The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Effect of quantity of feed on sourdough starter ripening

venkitac's picture
venkitac

Effect of quantity of feed on sourdough starter ripening

Pamela recently posted a thread on various effects on sourdough here: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/12896/bread-seems-less-sour#comment-76494. I have a followup question to that:


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? What other possible effects does quantity of feed have on the starter? Thanks.

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I too would love to find a way to feed my starter in the afternoon and be able to use it the next morning. So often I feed it in the morning and for any number of reasons don't get around to the nighttime feeding.


--Pamela

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I have not personally fiddled with this, but from what I've read you can lengthen the time it takes for a starter to ripen by any of the following:



  1. Decrease the inoculation (the proportion of starter relative to flour and water).

  2. Decrease the hydration.

  3. Lower the temperature.

  4. Add a wee bit of salt.


It seems like you could combine these maneuvers according to your needs.


David

venkitac's picture
venkitac

Ok, that seems to match what the Cheeseboard Collecitve are saying. They are suggesting a 9X flour+water inoculation (not 2X or 3X), which presumably means that before the starter gets sour it's going to be a while, and there's probably enough active yeast in the culture after just 12 hours...

gcook17's picture
gcook17

I've been following Suas' instructions in ABAP for mixing my levain.  He says to leave it at room temp. for 12 hours.  This has been working really well for me.  I generally use it within 12-15 hrs of mixing.  The levain is 50% hydration.  It has bread flour with 5% med. rye.  And he calls for 80% stiff starter (50% hydration).


I generally mix this in the late afternoon or around dinnertime, leave it on the counter all night, and mix dough around 6:00 or 7:00 when I first get up.  In the summer I mix it a hour or so later than I do in the winter due to the different temperature.


-Greg

pattycakes's picture
pattycakes

I feed my vigorous starter once a day. I throw away all but a small skimming of starter in the bottom and on the sides of the jar, and I add equal parts water and flour (usually 65-70 g.). In this heat, it fills the jar with bubbles in 5 hours, and I can use it in the evening or the next morning.


Patricia

Soundman's picture
Soundman

... I like to point people to Bill Wraith's "magic table". It's a spreadsheet of temperatures and inoculations, with the bulk ferment, proof, and total process times associated therewith.


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/5381/sourdough-rise-time-table


If you have trouble parsing it, let me know. This table is a constant reference for me.


David

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Thanks, David. I pulled it up fine. Hopefully I can understand what it is saying.


What ever happened to Bill Wraith? I've read a lot of his posts and they are great.


--Pamela

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

We've had some very knowledgeable folks come and go, unfortunately. Bill Wraith, Dolfs, Zolablue, browndog, JMonkey, SourDoLady and more recently, janedo, holds99 (Howard), Mark (Back Home Bakery) and Norm! I know, I'll kick myself for forgetting others, there have been many.


Newcomers, there is a wealth of info in old posts. If you have the time it will be well worth your while.


Betty

venkitac's picture
venkitac

Thanks! I did exactly what you suggested today for a few hours and went thru many old posts. There's a huge amount of info out there in old posts, as you said!

photojess's picture
photojess

sourdough starters section printed from the handbook sitting on my desk as we speak.  He apparently adapted it from Sourdolady.  Excellent info.

Soundman's picture
Soundman

...extremely informative.


Hi Pamela,


Since the table is a bit dense, I will give you an example of what we can discern from it. And I point out that for Bill, doubling time and bulk fermentation time are not the same. It appears Bill bulk fermented slightly less time than it took his dough to fully double in volume. As he says, your starter may be more or less active, and his is 75% hydration for all data, using high extraction flour.


The temperatures run along the left column and are in F and C, for no salt, so this would pertain to starter refreshment times. The right side of the whole table, discreetly marked by an empty column, is for 2% salt. This is appropriate to doughs.


So using the no-salt side of the table, take 65 dF as an example (18.3 dC). A 10% inoculation (1 tenth of the total flour in your final levain is taken up by the flour in your starter) took Bill 9.83 hrs to double, 8.38 hrs as his bulk fermentation, and 4.13 hrs to proof, total process taking 12.5 hours.


At 75 dF (23.9 dC) and at 15% inoculation everything goes much faster: 4.32 hrs to double, 3.5 hrs for bulk fermentation, 2.13 hrs proof, 5.63 hrs total.


This demonstrates (to me, at least) how influential temperature and inoculation are on the duration of each step in the sourdough process.


Edit: I probably should have used the 2% salt side, to speak of bulk fermentation and proofing, but I think he's saying that the concepts are analogous, and apply whether you're refreshing starter or fermenting dough.


HTH!


David

xaipete's picture
xaipete

OK, David. That makes sense to me. Yes, I've really noticed how influential temperature is in the SD process. When I keep my starter at 70º things go a lot slower than when I just let it sit at room temperature.


I'll do a little experimentation with Bill's table. Thanks, again, for your help.


--Pamela