Posted 3/26/2020 17:47 (#8141018 - in reply to #8140619) Subject: RE: another question about sourdough starter
The real "sourdoughs" in the north used to take the starter and mix it with fresh flour to make a ball and keep it right in the flour bag, from what I know. When they got to where they were going, they would simply add water to the dough ball, and it would start working again. I'm guessing that it would keep a long time that way too.
I don't know what sugar does to it, as I have never used it. I am pretty sure that it is not necessary. But, that's the beauty of sourdough - you don't have to do it one way. I experimented with it a lot. If it does for some reason go bad, it is easy to just start another batch with potato water and flour - and I always used a very small amount of yeast only at the very beginning. Just keep in mind that it is a living thing. Feed it often and/or keep it warmer than room temperature, and it gets so active that you can easily kill it by forgetting to keep feeding it. The bugs are extremely active, and they eat up their food supply in no time at all. Slow it down by feeding it less often - every two or three days - or refrigerate it, and it is much more forgiving, as the bugs are slower to multiply - and there are bugs that will still be living to continue with the process.
Again, you should know if you've killed it. The smell can get very strong. Interestingly, in Alaska, the starter was easier to keep healthy than it was back at the farm. I have no idea why.
One interesting property - we used to bake bread and take into the mountains in the summer. The only ingredients we used in that bread were starter and enough flour to thicken it for the dough. It would take several hours to rise before going into the oven. It never spoiled on us. To say that it had body would have been an understatement. It was great on a float trip. One time, it did get too dry to finish a loaf, so we tossed it into the river. It floated like a cork all the way out of sight. Kind of like closed cell foam. But, when you are hungry and eating freeze dried food, it tasted just fine.
Have fun experimenting. There is no "right" way to do it.