The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Starter isn't tripling any more; is this a problem?

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hc's picture
hc

Starter isn't tripling any more; is this a problem?

I have a starter born this past May that, all summer long, reliably tripled at its peak. Around mid-August - BEFORE the weather got appreciably cooler - it started to peak at lower and lower levels, until now I'm lucky if I can get it to double before collapsing. It seems to be raising my bread just about as well as it did in the summer, but I'm worried about the downward trend. My living quarters are supposedly temperature-controlled at about 72 degrees F, though I'm sure it's not as stable as my thermostat claims it is.


Any ideas why this could be happening and if, or when, I should worry about it?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And... Did you change your routine in August?  Many times just mixing a little rye flour in with the AP will help out a lot when a starter is sluggish.


Mini

hc's picture
hc

I feed it every night at about 9 pm - 2 grams old starter, 30 grams water, 40 grams unbleached all-purpose flour. This usually peaks and starts to collapse by 4 pm the next day, at which point I stir it down and let it rise again (which it usually does, slightly) until 9 pm.


Now that I think about it, I may have stored my current batch of feeder flour in the freezer before taking it out to use. Would that make a difference?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

2 g only!  What is that? a dirty spoon?


To 2g starter you added 40g flour!  Why don't you try upping the 2g to 10g and see what happens.   2g is the bare minimum but with cooler temps, the starter will start to slow down on it's own.   Just as it speeds up with Summer coming.  You could add more flour 10g or 20g more to last the 24 hours or longer.


By the frozen flour, do you mean you feed it frozen cold flour each time?  Stored frozen flour warmed up to room temp before use would have little effect.


Mini

hc's picture
hc

I do 2-30-40 to maintain a once-a-day feeding regimen ... my schedule won't let me reliably feed more often, and because I bake every other day, on average, I don't want to store the starter in the fridge.


It's stored frozen flour warmed up to room temperature before use. I just threw a 5-lb bag in the freezer a few months ago, then took it out recently and have been using it while keeping it at room temperature.

maurdel's picture
maurdel

New bag of flour could mean many changes. Even if you are using the same brand, the flour company is always adjusting and mixing. Their goal is to keep a consistency in the flour from bag to bag, but as I understand it, it is not the easiest thing to achieve.


I'd say try another bag of flour.

hc's picture
hc

maurdel was right. It WAS the bag of flour. New bag and it's tripling just like it did before. Weird! Anyway, thanks for the tips!