrong pH (I hope I can get a refund but I'll probably have to bring a water bottle along to prove it doesn't work even though it is specifically for testing water). For testing sourdough cultures it is best to get the narrow range Hydrion pH paper which tests pH from 3.0-5.5 in increments of 0.5 and comes in a 15 feet roll in a plastic dispenser. The one I bought, even if it worked, only tests in increments of 1.0.

            Eftonscience across from Yorkdale Plaza used to carry it but they closed (it was a great store btw). I can't find a local source in Canada but the next best thing is ordering it from onlinesciencemall.com for $8.49 + $7.12 postage (therefore no brokerage fee or HST). Amazon Canada doesn't carry it and Amazon US doesn't ship that product to Canada. Here is the link in case anyone else other than me needs to test the pH of their sourdough culture:


            6 Replies
            1. re: Flexitarian
              LexiFirefly RE: Flexitarian Mar 14, 2014 03:29 PM

              I thought the 3-10 was strange.

              1. re: LexiFirefly
                Flexitarian RE: LexiFirefly Mar 14, 2014 04:14 PM

                Why? pH goes up much higher than that. Also, that's all they had that went below 5 so I had no choice.

                1. re: Flexitarian
                  LexiFirefly RE: Flexitarian Mar 14, 2014 04:58 PM

                  Most of the tests I've had, have been 1-7 and done the .1. Maybe I'm thinking of something else, but the 3-10 I've never seen before.

                  1. re: LexiFirefly
                    Wahooty RE: LexiFirefly Mar 14, 2014 05:22 PM

                    3-10 is very common - just not for this kind of application. I use it in my freshman chem classes all the time, and it is cheap.

                    1. re: Wahooty
                      Flexitarian RE: Wahooty Mar 16, 2014 07:02 AM

                      What should I be using?

                      1. re: Flexitarian
                        Wahooty RE: Flexitarian Mar 16, 2014 07:40 AM

                        You're right on the money with narrow range pH papers - have you checked homebrewing supply places? There are narrow-range papers targeted at both beer and wine brewing that might run cheaper than ordering from a scientific supply house, especially if you can save on shipping. They'll usually read in .2 or .5 increments. This place is out in Brampton, but it might be worth calling your nearest wine-making shop to see if they have them:

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