The Fresh Loaf

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Fresh Starter - Peaks so quickly

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kwonders's picture
kwonders

Fresh Starter - Peaks so quickly

My question is simple...

Is it common/normal for a starter to peak (double) and then begin to collapse in less than 4 hours. 

It is my understanding that your supposed to knock down and refresh (feed) your starter at it's peak going from strength to strength. I am not home enough to feed every 3.5 hours. 

My starter:

  • Used the "Pineapple Juice Solution part 2" method to create - followed it exactly

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10901/pineapple-juice-solutiton-part-2

  • Refreshed twice daily, before and after work at twelve hour intervals
  • Started to see good rise after 3 days
  • Each day I would find my started had begun to fall prior to me getting to it 

On 5th day began the following feeding twice daily at 12 hour intervals:

  • 100 grams of starter
  • 100 grams of flour (Rye, I want to make Rye bread with my starter)
  • 125 grams of water - room temp.

I am on day 8 now, I started to really watch what was really going on two days ago. The starter will rise to peak in about 3 hours and then begin to collapse

So last evening I fed it at that point, 3.5 hours after the last feeding and it did it again. Just under 4 hours and it started to collapse.

This morning I had the idea to feed it more food hoping that it would allow the rise to take longer. I cut the amount of starter at refreshment to 50 grams and fed it the same amount of flour and water as mentioned above.

Any words of wisdom?

FueledByCoffee's picture
FueledByCoffee

start feeding at lower inoculation rate...like 25starter:100 flour:125 water.  this should make it take longer to peak.

kwonders's picture
kwonders

I will try that tonight

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Also, cut back on the water. The higher the hydration(another way of saying the more water to flour), the faster the activity. Any particular reason you keep it so "wet"? Most don't seem to go over an equal weight of water to flour.

Also, try to find as cool a spot in your place, as practical, to store it.

Maybe, unwittingly, you have arranged conditions to have a "rip roaring" starter. Rye also ferments relatively quickly.

kwonders's picture
kwonders

I will drop down to 100 grams water, 100 grams flour and 50 grams of starter and see what happens. I will place into one of my homes colder rooms, where it is about 55 degrees.

 

Thanks for the help

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

What temp is it presently being held at? Until you have a mature, proven starter(you have baked with it to your satisfaction), it may be best to try to keep at about 75º F +/-.

If you can keep it at 70-75º, or so, let's see how it acts with the change in feeding and hydration. I was just concerned that it may be being kept at 78º+.

kwonders's picture
kwonders

Thanks Mrfrost- I have been keeping it on the kitchen counter where ambiant room temp ranges from lower 60's during the day when I'm not home and have the heat down in the house to lower 70's once I get home and turn the heat up for the  evening and overnight hours. I can keep it there if you think best or I have rooms that remain colder all the time. I was able to stop at home for lunch, I had done a 50-100-125 feeding 7 hours earlier prior to leaving for work. By lunch it had just barely doubled and it was just starting to collapse. That is the longest it's lasted so far. So I I took your advice and did a 50-100-100 feed. Can't wait to get home to see how it's doing.

kwonders's picture
kwonders

So I took the advise given, I have been feeding 50 grams starter a 100 grams Rye flour and 100 grams water, keeping it at about 70 degrees. This results in my starter being very thick compared to when I added 125 grams of water to 50 grams starter and 100 grams Rye floum, but the starter does end up making with the desired 12 hour rise before it begins to fall

Wonderful, only problem is now it doesn't double, it only rises about 1.75 times. Almost double but visibly less. I have gone though a couple or three feedings watching so I know the results are consistent. This ratio results in a 12 hour rise with only a 1.75 volume increase.

So out of curiosity I went to 50 grams of starter, 100 grams of Rye flour and back to 125 grams of water, and walla, it doubled again in about 6 hours. I am still waiting for it to fall. I figure it might go another hour.

Next experiment is 100 grams of starter, 100 grams of Rye flour and 100 grams of water. I think that might do it. Will update with results.

To reiterate...my goal is a Rye starter that will double or more in 12 hours before it falls (not 4, which is what I was getting)

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

What are you keeping the starter in? How are you measuring the change in volume? Can you post a picture of your container, or link to the exact same container?

Is it graduated with measurements?

What are you using as a guide to "start a starter"?

kwonders's picture
kwonders

mrfrost,

Thank you for your interest in helping me. Here are some pictures of my current starter.

It is now 6.5 hours since I fed it. When I fed it I did...50 grams of starter, 100 grams of Rye flour and 125 grams of water. Please see above for why...

So as you can see it's more than doubled. 

It hasn't started to really fall yet but it's only been 6.5 hours. My goal is 12 hours until collapse, then feed. So I can go from strength to strength feeding just before going to work and right after I get home. 

I used the following link as a guide to starting my starter. 

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10901/pineapple-juice-solution-part-2

Once it was past the 6th day or so...I started with my 1-1-1.25 feedings...using only Rye flour as I want to make Rye bread with this as my first loaf...

hope this helps you understand where I am at...I think I am getting there

Thanks again for your interest and time

kwonders's picture
kwonders

Just so were on the same page...and to summarize:

*Starter-Flour-Water

  • 1-1-1.25 results in a peak of at least double at about 4 hours
  • .5-1-1 results in a peak of less than double at about 10-12 hours
  • .5-1-1.25 results in a peak of...still waiting (Picture at 6.5 hours)

I will next try 1-1-1 I am hoping that will give me a rise of double+ at 12 hours

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

OK. I'm glad I did not use such an extensive(?, if it is so. long thread) guide to start the few starters that I did a few years ago(did not need to). The part I did read mentioned 100% hydration.

The guide I used is 3 or 4 brief paragraphs. Always had good results with just flour and water. I only ended up keeping 1 white flour starter. It is still healthy today, even after a period of 9 months of total neglect and the only yeast of any type I have baked with over the last 2 years.

Maybe somewhere along the way I missed why it is necessary for the starter to peak(at least double) just at 12 hours. My understanding is that it is only necessary that the starter is able to remain healthy between feedings. So if the goal is to feed twice a day(approx every 12 hours), if the starter peaks at, say 6-8 hours(10 hrs, or whatever), then recedes over the next 3-6 hours, that's okay, and expected. As long as when you feed it again it reliably repeats that cycle over and over, then it is healthy. In fact, I would think that is how one would want to train a starter to behave. To be able to withstand a period of "rest"(or whatever).

Now this is when starting or maintaining a starter. When one is feeding for a session of baking, then it's a little different. That's when it's almost required to feed near it's peak.

But maybe that's 2 different schools of thought, or maybe a misunderstanding on my part. If that is the case, sorry I missed, or completely ignored, your guide method in your op. I'll let Ms Wink or someone who knows that method pick up from here.

Good luck.

kwonders's picture
kwonders

I thought that when building a starter it was required to feed near it's peak. I do not know where I got that, probably a misconception on my part as a newbie.

But if as you say...

"So if the goal is to feed twice a day(approx every 12 hours), if the starter peaks at, say 6-8 hours(10 hrs, or whatever), then recedes over the next 3-6 hours, that's okay, and expected. As long as when you feed it again it reliably repeats that cycle over and over, then it is healthy. In fact, I would think that is how one would want to train a starter to behave. To be able to withstand a period of "rest"(or whatever)."

Then my starter has been acting perfectly all along. I just didn't realize it. LOL

Again when you say...

"Now this is when starting or maintaining a starter. When one is feeding for a session of baking, then it's a little different. That's when it's almost required to feed near it's peak."

That makes a whole lot of sense to me.

So I guess I never really had a problem with my starter, my problem was just a lack of knowledge which you seem to have just corrected. 

Thank you so much, I really appreciate it

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Yes. I think everything is going fine for your starter and as long as it doesn't break down too much between feedings(liquid separates out, starter develops a chemical smell, etc), all's well.

You might feed it for another week, or so, while considering recipes for your first bake.

Here are some more tips by a couple of members here on possible ways to maintain a starter and prepare it for baking. Don't bother about the refrigeration part until after you have baked successfully with it, if you are ever even interested in refrigerating it in your maintenance and storage. Some do, some don't. I do.

Maintaining a rye starter and preparing for a bake:

http://www.farine-mc.com/2013/12/maintaining-rye-starter-and-preparing.html

Good luck.