The Fresh Loaf

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How to double feed levain

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LevaiNation's picture
LevaiNation

How to double feed levain

Hello bakers,

Might seem like a silly question but I'm a bit confused about this:

Lots of times I've heard about doing a second feeding of the levain in the afternoon. I'm not sure if this means doing the same discard, weight and add fresh flour/H2O as in the morning feeding or do I just add a second serving of fresh product to the mature culture without getting rid of any?

Paz

 

adri's picture
adri

It totally depends on your settings:

1) Do you bake directly with your starter or do you built a levain first.

2) How warm/cold is your starter?

3) How much do you feed compared to the starter-part you didn't discard?

4) What hydration does your starter have?

5) ....

 

1) If you directly use your starter as levain it should be more active. With very active and a high percentage (twice as much as flour added in final dough) of levain, bulk fermentation can be as short as 30 minutes and final proof also just 30-45 minutes. With not so active starter (and lower percentages) these times might be much longer.

2) In the fridge I feed my (rye-)starter just once a week.

3) The formula I use is 1:2:2 (starter:flour:water, by weight). With this formula it doubles in 4 to 6 hours. On the shelf (22°C) I had to feed it again in 12 hours or it would starve.

A Formula like 1:10:10 or 1:20:20 is ok to feed every 24 hours. But it gives a lot of discard. (or once again starving, or you have to keep it cooler).

4) Within some limits: The higher the hydration, the faster the MOs will metabolise. Common hydrations are 60% (I've seen it in Mediterranean tutorials), 100% (same flour and water parts by weight) and about 185% (same flour and water parts by volume). But also: the higher the hydration, the less tangy the starter will become.

And there are are more factors like the activity of the starter. But if it is not a very freshly started starter, the activity is pretty much influenced by the factors above after a view feedings.

It would be nice if you could post, what your settings (or desired settings) are.

Adrian

LevaiNation's picture
LevaiNation

So my levain feeding ratio is 1:1:4:4, which means:

50g levain, 50g whole wh, 200 white, 200 h2o. So 80%hidration. It's kept at about 70f, unless it goes in the fridge when I'm not gonna be baking. 

Before I bake, it comes out of the fridge for two days of this morning feedings, and when it's awake and active I use it for a final mix. About 200 g levain added to a 800g flour, 750 h2o. 

And it works well. But I've read about double feedings to help it get more active and I'm curious as what does that really mean. 

Thanks

 

adri's picture
adri

So what you are basically doing with your ratio is building a levain and using your rest as a (seed) starter for the next bake.

With your ratio, 24hours seem to be a bit long for the first period. You could really feed it again after 12 hours. The last feed before you use it can/should be longer as it develops more (tangy) flavour. But with just 200g levain on 800g of this isn't that important, as the built flavour will dilute anyways. You will get your flavour mainly through long bulk fermentation and/or long final proof, I guess.

So what I would suggest:
1st day: Feed at 8 in the morning and at 10 at night.
2nd day, feed at 12 in the morning
3rd day: Use the levain at 8 in the morning.

The timings are just suggestions as I would make the last period shorter than 24 hours, as it seems to be a bit long to me. If it worked before, you could still use feed-12h-feed-12h-feed-24h-bake.

Why do you start with that much starter (50g). If you start with less, you won't have do discard that much. If you start with 5g of starter, you'll have 50g after first feed and 500g after the second feed. This is enough for 2 breads and storing 100g in the fridge. And this is, before you introduce a 3rd feeding.

(750g+89g) / (800g+111g) = 0.92

92% is quite a hydration? What are you baking? Whole rye with berries in a pan?

Adrian

Muskie's picture
Muskie

a book by Ed and Jean Wood which I bought, you feed your starter to both develop the yeast, and the volume. I generally only use a cup of starter at a time, so I have no need for 4 cups of starter active at a given time. Each time I feed, I pour some out. Its the act of feeding that you're after, not feeding a larger and larger volume.

If you're starter container can hold multiple feedings, then fine, don't pour any out, but my 1L mason jar will only hold ~4 cups total, so if I start with a cup of old starter, feed a cup of new food, and let it double, bingo...I'm already near the top of the jar. But if, say, the first feeding didn't produce the desired doubling, and I put another cup of fresh food in, which does double...bada bing, I'm going to be overflowing...so before the 2nd feeding I pour some out to get it back down to a cup before the new food.

I think all you are trying to achieve by feeding is that rather rapid doubling, as in within an hour or 2, which tells you the culture is fully active. If it doesn't respond that quickly, check your proofing conditions (is it too cold, what's the humidity like, etc...) and feed again. Get rid of any excess starter you won't be needing.

LevaiNation's picture
LevaiNation

Thanks for the answers both of you! 

I think I need to clarify my question. What I've been doing works great so I'm not gonna start changing ratios or fixing the unbroken, and yes, starting with 50g. levain uses quite a bit of product while feeding, if I want to maintain these ratios (Ken Forkish actually uses way more!). I do keep it smaller by starting with 20g. at times, which would be 20L+20WW+80White+80H2O. Not too much waste, plus I often use the 'waste' for sourdough pancakes.

The question is about the second feeding. If I don't discard any levain for that second feeding, and I want to maintain the same ratios, then I would be using huge amounts of product. Unless all I'm doing is adding another batch of food and water...

Tricky to explain I guess...

 

It's all good. I've got enough time, product and passion to do various tests myself and figure out what works here.

Paz

Muskie's picture
Muskie

I could be very confused, but to my mind, levain = starter, assuming this is so...

Let's say you have 200g of starter in a bottle, and its time to feed it. You want to feed it WW and White flour...ok. It makes no difference how much starter you have already (in this case, 200g), you feed it your ratios. So, you add 20WW, 80White, and 80H2O. Feeding this much will have the same effect as feeding it 10WW, 40White, and 40H2O. The only difference will be how long before its time to feed it again. So your original 200g number has nothing to do with the ratios or quantity of food being fed it. You need to feed it enough for it to stay happy and healthy, and you need to do that at some reasonable frequency. Some feed their refrigerated starters once a week, others once a month. Working starters should be fed every day or two at least.

I think you are believing you need to count the total amount of starter after the first feeding (in your case 200g) and then put that number in place of your 20L and increase the other amounts accordingly...this is not what you do. Just add 180g (20WW, 80White, and 80H2O) each time you feed. If the resulting total is too big for your container, feel free to discard some, the ratios will not change.

Muskie's picture
Muskie

BTW, you could feed your starter 5WW, 20White, and 20H2O and it would have exactly the same effect, didn't mean to imply you gotta use 180g each feeding. Personally, I feed my starter 150g each time I feed, no matter when I'm feeding. Today I have made 2 full recipes (875g per recipe) and so used 300g of starter. After I took the first 150g of starter out, I feed my starter a fresh 150 of food (75BF, 75H2O). Did it again after the 2nd recipe.

My starter will wake up flat with a bit of liquid in the morning, and before I make another recipe I'll feed it again.

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

Muskie, I think you are a little confused. When you feed your starter or levain - either one - it must be fed with a ratio that is enough to keep all the beasties alive. Imagine a party with 20 guests. They would each eat a certain amount of food. If then, you suddenly found yourself with 200 guests, you would need 10 times as much food, because you have 10 times as many guests. The sourdough culture is the same. The beasties (yeasts and LABs) don't just eat, they multiply, adding more guests to the party. If you feed them the same quantity of food that you did before, they would starve. You must feed them the same ratio instead.

LevaiNation, you need to know first of all whether you need a second feed or not. If your starter is eating through all of its food in 12 hours or less, then you should feed again. The way you tell is by the time it takes to peak, or reach its highest rising point before falling. A lot of people seem to agree that it is at the point where it just begins to fall that you should feed again. Some say it could be any time after the peak, but before it falls completely. Let's say your starter rises to its highest point in 8 hours, then begins to fall again after a few more hours. Then, you should feed it a second time that day. If your starter takes 24 hours to eat through all its food, then it doesn't need a second feeding in the same day.

If your starter does need a second feeding, it should first be taken back down to the level of starter you began with in the first feeding. In other words, you should discard everything you fed it before. So, you start with your 50g in the morning, then you start again with 50g in the evening, and so on.

In your second post above, you said you've "read about double feedings to help it get more active". That is another matter, that isn't about how many times a day you feed it. It simply means that whatever feeding schedule you're using, you should cycle through it at least twice after bringing it from the fridge, before baking. If your once-a-day feeding schedule works, then that would mean two days before baking. that gives the starter cultures plenty of time to become fully active so they can do their best when you bake with them. I've found that it really makes a visible difference in the activity level of the culture, and the time it takes to rise.

Muskie's picture
Muskie

But if I feed less, I have to feed more often. The question is whether or not there is some food available to all the guests, not whether there's enough food for them all to stay full for days...or do I have this wrong?

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

The only given is that the starter has enough food that it does not die. Aside from that, and as per DA's post below there is a range of variation available in the proportion of food given. Feed it a lot and the starter develops certain characteristic, feed it less and it develops other charateristics. What characteristics do you want in your starter? That's the question.

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

Yes, it really is a balance. But, if you continue feeding them in the way you were suggesting, they will continue to get hungry more quickly, as there is less food per beastie to go around. That's why we discard. Or, just don't keep any more than you will use, as is suggested below and other places, then there is no discard.

LevaiNation's picture
LevaiNation

Excellent David, I think this answers all my questions.

I'm closely following the instructions in FWSY l, and it looks like i pretty much push the limits of my levain (measuring by what you say) and i get it pretty close to starvation in 24 hours. . My kitchen temp hovers around 71F.  and the levain tends to reach peak expansion at around 5-7pm, and most of my recipes call for using the levain around that time.

It works though...

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

there depending on what kind of there you want.  To be honest, I really don't care about the yeast part of the SD culture.  i try to restrict yeast reproduction as much as I can while trying to increase LAB reproduction as much as possible. We try to inoculate the dough with as much LAB and as few yeast as possible and manipulate the resulting dough at temperatures that are favorable to LAB over yeast  (36 F and 92 F).   That way it takes longer for the yeast to raise the bread and give the LAB as much time as possible to sour it as much as possible and reproduce at rates that are between 3 and 13 times faster than the yeast.  But we like very sour breads of 50% whole grains or more.

I also; don't want to waste any flour at all to maintain a whole grain rye starter.  We keep it small and dry - 100 g at 66% hydration and store it in the fridge at 36 F for as long as possible, up to 4 weeks using about 20 g for each weekly bake and building levains with no waste from each 20 g.  After the 4th week of baking there is plenty to bake week 5 and refresh the starter back to its original 100g at 66% hydration 

No matter what kind of bread you want to end up with; light / dark, mild / strong sour, you want to make sure that your starter and levain can reflect exactly what you are after as it hits the dough to raise it.

If you want a whole grain bread that is sour you do what I do at 36 F and 92 F with long retards of the levain and dough.

If you want a white bread that has mild sour like SFSD. Forkish and Tartine, then you can do it with my starter but you need to handle it differently to maximize yeast and minimize LAB by taking a small amount of starter say 2 g and feed it 2 g each of white flour and water and let it sit for 4 hours at 82 F.  Then throw half of it away by feeding this whopping 2.5 g of throw out back to your starter:-)

Take the 2.5 g remaining and feed it 8 g each of white flour and water and let it sit 4 hours at 82 F which is the optimum temperature for yeast (as opposed to LAB which would be 92 F).  In 8 hours you now have 18.5 g of white levain that needs to be fed in stages to get it to 20% of the total weight of the dough, what ever that is - without throwing anything away.

I would do this by feeding it 15 g each of white flour and water and let it sit at 80 F for 4 more hours (12 total now and it will easily double) and end up with .48.5 g that will be fed 75 g each of white flour and water and left to double at 82 F.  This gives you 198.5 g of white full strength starter ready to raise a 1,000 g loaf of bread.   If your bread is smaller, the last feeding will reflect a smaller amount than the 75 g each of flour and water.in the example.   Then you don't retard anything and do the development, ferment and proof at 82 F

Another way I have converted my very sour rye starter to a Forkish or Tartine one, is to use 2 g of it and feed it 100 g each of white flour and water letting that sit at 82 F for 24 hours, until it doubles - stirring it at 4, 8 and 12 hours.

So there are lots of ways to get to where ever you want to get to and trying out adn experimenting with the many ways to get there is where the fun comes in.

It is important to me to have a starter and building a levain where there is no waste.  Waste not - want not.  Being thrifty and not wasting is a virtue.  i find Forkish's tossing half of his levain away calling it spent fuel while using the other half that he calls perfect and ready for the bread he is making - a bit cavalier and quite disappointing.

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

I find myself wholly in agreement with DA here. The only time any starter discard is needed is during the initial creation of a starter. Once established, and if we are being determined to not be lazy and haphazard with our baking regime, then we should plan the level of baking we are likely to do and maintain a quantity of starter that meets that baking requirement.

Every time we feed a starter, (except when purposely changing it's composition and nature), we end up with more of what we started with, more of the same useful resource. Discarding any of it makes no sense. You would not plan a vegetable plot and grow within it twice the quantity of say carrots than you are likely to be able to eat or usefully use.

Discard is actually a terrible terminology to use. All discard is just more "starter", a valuable resource, a useful leavening agent. It should be used as such. So if you find after feeding your starter that you have too much of it, then your planning failed, you created too much in the first place for your baking needs. It's that simple.

Muskie's picture
Muskie

Normally I don't bake every day, heck even every week, except for the past week where I have been baking several loaves a day to get the process right in my mind.

Anyway, until you're two comments, I have typically pulled my refrigerated starter out (say, 150-200g) and fed it 150g (75/75) until it comes back to life, discarding enough to bring it back to 150-200g each time. If I now understand you, if my goal is 150g of starter for a given day, and I believe its going to take 2 feedings to get it revived after refrigeration, I should start with 37.5g of starter, feed 37.5g of food, then do a 2nd feeding of 75g of food, giving me a total of 150g of starter when done (and hoping its active at that point). Is that right?

I should also, then, reduce the refrigerated starter quantity too, as it should be feed also. IOWs I am just keeping too much starter around given my use of it. Is that right?

I think I understand the principles you're stating...I hope...;-]

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

Let me simplify this by taking it to the extreme.  Let's say you only ever keep just 3g of starter in your fridge, never any more than that.  It's a miniscule amount, not much good for anything . . .  seemingly.   However, you already know that if you were to take 2g of it, and feed it, you can, over a period of time, build that 2g up into any other quantity of starter of your choice.   The remaining 1g in the fridge can be fed another 1g of flour and 1g of water thus returning it to 3g ready for the next time you need to use it.   Easy so far?  

Now let's think about that 2g you took out to build with.  You have choices.   You could feed it 2g of flour and 2g water thus making 6g in total.  Then you could add 6g of flour and 6g water to that to make 18g. . .  and so on.

Alternatively you could take that original 2g, add 100g flour and 100g water to it making 202g in total.

The only difference here is TIME.   In the latter example (2 +100+100) it will take a reasonable amount of time for the 2g to feed and start multiplying and for the new yeasties and bacteria created to feed too and so on until all the food is exhausted.   In the former example, feeding 2g starter with 2g flour and 2g water you would get to the point where all the food was exhausted pretty quickly.  In the end we are just managing an exponential growth of organisms.

The point to note is that TIME is the important factor that governs our choices.  Take DABrownman's comments.  He likes to make his bread slowly over days not hours in order to give a specific taste and set of characteristics to his bread.  So if he has that TIME available then he is free to start with a tiny amount of starter and give it all the time it needs to feast and multiply in the food he gives it.  With that in mind he is planning his baking ahead, more likely has settled into a regular rhythm of baking each week, and knows more or less how many loaves he will likely bake each week.  He keeps a relatively small amount of starter as the "core" or "mother" and when he wants to bake uses a tiny bit and builds from it.

If instead you're a more busy person and can't fit days worth of fermentations into your life schedule, then you will plan out a different baking schedule.  You might decide that you will bake twice a week and that you want each bake to happen in less than 12hrs.  You therefore need MORE quantity of starter from the outset because you don't have the TIME to build the required quantity from a tiny amount.  I suspect that's been the approach for some people and thus if they have say a recipe calling for 150g of starter in the main dough, they've tried maintaining that 150g starter in the fridge so it's there when needed.  That can unfortunately be quite wasteful and can lead to lot's of discarded starter esp if you only bake once per week or less.  You're maintaining the exact amount of starter for a recipe, all the time, JUST IN CASE you want to bake.  That way madness lies !

It's not obvious from the outset but there is a better way to plan your baking and that is to build the required amount of starter the night before the day you want to bake.  This isn't much of a nuisance because the action is all happening while you are snoozing in bed and you can easily allow the TIME needed for the starter to build.  Just 12hrs is all you need to achieve a good quantity from a tiny quantity.  So at 9pm you can take a tiny amount of starter (say 10g) and feed it with plenty of flour and water and in the morning at 9am, 12 hours later you have a much larger quantity of starter ready to use in the main dough.

Here are some real examples from one of my favourite websites.  In each case I'm listing just the ingredients for the overnight "preferment" (Poolish) :

Wholewheat Levain Loaf -   Starter 15g, Flour 65g, Water 65g   =  145g in total

SF Tartine Style Loaf - Starter 10g, Flour 50g, Water 45g  = 105g in total

Sourdough Pain Naurale -  Starter 15g,  Flour 115g, Water 115g  = 245g in total

Sourdough Pain Rustique -  Starter 10g,  Flour 225g, Water 225g  = 460g in total

So you can see that TINY amounts of starter are being used here but that's because they use TIME to build the quantity up to what is needed for the recipe.  Note that no other starter is used in these recipes beyond the 10g/15g above.  In the case of the Rustique there, just 10g of starter the night before results in 460g of it being ready the next day.  TIME is a greal ally in our baking for all sorts of reasons.

Now let's translate the above into a regular set up at home.

If you only wanted to bake one such loaf per week that needed say 10g of starter for the overnight preferment then you could keep just 15g of starter in your fridge at any time.  The night you wanted to build that preferment you would take out the 10g and mix it with whatever flour and water was needed, and that would leave 5g in the fridge.  You would refresh that remaining 5g by adding 5g flour and 5g water bringing it back to 15g and voila! you're back ready for the next time you want to bake that loaf.   So that's a rolling 15g in the fridge.

If you were going to bake 2 loaves per week you'd work out a similar regime.  2 loaves each needing 10g for their preferments is 20g.  So now we keep a rolling 30g in the fridge.  Take 20g out when needed to build the 2 preferments, then refresh the remaining 10g with 10g flour and 10g water to bring it back to 30g.

Note that NOTHING at all gets wasted here.  There is no discard.  You maintain what you need in the fridge in small quantity and you plan ahead, building the quanity of starter needed by the recipe in the overnight preferment.  Simples !   You'll find this a much easier regime for maintenance and it takes very little space in the fridge !

Well I hope some or all of that makes sense.  Feel free to fire away with any questions. 

Good Luck

EP

Muskie's picture
Muskie

It totally makes sense EP, and it confirms what I thought you and DA were saying. I'm one that likes all the little details explained so thanks for doing that.

FWIW, I was a software programmer in my working life. The results of a change could be observed in seconds. That's why now, in my retirement, I've taken to gardening and, now, baking, as those changes are far more subtle and much longer to be observed. I envy those that can bake many times a day, or even every day, as they can more likely learn the changes in flavor, texture, presentation that a minor alteration can result in.

Anyway, thanks again, I have a much better understanding of my starter now, at least in terms of quantity. Only 1000+ more variables to get a grasp on...;-]

ml's picture
ml

This is, hands down, the best explanation I have read. Thank you.

ml's picture
ml

Mind sharing the "favorite web site" that you used for this example?

LevaiNation's picture
LevaiNation

hmmm...with a little math and planning it can really all get used. I like this!

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

12- 15 g of starter and would only use 37.5 g of starter if making (3) 800 g loaves of bread.  Even when I kept a huge wet white starter in the fridge and fed it once a week, it still took 8-12 hours and 3 feeding to get it ready to bake. 

I don't want the levain to more than 20%of total flour and water weight in the dough.  i also want to feed this small starter amount  1:2:2 where 1 is the flour in the starter and the amount of the flour in the first feeding..  12 g starter at 66% hydration has 7 g of flour (12/1.66=7.22) in it.  Talk about the need for math!

So the first feeding would be 7 g each of flour and water giving us 26 g of starter.  4 hours later I would feed it (7 +7 = 14 times 2 = 28) 28 g each of flour and water giving us 82 g total.  The 3rd feeding would be 42 g each of flour and water (7+14=21 times 2= 42) giving us 166g of  at 95% hydration.  It will have doubled after the 2nd and 3rd feeding and be ready to go.  If you want a more sour bread, you can refrigerate the levain for 24 hours after the 3rd feeding when it has risen 25% .  The next day you just want to let finish its last doubling in the counter before using it.  This is what I usually do.

This 166 g of levain can also work to raise a 1,600 g loaf of bread taking twice as long and allowing twice as long a retard of the dough to make the bread more sour too.  By combining the retard of the levain and doubling the dough it raises, allowing you to double the retarded proof, will give you an even more sour bread.  This my favorite way to make SD bread.

Happy baking.

Muskie's picture
Muskie

You just made me put everything back into the fridge.

Actually, I'm hoping this will make me happy too. Yesterday at noon I put 425BF and 300W together and put it in the fridge to autolyse (at least, that's what I think its doing). I took that out today at 11:00am to warm up to be ready to turn into a French loaf.  Also at 11:00am, I took 50g of my already active room temp starter and added 50BF and 50W. I then realized my math sucked, so at 1:00pm (starter had nearly doubled) I fed it another 25BF and 25W, intending to use it at 2:00pm or so. Hectic day and all and so returned to it all at 4:00pm, but, read your note first.

So, I've put everything back into the fridge intending to follow your suggestion. I hope this makes for a much sourer flavor. Thanks again.

Russ

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

I really like the sour in SD bread - some don't.  Now when you get your rye starter at 66% hydration and let it sit in the fridge every week taking 15 g out of it to bake with and you are down to your last 40 grams 4 weeks later that is when the bread starts to get sour.  At 36 F, yeast and Lab reproduction really slows down dramatically but.... it doen't stop  It just so happens that at that temperature LAB reproduce at 3 times the rate of yeast.  After 672 hours you have way more LAB than yeast. 

If you do your levain build at 92 F,  yeast reproduction is restricted further since they prefer 82 F and LAB reproduce at 13 times the rate of yeast at that temperature - giving you even more LAB to yeast in the levain - then retard it as you have at 36 F for 24 hours letting this huge population of LAB  outproduce yeast by a factor of 3 again.  By doing the dough development and ferment at 92 F, rather than room temperature or 82 F where yeast thrive and then retarding the dough to proof at 36 F - the LAB to yeast ratio is increased exponentially.  Since the yeast reproduction has been restricted by high and low temperature it takes longer for the dough to ferment and proof  - allowing even more LAB to yeast. 

Next thing you know, you are dong a 4 week starter ferment using whole rye, doing a 36 hour levain build at 92 F and 26 F and taking another 2-3 days to get the bread ready (also at 92 F and 36 F) to bake for a whopping 30 minutes:-)  Just do it all at 36 F and 92 F...and sour will be yours

Over that whole time you might have 1% actually doing something.  Such great bread for so little effort.  You can't buy this kind if bread anywhere at any price because most bakers just won't do it.  Still,  those that don't like sour bread will do Tartine or Forkish instead expending more effort, have a lot more waste, cost and maintenance to do.  But they too will do what ever it takes to get the bread they want to eat and like the most. 

I'm convinced there is a great bread for every want, whim or wish  and that is the really fantastic thing about bread and baking it.

Happy Baking

Muskie's picture
Muskie

all it costs is a lot of different containers, each holding a daily amount, to be used on the derived Day D.

What is even better from this amazing write-up, is that if I wanted to be able to have a lot of bread made fresh on, say, Friday morning and I only want to bake Friday to Sunday...it would be damn easy to do!

Oh what spreadsheets I'm going to make tomorrow from this, and then put it into my calendar, wow...you could call it a business plan.

My 4 weeks starts tomorrow, thank you!!

Russ

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

containers. When you build up your rye starter to 100g.  That is what sits in the fridge for 4 weeks. You bake out of it say 20 g each week for 2 loaves of bread for 4 weeks leaving you  20 g left over. I usually will take half and make a loaf of bread and build the other 10 g up to 100 g at 66% hydration over 3 feedings.  By the 4th week in the fridge the starter is getting very sour and making the most sour bread over the 4 weeks.  When you rebuild the starter you just want to make sure that you are at least doubling the flour after the first feed and getting the flour at 60 g and the water at 40 g after the 3rd feeding.  Refrigerate it after it rises 25% after the 3rd feeding. 

If for some reason a levain doesn't double after the 2nd feeding in 4-6 hours when making a loaf of bread anywhere during the 4 weeks the starter is in the fridge, then I immediately go back to the starter and rebuild it back to full strength and 100 g.  No matter what, after 4 weeks the starter gets rebuilt .

The size of starter you keep in the fridge depends on how much you bake a week.  I used to keep 150 g of starter when I was baking a loaf twice a week. 

Don't forget to air dry some of your starter on parchment and stick it in a glass jar in a cool dry place so that if the worst happens, like using all of your starter in the bread on week 4 by mistake leaving you nothing to rebuild it.

Happy Baking 

Muskie's picture
Muskie

Let's say I want to bake a loaf of really sour bread every day, and to do that I need 4 week old starter. If I had 28 different starter containers, each started a day after the one before, then after 28 days my first container would be 4 weeks old. I use it, make a new starter in it, and put it back in the fridge. Day 2, I take out my 2nd container (which is now also 28 days old), and do the same thing. In this way, from that point until eternity, I could always have a 4 week old starter ready to go on any given day.

If I was only going to bake Friday - Sunday, and bake 10 loaves on each of those days, I just alter things. I make up 110g of starter for Fridays, another for Sat, and another for Sun. 4 weeks later, I have enough starter that's 4 weeks old. I use 100g, and rebuild the remaining 10g, for use 4 weeks later. In this way I would use 12 containers.

Russ

Muskie's picture
Muskie

Your ratio of food to starter wanders around here quite a bit, and I just want to be sure that was intentional.

  • 1st feeding, 12g starter @ 66% = (7g flour + 5g water) + (7g flour + 7g water) = 1 starter : 1.166 food
  • 2nd feeding, 26g starter @ 83% = (14g flour + 12g water) + (28g flour + 28g water) = 1 starter : 2.15 food
  • 3rd feeding, 82g starter @ 94% = (42g flour + 40g water) + (42g flour + 42g water) = 1 starter : 1.02 food
  • Final, 166g starter @ 97% = (84g flour + 82g water)

Previously, it was discussed that the amount of food needs to be related to the amount of starter being fed. So, does this feeding schedule of yours have some specific purpose? If so, what do you think its achieving (you seem to know way more science than I do, so I'd appreciate learning a bit more.)

I took your 1:2:2 feeding regiment to mean; 1 = amount of flour in original starter, 2 = 2 times the total flour in the starter being fed. So I came up with this;

  • 1st feeding, 12g starter @ 66% = (7g flour + 5g water) + (7g flour + 7g water) = 1 starter : 1.166 food
  • 2nd feeding, 26g starter @ 83% = (14g flour + 12g water) + (28g flour + 28g water) = 1 starter : 2.15 food
  • 3rd feeding, 82g starter @ 94% = (84g flour + 84g water) + (42g flour + 42g water) = 1 starter : 2.05 food
  • Final, 250g starter @ 98% = (126g flour + 124g water)

I'd really appreciate your insights.

Russ

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

much flour is in the mix and the 3 feeding  are 1:2:1 (not 1:2:2) so your first example is correct at 166 g of levain for an 800 g loaf of bread.

I also use the '15 rule' quite a bit too.  it is one that Lucy dreamt up one day to figure out the levain build for certain sizes of breads.  It is a little different but way easier - sort of like her and it works just as well too.

Let's say you want to make a loaf of bread  that has 1325 g of flour and water in it.  20% of the total would be 265 g and the levain total should be around that amount.  Dividing 265 g by15 gives you a rounded up 18 g .  That is how much starter you should use.  The first feeding equals twice the amount of starter or 36 grams (18g each flour and water).  The 2nd feeding is twice the first (2 times 36 ) or 72 g (36 each flour and water).  The third feeding is twice the 2nd one or 144 g ( 72 g each of flour and water) which gives you  18+36+72+144 = 270 G

If you decide that you want the times to double to increase flavor by decreasing the amount of levain in the dough then use 10% instead of 20% for the levain amount, That would give you 132.5 g for the levain. Dividing this by 15 gives you a rounded up 9 g. for the starter amount and the feedings are 18 +36+72 = 135 g total levian. 

If you don't have time to retard the dough but still want sour, you might want to use 30% for the levain amount

The thing to remember is that sour comes from whole grains, doing things at 36 F or 92 F with long cold reatards along the way.  Non sour comes from white flour and doing things at room temperature to 82 F  with no cold or hot spells.  

It is fun to mess around with all the variables and see what happens looks and taste wise and what makes this a great hobby.  No one can bake every bread possibility but it is fun trying to do so..

I rebuilt my starter last week  and i can smell this weeks bread won't be as sour as the last week's that was in the fridge 4 weeks. - but it will still be more sour than a Tartine  or Forkish loaf.  Now all I have to do is see what bread pops to the top of the bake list this week:-)

Hope your bake comes out well after last night's levain retard and tonight's dough retard!

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

I have (normally) just 2 small containers kept in the fridge, a rye starter and a white starter.

When I intend to bake, I will make a preferment the night before and put that in either a plastic bowl covered with cling film or in a cylindrical tupperware style container which has enough room for expansion !

So all in all, not really many containers. I use 0.25l kilner jars for my fridge starters with screw tops which are easy to clean:

Probably hard to see the scale from that photo so here's one I'm using currently to build a lievito naturale for panettones:

as you can see it fits in the palm of my hand

EP