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baking with a new starter--help!

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LeahM's picture
LeahM

baking with a new starter--help!

Hello all,


I am 5 days into making my first sourdough starter (using the directions from this post: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10251/starting-starter-sourdough-101-tutorial) and all seems to be going well (fingers crossed).


However, I haven't been able to figure out exactly what the process is for using the starter in a bread dough recipe. I plan on refrigerating it and baking weekly.


So, I remove the starter from the fridge, feed it, and wait a few hours. Can I remove a part to bake at that point, or should it go back in the fridge for a few days?  Does the bit I remove have to be fed again or prepared in any way before using it in a dough? (I was thinking about starting with the Norwich sourdough from the Wild Yeast blog)


Thanks so much for the help!


Leah

Nomadcruiser53's picture
Nomadcruiser53

What you have created is a seed starter. Now you need to make a Barm or Mother starter to make your SD from. I make my barm from 1 part starter, 3 parts water and 4 parts flour. I keep my barm in the fridge and feed it every 4 or 5 days. Make as much barm as you need to cover the amount needed in your SD loaves you want to bake, leaving enough left over to seed the next batch of barm. Other folks make higher or lower hydration barms, so whatever works for you. I'm new at this too, but this works for me. Dave

photojess's picture
photojess

in my limited experience.  It took me 7 days before I could say that what I was growing became starter, and I waited a full two weeks before I tried baking with it.  It's good that you are looking ahead, as to how and what you need to do with it, but I wouldn't count on it raising any dough yet.  It still needs to build up strengh as a levener (sp?).

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

First, you will need to strengthen your starter by keeping it out on the counter and feeding it 2-3 times daily until it's vigorous (doubles in a few hours after feeding) and has good flavor (taste it!). This may take a few weeks.

Once established, I discard and feed my starter, then immediately refrigerate. When I want to bake, I set it on the counter until it warms up, bubbles and doubles. I take out what I need for baking (I maintain enough starter to be able to do this) and feed the rest. The newly fed starter goes into the fridge and the discard goes into what I'm baking. Simple!

photojess's picture
photojess

this is where I'm confused. I have mine in the fridge now, after having been started for two weeks, and will probably feed Fri night.  But if I were to take it out Sat morning, feed it, and then wait 6-8 hours to see it double, then I've lost most of my sat for baking, which is why I was going to feed it Fri night, but then by Sat am, it would need feeding again.....so that is my dilema.  I was feeding at 7 and 7 for my twice daily feedings, but it's been in the fridge since sat.

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Feed it Friday night, use what you need on Saturday morning for baking, and fed the remainder. Throw in a little rye flour when you fed it. That will really get it moving.


--Pamela

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

If you don't want to discard on Friday night, you still have options.  Depending on the temperature in your kitchen, you could set the starter out on the counter before you go to bed Friday night for Saturday a.m. baking. 


That works well for me--I go to bed pretty late, though.  But if it's not too warm in the kitchen, my starter can be ripe and ready as long as 12 hours after removing from the fridge.  So I could take it out as early as 9 p.m. and still have it ready to go for a bake by 9 a.m. the next morning. 


Sometimes I sleep a little late or get absorbed in reading the newspaper and don't get to the baking as early as I should, but I've never had a problem. I'm learning that a good starter is pretty resilient. 


Over time you will learn your starter's rhythm's and develop workable routines.  Hang in there!

LeahM's picture
LeahM

thanks for the advice!


My starter seems pretty active--it is doubling in 4-5 hours and smells (and tastes) pretty good.


I fed it last night, then this morning I scooped out most of it to try a test loaf, and fed the remainder again. I think I am going to leave it out of the fridge and feed it daily for a while longer, since it sounds like that will help strengthen it, but I really wanted to try baking sooner.


I'm letting the dough rise now, which it's doing slowly, but at least it's going. I'll let you know how it turns out.

LeahM's picture
LeahM

the loaves were pretty small (i probably should have just made one larger one) but overall an encouraging, if imperfect, first attempt. They tasted good, had a nice chewy interior, with better flavor than most of the regular yeasted breads I've made. I am hoping that as the starter develops, they will perhaps rise a bit more. I also forgot to fold partway through the rise--I wonder if that is why the crumb has bigger holes on top than on the bottom?


flournwater's picture
flournwater

Frankly, Leah, I can't see much to complain about based on the image you posted.  The crust appears to be evenly browned, crumb structure looks very good to my eye.  Pat yourself on the back for doing a good job with this one.

Nomadcruiser53's picture
Nomadcruiser53

Good job. I think you did yourself proud. Dave

xaipete's picture
xaipete

It looks great, Leah--much better than the first SD loaf I turned out. Sometimes my crumb is denser at the bottom of the loaf when it is slightly under-proofed. You might trying letting it go a little more next time. Other ideas would be trying to get more oven spring via scoring and or using a cloche.


--Pamela