The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Barm refreshing?

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seandev's picture
seandev

Barm refreshing?

Hello all,

Thanks to BBA I just made my first sourdough loaves (!), but I'm a bit befuddled by the directions regarding barms and refreshing. 

1.  Is it better to keep the barm out of the fridge and accelerate the refreshing schedule until the barm has been refreshed a few times and matured? 

2.  How often should I refresh the barm assuming the answer to the first question? 

3.  When you refresh the barm, do you refresh all the barm you have left, or just the portion you plan on using the next day to bake?

4.  If you're just maintaining the barm, not planning on using it, I assume you keep it in the fridge and refresh it weekly.  Immediately after refreshing it, how long do you keep it out of the fridge?  Can you just stick it back in there and expect the yeast the do its thing, albeit on a retarded schedule?

Thank you for any help - I thank you, and my new yeast ranch thanks you.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I am assuming that your starter is newly made and not aged yet--correct? If so, it is good to leave it out of the fridge for awhile to let it mature. You will need to feed it every 8 hours because it will consume the nutrients in the flour rapidly when at room temperature. Before feeding be sure to dump out most of it if you aren't going to be using it. This is very important.

When storing the barm in the fridge, feeding once a week is fine to maintain it. I usually take mine out and let it come to room temperature before feeding. Once fed, I leave it out for an hour or so before returning to the fridge. If you aren't going to be using it for awhile it is good to keep the starter on the thicker side as it will go longer between feedings.

 

seandev's picture
seandev

Thank you very much SourdoLady! 

One last pesky question:  How long should I keep up the "feed every eight hours" schedule before I assume the barm is reasonably mature?  Does it make a difference if the barm is regular flour or rye?

With gratitude,

Seandev

 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

You can use unbleached white, rye, or whole wheat. I generally use whole grain flour until the mixture gets lively and then switch to unbleached white flour. Whole grains ferment faster than white flour and they will also have a more sour flavor. As far as how long to keep up the 8-hour feedings, that is up to you. If the mixture is very active and bubbly you can switch it to the fridge at any time. I'd go by the flavor of your bread to decide how long to let it mature out of refrigeration. When you are satisfied that it tastes good, then it's time. Trust me, you will soon tire of 8-hour feedings!