Sourdough Starter from Ale Barm

Well today I finally got to the point that I could bake a couple of loaves of bread to test out the starter I made with ale barme, so I can report back on this project. I already wrote about using the ale barme in place of yeast, but we don’t always have that on hand as I haven’t begun giving the children ale to drink, yet.  I decided to make my sourdough starter using just ale barme and flour. To begin I put half a cup of ale barm into the jar I use for starters.

It was foamier when I added it. It settles.

I added 1/2 cup rye flour and because I wanted to work with the ale beasties and not wild beasties, I used an airlock.  I usually do this in my house because we have so many things brewing and culturing. This fermented for a week in the same room as 2-gallons of cranberry wine, five gallons of rye ale and 2-gallons of cranberry mead.

It never foamed much.  I just kept adding one-half cup and one-half cup water every day for a week. It was interesting.  The watery substance that formed on top was brown and not gray like it is when I do bread yeast starters, and it’s much thinner.  Honestly it looks a lot like ale.

After 24 hours it still it was only a little bubbly.

On Sunday. I had about four cups of soupy starter and so I took three out to start the first rise of my bread.  My recipe needed some tweaking for this starter.  I had to add some flour to get to the consistency I am used to with the other recipe. As you can see below, it worked out fine.  This is about triple the volume it started out with when I put it into my makeshift riser.

This might make it until tomorrow.

I guess my conclusion about using the ale barme is that it works fine to make a starter, but just don’t expect the yeast to foam the way your bread yeast does. The rise time depends on the type of flour you use, just like when you are using bread yeast.

Published by Stephany Riley Hoffelt

If you want to read more about me, it's on the website www.domestic-medicine.com

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