The Fresh Loaf

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Bulking up my starter

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Syd-a's picture
Syd-a

Bulking up my starter

Hi Everyone.

New user and baker of bread too. Have actually never done it before, but hoping to get some experience quickly.

Sourdough. I have made myself a wonderful rye starter that looks and smells great. I want to make my first dough and despite reading A LOT about making a starter, I am a little unaware of the best way of bulking up my little fella for that first dough. 

I have a 100% hydration (I think, 60g starter, 30g water, 30g flour feeding regime). I need up to and beyond of 500g of starter for some recipies I have seen. My understanding is that in 2 feeding sessions before I plan to use it, I need to bulk it up with extra flour and water to get enough starter for the recipie. Is it that basic? No discard and just equal water/flour to get what I need? 

My impression is that there are massive amounts of detailed instructions in making the starter, but actually bulking it up for actual use is not quite as clear. Any tips, guidelines air recommendations would be very welcome and I hope that late Friday (my planned bake day) I can post my first loaf.

Thanks a lot

Andy

Ford's picture
Ford

Most bakers feed their starter in the ratios of starter:water:flour :: 1:1:1 or maybe ::1:2:2.  I do not know how old your starter is, but it should be at least two weeks old for a start, and it will take about 4 weeks before it becomes mature.

Let's assume that you do have 60 g of mature starter and you need 500 g of starter for your dough.  On the morning before you are to bake, take the 60 g of starter and add 60 g each of flour and water.  That will give you 180g total.  Let that ferment for 8 to 12 hours.  Then, add to the 180g of starter 190 g of water and 190 g of flour.  That will give you 560 g of starter.  Remove 60 g of starter and store that in the refrigerator for the next time.  Let the 500 g of starter remaining ferment overnight and in the morning your 500 g of refreshed starter should be ready to make bread!

If this doesn't answer your question, let me know.  Happy baking,

Ford

Ford's picture
Ford

Other thoughts.  If you are going to make rye bread, that is a whole different process and the handling of rye is more difficult than for white bread or even whole wheat bread.  I would suggest thet you become proficient in making white bread then try 50% whole wheat, then go to the 40% rye.  For white bread, feed your starter, regardless of what it is now, all purpose, unbleached flour.  When you want to make the whole wheat, feed it whole wheat flour.  When you want to make the 40% rye, use the Detmolder process for preparing the starter, I can give you the method, when you are ready.

Ford

Syd-a's picture
Syd-a

Hi Ford

Thanks for your quick and very helpful advice. That is roughly what I had assumed was correct, but nice to get knowledgable confirmation. I had/am planning to make a white sourdough, but wanted to have a Rye starter directly in my arsenal. My starter is 2 weeks old and I understand more time is needed for optimum maturity, but I am mostly aiming for getting a feel to this bread making "bug" and seeing if it appeals to me.

Thanks once again

Andy

Ford's picture
Ford

Great.  Go for it!

Some time, you should spread a thin layer of active starter on a piece of parchment paper and let it dry at room temperature.  Then after it has dried, about two days, remove the flakes of starter and place them in a plastic bag; lable it; and store it as an emergeny back-up for your starter.  Accidents do happen, and you do not want to go through the whole process of making a new starter.

Ford

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

Try to make the rye bread if you really want it. Just find a good, dependable formula, follow it exactly the first time round and see what happens. There's a lot of excellent formulas on TFL, but I really like Juergen Krauss' post comparing four different full ryes ( http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/25940/hussian-and-german-100-ryes-4-recipes ), pick one out and go for it, the first try might not be perfect, but honestly I don't think that rye baking is that much more difficult than wheat, for example there's no need to knead rye pastes, the proofing times are relatively quick compared to some wheat-based levain breads.

I believe that most of "rye is hard" argument comes from people treating it as a sort of exotic animal, which it plainly isn't. As it often is with bread, it's a culture rather than a technique thing.

So, go for the rye and have fun!

Ford's picture
Ford

I read the Juergen Krauss' post and found it very interesting and I think I shall try one  or more of the recipes.  Thank you for your comment.

I recommend that people new to bread making try white bread first, so they will not be discouraged early on by making bricks instead of bread.  Yes, I can make rye, but it has a different feel than wheat flour breads, in my opinion.  I  like Mike Avery's New Bohemian Rye recipe  (Mike Avery, http://sourdoughhome.com/newbohemianrye.html).  It is only 40% rye flour, but does have a great flavor and texture.

Ford

Syd-a's picture
Syd-a

Thanks a lot MisterTT and Ford for your input. Some very interesting things to consider. I really liked the Rye link, definitely where I would like to end up with my bread making. I started a Rye Starter simply because my goal is to make some very healthy and nice rye sourdoughs (living in Scandinavia opens your eye to that type of thing). Mastering the basics though is a must, especially at my stage.

I had thought of doing a Rye starter but predominantly white sourdough as my first experimental bread. An interesting combination but mostly it is based ome wanting a rye starter. Having read the "horror" stories of getting a starter going, I really wanted something that would work, and it really has.

I have many questions on sourdough and maturing my starter, but they can be in subsequent posts. I will make sure I post a picture update on Friday of my very first sourdough bread, it is going to be fun. 

Thanks once again

Andy

Syd-a's picture
Syd-a

Alive

It is terribly exciting this bread making "bug". I think I am being slowly ensnared. Following on from Fords advice yesterday, last night I did a 1:1:1 feed to prepare for the big bulk up and when I got up this morning I found this bubbling beauty. I have now added the first of the days feed without removing any starter and tonight will be another big feed.

However, today I was wondering what the lowest level roughly is best to further mature my starter? As I want to keep it quite active and at room temperature until it is 1 month old (with regular bulk ups for baking), I was wondering if there was any advice on size of starter to mature flavours? I am thinking of a daily 1:1:1 feed at 30g each to not overly use my flour (although I will keep discard for pancakes, muffins, etc.....), I still want to keep a handle on the amount of flour I use.

Advice and tips are again very welcome and maybe after this first bake I will put together a blog entry to detail my experience. 

Thanks all

Andy

 

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

Looks like you're doing very, very well with your new starter!  You should be able to maintain your starter with feeds that use 30g of flour without any problems.  I have been doing it for years :)

If you use this starter to morph into a different flour for feeds, try to do it gradually, increasing the proportion of the new flour over several feeds.  Starters are happier with gradual changes.  

Good luck, looking forward to seeing some of your loaves.

Syd-a's picture
Syd-a

Thanks a lot and thanks for the pointer on changing starter types.

My first bread is in the final loooong proof stage as I type and will be baked tonight. I will have hopefully some good loaves and crumb shots up tomorrow :-) I am actually really happy with the starter. I can happily report it bulked up very nicely and was very active when I started the dough this morning and the leftover is doubling as we speak after its feed.

My very first sourdoughs and about my 3rd loaf of bread ever made, so this has been a great learning experience so far. No fancy gear either, so the loaves might look a little oddly shaped, but we will see.