I have been searching and searching for articles on using an existing sourdough starter and starting to feed it with buttermilk. I found LOTS of information on making a sourdough starter using buttermilk, however, I read so many conflicting articles, and most with no “science” behind them. Although it was interesting, it was not what I was looking for. These were ALL about making for the first time, a starter using buttermilk and flour.
SO I DID A THING! I decided to take my existing starter, remove 1/2C and put it into another small crock (I never use plastic or metal). I added to that, 1C of full fat buttermilk and 1C organic flour. I fed my original crock with the usual 1C water and 1.5C organic flour. I put them both back in the fridge with the intent of checking them in approx 12hrs to see if they are both bubbling and I will use my new starter with buttermilk to make a loaf of bread, and see how it comes out! I am looking for a tangy yet soft textured sourdough as its healthier, has less gluten and is delish!
You may be asking yourself, what is the big deal? The controversy on using buttermilk seems to all stem from allowing it to sit out in a warm place for 4-5 days when making a first starter, (more on that below) and the fact that the milk will “rot” (those authors words). Again, every single article I read had no real science behind it, just peoples “thoughts”. The first thing that went thru my mind was, my starter is not going to be sitting on a counter, its an existing starter, therefore I would not have to worry about the milk “rotting”. The second thing that went thru my mind, as was brought up in one article, is that my existing starter has “its own” bacteria in it, adding buttermilk will introduce “different” bacteria and could cause problems. This really was not a concern for me, as its in the fridge and is not subject to “wild bacteria”. The only other concern is that the buttermilk has had “beneficial bacteria” added to it, so the authors of these articles seemed to think that could be a problem.
Now let me digress to my point in the second sentence of the last paragraph “The controversy….” Let’s talk a bit about this. Most of the authors of these articles were worried that by using buttermilk to make a new sourdough starter on a counter would be a health risk. I sat back and said to myself, wait a minute, that makes no sense, since sour cream, yogurt , sauerkraut and many other items essentially “rot” to form good bacteria that we then ingest! I really was just amazed at some of the things I read. It was clear that some of these authors are used to buying store bought things laced with all kinds of chemicals and really have no clue how good ole fashioned fermentation takes place.