The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Help, my beloved starter died.

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Thaichef's picture
Thaichef

Help, my beloved starter died.

Good Afternoon:

  A crisis has happened to my sourdough bread baking! After 6 weeks away to my homeland, Thailand, I came back(4 days ago) to find that my very healthy starter died. My husband who promised to maintain it swore that he had feed it regularly/every Sunday per my easy instructions!  After trying to revived (and in vain) twice now, I have to face the fact that it had died!

 Being spoiled for two years with my own baking and am extremely hungry for a good loaf of sourdough(since Thailand had none and my little village in VA. only have commercial "yucky" breads) I am compel to beg from my TFL family.  Please, please ,please give me some of your starters!  I will pay for the shipment.  I know that I can start anther starter but it will take weeks and I am very hungry. Please, I am desperate.

Thank you.

Mantana

Candango's picture
Candango

Mantana, Hi.

I understand the frustration of losing a starter.  So perhaps I can help.  I am in Reston, VA (Fairax County, outside of DC) and have two starters, one regular white sourdough (kept at 50% hydration) and the other a rye "sour" (rye sourdough starter - kept at 100% hydration).  I can "dehydrate" (add flour) to each to bring them down to a playdough/clay type consistency which I can then mail. All you would have to do is "rehydrate" (add a specified amount of water) when you get them.  Let me know your address and I will send a small amount of one or both.  I am at candango1 "at" yahoo.com. (I realize the email address may look strange.  When I tried to write it normally, the TFL system made it look very strange. I think you can probably figure it out.)

Bob

amolitor's picture
amolitor

I am in Norfolk, VA, and would be happy to share my starter if you're near enough to come over! If you're down in the southeast corner of the state, drop me a message, maybe we can get together.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

sourdough bread , say 20% rye or so, with the starter for you - just to help tide you over :-)

Maverick's picture
Maverick

What did you do to try and revive it? You would be surprised what can be accomplished. But you also have some people close to you willing to help, so that is good too.

Next time you go away for so long, just do a large feeding and put it in the refrigerator. I would say at least 10 times the weight of flour compared to starter. So if you have 10g of starter, add 100g of flour plus however much water you use to keep the hydration the same (e.g. for 100% hydration, do 10g starter, 100g flour, and 100g water). When you come back, leave it on the counter to warm up, then you can take some of this and feed as you normally would for a couple days before baking. If you are really worried, you can use even more flour, but I have gone a couple of months this way before (I try not to go so long, but it is good to know I can).

The other thing you could do as a backup is to dry some of the starter and put it in a ziplock bag or airtight container. This will last many months or even years, but I would recommend drying a new batch every 6 months or so to be on the safe side (or more often if it makes you more comfortable or maybe yearly if you are risk tolerent).

Thaichef's picture
Thaichef

Dear Candango, amolitor and dabrownman:

  As always my TFL family came to the rescue!!! Thank you everyone.

Bob: I already sent you the address and thank you for your generous offer. Our family can eat good again.

amolitor: Thanks for your offer also. My home is 5 hours drive  from your home so I can't come over, darn! We could have an exchange of Pad Thai to your starter if we live closer.

dabrownman: That would be so wonderful but no offer of the bread yet.  I just got to grit my teeth and eat the "yucky bread" until I can get my own baking going  again.

Thank you. 

 

RobynNZ's picture
RobynNZ

Can't send starter from NZ, but can send commiserations to both you and your husband. I'm about to leave my home for about 6 weeks too;  I've just dried some starter, also mixed some at the usual hydration except with a greater quantity of flour & water, and also massaged some into dry flour til it would hold no more and put into a jar of dry flour. They are all in the fridge. I always have some dried starter put aside and have had ocassion to need it (like when the fridge 'died' when I was away), but I'm looking forward to finding which one of these three springs back best for me when I get home.

Hope you're soon able to make the bread you miss. Bread in Thailand may not meet your tastes, but I'm sure you really enjoyed eating things that you miss when you are in the States.

How are things at your local market? Did you get over all those obstacles?

Cheers, Robyn

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Hi, thaichef, and welcome back. It is a sad thing to loose a starter, but fret not! a new starter can be up and running in five days... you'll have to start with wholegrain rye flour though.

For more information, pls. ask!

 

johnpaul's picture
johnpaul

I am sorry to hear about your starter's passing.  I don't know where you're little village is in Virginia, but I live in Williamsburg, VA, and I would be happy to share my starter.  

Best,

John

Thaichef's picture
Thaichef

Hello Everyone:

 I know that our family at TFL are special bunch of people but" WOW" I am flabbergasted for the kind responses from everyone! 

RobynNZ : Thank you for your information on preserving the sourdough starter and I will try it the next time that I leave town for a long spell.  Please keep me post as to how did it works when you get back to use it. NZ is one of my favorite country. I visited your country about three years ago and love the garden, the flowers and the scenery.

Thailand has wonderful food and I mostly ate Thai foods when I am home but to have Western breakfast with a so, so breads is just not the same as the "real breads" of sourdough. My  brother( blessed him) bought the "yucky bread" and stored in the refrigerator for weeks for me " so you could have some good toast when you like it". I never have the heart to tell him the truth!

Ah, my farmers market. It is gone. With the economy so bad in our country and that I am the only one managed it without pay and without help from the government agency or anyone, I throw in the towel!  I am sad to see it  goes but with so many obstacles and no help, there is nothing that I could do. Thank you for asking.

 Have a great trip Robyn.

Hello Mebake:  Wow! I am so honored to get a tip from you!!!! Your breads are always the greatest and I am so...........look up to your skills. Please tell me how do you get your starter to work in 5 days.  I mus  try hard to find the wholegrain Rye. I am not so sure that the Rye in the market is wholegrain or not but I have a friend who grind her own wheat flour so I can ask her if she has some Rye.  Thank you so much.

Hello Johnpaul:  Thank you for your offered. My home is in Moneta, about 35 miles from Roanoke. would also love to get your starter. My address is listed on my website:lakethaichef.com ( It is very old web site which my Professor did it for me. Unfortunately, the contact page is not working) 

Thank you.

I would like to repay everyone for their kindness by giving you a "no fail" Pad Thai recipe with the home made Pad Thai sauce. Please tell me how I can get it to you and I will.( I teach people how to cook Thai food and this recipe has been a winner for many of my students.)

mantana

 

  

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Hi, Thaichef,

Well it is quite simple actually..

Initially, You'll have to have the finest grind wholegrain rye flour (preferable). Mix that with  purified mineral water/spring water/unsweetened pineapple juice until you get a loose batter (not thick). pour the flour and water batter into a clear bowl (see through), Cover and store in a room temperature (22-26C) place for 24 hours. Next day, stir the batter properly, discard 50% of the batter, and add water/unsweetened pineapple juice and wholerye flour and stir to obtain the consistency of the previous batter, cover and let rest for another 24 hours. Repeat the day 2 procedure for days 3 and 4 but without the pineapple juice, only mineral water. On day4, or 5 you'll notice tiny bubbles of fermentation appearing through the bowl. Discard half the batter, and add little water, and more wholerye flour to obtain a thicker consistency, cover and let rest for 12 hours. 12 hours later, you'll notice that the batter has risen and fallen with many fermentation bubbles appearing through the bowl. You've created a starter!

From then on, if you choose to store it at room temperature, feed it every 12 hours. If you want to start baking with it, increase your feeding to once every 4-5 hours,6 at most.

To convert your Rye starter to white wheat flour, you'll have to reduce the feeding of rye flour to your starter and increase GRADUALLY the percentage of white flour . Gradual change in starter diet from wholegrain flour to white flour will ensure a smooth and safe transition. it should take 2 days worth of feeding every 4-5  hours, to get a stable white starter. Note that a white starter ferments much slower than a wholerye starter, and thus you have to leave the white starter to peak and then collapse in order to re-feed it again, which should take 6-8 hours at room temperature.

Best of luck!

aytab's picture
aytab

Thaichef, I am to far away to help with the starter problem but I would sure love to have that Pad Thai recipe, that is one of my favorite dishes in the whole world and would love to know how to make it here at home instead of having to go out for it. Would that be possible?

Thanks, 

Aytab

Thaichef's picture
Thaichef

Good morning Mebake and Aytab:

It is a beautiful morning in my village of Moneta this morning but it is cold!

Mebake: Thank you very much for your detail information. I will surely follow your instructions and will let you know  the result but first the search for wholegrain rye flour. Thank you so very much.

Aytab: Of cause you can get my recipe! I would love to have you experience the "real pad Thai"(which should not be sticky sweet and the noodle should not be soggy.) Please send me your e-mail address(or your address) so I could send it.

mantana

 

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

no problem.  I used the dsame technique as mebake but used orange juice instead.

Thaichef's picture
Thaichef

Good Afternoon:

Your starter arrived at my home today!!  Thank you, thank you and thank you. You made my day! I will rehydrate it and get it going then we will have bread again! Hurrah!

Mebake: I found the wholegrain rye today at Kroger!  I will start the starter today also. Thank you.

Mantana

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

Hay I'm not that far from you.  I live in Floyd.  If you need some healthy and ready to go starter let me know I would be more then happy to help out.  I keep a white W/W and rye starter.  I know it can take weeks to rehydrate and strenghten a starter.  Let me know

Faith

Thaichef's picture
Thaichef

Good Morning Faith:

  The kindness of our TFL family never ceased to amazed me! Thank you Faith for your offer and I will keep you in mind. Floyd is a very special place that I had visited only twice on my almost 10 years living here in Moneta.  I think that it is a beautiful place and full of Artists, Music lovers, wonderful farms, gardens. Unfortunately it is very difficult place to get there( mountains and crooked roads).  Perhaps in the future we can meet in Roanoke or somewhere in Franklin county for coffee and exchange ideas in our Bread making?

  Thanks again Faith, you are very kind.

Mantana