The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Another one: Sourdough not rising

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

Another one: Sourdough not rising

I made a sourdough seed and turned it into a starter using The Bread Bakers Apprentice as a guide (the only difference being I used only King Aurthur AP flour due to limited availability). All went well with that regard. The process was started on 6/6/2009. Now, I have moved towards a much more dry starter, when I feed I take 4 oz of starter, 12 oz of King Arthur's AP flour and 8 oz of water mix together and the starter at least doubled in size after about 6-8 hours. Also, whenever I pull the starter out it is extremely glutenous and stringy, from what I understand this is good considering my hydration level of 75% (I think).


I tried to make a half sized recipe of no knead sourdough bread using a little more than 1/3 cup of my starter, but it didn't rise after 16 hours. I cooked it anyways to get an idea of the flavor, it was very nice, but too dense, of course. Since then I have been keeping the starter on the counter feeding twice a day with the routine outlined above. Do I just need to wait longer before my bread will start to rise?


Also, this weekend I will be out of town from Friday night until Monday night. I figure I will feed Friday morning and put it in the fridge (I will have to do the same the following week from Thursday-Sunday). This shouldn't be a problem since I will be refrigerating, right?

xaipete's picture
xaipete


 Also, whenever I pull the starter out it is extremely glutenous and stringy, from what I understand this is good considering my hydration level of 75% (I think).



You have a 67% hydration level on your starter. This is how I keep my starter too. I'm not sure I understand what you mean about it being glutenous and stringy. My starter looks very bubbly and thick when feeding it every 12 hours and leaving it out on the counter. That's also a lot of starter to be maintaining. I usually use 1 oz. starter, 2 oz. flour and 3 oz. water. It quadruples in under 12 hours on the counter.


--Pamela

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

I know what she's talking about.  That's what my starter is like when it's doing well--when you stir it up it's kind of like the consistency of fresh marshmallow cream (anyone remember fluffernut sandwiches?).  The gluten strands are well-formed and pull away from the sides of the jar as you stir. 


Not sure why it can't leaven, except that the starter may still be too young.  One one of the threads here someone spoke about the fact that the starter must build it's "strength"--the ability to leaven.  So I'd say to keep feeding it twice daily on the counter and try again in a week or two.  Or try testing it out on less demanding tasks like pancakes or English Muffins and see what happens. 

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

You got it! I guess I will keep feeding it. Hopefully it gets nice and strong.


Maybe during this feeding time I will go with a smaller portions to save flour. 1oz starter, 3 oz flour and 2 oz water sounds good.

flournwater's picture
flournwater

Unless you used only one cup of flour in your bread recipe, I think you used too little starter.  I typically use about 1/3 (by weight) starter to flour/water for my sourdough loaves.  Are you adding yeast to the mix, or just the starter?  That'll make a difference; assuredly. 

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

There was 1.5 cups of flour in the loaf. I wasn't planning on adding yeast, but did when I saw there was no rise after 6 hours. Next time I will try to use more starter adn see if that helps.


 


Thanks

dausone's picture
dausone

Second the advice of twice feeding daily on the counter. 25g starter, 25g flour, 25g water, giving a 100% hydration worked great to get my starter really active for about a week. Then you can move on to a more firm starter feeding once a day at 67%. Let it sit out on the counter.

When you have to leave your starter unattended, just feed it firm and put it in the fridge. It will be find and ready to bake with during the next 2 weeks. After that time you will need to refresh it with a couple feeding cycled and it will bounce right back.

:)

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

Why start wet and then move to a more dry one. I thought both would eventually develop in a fairly similar way?

davidg618's picture
davidg618

...favors yeast development, firm starter favors bacterial development. I think the logic is get a starter active first (yeast development), then work on developing it's flavor contribution (bacteria).


David G.


Ref. D. DiMuzio's "bread baking, An Artisan's Perspective"

dausone's picture
dausone

That was my understanding as well. Sorry for not clarifying. :)

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

I'd agree with David, of course, but I'd also mention that wild yeast growth and bacterial growth will occur either way, according to what I'm reading now.  They both reproduce faster in a wetter medium, but they will also (eventually) eat faster as well, so a wetter starter either has to be fed more often than a firm starter that contains the same amount of flour, or you have to use a smaller proportion of ripe starter in your feeding to keep the culture from maturing faster than the firm one.


My apologies to Debi Wink if I state this incorrectly, but the wetter environment encourages more lactic acid production from the bacteria, and lactic acid is comparatively mild.  Drier starters tend to encourage more acetic acid development in addition to the lactic acid, and acetic acid has a much sharper flavor profile.


So the type of acid the bacteria produce is what's really going to be tweaked by manipulating the hydration.  It isn't the population of bacteria that increases as things get drier -- its just that their metabolism changes and they produce more acetic acid that way.  In the past (and in my book, unfortunately), I'd have interpreted this change in acidity as a change in the bacterial population, but no more.


 You'll see the wild yeast reproduce faster under wetter conditions when there's oxygen present, and you'll see more rapid production of CO2 and alcohol when the oxygen runs out.  I think.  So I've been told.  Last time I checked, anyway.


--Dan DiMuzio

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

Hi,


Did you use commercial yeast to start your starter?  Hope not ...'cuz it grows too fast in the starter versus the lacto bacillus cultures and you won't get good flavor.  The reason that I ask is because you only just started that starter 11 days ago ...It would be somewhat miraculous, not impossible, but rather optimistic to expect it to be good at raising bread dough this soon.  Give it time.  Feed it.  Refrigerate it.  Let it ferment at slightly higher or lower temperatures.  Give it a little durum (semolina) flour with the white.  You will find that the starter may vary in performance during the first few months, sometimes working a little better or maybe not as well, but after that it'll be robust and vigorous.  My starters, and I've started a lot of them in all parts of the country, all double the dough volume in 1 to 2-1/2 hours, with 1-1/2 hours or so being fairly typical.  That's at 70 to 85 F, mostly just at room temperature of around 70 F or so.  Subsequent rises go faster.  I actually cool the dough down to slow things up and have a special little refrigerator in the garage for this purpose.  So anyway, hang in there.  Allow your starter the time to mature and you'll have no problems.  Sourdough baking has only generated rumors of not being reliable by those that quit too soon.  Sourdough is very reliable once your starter has matured.


Brian


 

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

No commercial yeast, just flour and water. I get good flavor, just no rise. Right now, when I use the starter I suppliment with some instant yeast to get some rise and sour flavor. With time I will get to stop using the suppliment.


Thanks for the tips! Looks like I just have a waiting game, I just figured since the yeast can double the starter size between feedings it shouldn't be too much work for it to get my bread doubled as well, I was wrong :(.


Right now mine doubles in size around 8 hours, but sometimes up to 12 when sitting out on the counter (75* F). I am still doing the feed twice a day thing, with time it should be ready to bake me some serious bread!

flournwater's picture
flournwater

I fed my starter this morning.  After resting it on the counter and achieving a doubling in volume, I placed it back in the refrigerator.  It's 100% hydration.


This afternoon I removed 122 grams of starter, mixed it with 122 grams of flour and a little salt, kneaded it for about five minutes (passed the window pane test) and stretched the ball of dough to create a smooth surface.  Rested it in an oiled bowl for three hours (doubled in size) and baked it 15 minutes (5 minutes at 500 deg., 10 minutes at 450 deg.  -  internal temp. 195 degrees).


That's only about 25% hydration for the dough but it had a nice crust, a delicate texture and went well with the london broil I made for dinner.



 

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

I've noticed in the many starters that I've started, that they often appear to be active when feeding them, then fail to raise dough effectively.  It's a normal phase that the starter goes through and means nothing more than that you are on the right track.  Give it time.  Add your instant yeast to the bread dough (I know you're not adding it to the starter during feedings ...yechhh ...pollution!) and when your starter can work without it, then work without it.  It won't be long.  Be sure to make pancakes, waffles, bisquits, etc. with your starter in the mean time... enjoy the flavor!


 


Brian


 

catpoz's picture
catpoz

I'm going to try that.  Great idea. *s* 

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

My starter is now quadrupling in size between feedings so it looks like things are going well!

jnatelli's picture
jnatelli

Barm gets nice and bubbly when I feed her, but she has trouble leavening a firm starter for a loaf.  I'm wondering if it's because perhaps I'm refridgerating her too soon after feedings (?).  Perhaps she just needs more time to mature like tananaBrian said.  Reinhart always makes it sound like you'll be ready to go a week after a barm is born.