[Prev: Can I freeze or dry my starter? | Next: What do all these baker's terms mean? ] Created 10/25/04 by darrell.web4 (at) telus.net (Darrell Greenwood)

35. What happens if I start my starter with commercial yeast?

Subject: 35. What happens if I start my starter with commercial yeast?

Many people believe that a starter started with commercial yeast will eventually be "taken over" by wild yeast. This is a good thing, and the quality/predictability of the resultant bread should improve as this happens, since commercial yeast isn't really designed to be used that way. Until that process is completed, the starter is in a state of transition toward a desired end-state where wild yeast and bacteria maintain a balanced, stable, symbiotic relationship. It follows that an evolving starter will produce breads with differing characteristics as the nature of the starter changes. Only a stable starter will produce consistent results.

It can actually take quite a while for a starter (even one that began without commercial yeast) to reach a good balance of microbiological life. This is one of the reasons why many bakers use cultures from long-established starters (why go through all the time and trouble to nurse your starter to a balanced state when there are lots of already-balanced starter cultures out there with proven characteristics?).

-Sam

There was an experiment done by a Dutch group: baker's yeast didn't survive more than two refreshments of a sourdough culture. I think that it's the acetate that kills the yeast as it is less acetate tolerant than sourdough yeasts.

-Michael

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