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Best way to maintain and keep a helthy starter in 30C/86F temps

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Drink's picture
Drink

Best way to maintain and keep a helthy starter in 30C/86F temps

Hi I live in Sao Paulo Brazil and have a good starter going which i have been baking with 3 times a week for a few months now.

I am having trouble with feeding schedules and knowing if it's best to leave the starter at room temp (25c-33c) or leave it in the fridge between bakings.

At the moment the starter is kept at 100% hydration and in less than four hours after a feed it's raring to go and passes the water float test. 12 hours after a feeding it turns back into a soupy liquid.

Feeding it every 12 hours is getting costly as just one of my recipes uses over 300g of starter as i make quite a few mini - loaves each batch so i need quite a large quantity of starter on hand at all times.

Any ideas would be most welcome. Also if i place it in the fridge after feedings should i wait till it's bubly and ready to bake with before placing it in the fridge? When i take it out of the fridge how long do i need to wait for it to be ready to bake with. It would only be kept in the fridge maximum 2 days. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

One might be to lower the hydration to 50% if you are feeding it all purpose wheat flour.  Still feed the same amount of flour but cut back the water forming a dough.  Add the water back when you mix up the dough.  The starter should take longer to eat thru the flour.

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

Hi Drink.  You said:

"Feeding it every 12 hours is getting costly as just one of my recipes uses over 300g of starter as i make quite a few mini - loaves each batch so i need quite a large quantity of starter on hand at all times"

When you say costly can I assume from this that when you feed it you are discarding significant quantity of the starter?  It seems to me that by keeping it all at room temperatureyou are being forced to do feeds more frequently than necessary and presumably that is leading to discards.   If not please advise.  Otherwise,  consider planning ahead and keeping less quantity of starter in the first place.

I will attempt an example:

You say you bake 3 times a week so lets say that's Mon, Wed and Fri.  Let's also say you need 600g of starter available and ready to go each of those baking days.

So, I would aim to keep 300g of starter as your "base" in the fridge at all times.

On Sunday night, take 200g of this starter and mix in bowl with 200g flour and 200g water and leave this out at room temperature overnight to ferment.  As the starter came from the fridge it will take much longer than your usual 4hrs to become really active.  In the morning you will have the 600g you need for the bake and it should be plenty active enough.  Meanwhile, you now have just 100g starter in your base in the fridge.  At the same time you took out the 200g, now add 100g of flour and 100g of water to that base so it returns to your 300g then put back in the fridge.  It now has 2 full days (Mon and Tue) to slowly ferment.

Monday - You bake with the 600g that you created overnight.

Tuesday night - you repeat Sunday's activities.  i.e. remove 200g from the base, add 200g flour and water to make 600g and leave out overnight.  At the same time add 100g flour and water to your fridge base to return it to 300g.

Wed - Bake with the overnight 600g

Thursday night - same as Sunday and Tuesday nights.  Build the 600g for tomorrow, top up the base to 300g

Friday - Bake with the overnight 600g

and so on.

 

Not sure if that fits with what you are doing or not.  The advantages I think would be:

1.  You keep the base in the fridge which prevents it peaking too early so you are not forced to do frequent feeds

2.  The night before each bake day you build only what you will need for that day and thus have zero discard

It's just a suggestion as I'm not totally clear on what you are doing and your quantities.

Adjust the numbers as needed

Hope this helps

EP

Drink's picture
Drink

Thats a great idea and makes perfect sense to me. 

Now just to get the client to order their bread at regular intervals and i'll be happy.

I am baking using the no knead method which seems to be working quite well for the me.

Just takes a bit of planning to have it ready at the right times.

Baking fig & Wallnut and 9 Grain. The 9 Grain is tricky as the ratio of grains is extremely high 25%+

and even using 15% bakers percentage as the starter it's taking a long time to rise 18hrs total . Any ideas about how to speed up this process a little would be great as if i add a higher percentage of starter i am worried it will make the bread too sour.

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

Always difficult to jig around with timings if you have other pressures.

Consider making "hybrid" versions of your loaves by adding something like 2g fresh yeast to the doughs before the bulk fermentation.  You will still get the taste from your starter, but you'll get a boosted rising time from the yeast.

Check out the weekend bakery site below who use this trick to help with their busy schedules.

http://www.weekendbakery.com/posts/our-version-of-tartine-style-bread/

Cheers

MostlySD's picture
MostlySD

I have been struggling with those dilemmas myself for some time now.

From <b>Drink</b>: <em>The 9 Grain is tricky as the ratio of grains is extremely high 25%+ and even using 15% bakers percentage as the starter it's taking a long time to rise 18hrs total . Any ideas about how to speed up this process a little would be great as if i add a higher percentage of starter i am worried it will make the bread too sour.</em>

I am working with a combination of 10% oat bran and roughly 3% wheat bran (of total flours used) with 10% starter (of total dough weight) - I got those figures from a couple of research papers I am reading on oat sourdough breads. Without success yet. What do do? Like you, I worry about the effect of increasing the percentage of starter or the length of proofing on the sourness of the dough, which I am trying to keep to a minimum. So now, I am playing around with the types of flours used. I don't know yet whether that will work.

<b>ElPanadero</b> has a solution. I have tried it with my white sourdough. <b>ElPanadero</b> writes: <em>Consider making "hybrid" versions of your loaves by adding something like 2g fresh yeast to the doughs before the bulk fermentation.  You will still get the taste from your starter, but you'll get a boosted rising time from the yeast.</em> It works. Only too well! Even at 0.1% of fresh yeast, my dough rises so fast as to make me wonder how on earth the natural levain can find the time to do ITS work. Indeed, for bread doughs with a combination of levain and fresh yeast, baker Dan Lepard gives about 1 1/2 hr for bulk rising, and about the same time for proofing! Considering that I am looking for a low-glycemic white sourdough, that does not seem possible if I continue to add fresh yeast to the dough. Question, question!

MostlySD's picture
MostlySD

Oh my! I forgot to preview before submitting. Sorry about the lousy coding.

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

I see you tried to embed some HTML coding there which didn't work.  I did an experimental post with various coding examples and have determined that only the following standard coding conventions work:

bold text  -  use b and /b in square brackets

italic text  -  use i and /i in square brackets

Embed a quote  -   use quote="xxx" and /quote in square brackets where xxx is the name of the person you are quoting

Unfortunately the standard image and youtube embedding codes do not seem to be supported here i.e. [img]  [/img]   and [youtube]  [/youtube]

Hope this helps

EP

MostlySD's picture
MostlySD

Thanks! I may try this next time for fun ... or just use the buttons above, which I missed last time (duh moment, I guess).

MostlySD's picture
MostlySD

OK, I think that I have found a solution to my problem, which is this :

http://sourdoughbaker.com.au/index.php/recipes-how-to-make-sourdough-bread/breadmaking-techniques/preferments-for-sourdough

A good discussion with most interesting links at this post here:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/28078/role-soaker-and-preferment

So what I am planning on doing is to do a preferment using half of the flour(s) as recommended at the link above - in fact, I'll probably add as much flour as the amount of water used will allow while leaving the mixture fairly pliable, not stiff. At the second mixing, that's when I'll add some fresh yeast, which means that the levain will have had enough time to do its work before I introduce the fresh yeast. I'll try that with my next white sourdough. We'll see.

At the moment, I am trying this technique with my other daily bread - an oat bran/wheat bran sourdough that I have not yet succeeded in making light enough. This time it will be a mostly sourdough since I am planning on adding a smidgen of fresh yeast at the second mixing (0.2% - baker's percentage). The yeast will be whisked with the cold soaked oat bran before going in the dough bowl followed by the remaining of the flour(s). I am very much looking forward to the result. Fingers crossed!

BreadBro's picture
BreadBro

I keep my starter in the fridge and remove small portions of it 1-2 days prior to using. After two feedings its back to its normal, healthy self and ready to go. It's a lot easier than  trying to keep up a constant feeding schedule.

MostlySD's picture
MostlySD

... follow Calvel. That's my motto for now. Here is what he recommends for conservation of a chef (« conservation d'un chef au frais, dans des conditions appropriées », in Le Goût du Pain, p. 61): If the chef is to be kept for 24 hours (I understand without feeding), then first 5 hours at 28º C, next 19 hours at  10º C. If the chef is to be kept for 72 hours, first 3 hours at 28º C, next 69 hours at 10º C.

I have invested some funds in a small wine cooker that I use almost exclusively for my bread projects. I find the temperature just about right for keeping the levain chef between feedings, and for retarding the bread doughs as well.

I also make sure to keep my levain chef stiff, which is said to minimize growth of bacteria. It is recommended for North America by Daniel DiMuzio in "Bread Baking" (p. 70): "The hydration range of firm levain is 55-60% when using North American flours, and the reason it is made dry is to slow the fermentation and allow only 2 or 3 feedings before it is used to make bread. Wetter mixtures would ferment more quickly and would possibly require more attention from a baker to ensure they would not over-ferment."

I hope this is helpful.

MostlySD's picture
MostlySD

That's wine cooler, of course.