The Fresh Loaf

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R.I.P. Mr. Yeasty

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SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

R.I.P. Mr. Yeasty

Alas, this morning had my confirmations that my 'sluggish' seed culture was a bust. After an amazing, unexpected 2nd day rise - day 3 was a horrible disappointment. I covered it back up to follow Reinhart's suggestion to give a sluggish seed culture another 12-24 hours. I awoke to not one iota of movement in the container. Not a single bubble, and the top of the mixture slowly turned darker than the rest. The smell, which had been so ripe and knock-your-socks-off had dwindled, and the final nail in the coffin - I found a small speck of something white and fuzzy :(


Thankfully my second starter, which uses the pineapple juice method (save that I used OJ) suddenly woke up and joined the party. Perhaps he was celebrating the death of his  competitor, who knows? I awoke to a good inch of foam atop of a starter that had shown no signs that it was even alive. Thank goodness for backup plans - but I'd really hoped to do a 100% rye sourdough. I suppose it'll just have to be closer to 75% rye with a shot of spelt!

karladiane's picture
karladiane

Hi there:


Ooh, don't give up on Mr. Yeasty #1 just yet.  When I "captured" my first starter, I got an amazing "bloom" early on, and then it was sluggish for about another week +.  If I'm not mistaken, this is often a spike in the lactic acid producing bacteria that can fool you into thinking that you've got a final culture.  Just keep feeding it daily, and try to be as patient as possible.


The starter that I mention is the one I now use all the time - and it's wonderful.  I feed it weekly, and it has never failed me. I did not use any juices or fruits or any other booster when I started it - just rye flour in the beginning, and then diluting out the rye with wheat flour slowly over time, per BBA.


Remember, these are complex mixed populations of both yeast and bacteria, and it takes time to get them grown into a happy, peacefully coexisting proportionate culture. 


Good luck!


peace,


karladiane

SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

Well, if it hadn't been for the growing fuzzy part, I probably wouldn't have given up. I got the impression that growing fuzz was a sign it needed to go - and so I dumped it. Should I have simply scraped the fuzz off the top and gone on? It was just a little spot, but my understanding of mold spores is that the part you see is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg and that the 'roots' of it go deep into whatever substrate it is growing on.


I do have my spelt starter going, and this morning the top looked like the creamy head on a beer or an ice-cream float, so I have high hopes for it!

karladiane's picture
karladiane

Yes, I think you're right - fuzz is a bad sign.  If it was small, you probably could have scraped it, but I think that the general rule in sourdough is - if at first you don't succeed....well, you know the rest.


Good luck with your endeavors.  I get such joy out of the wonderfully wheaty-yeasty smell of my starter - not to mention all of the wonderful bread it has helped me make.


 


Ciao!


karladiane

SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

I just went and read Debra Wink's blog  about the Pineapple Solution. (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10856/pineapple-juice-solution-part-1) It's safe to say that this is -exactly- what happened to poor Mr. Yeasty which, as it turns out, is probably not an apt name as there likely wasn't much yeast at all!


Thankfully I found the pineapple juice method in Reinhart's "Whole Grain Breads" the day after I started my rye seed culture and started a second culture in another container, so I'm only 1 day behind, not 3!

SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

They get creative!


 


My second starter is looking good and healthy *crosses fingers* and smells like beer instead of the smell that was coming out of my rye starter (which I'd attributed to the fact that it was rye!). It's going to need a couple of weeks of feeding, though, and I wanted so badly to bake sourdough this weekend. A 5 day old starter is probably just a recipe for disaster, no?


So, I called the local store that has a bakery in it (one of those fruit-and-nut/organic/whole grains kind of places) and was told if I come in the morning when the bakers are baking, I can get some starter.


Of course, I'll probably pick up a loaf of their rosemary sourdough while I'm there. And some flour. And some cheese that I can only buy there... Hrm... I think I just got hoisted by my own petard!