good day! here we will discuss and in practice we will apply the real Old Slavonic regular leaven! and also clarify how to store it correctly. So let's go)

As you know, only the right bees make the right honey. The most important thing for bread is sourdough. Therefore, when breeding the starter culture, it is very important not to be mistaken in anything and take the correct starting materials.

For starter you will need: flour, water, a clean container, but which ones - we will see now; also - a sieve, gauze napkins, a room thermometer.

FLOUR should be:
- necessarily whole grain. Because the microorganisms involved in fermentation and the enzymes that activate various processes in it live precisely in those parts of the grain that are removed during the production of refined flour (bran and aleurone layer). But whole grain flour is all different. It may not work out and you will have to try another manufacturer's flour.
- The flour must also be sifted. When sifting, we saturate the flour with oxygen. Lactic acid bacteria can grow without air access. But yeast is good to breathe. Only with aerobic breathing (with air access) do they emit mainly carbon dioxide, and the bubbles that we see in the dough and which then turn into pores in bread are carbon dioxide. With anaerobic respiration, ethanol is released mainly. Therefore, you should close the starter jar with a double layer of gauze, a cloth, but not a plastic lid!
Bran, remaining in the sieve during sifting, of course, we add to the sourdough.

- not chlorinated. It is unlikely that someone will take water from the tap - and this is correct, if only because there may well be chlorine in the water, and it is precisely for this purpose that it is added so that it destroys all small animals. In the same way, beneficial fermenting microorganisms will suffer from it.
- The water should not be soft. An alkaline environment is unfavorable for our little friends - they need an acidic (ferment pH 3.5), and it is on the acidification of the environment that they will work. So don't make life difficult for them.
The best water is spring water.

CAPACITY. She should be:
- made of natural material (glass, clay) - contact with plastic of dubious composition will not add to the usefulness of bread.
- Clean: the jar should be washed with soda - and the soda should be thoroughly rinsed so as not to complicate the task of lowering the pH of microorganisms (soda - alkali), rinse with boiling water. The fewer pathogenic microorganisms in the dishes, the better for the sourdough, of course, although in due time these (and others sitting in the flour itself) harmful microbes will still be destroyed when the pH drops.
- Also, the dishes should be large, because, firstly, you will feed the leaven several times, and secondly, the leaven has a tendency to significantly increase in volume (and fall off).

A PLACE. When the flour is mixed with water and placed in a jar, we will have to arm ourselves with a room thermometer and find a suitable place for sourdough. Wild yeast thrives at temperatures above 20 degrees on average, although there are many types, and each has its own preferences. But lactic acid bacteria like a hot environment (owners of yogurt makers remember that yoghurt is prepared at t 38-42˚) - they will quite like a warm place with t for 30˚. So let's put the jar in a place with t 27˚ - this temperature is equally comfortable for yeast and lactic acid bacteria. At lower temperatures, the process will also proceed, but depressingly slowly.
Day 1
- 100 ml of water (preferably spring water) at room temperature
- 100 ml (approximately) whole grain rye flour
- clean glass liter jar
- sieve

Sift about 100 ml flour (half a glass).
Pour 100 ml of water into a jar and add the sifted flour along with the bran remaining in the sieve - in such an amount that the consistency of thin sour cream is obtained (on the first day it is NOT thick - so that in high humidity conditions all bacteria and all enzymes understand that it is time to wake up and get to work).

It makes no sense to indicate the exact amount of flour to a gram, since all flour is different, even whole grain, and it will take slightly different amounts of water. You should focus on consistency.

Close the jar with double gauze under an elastic band and put it in a moderately warm place - with a temperature of 25-27 degrees.

Day 2
After checking the leaven, we should find:
- bubbles and something like foam appeared on the surface
- the leaven smells unpleasant
- the leaven became more liquid than we left it.

The cause of the unpleasant odor is pathogenic microorganisms, which at first multiply in the sourdough, until about the 3rd day, by the efforts of lactic acid bacteria (of course, also actively multiplying), the medium becomes so acidic that bad microbes can no longer exist in it.

Refill the jar with 100 ml of room temperature water.
Sift flour through a sieve.
Pour the sifted flour together with the bran left over during sifting into the jar - so that the consistency of THICK (from this day on) sour cream is obtained.
We mix.
Cover with gauze.
We put it in a warm place with a temperature of 25-27˚.

Day 3
Two days passed. The smell is still unpleasant, there are small bubbles on the surface. Again add 100 ml of water, sifted flour with bran - until the consistency of thick sour cream. Stir, cover with gauze and place in a place with a temperature of about 25-27˚.

Day 4
Three days passed. The smell is much better.
It is recommended to split the starter at this stage. This means preparing another clean jar and planting half of the available leaven in it, then feeding only this half. This is done so that the leaven, which in this phase of readiness - after the 4th feeding - can (and should) increase in volume by 2-2.5 times, does not escape from the can.
Add 100 ml of water, sifted flour with bran to the transplanted half of the starter culture to the consistency of thick sour cream, mix, under cheesecloth and in a warm place.

Day 5
Four days - the fifth feeding. The leaven should have a pleasant smell (something berry-wine-herbal-fermented milk), it bubbles vigorously and is able to increase in volume by 2-2.5 times. When feeding, we divide it again, transplant half of it into a clean jar, pour water there in a volume equal to the volume of the leaven, and add sifted flour with bran to the consistency of thick sour cream.

Day 6
Five days have passed. The leaven is ready.

Signs of a mature leaven:
- smell - pleasant
- the taste is very sour
- fullness of CO2 bubbles throughout the volume (when the starter culture is standing for a long time, they may no longer be visible on the surface. It does not matter. The main thing is that when feeding, they should appear again)
- the ability to significantly increase in volume.

To consolidate the properties of the leaven and its "strength", you can feed it again according to the scheme of Day 5 (dividing, adding water in the volume of the leaven, mix with flour until the usual consistency).

You can move on to bread!

IMPORTANT! Let's not forget that every time we put the dough - except for the very first time on a young sourdough - the sourdough must first be "grinded" - taken out the night before, let it warm to room temperature for a couple of hours and, dividing it, feed it according to the scheme of the Day 5 and 6.


"Store the finished starter culture in the refrigerator, feeding it as needed ..." How many sad consequences in the form of moldy, sour, rancid, and most often - yeast-turned starter cultures cause similar recommendations! After all, storing starter culture in the refrigerator is a fairly new-made solution and, as often happens, the solution is less successful than the good old methods that have been used for centuries. Let's see if the leaven will be good in the refrigerator - that is, millions of living microorganisms, thanks to which, in fact, all the correct processes in the dough go on? As we remember, yeast and lactic acid bacteria live in the leaven.So, in the refrigerator - where the average temperature is kept at + 4- + 6˚ - they will feel differently. At these temperatures, the yeast remains viable and can even multiply, albeit very slowly; they go into a state of suspended animation in the temperature range from 0 to +4 degrees and can even survive freezing. In general, their motto is: "Don't wait!" But lactic acid bacteria are not so strong and will not feel good in the refrigerator, because they become inactive at temperatures of + 10- + 12˚ and do not want to multiply, and at lower temperatures they generally die. Yes, there are microbial species that can multiply at +5 and below; and the famous bacterium l. sanfranciscensis, the queen of American starter cultures, may even compete with yeast for survival. However, there are many types of lactic acid bacteria, and it is not known (if we are not in the laboratory) which of them will end up in our sourdough and what kind of temperature will be critical for them, so there is a chance that some microbiological bacteria will not survive being in the refrigerator at all, some will survive , but will not multiply, and all this time the yeast will slowly, but stubbornly increase its number.
As a result, we have every chance to get out of the refrigerator the very wrong sourdough that we put into it ... And if lactic acid bacteria are few and weakened, who will SURGE the dough? Without microbial dough, completely different processes will take place in the dough, and there will be no usual use in bread. And who will protect the dough from the addiction of pathogenic microorganisms? Therefore, you should not be surprised if mold or plaque in the form of yeast spores appears on the surface of the leaven - after all, yeast began to prevail in the leaven. Well, do not be surprised if this yeast eventually turns out to be volatile and penetrating into any crevice of bakery S. cerevisiae.

What to do? Regarding the temperature, you can arm yourself with a tool already well known to us - a room thermometer and find a place where the temperature will be suitable for our dear lactic acid bacteria, but at the same time the fermentation processes will be slowed down as much as possible - that is, 10-12˚. It is possible to achieve this temperature from the refrigerator by turning the temperature switch. In general, it is worth experimenting with a window sill in the winter, with a balcony in the summer, and in a private house there are even more opportunities.

To properly feed, grind the leaven, you can use one of the methods described below.

1) leave a piece of dough and store in the same Cool, but comfortable place for the ICB. However, this is often problematic, because various additional types of flour, dried fruits and other nuts-seeds are often put into the dough (although seeds, especially flaxseeds, would prefer to remain thermally unprocessed for our benefit if asked). Well, the piece of dough left behind should, of course, only be made of sourdough with native flour. In general, this method works quite well - and why shouldn't it work, mankind has baked bread for thousands of years, keeping the leaven just like that.

2) leave part of the dough. Put a few tablespoons of the dough in a clean jar (which has risen to a peak and settled!), Leave on the table for several hours, until it acquires the smell of ripe sourdough, remove to a Cool Place. After 2-3 days, feed according to the algorithm described below.

3) if stored in the form of a leaven, then when feeding, you need not just add flour-water to the cold sad leaven and immediately put it in the refrigerator, but:
- get it a few hours before feeding to keep warm before
room temperature;
- pour water into a clean jar in a volume 5-6 times the volume of the transplanted quantity of sourdough, add sourdough, stir, add whole grain flour with bran to thick sour cream;
- wait until the leaven rises to its peak, settles and stands for some time until the smell of a ripe leaven is acquired;
- put in a cool Mpsto.

In general, to assess how correct we have created the conditions for storing the leaven, ... the nose will serve us best. Check your sourdough smell daily and monitor for dangerous Signs.

Signs that something is wrong with the leaven, but the situation can be corrected by timely feeding and careful care:
- alcohol smell
- vinegar smell
- not a strong yeast smell
- hard crust, when removed - an acceptable odor
- thin white bloom
- the leaven has exfoliated, an unpleasant smell
These are all signs of an imbalance between the abundance of wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria. The problem goes away if the storage regime is observed and the correct feeding.

Signs that something is wrong with the leaven, but correcting this is generally a thankless task and it is better to bring out a new leaven:
- a strong yeast odor and the appearance of plaque in the form of yeast spores
- the appearance of frank mold
- the leaven has exfoliated, plaque or hard crust, when removed - a sharply unpleasant odor.


Let's see what the folk experience offers us.
Let me remind you that it is undesirable to store the leaven in the refrigerator, because at normal refrigerator temperatures (4-5˚) lactic acid bacteria in it - its main labor force - die or weaken, and wild yeast continues to multiply, as a result, the properties of the leaven change for the worse - she loses a number of her useful abilities. Still, the main task of KVASS is to provide KVASS, that is, lactic acid fermentation.
However, this happens not because the refrigerator is such a nasty unit that deliberately harms the leaven, but simply because the temperatures in it are too low for the leaven. Therefore, the first way out is to find a temperature relay in the refrigerator and, by turning it, increase the temperature. Which I did - and now the leaven lives there at t 10-11˚ and feels great, and as for the rest (usually few) products, I did not notice that this change was harmful to them.
We also include storage of starter culture in a wine cabinet or in special professional refrigerators, if you are the happy owners of such equipment.

Option two, also for an apartment: try to use the street (loggia, balcony) - at least for the night. How much it will work depends on the climate, of course, but still, in most of Russia, the nights are cool in summer, and in spring the temperature tends to zero, as they say.

The third option is for an apartment. Leave the starter culture at the temperatures available (20-35˚ depending on the season) and feed it as soon as it needs it (for example, it stratifies and smells sad). But this option is quite tough for the hostess: in the heat, the sourdough may require feeding up to twice a day. Accordingly, it will be easier for the hostess if the proportion of sourdough relative to the volume of the nutrient mixture (flour + water) is reduced (to 1:10 or even less) - the microorganisms will have more work, it will take more time to process a larger amount of feeding, and, therefore, in the next time you need to feed it will not be so soon.

In a private house. Inhabitants of a private house do not know about the problems with storing leaven at all. At their service is a cellar (underground), a canopy, and many other cold rooms, where it is cool even on a summer day, and there is nothing to say about nights. The main thing is to remember that the leaven needs care and attention, to monitor changes in environmental conditions and to place the leaven where it will be best under these conditions.
And yet - both in a private house and in an apartment when looking for a dwelling place for sourdough (especially in the open air - a balcony, a loggia), you need to remember that it should not be placed in a place open to direct sunlight - intense UV radiation is for microorganisms as a stress factor. This is just in case, because in such a place it is also hot, and it is unlikely that anyone will choose it.

Thank you!

Bread with this leaven here Real Old Slavic Rye Bread with sourdough.
I made the sourdough according to your recipe. This is my first leaven, and I baked bread on it twice. Just a delight! Yesterday I made it from the highest grade baking flour, and even raised this sourdough flour! And the rye was with very good holes! But I have a question. How often should the starter be fed? Only by smell and appearance or by mode?
Quote: Mdmi
Only by smell and appearance or by mode?
my opinion is by smell and sight
I put it today on days 5 and 6 in a ratio of 1: 5. After 10 hours, it exfoliated. However, it did not even increase by 1.5 times.
why 1: 5?
Quote: Newbie

why 1: 5?
So the recipe says!
if stored in the form of a leaven, then when feeding, you need not just add flour-water to the cold sad leaven and immediately put it in the refrigerator, but:
- get it a few hours before feeding to keep warm before
room temperature;
- pour water into a clean jar in a volume 5-6 times the volume of the transplanted quantity of sourdough, add sourdough, stir, add whole grain flour with bran to thick sour cream;
- wait until the leaven rises to its peak, settles and stands for some time until the smell of a ripe leaven is acquired;
- put in a cool Mpsto.
Quote: Mdmi
wait until the leaven rises to a peak, settles and stands for some time until the smell of a mature leaven is acquired;
- put in a cool Mpsto.
Of course, I don't understand this - what's the point of standing sourdough and for the time being absolutely hungry? acidity gain?
Quote: Mdmi
I put it today on days 5 and 6 in a ratio of 1: 5. After 10 hours, it exfoliated. However, it did not even increase by 1.5 times.
I would assume and only for myself - she was "crammed" with food, digestion failed

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