The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Question on Leader's rye starter

magali's picture

Question on Leader's rye starter

Hello, all!  I have tried four times to make Dan Leader's German Rye Starter from his book Local Breads.  Each time, on day 2, the starter rises beautifully to twice its volume and smells and tastes great, but it never rises again.  The first time, I followed the recipe exactly, with feedings (1/4 cup water + 1/2 cup rye flour) on days 1 through 4.  In subsequent trials, I tried moving the refreshment stage (1/2 cup rye flour + 1/2 cup spring water) up to day 4 and even to day 3, but the starter invariably acts dead after day 2.  I'd very much appreciate any advice you can share.  Many thanks. 

SourdoLady's picture

You are giving up too soon. The initial rise you got was from bacteria, and not yeast. The yeast don't start to grow until the pH drops (from fermentation). Most people find that it takes about a week to get it going. Sometimes, if your house is quite cool, it can even take as long as 10 days. Give it another try, and have more patience!

hansjoakim's picture

Hi magali,

Leader's rye starter is what got me going with my own sourdough culture in the first place, so the method works!

I followed Leader's recipe to the letter, and my starter was ready to use at the beginning of day 5, if I remember correctly. I used room temperature water and kept the starter at about 23-24 dC the entire time. I used whole rye flour. It wasn't organic whole rye, but it still worked out. If you can find organic whole rye, that should be a pretty sure bet. But keep going... these things take time :)

karladiane's picture

Hi there:

Patience is, indeed, the key when "capturing" starters - but I used a shortcut for my rye starter.  I have a very healthy wheat sourdough culture, and so I just fed some of it with rye flour, and did subsequent feedings per Leader's proportions for several days until the wheat was totally replaced by rye.

I use this trick when I am making sourdough loaves from Durum flour, too.'

Good luck!

magali's picture

Thanks so much to all of you for your responses!  I will begin again this week and this time be more patient.  I appreciate your help.  :)

abdosoliman's picture

I found a simple way to calculate the  composition of the dough:

Samara's Lazy Woo/Maan's Sourdough Calculator


you might like to open this link and look at it.