The Fresh Loaf

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Bread seems less sour

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bassopotamus's picture
bassopotamus

Bread seems less sour

I've got a 67% hydradation starter that has been going about 7 months now, and lately, it seems less sour than it used to. Some background:


 


Mother lives in the fridge full time and gets fed once or twice a week as needed.


She gets 3 parts flour to 2 parts filtered water to 1 part starter at feeding time.


I feed half all trumps high gluten and half king arthur whole wheat.


I bake about 16 loaves a week.


 


About 3 weeks back, I dropped the mother I was using and cracked shattered the plastic container. For the sake of safety, I through out my big container. I keep 4 oz of emergency back up, which was about 1 month old at the time. I built up the mother from that (I keep about 24 oz on hand). The leavening power is still there, the starter smells like it did. I'm doing a two stage build (same recipie as always). 4 oz mother gets built to 30 oz of in between starter, then the next day the 30 oz gets is used to make about 2.8 kg of dough. At both stages, the rise is really good for a wild yeast starter. Final bread has a nice texture, nice crust, but isnt' real sour.


 


So what should I do to get some of the sour flavor back? My recipe doesn't use a ton of mother, but it is the same one I always used. Do I need to change my feeding schedule for a while? Change what I'm feeding for a while (started with rye, could feed a few times with rye) . Other suggestions are welcome.


 


 


 


 

xaipete's picture
xaipete

It's funny but I was just talking to Dan DiMuzio about some comments made about starters in a different thread. I was telling him how I needed a cheat sheet so I could remember all of the various factors that go into fine tuning a starter. I've read a number of book pages and articles about starters and worked through the basics more than a few times now, but then a couple of weeks go by and I find myself looking everything up again. So, I sent him and little chart I made; he edited it and then sent it back to me. Perhaps it will be of some use to you too.



Tendencies 

Liquid Starter

Stiff Starter

 

 

 

Yeast Activity

Faster

Slower (but not nec. Slow!)

Bacterial Activity

Greater

Lesser

Effect upon speed of Fermentation (same as yst act.)

Faster

Slower (but not nec. Slow!)

 Bacterial Activity favored

Homofermentative (Lactic acid)

Heterofermentative (Acetic and Lactic acids)

Degree of Sourness

Somewhat less

Somewhat more

Storage at 43°F

More sour

More sour

Storage at 85º

Less sour

Less sour

Fed 1x per day

More sour

More sour

Fed 4 – 6x per day

Less sour (4X) to no sour (6X)

Less sour (4X) to no sour (6X)

--Pamela

venkitac's picture
venkitac

Pamela, pure awesome! I was looking for exactly this info for many days now. (I have a stiff starter, I feed it to 3X the weight, still it turns sour in 8 hours, I'm increasing the feeding frequency now to reduce sourness). Thanks!


A question:


Would anyone happen to know the effect of the quantity of the feed on the starter? Reason I ask is this: usually, all starter maintenance guidelines tell you to feed every 6-12 hours, to double or triple the starter. Yesterday, I was reading the Cheeseboard collective works, and they tell you to feed the starter to 9X volume! But OTOH, they say that you can use that starter in a very long window of time, between 12-24 hours after the feed. Might it be the case that if you feed a starter more, the window in which the starter is ripe is a lot bigger and thus we get more freedom of when to use?

xaipete's picture
xaipete

That's a funny question, Venkitac, because I was just wondering the same thing. Why don't you ask it as a separate question (forum post). Perhaps Dan DiMuzio will offer his opinion.


--Pamela

deblacksmith's picture
deblacksmith


Fantastic Chart


 Thanks for posting this.  It really helps confirm what I have been starting to understand.  Thanks too to Dan DiMuzio !!   I am just finishing reading his book.  It is a great textbook especially for those of us wanting a better technical understanding of bread.


Dave


tuskansager's picture
tuskansager

Wow, great table!!!  I just adjust until I think it's about right....needless to say I get it wrong more often than not. 

bassopotamus's picture
bassopotamus

THat's a great table! But it gives me some troubles, since I am doing the less frequent feeding, cold storage, stiff starter, all factors which should go to more sour. I'll have to stew on it a while.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

bassopotumus,


I suggest you give Mother a shawl and feed her with the family. You are influencing the make up of your culture by maintaining it in the refrigerator. Try keeping it on the counter and feeding it like a pet, twice a day for a while. You can stick to your ratios but you could use smaller quantities. Start with 50g of mother and use your ratio. You will use a cup or so at each feeding. In a few days your culture will be back in balance and Mother can go back in the fridge for a while if you wish.


Eric

bassopotamus's picture
bassopotamus

Thanks Eric, I think that may be worth a try. I'll stick some in as insurance like I always do, but try a chunk at room temp for a couple days. Are we talking full feedings twice a day at room temp (1:3:2)?

ehanner's picture
ehanner

You could do regular feedings. I know some people have said they think you need to use large quantity's but I have always used 50g starter:100g water: 125g flour. I think yours is slightly different. Are you using 1;3;2 and the 3 is water? That's how I refer to the ratio since that's the order you use the ingredients in. So that is a thin batter starter. You might feed using 1:1:1 for a while, all AP flour or what ever white flour you are using. By the way these are all weights and not volumes.The ratio of food is better at 1:1:1 and it won't exhaust it's self so quickly.


I think you will start to see a change after 3 or 4 days. You can expect to see a tripling in volume so plan for that after it perks up. I use a 3 Cup glad food container (round) and cut a small slice in the top to let the gas escape.


Eric

bassopotamus's picture
bassopotamus

I may have the notation order out of whack. I'm feeding 1 part starter, 3 flour, 2 water, for a relatively stiff starter.


 


I've been feeding it 2x a day on the counter with half organic rye, and it smells more sour than it did. I think it just needed a little bit of a change up the get things back in balance.

Marni's picture
Marni

Great chart Pam, thanks for sharing.  I too find that I need to go back and look things up again and again.  I think I'll print this!


Marni