Grape Yeast Bread Starter
- 900g (1 lb) grapes
- 125g (4 oz) wholemeal flour
- To feed the starter
- 1kg bread flour, and more as needed
Prep:9days › Ready in:9days
- Place grapes into a medium mixing bowl. Crush with hands. Cover with cheesecloth or muslin, and set aside for three days at room temperature.
- After three days there should be bubbles in the grape juice, indicating fermentation has begun. Strain liquid, and discard skins. Return to bowl, and stir in wholemeal flour. Set aside for 24 hours at room temperature.
- Measure 250ml starter, discard any extra, and transfer to a 1 litre glass or ceramic container with a lid. Stir in 250g (8 oz) bread flour and 250ml (8 fl oz) water. The mixture should resemble a thick batter; add more water or flour if necessary to achieve this consistency. Cover loosely with lid. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Repeat the following day. Some activity should be noticeable: the mixture should be starting to bubble. Repeat twice more. You will need to discard some of the mixture each day.
- Starter should be quite active. Begin feeding regularly, every 4 to 6 hours, doubling the starter each time. For instance, if you have 250ml starter, add 250g bread flour and 250ml water. Alternatively, store in the refrigerator, and feed weekly.
This recipe produced a vital and active sourdough starter without any added commercial yeast. I use it at least once a week to keep it fresh and ready to go. It will raise a beautiful loaf all by itself. (Be sure to give it extra time.) I always replenish it with wholemeal flour and water and let it sit out of the refrigerator until it is good and bubbly. Then I refrigerate it until I'm ready to use it again. It makes absolutely heavenly waffles and biscuits. The waffles alone are worth making this starter. The instructions say to discard the dough during the initial fermentation process. I didn't, but used it in breads and quick breads with good results. The fermentation process was faster than I expected. Maybe the temperature was warm here. Also I started with grapes a bit on the old side. I think they had already started to ferment. - 14 Jul 2008
Most of the starter recipes you're likely to find either cheat, by using commercial yeast to kick start the process, or are - quite honestly - too fragile in their early stages. In the former case, you create a colony of whatever strain of commercial yeast that you used. Which sort of negates the point of making your own starter: using home grown yeast. In the latter case, you all too frequently end up with a smelly paste that is definitely not starter. This recipe, on the other hand, works perfectly, rapidly and dependably. It creates a batch of wild yeast - soon enough influenced by whatever yeast are floating around in your area - and creates a powerful starter. Powerful enough that no additional yeast is needed to leaven any recipe. Readers might be interested to know that this starter also well replicates the artisinal starters used in high end commercial recipes. Meaning that - quite often - I have seen professional bakers scrape together all manner of thin skinned fruit, let it sit for a few days and use the fermented juice as a starter basis. I really like this starter. - 14 Jul 2008
I used wine grapes from a local vineyard. This makes a very fast "sourdough" starter, with a less sour flavour than my regular sourdough. It has worked in all my favorite sourdough recipes that I have tried it in. - 14 Jul 2008