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The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

Help Flat

Ok I started a starter a couple of weeks ago, "George" was doing very good a few days ago more than doubling, but now not even a quater, he is rising maybe a half inch above the mark on the jar. George is a rye starter, home ground with filtered water.  I really want to make bread but I am afraid George isn't up to it right now.  For feedings i have been keeping 1/4 of a cup and adding 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 + cup of flour to make pancake batter consistancy.  What can I do to get George to perk up?

Ford's picture
Ford

I keep my starters in the refrigerator and refresh them the day before I want to make bread.  I keep the starters at 100% hydration, whereas you are close to 200% hydration and may be starving George.  Try using the ratio of 1:1:1 :: starter:water: flour BY WEIGHT.  A cup of sifted flour weighs about 4.3 oz. whereas a cup of water weighs about 8.3 oz.

Ford

The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

Thanks I will give that a try.  Fingers crossed

clazar123's picture
clazar123

Are you feeding daily? Keeping it at room temp? What IS room temp? Yeast is pretty happy at about 78-82F but will still grow (rather slowly)  even at 65F and like gangbusters and starve itself at 85F.  Any hootch formation at all?

Don't give up. Keep going. Stir during the day. Feed more if hootch forms.

 

The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

He was getting fed at least daily, but when he started blooming I fed him when he fell, which was about every 12 hours.  I think room temp right now is around 78 to 80....I think I might move him down stairs its a bit cooler on the warm days.  He had some hooch just before he started blooming.  I just fed him and mixed him up alot stiffer than he was, hoping he was just hungry.

chris319's picture
chris319

I am not an expert on successful starter but I am an expert on failed starter. My diagnosis-at-a-glance is that the water is your problem. Debra Wink's posts on pineapple juice are MUST reading for sourdough bakers. The wild yeast you are trying to cultivate need an acidic environment. The pH of water is too high (7) and is not acidic enough. Debra is a microbiologist and has done a considerable amount of research and testing of sourdough starter. This is not mere supposition, it is well-researched and documented scientific fact. You'll be doing yourself a favor if you read her posts before going any further. Enter "pineapple juice" into the search terms on this board and they should come right up.

My first efforts at starter used water and followed the pattern Debra describes in her posts. You're not growing yeast, you're growing leuconostocs. The starter is fermenting but yeast is likely not growing. FWIW my current efforts at starter are a little ticker in consistency than previously, rather than being soupy like pancake batter they are closer to the consistency of oatmeal. One of them is starting to show a little promise (fingers crossed).

The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

I did use pineapple juice to start George.  He has risen double in 6 hours with the 100% hydration.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

volume than water,  your mix ids too thin and anything living int here is starving,  1/2 C of water weighs 110 G and 1/ 2 C of flour weighs 73 g.  You want equal weights of both. Once you get to 1005 hydration things will speed up and you will see some rise,.

cranbo's picture
cranbo

I agree with Ford and dabrownman, feed by weight at 100% hydration. If you don't want to weigh your ingredients, use this formula, it will get you close to 100% hydration: one heaping tablespoon leftover starter, 1/4 cup of water, 1/2 cup rye flour. Pay careful attention to when the starter peaks. It may be more difficult to tell with the rye because of the lack of gluten. 

Do that once or twice a day for a few days and see what happens. I don't think this is a water issue.

The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

No it wasn't a water issue he was hungry and perked right up when he has enough flour. Thanks everyone.