The Fresh Loaf

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not enough starter for recipes

Danni-loves-2-cook's picture
Danni-loves-2-cook

not enough starter for recipes

Hi all you sourdough experts. 

I used the Debra Wink method to make my started, and am only feeding it 1/4 cup of each flour and water to 1/4 cup starter. Most of the recipes I've looked at call for much larger amounts of starter. Do I just feed my starter without discarding any to create enough starter for the recipe and then some? My starters are very active and usually double in about 3-4 hours. I have a whole wheat one and a white one. I want to try to get some dough started this afternoon.

Thanks for your help. 

Danni

Steve H's picture
Steve H

I am new to this business of baking, so others here may be able to provide more insight than me, but here are a few comments on your post that may be helpful:

1.  It sounds like you are using recipes that call for quite a bit of starter.  Most of the ones I use call for 1/8 cup.  A notable exception to that are some of the ones that I've used the starter more as a flavor addition than a yeast (e.g., pizza crust).

2.  Starter is exponential and can get as big as you want.  I feed at a 1:1 by weight ratio, typically feed so that my amount doubles roughly, and pour out what I don't need before feeding.

3.  I pour excess starter into another container that I keep in the fridge and use it for recipes like the pizza crust, that demand a lot of starter.  I'm banking on the fact that it doesn't matter so much if the starter is a bit older for these recipes-- in fact, if anything, it probably makes the starter even more sour since it hasn't been fed and is just festering there for a while eating up the remaining food and pooping out acetic/lactic acid or whatever its doing in there.

4. I keep my starter at about 1/4-1/2 cup which allows me to start a recipe pretty much whenever I feel like it.  My starter is pretty active, so I could probably get away with much less and just feed it 12-24 hours beforehand.  I feel ok with keeping a larger amount because I am not wasting the starter, since I save it for when I make pizza.

5. If you are going for this afternoon and you have an active starter, you could probably go for more than a double at the feeding stage and be ok.  Id watch out for overflow and make sure it completes the "eating" cycle before using it.  This will ensure a high yeast cell count.  There is also the option of adding less starter, which will add some time to your fermentation stage and result in a more-sour dough.

Man.  I talk too much.

Good Luck!

SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

to merely doubling. You can triple, or sometimes even quadruple your starter, ie 1:3:3. Just be sure to let it get good and ripe before using. I still discard at least a small bit when doing this.

Danni-loves-2-cook's picture
Danni-loves-2-cook

Thanks for the great info. Steve, I appreciate every word you had to say. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to make the bread and today is out, so will feed again, and try for tomorrow. 

noyeast's picture
noyeast

rather than discarding starter, which seems a waste of good ingredients, I bagan yesterday, adding the "discarded" starter to my regular yeast dough and ajusting the recipe accordingly.

andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

I never throw out starter at all. My routine is to keep about 50 grams starter in the fridge, in a covered container. When I want to bake, I scrape the starter into a bowl and add 50 grams water and 50 grams flour, giving me 150 grams starter which I leave overnight. This is the basis of the dough.

 

To the now "empty" container I add 20 grams water and stir this about thoroughly, then tip it into a clean bowl  and stir in 30 grams flour and mix it then cover it. This is left for about 5 hours then put into the fridge - this is now my 50 grams starter which I keep until the next time I bake. 

This system has now been going for several years and it is a vigourous, energetic starter which makes a great loaf. And has the benefit of not wasting any starter at all. (I actually keep two starters going; one is a back up in case of disaster!!!)

 

Andrew

noyeast's picture
noyeast

that sounds like a great system and something I would like to adopt also once I establish a routine for baking.

You mention that your starter is vigorous, whats the typical fermentation and proof time you acheive with your regular SD ? and is this providing you with the flavour profile you want ?

Thanks.

p.s. I hope I'm not hi-jacking this thread, and that Danni, the original poster will find my questions helpful...

Paul.

andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

Paul,

 

typically, I'd mix the 50 grams of starter with 50 flour and 50 g water in the evening and leave it covered overnight - by morning it is very bubbly and I add 405 grams water and  675 grams flour  plus salt to make up the dough. It is generally ready to bake by the late afternoon and has a full flavour - which I and my friends like! I tend to use a mix of wholemeal, kamut, spelt, rye and white bread flours - less rye than the others - and love the flavour.

 

Andrew