The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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jdgodsey1's picture

Hi all,

I'm trying the Tartine Bread recipe and seem to be having trouble getting my Starter going.  Here's my environment.  I live in the Denver-metro area at about 6000 ft. elevation.  At this time of the year, my house temp ranges from 60 - 66 degrees.  I began the starter on Apr 9 following the Tartine instructions exactly.  I use a small plastic container (approx. 2 pints).  Filled it halfway with tap water.  I use a charcoal filter on my faucet similar to a Pur filter.  I use King Author non-bleached bread flour and King Author whole wheat in a 50/50 mixture.  It took 4 handfuls of flour to achieve a thick batter.  I mixed it with my hand until the lumps were gone.  I covered the container with a damp paper towel and put it on top of the refrigerator out of direct sunlight.

Apr 10 - no activity visible, water began to separate to the top - about 1/16"

Apr 11 - a few bubble were visible on the top, none on the sides, water separation grew to about 1/8"

Apr 12 - noticed more bubbles on top and side, starter did grow, water still separated on top

Apr 13 - brown crust developed around the top out edges.  Smell was mildly acidic.  Choose to begin the feeding schedule.  Discarded 80% and feed with 1/2 cup of 50/50 flour and 1/2 cup of warm tap water.  The time is 6:30pm.  No real rise/fall activity occurs with in the next 5 hours.  House temp remains between 60 - 66 degrees in a 24 hour period.

Apr 14 - water is separated at the top.  A few bubbles are visible.  Mild aroma - no acidity.  No visible rise/fall activity.  Discard 80% and feed again 24 hours later using same method as above

Apr 15 - water is separated at the top.  A few bubbles are visible.  Mild aroma - no acidity.  No visible rise/fall activity.  Skip feeding.

Apr 16 - water is separated at the top.  A few bubbles are visible.  Mild aroma - no acidity.  No visible rise/fall activity.  Discard 80% and feed again at 8:00am using 1/3 cup of 50/50 flour and 1/3 cup of warm tap water.  House temp - 61 degrees.

I think I'm following the Tartine instructions correctly, but don't believe I'm getting the proper results.  Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance for any and all comments.


ChefDanMar's picture

Fermentation length of wild yeast leaven question

March 16, 2011 - 11:11am -- ChefDanMar

Hello all,

I have been working with leaven raised breads for the past month with some varying results.  I hae been experimenting with different hydration amounts mostly, however inadvertently with fermentation times as well.  While I have many quesitons the one I would like to focus on now is when to feed my leaven.

  Is a 16 fermentation period for leaven too long? Even if it does not smell sour? 

  Should I try to cut that  time down? 

conbrio's picture

Starter for Almost No Knead Bread?

March 14, 2011 - 7:18pm -- conbrio

Hi. New here, new to bread making. I've just baked my fourth No Knead loaf. The first two were Jim Lahey's basic recipe. The crust and crumb were good, but I thought their flavor was a little one-dimensional. The next two were from the Cook's Illustrated Almost No Knead recipe (Jan 2008). Big improvement in flavor, texture still good, higher crown.

Mebake's picture

Starter Bubbles, Bottom to Top?

March 4, 2011 - 11:18pm -- Mebake

When i refresh My sourdough starter, i see bubbles through the glass container that start to appear at the base, and then appear higher as fermentation proceeds. Why aren't bubbles appearing throughout the starter altogether?

Some food for thought..

Edit: Does the same apply to a dough built from a starter?

Could TFL members explain why is that?


Blizzahd's picture

Honey Starter Questions

March 3, 2011 - 8:28am -- Blizzahd

Hi everyone,

I have just begun my first sourdough honey starter.  I am 3 days into it and on day 2 and 3 I have woken up to a solid layer of hooch on top.  The recipe I used is from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads.  It is as follows...


2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

2 1/2 cups warm water

2 Tbs Honey (I am a beekeeper and this is from my hives)

2 1/2 cups AP flour

Combine all ingredients, cover with towel and let ferment for 5 days stirring once daily.


patman23's picture

hiw old is too old for a starter?

February 22, 2011 - 6:25pm -- patman23

So I was gonna make a Braided Scali Bread and set up my starter the night before.  I never got around to making the bread and I've had this starter sitting on my counter for over a week now.  Is it still useable?  If so, for what?

Oh, my ingredients for the starter were:

1 c Bread Flour

1tsp Active Yeast

1/2 c water

 Thanks for your help!



Scott Grocer's picture

Preferment: Would milk be OK?

February 18, 2011 - 12:03am -- Scott Grocer

I've got a sandwich loaf recipe here that calls for a preferment that uses all of the water and a final dough that includes powdered milk, which I never have on hand.

The preferment is supposed to be very slack, batter like and fermented for up to 24 hours at room temp before use.

I know that the higher the hydration the faster a sponge develops, but would there be any obvious problem (enzyme action, black magic, bad juju?) using whole milk in the sponge instead of water and omitting the final dough's dry milk?



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