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Help with activating dry starter

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tnjoann's picture
tnjoann

Help with activating dry starter

I am brand new to sourdough..... well I had a starter years ago but it was given by a friend and I just had to feed it.  I ordered a Friends of Carl sourdough starter  and followed these instructions  beginning last night.Italicized text  below is so you can the instructions I followed.The bold text is what I actually did and observed.    Get a small container. Begin with one tablespoon of lukewarm water, stir in 1/2 teaspoon of your starter and let stand for a few minutes to soften the start granules. Then mix in one tablespoon of flour. Depending on the flour, you may need to add an additional teaspoon or two of water. You want the mixture to be like a thin pancake batter. When the mixture gets
bubbly, put it in a little larger container.
It was bubbly in less than an hour.  I could see bubbles rising and popping. So I went to the next stepThen stir in 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of flour. I did this and waited an hour or two, it had some bubbles but not a lot so I let it sit on the counter for about 12 hours (till morning).While it sat I did a lot of reading on this site about sourdough and starters and read that I should use equal amounts of flour and water according to weight not volumeThe next step said When that mix rises up add 1/2 cup of water and 1/2
cup of flour. When this bubbles up, you will have about one cup of very
active starter that is ready for use or storage in your refrigerator.
So after about 12 hours (this morning) I added 1/2 cup water (109 grams) (transferred to a wide mouth quart canning jar) and added109 grams of flour but in volume it seemed more like 3/4 cup than 1/2.  I marked the jar and left it on the counter.  After 2 0r 3 hours it had moved about 1/4 inch in the jar.  I read that a vigorous stir could help it so I stirred it and after about 2  more hours it had again rose about 1/4 inch.  The surface looks bumpy as though bubbles are trying to push up to the top.  I see some bubbles when I look thru the sides.I am just worried about whether It is progressing correctly or not.  And worried about whether I should have changed the ratio I was feeding it at. So what should I do now?

tnjoann's picture
tnjoann

This is what my starter looks like if you look down inside the top of the jar.

 

 

tnjoann's picture
tnjoann

This is what it looks like if you look through the side of the jar.  You can see the mark I placed at the beginning and then the mark at 12:00 noon before I stirred it.  It went down and now has risen again to the 12:00 mark.  it is 74.9 degrees on the counter where it is sitting.

 

Wingnut's picture
Wingnut

Looks good to me but I am a newbie. I would make sure you use by weight measurements instead of Volume, just my 1.5 cents. Give it time.....

linder's picture
linder

It could take a couple of days to see some vigorous activity.  Check out this link for more details--

http://www.breadtopia.com/starter_instructions/

My own frozen starter took 3-4 days of once daily feedings before it was back to its old self, but my house is pretty cold these days - 59(nightime)-68F.

Linda

tnjoann's picture
tnjoann

Equal amounts of flour and water by weight?  Right?  That is what I did at the last feeding I described in my post.  Whew.... maybe I did it right :)

tnjoann's picture
tnjoann

Thank You Linder and Wingnut.

I will certainly check out the link!

 

Juergen's picture
Juergen

My old starter took about 10 days from scratch before it was fully active. Since you've already 'injected' yours with a strain of bacteria and yeasts, I'd say give it about 5 days. After that, the magic will surely happen and you'll have a very active starter. This photo is my old starter after 10 days or so. It doubled within a few hours after feeding. 

cranbo's picture
cranbo

I agree with Juergen and others, just give it more time. I expect that it will be thriving in the next 4-5 days. If not, give it 5 more days. Within 10 days it is 99% guaranteed to be showing strong activity. 

 

tnjoann's picture
tnjoann

 

I moved my starter to a warmer place (76-79f) and she took off! 

In just a few minutes I saw a difference

 

It had doubled by 12:13 when it was time to feed it again

I fed it with 1/2 cup water (100g) and 100g flour

42 minutes later I am afraid it might overflow the jar while I sleep

Transferred it to a bigger container just in case and this is what I had at 9:23am this morning almost doubled but not quiet

 

Hmmm.... I think I am supposed to discard some at the next feeding time.... if I don't it is going to get huge.  How do you decide how much to discard before the feeding?   This will be the third feeding.  I am thinking maybe if I discard about half then could I stay with the 1/2 cup by weight feeding with equal amts flour and water. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cranbo's picture
cranbo

All you need to keep is about 1 heaping tbsp of active starter. To that, feed 2 tbsp water, and 1/4 to 1/3 c. flour, or 30-40g each by weight. 

When you're ready to bake, you can scale up your starter feeding. For example, if you need 200g of starter for your recipe, then save 1 or 2 heaping tbsp of starter, and feed 110g water and 110g flour. This will leave you with about 20g of leftover starter for continued feeding. 

linder's picture
linder

I agree with cranbo as far as feeding.  Looks like you're the proud owner of a bouncing baby (girl?) starter.  Congratulations!

tnjoann's picture
tnjoann

Thank You Cranbo, &  Linder!

Bouncing is right!  I fed it at 2:25.  ( I kept 100 g and fed with 50g water and 50g flour  ... I was worried if I got rid of too much I might mess it up)  ..  At 5:06 pm she was about to overflow the jar!

She tripled?? in less than 3 hours.  Not knowing what else to do I stirred it so it would go back down.  An hour later I had to stir it again...... 

 

 

linder's picture
linder

I think it's time she should 'earn her keep'.  Try some sourdough pancakes or if more adventurous maybe a sourdough boule?

Nice going!

Linda

cranbo's picture
cranbo

Very nice! 

That is a nice active, healthy starter. Congrats, looks like your patience has been rewarded! :)  

tnjoann's picture
tnjoann

Well I have now produced my first loaves with my starter.  I chose the sourdough english muffin bread.  Thank You for so patiently answering my questions!  I intend to hang around here and learn more about making bread.

 

Next I want to make a white sourdough but not english muffin type.  Any reccomendations for recipes?  I googled but most of the ones I found called for yeast in addition to the starter.  I thought this one sounded good but I didn't have any whole wheat flour in the house.  I'll have to get some.   http://www.sourdoughhome.com/index.php?content=sourdoughfastrack5  I found another one but it called for potato flakes which I also don't have.

 

 

linder's picture
linder

http://www.northwestsourdough.com or do a search on this site looking for 'basic white sourdough bread'.

Your loaves of english muffin bread look terrific.  Congratulations!

Linda