Strengthening My Starters
I have recently moved to feeding my starters a lot more flour and water, and I think its paying off. I originally started off with a 2:1:1 feeding schedule, but I now have Blarf at 1:4:6 twice a day (150% hydration, grows 11X each feeding) and Dulce at 1:4:2 once a day(50% hydration, grows 7X).
I had seen people use feeding schedules similar to this, but had never really known why or how they could do it. I think the key is that after a few feedings, the starter gets used to it, and can process that much flour much quicker. This leads to a much more active starter that is ready for the large amounts of fresh flour used in the dough mixing.
For Sourdough (using Dulce), having a starter that is able to process so much flour means I can use an extremely large percentage of fresh flour in the formula. This lets me extend out the fermentation time even further, and develop tons of flavor. For Baguettes, it seems like my starter becomes the base of the fermentation, and I can then add just a bit of extra flour (1 part starter, 2 parts flour/water/salt), ferment for a few hours, and still have plenty of residual sugars for getting a nice golden crust.
Does anyone have any thoughts on this? It seems like there must be an upper bound to how much you can feed your starter, but I definitely have not reached it. I'm still a bit unsure about how or why certain feeding schedules benefit your breads in different ways.
Danny - Sour Flour