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Pain poolish - a type of fermentation starter for bread
Nuruk, a fermentation starter for alcoholic beverages
A fermentation starter (called simply starter within the corresponding context, sometimes called a mother) is a preparation to assist the beginning of the fermentation process in preparation of various foods and fermented drinks. A starter culture is a microbiological culture which actually performs fermentation. These starters usually consist of a cultivation medium, such as grains, seeds, or nutrient liquids that have been well colonized by the microorganisms used for the fermentation.
In descriptions of national cuisines, fermentation starters may be referred to by their national names:
Qū (simplified: 曲; traditional: 麴, also romanized as chu) (China)
Laomian (pinyin: laomian; literally: 'old dough' pinyin: mianfei; literally: 'dough fat'): Chinese sourdough starter commonly used in Northern Chinese cuisine, the sourness of the starter is commonly quenched with sodium carbonate prior to use.