The Fresh Loaf

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I think my starter is ready

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cegueira's picture
cegueira

I think my starter is ready

Hi, I started my starter about 2 weeks ago following a BBC good good food recipe which didn't seem to work. I tried to bake a loaf, it didn't rise and afterwards the starter smelt of rotten eggs! I started feeding it wholemeal flour, it went through a nail polish smell phase, but now seems to be ready.

Since the first baking attempt I have been feeding like this: 90g wholemeal flour, 90g warm water and 90g of the starter. I now have a very airy starter that seems ready to bake.

Do I now need to refresh the starter and then bake? In my first attempt I used the recipe from here: www.bakerandloaf.com/recipes/recipe-my-everyday-sourdough/

But I don't know if I will have the right amount of starter to bake with or if this is a good recipe to start off with.

Any pointers or tips would be greatly appreciated

phaz's picture
phaz

best to use the starter when it is near or at its peak, when it is most active. I always feed a few hours before using to make sure all the little guys are happy and bubbly. I build up my starter daily till I have what is needed for a bake, which is twice a week. I'll add enough flour and water to double the starters volume every day for about 3 days. by then I have enough to use and keep going for the next bake. I took a peek at that recipe, and I'd have to advise to look here in the Recipe section for a simple recipe. I really couldn't say that was a good, or bad recipe, but the method seems lacking. If you want that real sourdough flavor, you'll need a long fermentation period, like 12 to 24 hours in the fridge. you'll also find lots of very good info about the process. It was a big help when I got started. have fun, it really is fun!

Ford's picture
Ford

Sourdough bread does NOT have to be sour to be good and to be "sourdough"!  It depends upon your taste and what you desire. If you want a milder flavor do a shorter fermentation time: two hours at room temperature for the bulk fermentation, then shape and let rise until it passes the finger poke test, then bake.

Ford

pjkobulnicky's picture
pjkobulnicky

Try this:

refresh your starter one more time just before baking ... maybe 4-5 hrs. 50 gm luke warm water and  50 gm flour with about 25 gm starter. 

Use 100 gm starter for  500 gm flour and 350 water and 11 gm salt. Go from there. Follow any classic dutch oven recipe.

cegueira's picture
cegueira

I had already committed to doing the 'no knead' method here: http://www.breadtopia.com/sourdough-no-knead-method/

I got a good rise (16 hours) and i could see bubble in the dough after proofing. I baked it in a cast iron casserole dish. The result looked really good, however half of the bottom of the loaf stuck to the pan! I don't think it really rose at all in the oven.

The bread has a slight sourdough tang, but is quite heavy and doesn't have the big holes I was expecting, I also think the recipe I used has too much wholemeal flour.

phaz's picture
phaz

 only time I've seen no oven spring is when my dough was over proofed.  you could try less proofing time, like 12 hrs in the fridge, then give it something like 4 hrs to warm up at room temp before baking. I can say temperature can make a huge difference. I am still trying to get that sorted out as temps are now 20F higher than when I started making  my sourdough.  even my starter has changed, just starting to get the tang back in my bread after a week or 2 of tasty, but not sour, bread.

cegueira's picture
cegueira

My starter is definitely ready now, it has been doubling every day and has a good smell.

I'm still not sure I understand the process fully. I think I need to refresh my starter when it's hungry, let it double. Then mix however much I need with flour water and salt make the dough. And put the leftover starter in a jar, feed it and put it in the fridge.

I then knead the dough, let it double, knock back and knead again. After it's doubled again I bake it on a very well greased tray, or on top of lots of cornmeal.

Sorry if this really is going back to basics but I would really like to get it right this time.