The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Gigantic petrie dish?

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Thegreenbaker's picture
Thegreenbaker

Gigantic petrie dish?

Hi all,

 

My question is this;

How likely is it to grow other organisms in your "newly-being-created" starter?

 

I am doing a 100% rye starter and I kept the lid on after each time I fed it. tonight will be the 4th feeding and possibly go from seed culture to barm. (I am following Reinhearts Sourdough starter recipe in BBA but with the amounts halved.)

I had a friend come over last night who has made sourdough before and told me to take to lid off or I will grow mould and then went on about Ergot-with all seriousness. So now I am a little concerned. :S Should I throw it all out and start again?

Since leaving the lid off, a skin has been created and even though its bubbling it isnt rising much. As I said, tonight is feed 4.

 

What should I do?

Should I do what sour dough lady does and use pineapple juice?

 

Theparanoidgreenbaker.

 

Here it was yesterday before I threw away half and fed it.

 

and here is where my starter is at the moment

 

It smells quite good. sour, just like a sourdough. not bad at all. :S 

 

 

Thegreenbaker's picture
Thegreenbaker

:S  *eeeps*

 

So, when does it become safe to use the starter? I have to throw away half today and then feed it again, and thats the last feed until I am supposed to turn it into a barm (according to BBA) so do I do as he says or keep it as a seed culture for a few more days?

 

theconfusedgreenbaker

 

 

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Thegreenbaker,

All kinds of stuff can grow in the culture over the first 2-3 days, including some nasty organisms like Salmonella or E. Coli. Eventually, certain Lactobacillus and Yeast species will dominate. That's why sourdough cultures work. The right organisms create an environment that other stuff can't survive in easily. There's no way for me to say what's safe or not, and everyone has different approaches and hot buttons, but in general the culture should be ready to use when you can refresh it, it bubbles up properly, smells good, and you can repeat that cycle in a regular pattern. Most things I've read would say you need about 5-7 days for the culture to really be stable, but sometimes it's taken more like 14 days for me if things didn't go well.

By the way, it seems like a common problem is not increasing feeding ratios and frequency once a new culture becomes active.

The only thing I've read about mold is that it can grow on the sides of your container where old culture or flour has accumulated. I generally switch storage containers when I refresh my culture, so it is just poured in, leaving the sides clean.

Mine is not a rye culture, so I'm not sure what people do with their rye cultures. However, I usually refrigerate mine when storing it. That probably would reduce the chances of mold growing or some wrong bacteria getting a foothold, but I'm not sure.

I use a rubber lid that seals the container but allows gas to escape if pressure builds up. Plastic wrap and a rubber band is an example of the same thing. I've heard both tight seals and loose seals can work. Somehow, it makes sense to me that you would want to let the gases building up in a culture escape, but I see the "tightly seal the container" instructions frequently in texts about how to start a culture.

I haven't experienced any mold problems storing mine for weeks at a time in the refrigerator and using a clean container each time. Maybe someone else has more some details about when mold happens, what the danger is, and how to avoid mold.

Bill

Thegreenbaker's picture
Thegreenbaker

Thanks bwraith :)

 

This has helped me alot. I will keep at it and wait till it is active and smells good. :)

I think it just feels like it has been forever as it is. Its only day 4/5 now and it didnt get a feeding last night as the instructions in BBA say if it hasnt risen or doubled in size dont feed it and let it go for another 12-18 hours.  :S  its been another 12 hours and isnt doing much at all, so I think I'll throw half away and refresh it again. :)

fingers crossed :)

 

thegreenbaker 

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Thegreenbaker,

Even though it may not have started rising by double, I would still feed it at least every 12 hours and at least 1:1:1 by weight, as long as it has fermentation smells and a few bubbles.

You may want to read the sourdough starter faq. There is a whole procedure suggested there for getting a new starter to take off.

Good luck with it.

Bill

sourdough-guy's picture
sourdough-guy

I hope you have your magic wand ready. : -) When PR uses the word 'Barm' he's getting it all wrong, he has corrected this since. Anyway it's just a starter when it's ready you'll know because it will be acting differently, it will be more vigorous and smell different. The yeasts and lb's are very good at keeping out nasties once they have established themselves so you really don't have to worry about it. If your starter is active use it. Putting it in the fridge won't do anything other than make it cold.  

Sourdough-guy

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Sourdough-guy,

Just curious if you're saying you don't think refrigerator storage is a good approach, and if so interested in what you do when the culture is maintained at room temperature. I've always just dropped mine in the refrigerator if I know I won't be feeding it for a while, rather than leaving it out at room temperature. It seems like for short times like a day or two, it's not much different from retarding a dough. The culture will continue to develop in a very slow way for a day or two yet still be very active if you take it out and warm it up. After a couple of days, then I find you have to refresh it with a feeding or two at room temperature to get it fully active.

Bill

sourdough-guy's picture
sourdough-guy

Sorry Bill I don't know where you got that from,

I said,

 

  • Putting it in the fridge won't do anything other than make it cold.  

  

Sourdough-guy

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Sourdough-guy,

Sorry, not trying to put any words in your mouth. I just thought there was some point about refrigeration that you were trying to make that I was missing. I pay careful attention to your comments about sourdough. A number of your tips, especially about starters and sourdough, have been quite helpful to me.

Thanks, Bill

Thegreenbaker's picture
Thegreenbaker

The magic wand is sitting around not being used....maybe I could use it to stir my starter. :S

 

Thanks for your advice on how yeast and lb'c keep the baddies out. I am going to persist and refresh until my starter is bubbling away for a few days in a row at least!

 

 

fingers crossed *crosses fingers*

 

thegreenbaker 

mse1152's picture
mse1152

Sourdough-guy,

what do you mean that Reinhart got it 'all wrong' regarding his barm?  I did try making that barm once and it took a lot of flour and I really didn't get the difference between the 'seed culture' and the barm.  It was a bit too fussy for me.

Sue 

bwraith's picture
bwraith

mse1152,

Sorry, I was reading the posts in this thread, and somehow I accidentally clicked on the [-] rating on your comment unintentionally. Sorry. It won't let me take the rating back now, so maybe someone can give it a [+] for me, so we're back to normal.

Bill

Thegreenbaker's picture
Thegreenbaker

I clicked the +  but nothing really happened.....:S

 

 

mse1152's picture
mse1152

hee hee, just kidding.

No problem.  I really haven't been looking at those ratings.  Thanks for letting me know.

Sue 

JerryMac's picture
JerryMac

Follow his instructions to the letter, regardless of what your instinct tells you. I have made this starter and it is fabulous!

You learn by following blindly and watching very carefully (and thinking) !!!!! 

Mangia Bene, :)

Jerry 

 

Thegreenbaker's picture
Thegreenbaker

It is a great starter. Tastes great, but I am still dubious about eating the bread. *laughs*  I still think "what other beasties are in there"

 

Such a silly paranoid woman I am. but, I will get over it :)  I have a huge sourdough lof waiting to be consumed.

 

Mangia bene to you too :)  and we do :)  a little too well;)

 

thegreenbaker