The Fresh Loaf

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Seed Culture gone awry?

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SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

Seed Culture gone awry?

I started a rye seed culture on Saturday, using Reinhart's method in BBA. Day 1 it looked like a lump of playdough. I did the Day 2 additions and, despite the note in the book that I'd likely see no more than a 50% rise, the thing doubled. I discarded half (eyeballed it as the batteries on my scale died right after I got my flour and water additions measured out) and added the Day 3 flour and water. This was around 11am, and so far I've seen almost no rise.


Is it possible that it wore itself out yesterday? The house is slightly cooler today - 75F instead of 78F and I have the doors and windows closed as it's cool and slightly more humid out. I'm not going to worry too much about it, but I sort of expected to see *SOME* sort of movement by now. It's barely even made a slight 'mound' at the center and has barely crept past the tape mark. With the rise I'd gotten yesterday I was actually concerned that today's addition would result in it trying to creep out of the container. If I don't get a doubling as I was expecting should I just give it an extra day? And if so, do I feed it - or should I start over? I was really hoping to be making bread this coming weekend! The smell is good - not overpoweringly knock-your-socks-off strong, and not 'off' in scent from what I've noticed the past couple of days.


My second seed culture, made with the 'pineapple juice' smaller-batch method in his Whole Grain Breads book is also looking a bit off. I didn't have any pineapple juice so substituted fresh-squeezed orange juice. I don't really smell anything, but it is trying to separate slightly. I've been aerating it for 1 minute at a time at somewhat irregular intervals, 3 times yesterday and twice so far today. It's more liquidy than when it first started, or so it seems, and when I mix it I seem to be getting gluten forming as a small glob of flour starts to cling to the fork. This starter is on its Day 2 phase, with the first addition due tomorrow. It's such a small batch really that at least if it turns out to have not worked, for some reason, at least I won't be losing much.

Maverick's picture
Maverick

Just have patience. It is common for a new starter to rise like that, then not at all. It usually takes a couple weeks to get the starter to be reliable enough to bake with. I am just getting back into bread, so I don't have a sourdough starter  anymore to show off. Personally I am going to try the Glezer method this time around:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/2390/firm-starter-glezer-recipe

Maverick's picture
Maverick

Sula


Any luck? I find mine is going slower than expected, so I substituted a little rye to the mix to kick things up again.

SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

The first one, which had nearly tripled and did nothing ended up having specks of white fuzz starting in on it when I checked, and smelled quite off - nothing at all like beer, so it went out.


The second starter, started with spelt flour and orange juice, is happy, healthy and vigorous. It's been used for quite a few loafs so far. The last loaf, which was breadtopia.com's whole grain sourdough had a good rise and a wonderful crumb.


I still have my white-flour starter, which I purchased from Whole Foods, as a backup. I alternate between them, depending on what I'm baking. I used the white-flour starter for my sourdough English muffins this past weekend since the spelt starter had seen use a couple of days before. This way I end up using (and refreshing/feeding) both starters every week without wasting any.