The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

New to this sourdough with no yeast - starter problems..

  • Pin It
Gramma Berries's picture
Gramma Berries

New to this sourdough with no yeast - starter problems..

I have 2 starters started. One is 3.5 days old with small bubbles that I have been feeding with little result i.e. small bubbles. I have removed part of it and re fed it recently.  The second is on day 2 with nice bubbles that I fed about 2 hours ago.  What do I do with # 1 at this point and can I start to make a loaf of sourdough bread with # 2 at this point?  I really appreciate your reply as I am feeling overwhelmed. 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

you see are probably from unwanted bacteria that will eventually lose out to the good strains and some fine yeast in a few more days.  Usually on day 4 the thing looks dead with no activity as these bad bacteria are wiped out. By day 5 0r 6 things should start to pick up and the mix will start to smell weakly sour.  Just keep doing what you are doing and in 10 days to two weeks you can test the SD starter on some bread dough and see how it does.   

Gramma Berries's picture
Gramma Berries

Great, but 10 days? my # 2 starter does have nice bubbles, I hope I damn make bread soon. Both starters do smell pretty wonderful.

Fatmat's picture
Fatmat

I can only use my starter as a bench mark for you, but...it has been running for nearly a year and it doubles in volume within 4-6 hours (depends on room temperature) from being fed. (1:1 flour and water, I use and replace 2/3 of the starter by weight each day). 

Gramma Berries's picture
Gramma Berries

I will push on, and I certainly appreciate your help.  It's nice to know you are all here to 'hold my hand'

chris319's picture
chris319

Do your starters smell like yeast? Starters emit all kinds of smells in the early stages. It is yeast you are trying to cultivate.

Gramma Berries's picture
Gramma Berries

Then we decided to take a 2 day holiday and I put them in the fridge.  We came home this afternoon and I have put them out of the fridge. I will feed them in the a.m.  There is no bad smell, and several bubbles although the surface is fairly flat. 

Gramma Berries's picture
Gramma Berries

Ok day 10 my starter (started by myself) is about 10 days old. It smells like alcohol and then yeast. Is it almost good or ready for the trash? I am feeding it daily it as bubbles (mostly small). help Please.

chris319's picture
chris319

It's not ready for the trash. What does it look like beneath the surface?

Gramma Berries's picture
Gramma Berries

It is creamy with tiny bubbles.  It hasn't grown at all. After I feed it it gets several bigger bubbles but not even as big as my little fingernail.

chris319's picture
chris319

Bubbles beneath the surface sound promising.

I started a new (white) starter a week ago. Last night it smelled strongly of alcohol, like cheap wine. Today: yeast!

I found through a great deal of trial and error that initially, and for refreshments, the consistency should be sticky but not stiff. You should be able to easily stir it with a fork. When I refresh I add a TB of flour, then water to bring it back to the desired consistency. Don't worry about volume and bubbles. The smell is everything, and the yeast smell is what you're after (in my limited experience). The only thing I can think of to hasten the process the next time you make starter is to dissolve a pinch of salt in the water before adding the flour. Good luck!

Gramma Berries's picture
Gramma Berries

I appreciate your kind thoughts. 

Gramma Berries's picture
Gramma Berries

Well maybe it's the time of the year. My house nice about 78°, I am keeping it in the oven. I think I'll start a new one and put it in the garage.  I think that is my problem. Fingers crossed. 

chris319's picture
chris319

I don't see where you have a problem.

Don't throw out the old one! How does it smell now, BTW?

Gramma Berries's picture
Gramma Berries

The smell is yeasty. The lingering aroma is apple pie. I a whipped up a new starter and did sprinkle it with a tiny bit of salt. Definitely a yeasty smell there already this morning. :) 

chris319's picture
chris319

I wouldn't expect your new starter to be ready yet. I'm finding it takes about a week for these things to ripen. There seems to be a very strong alcohol odor just before they cross the finish line.

Gramma Berries's picture
Gramma Berries

The new starter is fabulous. The odor is fresh and then my grandson sniffed it. We shall see how it is on the morrow.  The others are still very alcohol in nature. I am so getting tired of waiting. It has been too long. I need bread. I am feeling like it is not going to happen.  Although. Man shall not live on bread alone...

Darwin's picture
Darwin

I followed the pineapple juice method and it took about 10 days to really see growth in my 2 starters.  I think mine were on the liquid side and I did not see much happening.  Once I reduced the liquid to make the starters thicker the air bubbles and growth were very evident.  I also added a bit of whole grain rye in with the flour as it is less processed than the white flour I started with.  Stick with it ;)

chris319's picture
chris319

You're adding a lot of sugar with pineapple juice. I've made several good starters without it.

To save time, once you get a ripe starter, use it to make your next quantity by adding it to a mixture of flour and water, or by adding more flour and water to the existing starter until you get the quantity you need. Your existing starter will be the inoculum for the new starter.

Gramma Berries's picture
Gramma Berries

I love this site.  After further reading I have decided I have been keeping my starter to thin. I do have good yeast smell though.  i will remedy this situation. Perhaps I will have fresh bread for Labor Day. Fitting.