The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My starter actually worked.

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Nomadcruiser53's picture
Nomadcruiser53

My starter actually worked.

Well my 1st attempt at a wild yeast starter "bob" actually worked. I'm so impressed. He was a little slow, but the other night lot's of bubbles, froth and a great smell. I boosted him up to 2 cups total and that doubled in size with nice bubbles over night. I took a cup from that and made the KA sourdough waffles today in my new Belgian waffle maker. My wife was super impressed with taste and texture. Looks like a great start(er) for me and I owe it all to this site and sourdoughlady. Thanks. My next set of days off I'll try a couple loaves of SD bread. Thanks again. Dave

SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

It's a GREAT feeling when your sourdough starter is "born." I personally felt very, very proud :) Congrats!

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

But being new to the world it is known as "Little Baby Bobby". It is a great feeling to create life from some plain old flour and water (and just a little pineapple juice).

Congrats!

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Congratulations! Your creative powers are just beginning!


David

ladychef41's picture
ladychef41

Without thinking this morning, I added the flour and water to my 6 day old starters without removing half of the starter!!!! Did I ruin it? Any help will be appreciated....

SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

Did you double the weight still, or did you give it the amount that you would have given it had you discarded half? Either way, you should be fine. If you didn't, go ahead and give it another hit.


 


The real purpose of discarding half before feeding is so that you don't keep having exponentially super-large amounts of starter, since you're supposed to double the weight with each feeding.


If you start out with 1oz of starter, and feed it 1oz of water and 1 oz flour you then have 3 oz. The next time you'd feed it, if you didn't discard it you'd need to feed it 3 oz of flour and 3 oz of water and end up with 9oz. The third feeding you'd be giving it 9oz of flour and 9 ounces of water. You'd also have wound up with over 1 1/2 pounds of starter.


If you start out with 1oz of starter, discard half - then you only have to give it 1/2 oz flour and 1/2 oz water, giving it a total weight of 2 oz. Then of course you discard half, and give it 1oz flour and 1oz water, giving you a total weight of 3oz of starter. The next time you discard half and give it 1 1/2oz flour and 1 1/2oz water, giving you a total weight of a mere 4.5 oz of starter to deal with.


If you're planning on baking a HUGE amount, then obviously the first example will work A-OK, and is in fact what bakeries probably end up doing. The discarding half is more a thing for home bakers as they're not likely to have a use for that much starter.


I feed my starter and then put it in the fridge, taking it out about once a week or so to discard half, feed it, and put it back. I maintain only about 6oz of starter. When I'm going to bake, I'll discard a small portion, feed the remainder and then take part of that and put it in the fridge for safe keeping and part on the counter. The portion remaining on the counter will be just enough for me to give 2-3 feedings prior to baking so that I have the right amount of starter.

Jw's picture
Jw

congrats, that is really a nice step in baking. Now keep it alive! I might be difficult to use instant yeast now.. Cheers, Jw.

ladychef41's picture
ladychef41

It's been ages since I made a starter; and I have never made this one. I am on day 4 of it today, and I'm just wondering if you can give me an "approximate" time frame of how long it took "Little Baby Bobby" to be born? I'm willing to be patient with it, but an approximate time frame does wonders for my ability to BE patient!!!!


 


Thanks and congratulations on your new baby boy!!!!


 


Wendy

Nomadcruiser53's picture
Nomadcruiser53

Days 1,2,3 I used 2T each of WW flour and pineapple juice. On day 4 I increased to 1/4 each of starter, water and flour. I used an all purpose Robinhood white. I saw a few bubbles on days 4,5,6 and 7 with hooch every morning. Day 8 was my turning point to a nice frothy "bob" and day 9 I did the 1,3,4 mix to get enough to have a cup for the waffles and a starter for a friend. My house is cool and my starter sits at about 67 degrees F most of the time. Good luck with your starter. Dave

ladychef41's picture
ladychef41

Thanks for the timeline Dave, that helps alot! I hope mine turns out as well as your did! I'm anxious to try it. Like I said, it's been years since I've made a starter!!!


 


Wendy

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Hi Wendy,


The best description of a "timeline" on sourdough starting comes from Debra Wink, who has published her Pineapple Solution, Parts I and II, here on TFL. I have taken the timeline part out of Part II, and suggest that anyone starting the sourdough building process read it.


David


"The First Phase:
For the first day or so, nothing really happens that is detectable to the human senses. It doesn't taste any tangier or develop bubbles. It remains looking much the same as when it was mixed, except a little lighter in color if an acid was used, and a little darker if not. While nothing appears to be happening, the first wave of bacteria (determined by pH and the microflora in the flour) are waking up, sensing their new environment and preparing to grow. This phase usually lasts about one day, sometimes two.


The Second Phase:
The starter will begin producing its own acid and develop a tangy taste (although it might be difficult to distinguish from pineapple juice). Lactic acid bacteria are actively growing at this point. When using only water, this phase represents two waves of microbes---first Leuconostoc and associates, followed by homofermentative lactobacilli and possibly other lactic acid bacteria. By controlling the pH, you can by-pass the leuconostocs and other "highly undesirable organisms that stink terribly," and skip to the second wave. It will get bubbly and expand only if the pH is not low enough to prevent growth of gassy bacteria, otherwise there won't be much else to see. There probably won't be much gluten degradation, and it may smell a little different, but it shouldn't smell particularly foul unless started with plain water. This phase can last one to three days or more. If it is going to get hung up anywhere, this is the place it usually happens, especially if it is put on a white flour diet too soon. If after three days in this phase, it still doesn't become more sour and show signs of progress, the best thing to do is switch back to whole grain flour for one or more feedings. Whole grain flour has a much higher microbial count and will re-seed the culture and get it moving again.


The Third Phase:
The starter will become very tart---an indication of more acid production by more acid-tolerant bacteria. The gluten may disappear and tiny bubbles become more noticeable. These are signs that heterofermentative lactobacilli have picked up the baton. Once a starter becomes really sour, it usually transitions right into phase four. Note that lactic acid doesn't have much, if any aroma, and so smell is not a very reliable way to judge the level of sourness.


The Fourth Phase:
Yeast start to grow and populate the starter relatively quickly at this point. It will expand with gas bubbles all over and begin to take on the yeasty smell of bread or beer.


This pattern suggests that wild yeasts are activated by low pH. Or perhaps the activator is something else produced by lactobacilli, but it happens predictably at this point for me, as long as the whole grain flour has not been diluted out. There may be some variation among wild yeasts as to the exact pH or activating substance. I have been unable to find the answer in scientific literature, and my contact at Lallemand did not know..."

ladychef41's picture
ladychef41

Very informative David, thank you!!! After reading, I think my "newbie" is on the right track! Will keep you posted!


 


Wendy

Nomadcruiser53's picture
Nomadcruiser53

My friend named the starter I gave him "John Dough"

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

I was about to give up until I realized how cold it was in my house. Then I satrted incubating him in the microwave with a cup of boiled water to wrm it up and he came alive.

Now he is not so temperature sensitive. He lives in the fridge and comes out to play on weekends. He doesn't seem to mind our useasonably cool weather and doubles nicely then holds his peak.

ladychef41's picture
ladychef41

Haha! All these clever people with clever names; I love it! I live in So California, so temperature is not a problem. I could not bear to throw out the balance of the starter after removing the 2 oz., so I now have 2 of them going! I found a couple of old "crock" type bowls to house the "kids". I secured plastic wrap over the tops with rubber bands so I can now keep an eye on them! I am happy to report that at this mornings "feeding", they were bubbling nicely! Thanks again for the info!


 


Wendy

ladychef41's picture
ladychef41

Thanks to all for the info about my "oopppssss!!" It has put my mind to rest! I will feed my little newbie a second time today so it has enough to "munch" on!!! Thanks again. This is why I LOVE this site!!!!


 


WEndy