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More Sourdough woes

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janij's picture
janij

More Sourdough woes

So i posted about a month ago about my sourdough being too acidic and turning into yuck.  The dough got really stringy and never rose.  So I threw it away and started over.  I followed the SOurdough 101 tutorial.  After about a week I had a starter that was doubling ever 4-6 hrs.  So I thought I was in business.  So I used the Sourdough recipe from KA.


1 c feed starter mixed with 1 1/2 c water, 3 c ap flour.  Let rise 4 hrs then retard in fridge over night.


Add 2 c flour, 1 T sugar, 2 1/4 t salt.  Knead, let rise 2-4 hrs. and so on.


So I followed the first part and the starter doubled in 4 hrs.  Then I put it in the fridge overnight.  This morning I mixed the dough and let it rise.  After 3 + hrs the dough had done nothing!!!!!  I mean nothing.  The night before it was all bubbly and everything.  So I tried to salvage the bread.  I spread it out like you would fold it and added 1 1/2 t yeast.  Then kneaded.  I let is rise for another and and got about a 60% increase.  At this point I was frustrated and needed to bake because of other daily interferences.  I but it in boule shapes and let rest another 1 20 min.  Then baked it.  This is what I got.




 


So needless to say I am about to give up on the sourdough.  The only reason I got the rise I did was because I added yeast after 3 hrs of trying to ferment the dough.  Why will my starter double but not the dough?  HELP!!!!

xaipete's picture
xaipete

If your starter is only a week old, then that explains it. It needs to mature. Keep discarding part of it and feeding it; in another week or two it should gain strength.


If it is any consolation to you, I tried to use mine after a week in some SD pizza dough and it didn't rise one inch.


--Pamela

janij's picture
janij

The bread tastes good. 


So what you are saying is I need to keep it out of the fridge and feed it 2 times a day for another week then try again?  Bother.  I am so not patient.  But I really want to figure this out.

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I kept mine out of the fridge for a week, but only fed it once a day. But, mine was already a few weeks old when I did that. I doubt feeding it twice a day could hurt. Give it a try and see if it grows in strength. I used 1 part whole wheat flour to one part water to one part starter.


--Pamela

janij's picture
janij

I have been keeping it 1:1:1 roughly by weight.  So I will take it back out and try feeding it once a day for another week and try again.  Thanks

xaipete's picture
xaipete

After a week of daily feedings, I started feeding my at a different ratio, e.g., 2 oz. starter, 4 1/2 oz. water, 6 oz. whole wheat flour. I let it sit out until it nearly doubles, about 6 hours, and then refrigerate. I refresh/rebuild it every 5 to 7 days.


This worked for me.


--Pamela

janij's picture
janij

Okay so you maintain a firmer starter after the initial incubation.  I have always done 100% hydration.  Now I have not had real luck with sourdouhg so far.  So maybe a lower hydration will keep it from getting too acidid.

xaipete's picture
xaipete

The final starter foundation is from Reinhart's WGB's. I've been able to use it successfully on Leader's recipes too.


Debbie said (post today) that firmer meant more sour. You can keep it wetter if you want. I think it just depends on what you want and how you want to use it.


--Pamela

gaaarp's picture
gaaarp

I agree that your starter is just too young to have much flavor or rising power.   And I agree that it will develop both those things more quickly if you keep it on the counter and feed it twice daily.  However, I have never had the time or patience to give that much attention to a starter, so I have always kept my starters in the fridge from the get go and only fed them every few days at first and eventually just once every week or two, depending when I want to use them.  To be sure, it takes longer, maybe a few weeks, for them to reach their flavor and rising potential this way.  But it has always worked for me -- without wasting so much flour or so much of my time.

janij's picture
janij

What hydration do you maintain at?  I am just wondering what to do from here.  I got it back out from the fridge and feed it again.  I will see what it does by tomorrow morning.  So with a young starter, what do you do?  Just wait 5 yrs for it to raise the bread?  Or spike with yeast?

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Gaarp has helped a lot of people with their starters. I won't be offended if you follow his advice. I'm real new at starters and can only talk about what I've done. There are many ways to produce a successful starter. Just follow the advice that best suits you and in time everything will work out great. Mostly what starters need is time and patience.


The only thing that you shouldn't do is throw it out and start over!


--Pamela

gaaarp's picture
gaaarp

Don't throw your starter out.  And don't give up on it!  I keep two of my starters at 100% hydration.  They both made passable bread within a week or so and really good bread within a few weeks.  I converted some of my second starter to a 65% hydration stiff starter.  I've baked with it once, with great results.

janij's picture
janij

My old ones I keep feed on rye for one and wheat for the other.  They worked as long as I spiked the dough with yeast.  But if I went straight sourdough, I got horrible results.  This time I started on rye then went to AP flour.  I like the 100% hydration b/c it is simpler.  1/4 c., 2 T, 1/4 c.  But I was wondering from Gaaarp, since I followed his tutorial this time and didn't use pineapple juice, about when I sould use it.  Do you think it would have worked today with out adding the yeast and giving it more time to rise?  I am not going to throw this one out.  It tastes good and seems to be working.  So I will feed it once or twice a day for the next week and retry.  Do you think I should use the same recipe?  Where you basically build the starter, let is rise for 4 hrs then retard in the fridge over night, then make the dough the next day?  Or should I try a different recipe.  My husband wants a sourdough bread like they have at Sweet Tomatoe.


Thank you Pamela and Phil for all your help!

gaaarp's picture
gaaarp

Yes, if you gave it enough time, it would have risen without additional yeast.  Use the times given in the recipe as an approximation, not the final word on the subject.  It's more important for the dough to develop sufficiently than for it to happen in a certain time frame.

gosiam's picture
gosiam

Just wanted to second gaaarp's opinions on sourdough starter maintenance.  My starter is made as per his instructions (found on this forum - Sourdough Starter 101) and has been working beautifully for the last four months.  Though I understand that more demanding starter methods will be as successful when baking, gaaarp's starter, with its minimalistic feeding routine is all I can ask for - activity, reliance, taste.


Thank You gaaarp!


Gosia

joshua shuffman's picture
joshua shuffman

here's my two cents for janij:


you messed up when you put your starter in the fridge overnight and then tried to use it cold the next day.  the fridge is a great place for bulk fermenting dough to let the lacobacili catch up to the yeasts, but it's a crappy place to keep your starter if you want to use it anytime soon.  my general rule of thumb is to use my starters ONLY at their peak of activity (ie. 8-12 hours after feeding and at ROOM TEMP).  i swear to you that if your starter was doubling every 4-6 hours it had EVERY BIT of the leavening power it needed to make good bread.  it is entirely possible, as some others have suggested, that your starter may be too young to develop complex flavors, but if it's doubling it has the lift.  in my experience, though, sourness and complexity and crust color and all that jazz are much more a factor of length of cold proof than the maturity of the starter.  i also don't put much stock in starter hydration percentage.  100% should be fine.


good luck,


josh

janij's picture
janij

So next time, just let the first mix (1 c feed starter, 1 1/2 c water and 3 c flour) sit over night at room temp?  I thought about doing that.  Hamelman's vermont sourdough mixes the starter for the first build and sits at room temp over night not in the fridge.  I was wondering this morning, so should I say late last night about that.  It had doubled before bed, should I have just let it sit out.  I am thinking next time I will.  I think next time I will mix that right before bed then use it at room temp the next morning.  Because the cold made the dough hard to guage for whether it needed more water or flour since it was so cold.


 

dtaffe's picture
dtaffe

I'm relatively new to starters but have discovered a few key points that have made a big difference for me:


Once the new starter begins to bubble, aggressive feeding for 5-7 days seems to help it establish. I feed it 2-3 times per day in a 1:2:2 ratio (starter:flour/water.) My flour is KA, 75% white/25% whole wheat.  Early on (day 3 or 4) I added a tsp of vinegar to acidify the solution.


Once it's established, I keep it in the fridge. Once per week I feed it 1:2:2 and let it warm up for a few hours to show some activity before returning it to the fridge.


A little whole wheat in the flour seems to make a big difference.


About 2 days before baking, I bring a portion out to warm up and become active. I feed it every 12-24 hours until it's rising well, usually about 36-48 hours at room temperature. I keep all the extra starter (the feedings lead to a lot of "waste") and make pancakes with it (basically pan-fry a mix of starter and sugar, recipes abound on the 'net.)


If my starter seems weak (poor rise), I keep it warm and feed aggressively for a few days (1:2:2 every 12 hours for 2-3 days); this has always managed to restore it's health.


More acid seems to equal more sour. I would think you could add acid (vinegar/pineapple) during the warming period, but I haven't tried this specifically (maybe tonight...)