Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the shelf life of the sourdough culture ?
- How well will my culture handle being shipped in our hot Australian climate ?
- How should I store my sourdough culture ?
- Does the culture contain any dairy ?
- Does the culture contain any allergens ?
- How much culture do I use ?
- How should I store my sourdough starter (mother) ?
- Can I make a smaller sourdough mother with the Green Living Australia Culture; just enough for baking a loaf and not have to maintain the mother ?
- How long will my sourdough last without food ?
- What is the liquid on top of my sourdough mother ?
- Why do sourdough mother feeding instructions tell you to discard half of the mother before feeding ?
- My bread is flat and hard. What went wrong ?
If you have a question, or require help with your yoghurt making, please call (07) 3808 2576 or email us with as much information about your question or problem as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our cultures travel very well. Just store the items "as advised" as soon as possible.
Cultures are shipped to us from overseas, without any cooling, and we just store the items correctly once they get to us. It is the long term storage that is important.
We have shipped thousands of culture sachets a year for over a decade and have found the cultures are hardier than may be imagined. We tested yoghurt cultures left at room temperature over a period of four months. We found that at three months the culture still worked well, however; at four months we needed to increase the culture dose significantly. This same culture kept in a freezer would have lasted for years.
What we wish to avoid is anyone getting their yoghurt or cheese cultures or enzymes and storing them in the pantry for many months, without even knowing that they needed to be put in the fridge or freezer.
Perhaps we are overcompensating with the notes on our site and the labels all over the place, but we do know someone who kept an unopened cheese kit in a hot pantry for two years.
The sourdough, cheese, yoghurt and probiotic cultures are freeze dried, and require "long term storage" in freezer. The cultures also readily absorb moisture out of the air so should be kept in airtight containers which should only be opened at room temperature. Always allow your culture to come to room temperature before opening and handling.
Sacco's cultures are mainly grown on a dairy based medium. At the end of propagation, the starter culture cells are physically separated from this medium, then concentrated and freeze-dried. Very little, if any of the dairy component ends up in the final starter culture. However because people with allergies to dairy protein can be sensitive to parts per million (ppm) levels, Sacco cannot guarantee that such levels are not present in their cultures, and therefore declare that most of their cultures may contain traces of dairy.
We have Allergen Declarations from Sacco, who supply our Yoghurt and Probiotic cultures.
This document is the Allergen Statement.
The sachet holds 5 grams of culture and you only need 1/4 of a gram of culture to make 1 kg of pre-dough.
We recommend opening the sachet when you are about to make your first sourdough. Bring the sachet to room temperature first, this should only take a few minutes, and reduces the effect of condensation causing some of the culture to stick to the inside of the sachet. Cut all the way across the top of the sachet, then concertina it and pour the culture into the sterile jar supplied. Label the jar and store in the freezer.
If you are going to be away for a while and not making any bread, you can store your sourdough starter in the fridge, in a glass or earthenware jar, covered with a cloth or with the lid just resting on it but not sealed. To do this, feed your starter and leave it out for one hour, then place it in the fridge.
When you return and are ready to start your bread making again, remove the starter from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature for a couple of hours. Then feed the starter as normal. It will take a couple of days before your culture will fully recover from being in the fridge.
When I am home every day and making bread on a regular basis, my sourdough mother lives on the kitchen counter, where I can keep an eye on it, feed it when I need to and bake with it whenever I get the urge.
Can I make a smaller sourdough mother with the Green Living Australia Culture; just enough for baking a loaf and not have to maintain the mother ?
Yes, you can. You can reduce the recipe and make smaller batches of starter. You will still have to go through all of the steps and get your starter mature enough to give you the results you are looking for, which will take a few days. Then you can use all of what you have made in a loaf of bread if you want to.
This does mean that you will not have to maintain a mother. It also means that it will take you a few days to get a batch ready to make a loaf of bread. The Green Living Australia Culture comes with enough to make 20 mothers, so if you are an occasional sourdough baker, this is perfect for you.
For the most healthy sourdough starter, you need to feed it every day if it is being kept at room temperature. When I am home, I keep my sourdough starter on the kitchen counter, feed it daily and use some to make bread every other day. If I am going to be away, I feed it, wait one hour and then put it in the fridge. It will be happy for about a week without being fed. Longer than a week and the food will run out and your starter will begin to suffer.
The liquid that collects on top of your sourdough mother sometimes is called hooch. It is actually a naturally occurring alcohol created from the fermentation of carbohydrates by the yeast in the mother. It has a displeasing smell and flavour and indicates that your sourdough mother is hungry. While it is harmless, it should be poured off before feeding your sourdough mother. To prevent hooch from forming, you need to get your sourdough onto a regular feeding schedule.
Why do sourdough mother feeding instructions tell you to discard half of the mother before feeding ?
When feeding your sourdough mother you need to feed it enough to last 24 hours if you are keeping it out of the fridge and a week if you are keeping it in the fridge. If your mother is 250 grams, you need to feed it 250 grams (125 grams flour and 125 grams water). Now it is 500 grams. Next time you feed it, you can either feed it 500 grams or you can discard half and get it back down to 250 grams so you only need to feed it 250 grams. You really only need to discard if you are not taking the mother out and using it to make bread.
Left it too long: When you are baking bread, regardless of whether it is sourdough on quick bread with added yeast, you need to put it in the oven after it has risen enough but also when it is still on the rise. You need to wait long enough for the bread to fully rise, so your bread will be light in texture. However, you need to be sure you do not wait too long and put it in the oven after the rise has collapsed. The fermenting process creates carbon dioxide and this is what causes the bread to rise. If you leave it too long it will rise and then collapse.
Proofing the bead at too high a temperature: You might not have left it too long. In fact, you might have followed the recipe and left it the required time. However, the higher the temperature in the room, the more active the microorganisms, including yeast will be. Cool it down to slow it down. The longer bread takes to ferment, the more complex the flavours will be.
Did not knead the bread enough: During the fermentation process, carbon dioxide is produced and trapped within the dough. The dough needs to be strong enough to withstand the pressure of the bubbles as they collect and let the carbon dioxide escape. The gluten in the bread, a protein, is stretched by the kneading process and become more elastic, making the dough strong enough to keep the carbon dioxide within its structure. Dough that has not been kneaded sufficiently will be weak and will collapse. You need to knead the dough till it becomes smooth and stiff.
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