The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

feeding a starter

  • Pin It
gingeroot's picture
gingeroot

feeding a starter

My rye starter has a 'beery' scent. The recipe suggests feeding once every 24 hours for two days then refridgerate. Feeding enough?

Mebake's picture
Mebake

You are on track, i believe. Beery, freuity scent should be more like it.. if you don't smell that, then you're underfeeding it.. which is unlikely.

Helmsdale's picture
Helmsdale

After a long time, I've returned to baking sourdough bread, and recently acquired a 15 year old starter culture from a reputable source.  It's got a great beery and fruity aroma and is very active.  The only thing bothering me is the feeding recommendation that came with the 150g initial batch: 3 starter, 1 rye or whole wheat flower,  1 (or slightly more) water. Okay, he's been maintaining it for 15 years, so must know what he's doing with it. I set it off like that and it bubbled into action but collapsed on itself after 3 or 4 hours.  It's taking 3 feeds a day at these rations, and giving a fairly stiff-consistency starter.  Does anyone have any experience of feeding with that ratio?

After a week of nurturing the starter at room temperature, I've got a leaven for the first bake rising on the counter, and the 3:1:1 starter has certainly worked and flexed its muscles. But will that feed regime ultimately starve the starter into submission?

Just in case, I'm running another starter of the same culture and feeding it 1:1:1.  I'd welcome advice, though. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

that uses more than half a preferment.  It uses the food rather quickly.  (starter behavior should also be looked at as a mini dough)  Obviously this is a kicking starter but it could be fed more food and allowed to munch longer.  I wouldn't like to be a slave to that starter if fed every 8 hrs.  I would try increasing the flour and see how long it takes to peak and fall back.  Compare the (3:1:1) with 4 hrs rise followed by a 4 hr rest (same time to peak as falling pattern) letting the new feeding schedule also include as much fall time as rise time and you should be coming out about right.  

Increase the amount of food until it fits your desired feeding schedule and temperatures.  (always letting it fall back before feeding) (stirring messes up the timing so don't stir the starter while timing it)  :)  That's what I would do.  

Helmsdale's picture
Helmsdale

I'll do that after keeping it on the current method for another week or so, and maybe double the flour and increase the water, making it 3:2:1+   The first batch of dough used half a preferment and more than doubled its size in a few hours. I don't know about being a slave to this starter, but I wouldn't want a fight with it :)

I'll still keep the separate 1:1:1 starter going as well though, and compare results from the two.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

(I think the age of the starter means you don't need to run it a week long, it's pretty stable.)  Try taking a teaspoon and feeding it a 1:5:5 and watching it or make enough starter for a loaf.  (Remove a hardy spoon full at peaking and let it finish out the fermentation if you want to feed it and keep it going.)

You will know right away after the 1:1:1 feeding how long it takes to peak.  Say for example it takes 5 hrs.  Then wait another 5 hours, reduce and feed it again, say at a 1:3:2  (I see you're using s:f:w) for a 66% hydration.  

Welcome to TFL !  Check out Flo's 1-2-3 sourdough recipe (site search box) basically one part peaking starter to two parts water and 3 parts flour with 2% salt.  May have to make some tiny adjustments with the water but it does make any starter size into a loaf.  Great for testing!  :)