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A consumer wants the recipe for the sour dough starter that uses the instant potatoes. Can this starter be frozen since it has yeast in it?

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Starting a new starter from the local atmosphere. 1. Combine in a glass bowl, 1-1/2 cups warm water (80 to 85 F) and 2 cups of white all-purpose flour. (You can substitute the white all-purpose flour with instant potatoes.) Mix well. 2. Place the bowl in an 80 to 85 F location. Leave uncovered so the natural microorganisms can settle on the surface. Let proof for 24 hours. Stir the mixture well once or twice during the 24 hours first proof. 3. At the end of the 24 hours, examine for bubbles (use a glass bowl) Repeat the 24 hours proof as described, including the brisk stirring and fanning. 4. At 48 hours total time, again examine, stir, and fan the mixture. Continue to leave uncovered. Any skin that forms should be stirred back in as soon as it is noticed so no microorganisms will be kept out of the starter by the dry skin. Remove 1/2 cup of the starter, and replace it with 1/2 cup warm water and about 1cup flour or instant potatoes. 5. Continue this 48-hour cycle very carefully until it is obvious that the first bubbles are appearing. It typically takes from 3 to 7 days before the starter will begin to work.

NOTE: Do not eat fresh starter because one does not know what its microbial composition is. Remember that this mixture will be baked into a bread and so heat will kill pathogens if they should happen to be present.

Other points of interest * A starter culture is comprised of wild yeast and lacto-bacillus microorganisms. Both can be found naturally in the environment. * Do not add commercial yeast to a starter culture. It will change the flavor of your sourdough products. * Starter cultures often change over time. * Stages that new starters typically go through: - dead - no visible bubbles on the surface or below - flat -- no visible bubbles and you believed you did not kill it - expose to heat - barely living - visible bubbles exist but the starter has no frothy layer of bubbles on the surface of the starter - healthy - nice, smooth consistency and filled with tiny bubbles throughout the starter above and below the surface

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, NC State University in July 2004

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