The Fresh Loaf

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Dry on top of sour

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acebaker's picture
acebaker

Dry on top of sour

I have a starter I use twice a week. It's doubling when I feed it and turning out tasty loaves. The only thing is it's started "drying out" between feedings. I use it twice a week as I said, and feed it both the day before I plan to use it and also the day I use it, so I'm feeding it at least 4 times a week. It sits on the counter in a glass canning jar (the kind with a glass lid, rubber gasket seal)  in the meantime. It's not particularily dry or humid where I live and heat is a comfortable room temp.  On days when I don't feed it, it gets a dry skin on top.Should I be concerned.

It's 100% hydration, 70% unbleached all purpose, 30% organic light rye

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

I haven't ever heard of anyone keeping their starter at room temperature and feeding less than once a day, although there is no technical reason it couldn't work, as you obviously know. As long as it's turning out delicious loaves, I wouldn't be concerned about the skinning.

But, if it becomes an inconvenience to you, as I imagine it could be when trying to make dough from it, you can help it out by putting a lid on it. Just make sure the lid isn't completely air tight, of course. What I do is keep my starter in a container that comes with a sealable lid, but just don't seal the lid down all the way. Some of my containers have a nifty little steam vent in the lid, for using it in the microwave. Those work really well, because the lid can then be put on tightly. The more you can trap the air inside, approaching, but never reaching, 100% sealed, the less you should see of the skinning. Also, once you get a lid situation worked out, if you stir your starter at least once a day, you will probably never see a skin again.

acebaker's picture
acebaker

Yes I do keep a lid on it and it's sealed. I'll see if I can post a picture.  I only put it in the fridge between feedings if it's warm, so pretty much all summer. But in the winter I find it moves too slowly if I keep it in the fridge. The skin is dry, but not powdery nor furry, but I'm worried it might be some kind of mold.

I'm trying to figure out how to put pictures in and when I do, I'll post some.

Thanks!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

If your starter just looks drier on the surface, I wouldn't be concerned. If it forms a "skin," I still wouldn't worry about the health of the starter, but I would question how well your jar is sealed. 

Hmmmm .... How much starter do you keep in what size jar? If it's a tiny bit of starter in a huge jar, that might call for some adjustment.

David

acebaker's picture
acebaker

So, it is a skin. It forms in about 24 hours. The jar is one of those le parfait glass canning jars, with a rubber gasket. There is condensation on the inside of the lid, so I don't believe it is drying out. It doesn't smell bad although it doesn't smell the same. The colour is the same as the sour. I tried taking pictures but it's actually really hard to capture that way. It's a one litre jar, and the smallest amount of sour would be around 200g. If I need over 400g of sour for my bake, I have to transfer the sour to a bowl with a lid so it won't overflow the jar, when it's active.

Thanks

hankjam's picture
hankjam

You are weighing flours and water rather using volumes/cups.

acebaker's picture
acebaker

Yes. My recipes are in baker's %

So I always use weight rather than volume.

acebaker's picture
acebaker

As an update, I'm still having this issue. Sometimes the dryness shows up in as little as 24 hours. I tried to take a picture but it doesn't capture the problem. This is not a simple skin from being exposed to warm air. There is an almost powdery quality that is hard to describe. 

Any thoughts?