The Fresh Loaf

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My starter dropped after storing it in fridge

HoT_CoCo's picture
HoT_CoCo

My starter dropped after storing it in fridge

Hello every one

 

Im new here and new to the sourdough bread life :), i started my new starter after couple of failed attempts this time i hope im on the right track it was 10 days method with every 12 hrs feeding and discarding 2:2:1 (starter:flour:water) I started with whole wheat organic flour then AP organic flour for feedings it was bubbling up on my kitchen counter in a 24c temp, on day 11 added rye flour in morning and to prepare for fridge storing this time the ratio was 2:2:2 it didn't bubble up only foaming was presented on the top and i think it bubbled a little then dropped 1st pic above (i know the more the strter is watery the more foam more thicker more bubbles and stringy texture) so i wasn't sure to store yet so ive fed it 2:2:1 and bubbled up.

after storing it in fridge it dropped is this normal im trying to strength the starter so i well be able to use it in couple of weeks ?

I removed the rubber thing from clip jar for O/CO circulation 

 

Banan

Lechem's picture
Lechem

It's normal for them to drop. Don't worry about that. 

Before I carry on I wish to save you confusion. When everyone here speaks of starter ratios the usual method is starter:water:flour. Just wish to bring this up so you don't get confused with other blogs and forum topics. 

Your starter is definitely ok. Now that it is established and you wish to keep it 100% hydration you will see a difference in the way it bubbles up as you have correctly said the thicker the starter the more potential it has to rise. However that is not the only factor. Another factor is now much fresh flour to starter. The higher the ratio the more it has to eat through and the higher it rises (as long as it isn't a really wet starter). And while at the beginning the poorer feeds served a purpose, now it is viable it'll benefit from stronger feeds which will improve its health. When a starter is viable a little will inoculate a lot. 

Try taking off a little starter and feeding it 1:5:5 (starter:water:flour). For example 5g starter + 25g water + 25g flour (20g bread or AP flour + 5g whole wheat or whole rye). 

See what happens. 

HoT_CoCo's picture
HoT_CoCo

Thanka a lot ill do that ... When is the best time to use the starter in loaf ?? 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

When fed and matured. Should be active and bubbly. If I were you I'd build a Levain (rather like what you're doing now by taking some off to build an off shoot starter) and keep your starter in the fridge. This way you don't have to keep a lot of starter as you're just using it as a seed. Each time you bake build a Levain from it. When you're starter runs low, take it out of the fridge, bring to room temperature, give it a feed and when it's active (but not fully peaked) put it back in the fridge and you can go for another week or two before it needs feeding again. Follow a recipe (for now), build a Levain each time using the timings as a guide, when the levain is fully active and bubbly then it's time to use. 

HoT_CoCo's picture
HoT_CoCo

Thanks which means i dont use it for now just go with discarding and feeding same ratio above ?? But for how long ?

Lechem's picture
Lechem

Matures and is strong enough for a 1:5:5 feed then your starter is fine. For now carry on feeding your starter as normal and see how the levain build goes. If all goes well then use the levain to make bread. 

HoT_CoCo's picture
HoT_CoCo

Below links show after 12hrs with 1:5:5 ratio :

https://ibb.co/dSEmtG

https://ibb.co/c17Zfw

https://ibb.co/hs2jfw

 

Is it ready ? Or still i need to feed and discard weekly basis while the starter in fridge for couple of weeks? 

Confused :S

 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

What does the 1:5:5 smell like? How much did it rise? 

HoT_CoCo's picture
HoT_CoCo

It resin little a lot small bubbles and smells abit sour.. the looks like pictures above 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

I'd carry on feeding the starter for a few more days like so...

1: feed with a 1:2:2 ratio. 

2: feed with 80% bread flour + 20% wholegrain flour.

3. Allow your starter to peak between feeds. 

See what happens over the next few days. In the mean time do not throw away any discard. Store the discard in the fridge and use in yeasted breads for flavour. 

HoT_CoCo's picture
HoT_CoCo

Thanks a lot ! 

Should i take it out from fridge and start the 12 hrs feeding for couple days ? 

Andi only have unbleched bread flour and AP organic flour which one do you recommend with whole wheat? 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

I'd wait till you're seeing more activity.

Also don't watch the clock. Watch the starter. If it needs more time to peak then give it more time.  Once it shows more activity and quickens then that's a good sign it's ready.

Try using boiled water which has been left to cool! Don't forget it needs to cool otherwise you'll kill the starter. 

Store the discard in the fridge and find a nice hybrid recipe to use it up. You'll still get the nice flavour of the sourdough. The discard can also be back up in case anything goes wrong.  

Use the bread flour. It's unbleached and will be stronger which will help with rising for a better visual. AP flour is fine but the rising will help you better judge your starters strength. 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

http://www.weekendbakery.com/posts/our-version-of-a-pain-rustique/

Once you've built enough discard then go onto the main recipe using your discard as the poolish.

HoT_CoCo's picture
HoT_CoCo

I did what you suggested above took 2 Tbs from refrigerated starter with 4 Tbs mixed flour (bread and whole wheat) and 4 Tbs water in clip jar not air sealed for couple of days on kichen counter 24c temp and lets see how it goes.. ... Ive kept the rest of the starter in fridge just in case and ill keep feeding and discard " I have 2 jars in fridge original starter and another one for discarded strater :) .."  

 

This pic from 3 days back once posted this topic before storing the starter im fridge :

https://ibb.co/cUmmSb..  

 

HoT_CoCo's picture
HoT_CoCo

Sorry the correct link 

https://ibb.co/cUmmSb

Lechem's picture
Lechem

Then I would have said it's ready! 

Let's first clear something up. Always go by weight and not volume. A feeding of 4 tbsp flour + 4 tbsp water is not 100% hydration. It's closer to 150% hydration. No wonder you're getting a frothy starter which doesn't rise much. 

Equal amounts of flour to water by weight! is 100% hydration. 

I think you should try a 100% sourdough recipe from the mature starter discard. Follow a Levain build as directed (by weight) and see the results. If you get a nice loaf from it then your starter is fine. 

http://www.wildyeastblog.com/my-new-favorite-sourdough/

The recipe asks for 360g of mature 100% hydration starter. I suggest you make just one loaf and half every ingredient. 

Build 180g starter like so...

10g starter + 90g water + 90g bread flour. Leave for 12-14 hours and then proceed with the recipe. 

See how you go. 

HoT_CoCo's picture
HoT_CoCo

Oh sorry about that 

Can add then the mix i just did on my counter for loaf ? Once its resin tomorrow or should i use the refrigerated one ? 

HoT_CoCo's picture
HoT_CoCo

I just added additional 2 Tbs of flour for 100% hydration 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

1. The one that you have just fed, and thickened up, leave to mature. If that behaves well and has risen nicely in the morning then refrigerate that'll be your starter. From this starter you'll build levains and use. When it runs low then feed again. Because it is young it will benefit from more regular feeds and I'd feed it atleast weekly for now. 

2. From the mature starter discard in the fridge I'd take off 10g and feed it 90g water + 90g bread flour. Leave to mature overnight and come morning try the 100% sourdough recipe remembering to half all the ingredients. 

3. Whatever discard you have left use up in other breads or any recipe that calls for flour and water. 

HoT_CoCo's picture
HoT_CoCo

THANKS A MILLION 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

Let me know how the bake goes and then we can see where your starter is at. 

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

Leslie

Lechem's picture
Lechem

All I need to do is remember not too far back I was in the same place. No one is giving in on my watch. 

HoT_CoCo's picture
HoT_CoCo

Hello Abe i just saw a layer of water on my original strater I think they call it hooch .. i panicked i took it out added flour bread + whole wheat and water 3Tbs left it out till tomorrow  

Im not able to prepare anything over weekdays i need weekend for you suggested recipes above 

 

Banan

Lechem's picture
Lechem

Rising well and is active? If so you can store it in the fridge when mature and it'll last a week between feeds. 

That does sound like hooch and you did well to feed it. 

So what do you have now? One main starter and a container of discard? 

HoT_CoCo's picture
HoT_CoCo

I have 2 jars original one which ive started with 3 weeks ago with 12 hrs feeding 3 Tbs flour and water and 2Tbs of starter and discarding the rest ( i didnt save any discarded starter during this 11 days method) last feeding before storing in the fridge was the following:

https://ibb.co/cUmmSb

Dropped in fridge but as uve said it's normal week later i fed it without discarding i just took 2 tbs to create the starter you've suggested above 2Tbs starter and 4flour bubbled up and stored it in the fridge..

 

Last night i saw the water layer on my original starter took it out add flour and water no discarding and this how it looks after 9hrs on my kichen counter in 72f - 22c temp

https://ibb.co/i43Mxb

Little bubbles not resin as last time befor the fridge storing :( 

 

Banan

 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

Let's just concentrate on the one on the counter top.

What does it smell like?

When it begins to fall take a little off, and discard, then top back up with a little more water and enough flour to make it into a thick stiff paste. Use some wholegrain as well. Stir it up and smooth it over. Do not feed again till you see significant activity.

HoT_CoCo's picture
HoT_CoCo

Thanks 

I see some activity after 12 hrs 

https://ibb.co/gA5Xnb

Lechem's picture
Lechem

I think you're worrying too much. You haven't baked with it yet to even determine if it's not performing properly.

Carry one with what you're doing and see what happens over the weekend.

HoT_CoCo's picture
HoT_CoCo

Thanks for everything !

I did my first sourdough bread yesterday, voila 

https://ibb.co/ezxcNm
https://ibb.co/mHDv8R
https://ibb.co/fHsYv6

I have one small which im not sure if its from the starter or flour the crumb is more on the wet side i ilke it more on the dry side  i followed the wild yeast recipe above used king Arthur unbleached flour hodgson rye flour 

 

Thanks again...

 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

That's your first sourdough? That is a crumb to be proud of.

As far as the gumminess goes everything from getting the fermentation just right to the baking will effect it. That comes from watching the dough and not the clock. Perhaps a bit of a bolder bake might help too. All this comes with practice. Getting to know the feel of the dough, adjusting the hydration for the flour being used if it doesn't feel right, knowing when the final proofing is done to the optimal level etc. The more you use your starter and bake the more second nature it'll become. But for a first sourdough that is excellent!

Rest assured your starter is just fine.

HoT_CoCo's picture
HoT_CoCo

Thanks for all the help 

 

I will read and explore ..

 

:)

canta_brian's picture
canta_brian

I could use a little help. I can't work out if my hydration is too high in my dough, or my starter is a little weak. My dough bulks up, but regardless of how nice and right it feels going into my "benneton" it sort of spreads. I am using a 1.2.3 ratio. Loaf springs in the oven, but the crumb is rather uneven.  Any thoughts? 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

A 1:2:3 recipe using a 100% hydration starter will result in a 71% hydration dough. If you're using a weaker flour this might be overly hydrated for an all bread flour dough. So first question is which flour are you using?

I notice you're in the UK. Can you look at the nutritional value of the flour and tell me the protein percentage.

HoT_CoCo's picture
HoT_CoCo

Im using unbleched king Arthur bread flour and Dutch oven to bake my loaf my strater is quite young but i think my loaf came out OK and more on a rubbery side than dry and fluffy..

canta_brian's picture
canta_brian

I have used a flour that is branded as strong white bread flour, and in the nutritional breakdown lists protein at 13.6%

My starter is very young and doesn't appear as active as some of the pictures posted above. I don't want to give up on my starter if the issue is my recipe. Would you suggest trying again with a less hydrated dough? 

Thanks for the help by the way. 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

Will shed some light. How did you make it? How old is it? How do you maintain it? Etc

HoT_CoCo's picture
HoT_CoCo

I followed a ellys  everyday sourdough ... Ooh i had alot failed attempts i tried paul hollywoods method, five min bread method all failed but ellys method trund to work somehow maybe the weather with pineapple/organic flour/botteld water adding rye flour at the end it worked although it didnt peak all time as Ellys after feedings but i gave a try in made my first bake as above pictures.. 

I have 2 jars in fridge as backup also i will start new strater following Ken's (flour water yeast cookbook) and ill let know ...

Lechem's picture
Lechem

Straight after your first success with this starter? 

HoT_CoCo's picture
HoT_CoCo

Im not not building one :) im just tilling my story

HoT_CoCo's picture
HoT_CoCo

Also ivr red there is difference between whole grain and white flour starters ? 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

in characteristics, yes. You can throw in different hydration as well and maintenance!

There's a lot to consider. Most of us keep a starter as a seed and build a levain. So the impact of all these things would be more important in how you build the levain.

Some keep two or more starters but many find it easier to keep one starter and concentrate on these different characteristics when building the levain for the recipe.

HoT_CoCo's picture
HoT_CoCo

Thanks dear !! 

canta_brian's picture
canta_brian

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10251/starting-starter-sourdough-101-tutorial

It is now in the fridge. Looks like there is life. I did have a very long gap with little or no activity between day 3 and 4. Almost gave up but kept it and tried it. I have also had another go to see if it is more vigorous.  Day 4 is tomorrow. 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

Starters often go quiet on days 3-4. This is very normal and nothing has gone wrong. The trick is to slow down your feedings and even skip a day or two until it perks up again. Till then keep warm and just stir every now and again. You don't hear much about this quiet period in starter "recipes". You basically need to ride them out. Over feeding at this stage just prolongs the quiet period. Once over this period and it picks up it's not going to affect your starter whether it is a vigorous one or not. Carry on with your new starter bearing this in mind. 

How old is the one in the fridge and how do you maintain it? 

syros's picture
syros

I am very new to this whole sourdough bread making. In fact, I'm still struggling with making a starter. I have thrown out more starter than I care to think about. My confusion lies in the whole when to feed, how often to feed, how much to discard. At one point I had multiple starters going and I became totally overwhelmed. 

So I have a starter that I followed from King's Roost and it actually worked. After 5 days of mixing 3 tablespoons of flour (rye/allpurpose mix) and 2 tablespoons of water, it came alive! The first day was with pineapple juice, just to be clear. So now that it's rising and bubbling, what should the daily feeding regime be? I'm confused with how much to discard and then the proper ratio of starter:water:flour. If I am building it up to use to on Saturday (actually I'm preparing this starter for my son, who's into baking bread), how often should I be feeding it, and how much?

My starter is only one week old, but my son wants to use it. So what I have done is I fed the discard and put it in the fridge and now have the off shoot on my counter. I fed it this morning and this evening. I'm just totally confused as to how to go about this. Am I continuing to discard and feed or what? How do I keep this starter going so that it's ready and strong enough for Saturday? 

And if you don't mind, because at some point I will be baking my own sourdough bread, please explain again, hydration in terms even I can understand. I am ready to give up! I think I may have over researched making a starter and become my own worst enemy. So if I can't be successful with starter, I'm done for! Help!

thank you everyone. I'll need a lot of patience....

Lechem's picture
Lechem

1. No need to build too much. A small jar of 50-100g is ample.

2. Warmth is the key.

3. Adding wholegrain is beneficial. Wholegrain rye in particular.

4. Feed when you see activity not according to the clock. If you need to slow down and skip a feed or two then do so. Once it bubbles up on cue every time it is fed then it's ready.

5. In the beginning smaller feeds will be beneficial but once it gets stronger then bigger feeds are preferred. So taking point #4 in mind I'd discard half and then top back up at the beginning but only when you see activity. Once it's stronger I would discard 2/3rds and then top back up.

6. No need to measure so strictly at the beginning. Just eyeball it and make a thick paste. When it's ready then things to know are - 100% hydration is equal amounts of flour and water by weight! and when you see a ratio of feed like this - 1:1:1 (for example) - it's talking about 1 part starter : 1 part water : 1 part flour by weight! and in that order.

7. Patience is also the key. Depending on certain factors it can take up to two weeks. Although keep it warm, feeding it at the right! time (and not at a certain time) and the right amounts in the beginning will help to speed things up.

syros's picture
syros

So I’m looking at my starter and ir’a bubbly amd active - I fed it last night. I’m going to discard and feed. Don’t worry, I’ll be back for more! This is the first time anyone has said it’s ok to skip a feeding, and that is reassuring. I’ll check back in later!

Lechem's picture
Lechem

After all if there's no activity then what are you feeding? Once mature and active it's a different story. For now the best advice is just feed when you see activity even if it means it's more sporadic. A viable starter will be more predictable.

Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum

Somehow or other I have managed to keep my starter alive for many years through benign neglect. I keep it in the fridge I use it about once a week, but I always make sure before I use it that it gets fed  until it doubles in size in a reasonable amount of time and it passes the float test which is the starter should float in room temperature water. 

You know a lot more about this subject and I do so I would love to hear your opinion

Lechem's picture
Lechem

Often slips my mind as I have never done one and just go by the way my starter performs when fed. The only things I know on this subject are just through experience. Your opinions are as valid as mine and the float test is a great idea. I'm just trying to hold the fort on my own and all help is greatly appreciated! 

Thank you Truth Serum. 

HoT_CoCo's picture
HoT_CoCo

I was in your shoes last month!

Please check the below video elly startrd also using pineapple with 11 day feeding:

https://youtu.be/qAwaAAnxC30

canta_brian's picture
canta_brian

Ok, so working backwards. the 2nd starter I created has behaved exactly as the first starter did. On day three, I discarded half and fed with bread flour as per the recipe posted above. It initially grew strongly and this morning has fallen back. As this is the same as my now 2 week old starter I will put it to one side and continue with the original. (although should I add this to the original starter?)

My original starter which is in the fridge has bubbles and some aeration. Looks good. I am now running the 5gm 1:5:5 test mentioned earlier in this thread. Just interested to see how this behaves over the course of a day. As far as looking after my starter when I next bake i will take half for my bread and feed the remainder. Am i right in saying 1:2:2 is correct? I guess 1:1:1 would also maintain my current hydration. This leads to my question of the day!

My question is this. Is there a way to assess the hydration level of my starter? Should it pour (mine doesn't) should if be like quite a thick custard (mine is!). I ask because having used this https://youtu.be/YfWcs2k7oQ4 technique (although I used a stand mixer to do the majority of the mixing) I would say that my dough was looser and relaxed more for the most part. It did however feel lovely when it went into my floured tea towel/colander arrangement, it then relaxed out rather than rising at all. It also stuck when I turned it out. Too soft and maybe not quite enough flour I am guessing.

I appreciate all the advice. It is invaluable to get the benefits of so much experience.

 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

do you wish to concentrate on one starter, in which case discard the new one, or do you wish to continue with two? If your second one has been fed and is not showing any signs of activity then place to one side (in a warm place) and forget about it for a day or two (or even three). Just stir it occasionally.

Should the off-shoot starter behave well and gain in strength I'd make this one the main starter and use up the one in the fridge in other bakes. But cross that bridge when you come to it.

When it comes to baking I would treat the starter as a seed. It can sit in the fridge till it runs low, then take it out give it some TLC building it back up and then return it to the fridge. From this seed starter build levains (off shoot starters) to go into the bread. A recipe will give you a starter, or levain, build where you take a little off and give it a big feed, wait for it to mature and then use. If you're starting off with little starter and giving it a big feed then don't worry too much about the hydration. Most recipes take it into account that your starter is 100% hydration so you can either ignore the fact that it may be a tad out (as yours will be 80% hydrated) as it's getting a big feed. Or you can work out how much you need to toggle in the levain build to end up with a levain that's exactly called for. Or after this experiment you can go back to 100% hydrated feeds if it makes it easier.

No problem. The only way to learn is to ask.

syros's picture
syros

When you talk about a 1:5:5 feed, can you explain that in amounts and why? Like I said, I bake but never without using yeast and this is very counterintuitive to me. When I see all the percentages, hydration rates, etc. I just want to say “forget it” and let the whole thing go. However, I also want to deal with how this works.

Another question, I had started a “quick start” starter out of desperation when nothing was working. It’s in my fridge and I think I will use it to make pita bread. Problem is I don’t know how to figure out how much to use in my recipe which call for 5 cups of flour and usually a pack of dry active yeast. The quick start used 1/8 tsp of yeast with pineapple juice to get it going. But I discarded and fed several times before refrigerating it. It’s been in there for almost a week. Any advice otherwise I’m tossing it.

Thanks, Sharon

Lechem's picture
Lechem

I eyeball everything and only measure when the starter is viable and I start using it in a recipe. However when advising to give your starter a big feed it's easier for me to give it in ratios and it's also easier to measure when starting down this route. Also keeping it 100% hydration and knowing how much its been fed etc helps you keep track of things. The purpose of a big feed, allowing it to fully mature before feeding it again will help to encourage strength and health in your starter. I chose 1:5:5 as you can keep it a big feed all the while not building too much at one time. Only making a starter, using it, building levains, following recipes etc will it eventually become second nature. In the beginning it always is confusing. To make things a bit easier i'll explain what you're doing.

1. In your starter you are cultivating yeasts and bacteria. Flour and water is their medium. They need to be fed to be kept alive. Until your starter matures and becomes viable it can take a while. After which it can be stored in the fridge so you don't have to continuously feed it everyday.

2. When it comes to baking you pre-ferment some of the flour and water from the recipe. This feed is called the levain. It is an off-shoot starter (if you will). But it's now being geared towards the recipe rather than just a seed (the starter). The recipe is beginning to take shape and you're building it with the end product in mind as far as time it will take and the taste you're after.

3. Some people do an amalgamation of 1 & 2 where they feed their starter and then take some off to go straight into the dough. Just two ways of treating ones starter. All depends on your baking needs. I find the second way easier to manage and this way I can keep one starter and build many different types of levains.

To me "quick starter" starter with yeast is something i'm not familiar with. Sounds like an alternative starter method that's not strictly the orthodox sourdough method. You can use it up in pita bread if you wish and concentrate on your actual sourdough starter.

canta_brian's picture
canta_brian

What should I expect from my off shoot? It is sitting somewhere warm (above my coffee machine) and so far not doing all that much. I feel I may be being a bit impatient and expecting too much too soon. 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

Since you fed it?

canta_brian's picture
canta_brian

There is some activity.  It looks spongy on top with bubbles.  Just not a lot of bulk increase. 

 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

It has risen to its maximum and can rise no more. No hurry. Just keep warm.

That is the goal for the time being.

Perhaps you need to take a step or two back to go forward. So we might need to employ the strategy of slowing down the feeds just like when making a starter. 

Check up on it at the 12-14 hour mark and if you think it needs more time then fine. If you have seen more activity and it's definitely peaked to its max then feed again like before.  

canta_brian's picture
canta_brian

I will see how it goes overnight 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

Don't be in a hurry to feed if by morning it's still sluggish. Depending on how it goes I might advise a change to the next feed. Play it by ear. 

canta_brian's picture
canta_brian

Bubbly but no lift this morning, then the heating came on and I quickly saw foamy islands and spongy patches building.  So I figured why not? Have created a small batch of dough. It still wants to spread on me, but there is an overall increase in bulk. So I have done a few extra stretch and folds on a lightly floured board so I think I will be nearer 60% hydration (started a little lower than last time). 

I might split and feed my main starter tonight and use the excess for some waffles if anyone can recommend a reasonably foolproof recipe. 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

Best of luck and let us know how it goes. 

I think King Arthur website has a recipe for sourdough pancakes and I assume good for waffles too. 

canta_brian's picture
canta_brian

I need to allow this process more time. I am currently baking what appears to be a puddle! I will let my starter have a few feeds, keep making bread with heart and look again in a couple more weeks. 

Thanks for the advice to this point. I will return once I have a more mature starter to build with. 

:)

Lechem's picture
Lechem

Since you're not set up yet for private messaging (you'll have to email Floyd to enable this - you can find his email address at the bottom of the page) I will include my own email address in this post and then edit it out. I'm sure you'll get a notification in your own email address. 

Please email me and we can work on getting your starter ready. It will be easier. 

Persevere. It's so rewarding. 

- Abe

syros's picture
syros

So thanks for all the information. However, please bear with me. I get the offshoot part (I think) but here’s where I get confused.

1. I have taken an offshoot, fed it last night and this morning. It’s active and it has doubled. I followed Lechem’s advice and kept a small amount and did a small feed. So here’s where I am uncertain. My son is preparing his dough on Saturday afternoon to bake on Sunday. He has always used yeast, so this will be the first time using a starter. 

2. So at this point what should I be doing? Sorry if I sound hopelessly dense, but this really feels foreign to me and I don’t want to mess this up. If he uses a recipe that calls for 184 g of starter, and he wants 100% hydration, I need instructions on how to proceed. Eventually, I will get this figured out as you said by doing this over and over, but for now, I’m hoping to get the Levain ready for him to use.

does this make sense? Never thought this could be so confusing....

 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

Which now sounds healthy and active your new main starter. Treat it as a seed from which you will build levains similar to what you have done to make this starter except they will be geared towards the recipes. Keep this new starter in the fridge and when it runs low, take it out and give it some TLC to build strength and top it up. 

Whatever you have in the fridge use up in any other recipe that has flour and water. It'll add flavour. Even use up in yeasted breads. Pancakes and waffles are popular. 

Your son needs 184g of active starter at 100% hydration. There is no one correct way to do this as long as you end up with a well fed active starter built to the correct specs. But for now here's a guide...

Levain Build:

20g starter + 85g water + 85g flour 

Leave to mature for overnight and is ready to use when active, bubbly, peaked and smells really good :) 

Work backwards from when you wish to bake to when you need to start the bread. If your starter is ready too early then refrigerate and take it out about an hour before starting the dough to warm up. Don't worry about the few extra grams as some is lost through fermentation.

Best of luck.  

P.s. when you use your starter as a seed you don't wish to keep too much at any one time. 50-100g is ample. This is just where you're storing the yeasts and bacteria from which you build bigger off-shoot starters (Levains) which are geared towards the recipe. While starters can last in the fridge for a while it's best to find a good amount where it doesn't go for too long before it needs topping up and you don't wish to keep too much you find you're discarding too much (if any at all). But knowing and getting the feel for this will take time. For now, since your starter is still quite young, I would advise atleast weekly feeds. Once your starter is strong and you get into the rhythm of maintenance then you can judge if it can go longer. 

syros's picture
syros

Thank you so much! One last question, (for now, haha!). Should I give the new starter one more feed or just pop it into the fridge until I’m ready to do the Levain. It was fed at 8 this morning. 

Thank you again! I might be finally figuring this out with your incredible patience and help. 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

Try and feed it again. It'll always benefit from more regular feeds at this young stage. Read through the post script above and start to find a good amount to keep and store in the fridge. 

When storing starter for a while in the fridge I would make sure it's nice and active but not peaked before refrigerating. You wish for it to be healthy but you don't want it to run out of food while it's stored. If you're feeding atleast weekly you can allow it to double and then refrigerate. If longer between feeds I'd be more cautious. 

My pleasure. You can always feel free to ask :) 

syros's picture
syros

Hi Abe, here goes. I just checked my son’s recipe and here are his ratios: 1000 g of flour and 720 g of water. In your opinion, what amount of starter should he be using. Forget what I mentioned before - that was from a recipe from The Perfect Loaf that I was showing him. But he’s been making bread with the 1000g flour and 720g water and yeast. In order to use that ratio what would the starter be in weight and would I use the same ratio you mentioned before: 20g:85g:85?  Actually how would his ratio work with starter? I’m out of my depth here totally. If you have a recipe that you would recommend, that would be helpful, too.

BTW, my starter is looking great. I fed it, as per your advice, let it get active and put it in the fridge. I feel like I climbed Mt. Everest getting a starter that is finally active. Very thrilling, I must say! Now if only I can get other things figured out. 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

And turn it into a sourdough. It all depends on the results one is after. As long as you do the bulk ferment and final proof to optimum level.  For a first sourdough I'd follow a recipe though. Are you familiar with Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough?

It is exciting when a starter comes into maturity and it's something you've created. I build starters often to keep me on my toes.  

syros's picture
syros

I’ll figure it out eventually. Anyone please help to my above questions.

syros's picture
syros

Me again. If the recipe calls for 346 g of starter, what are my rations? I know you had said 20g starter, 85g water, 

85g flour for 184g of starter. But in one of the above posts, you (Abe) recommended to Hot Coco to halove the recipe and said to build with 10g, 90g,90g. 

Sorry if I am just not getting this quite yet. Thanks again!

Lechem's picture
Lechem

You just asked for a certain amount of starter at a given hydration. I gave you one example of a build.

In other examples of levain builds I have given what the recipe specifies. 

MonkeyDaddy's picture
MonkeyDaddy

on your patience and tenacity with this project.  There is definitely a learning curve when getting started with sourdough and Abe (Lechem) has given you some great advice so far.  But, if I may, allow me to toss a bit more advice on the table:  

When you're buying clothes you have a rough idea of what size you're looking for, but depending on where it's made a size from one maker will not fit the same as the same size from another maker, right?  For example, you try on a dress from China in a size 10, that feels the same as one from the US in a size 8, or one made in Mexico in a size 12.  If it feels comfortable and looks good on you, then the size number is irrelevant.  (Please understand that these numbers are completely arbitrary, as I have absolutely no expertise in the clothing industry - but that is exactly my point)  Don't drive yourself crazy by focusing so hard on the numbers.

As Abe mentioned, "One can preferment any percentage and turn it into a sourdough. It all depends on the results one is after."  If you use a small preferment, it will take a longer time for the dough to develop enough to be ready for baking, but during this time it will also develop a much more complex and rewarding flavor profile - great if you have the time to do it.  But if you use a greater percentage of prefermented flour, things will move along at a more rapid rate - this is good if you have less time to spend on the bake, but you'll sacrifice some of the flavor.  Also, you want to be careful that your percentage doesn't go too high, or you run the risk of the starter consuming the available food supply (i.e., protein) too rapidly and turning your dough to lifeless goo.  The percentage that fits your schedule, the flour you have available, your flavor preferences, and your skill level is something that you will be able to hone in on after several bakes, but for the sake of argument 20-30% could be one place to start.

So, using your son's formula, suppose we go for 20% preferment - that's 200g out of the 1000g of flour called for in the formula.  In a 100% hydration levain the flour and water are equal, so you'll also have 200g of water, giving you 400g total.  This is important to remember because you have to take this water into account when keeping the overall dough hydration at the 72% of the original formula.  If you're comfortable using Abe's 1:5:5 feeding ratio then that will work for the purposes of this example.  1+5+5 = 11, and 400÷11=36  so build your levain with 36g of starter, 182g of flour, and 182g of water.   Then you subtract the total amount (including the starter) of flour and water in the levain from the formula flour and water, so you'll add 1000-200=800g flour, and 720-200=520g water to maintain your 72% hydration dough.  This math is easy if your seed starter is maintained at 100% hydration, but it's only slightly more complicated if you have a different hydration level starter.  

So you see that (almost) any percentage of preferment can be made at (almost) any hydration level, and added to (almost) any given dough - it just depends on what your goal is for that particular loaf.

     --Mike