The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Question regarding sourdough starters

  • Pin It
eddieh70301's picture
eddieh70301

Question regarding sourdough starters

I began a starter on 1/12/13. Used 2 T pineapple juice and 2 T whole wheat flour. Followed the steps provided on this site.

I've been feeding it daily but for the last two days began a 2 day feeding schedule. Around day 3 or 4, the starter began to grow, close to double in size. That lasted about a day or so. Now there is not much growth but there are alot of bubbles. It does have a really good "yeasty" smell, especially inbetween feedings. 

I've been discarding 1/2 c of the starter at each feeding and replacing with 1/2 c AP flour and 1/2 spring water.

My question is since the starter is bubbling but not doubling in size, is this starter still good to continue?

Also, I've read that you should not use the starter until it starts doubling in size. What is the norm for determing when is the right time to use the starter in a recipe?

Thanks

Eddie

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

1/2 c AP weighs approximately 63g   and 1/2 c water weighs 120g  

Which means there is more water than flour in the mixture and it is on the thin side.  I'm sure that if it were thicker (or if you add twice as much flour) it would indeed start to rise.  As it stands at 190% hydration, it is too thin to rise.  The bubbles rise an pop on the surface without pushing any dough into the air.

Please continue but use more flour to water.   You can also reduce the size if you feel you are wasting flour.  Use 1/4 cups or even 1/8 cup starter to 1/8 cup water and 1/4 cup flour.  That would bring the starter down to a 100% hydration or equal weights of both water and flour.

eddieh70301's picture
eddieh70301

Thanks for the response. The starter is a bit on the thin side. I'll switch to 50g flour/50g water ratio.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

(no water) and let it ferment.  Then when it rises and falls, switch to the 50g/ 50g.  :)

eddieh70301's picture
eddieh70301

Thank you. When I get home this evening, will feed with just flour.

Would you suggest 50g flour or 100 g?

dirider's picture
dirider

Hi Eddie,

Make a loaf and see what you get. I had a starter which I did not think was frisky enough but I made a loaf with it anyway. Though it did take longer in the levain and proof steps, I was delightfully surprized. This yeast is now my #1.

I also do 50g/50g feeding. I prefer weight versus volume measurement.

Diane

eddieh70301's picture
eddieh70301

Hi Diane,

I usually weigh my ingredients but the recipe I followed used volume measurements. I did as mini oven suggested and added 50g of flour yesterday and it basically doubled in about three hours.  This morning I removed 60g of the starter to use in a recipe I wanted to try and replaced 60g ap flour and 60g spring water. The recipe was a failure, mainly due to my own fault. The recipe came from King Arthur's web site, buttery sourdough buns. Had a nice rise but could not get the dough to stretch. It was very sticky so I tried kneading by hand and also tried a bit of flour but nothing worked.

So for, the starter looks and smells good. Has alot of bubbles. When I fed it this morning, it doubled within 3 hrs but deflated a bit.

Been wanting to make some sourdough pancakes so I'll give that a try tomorrow morning. Hopefully all will go well.

dirider's picture
dirider

Hi Eddie,

I have used many recipes on the KA site and tfl.

I find the tfl site is where I have had my best success when it comes to bread. Reading notes and comments recorded by others who have tried the recipes is very helpful, leading to best results.

Keep in mind many factors which affect dough, poolish/levain/ proof timing, bake time, etc.; climate, humidity, room temperature, oven type (electric, gas) and the therm accuracy, types of flour. And the LOVE you put it into it...

Happy baking, Diane