The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Problem(s)!

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diverpro94's picture

Sourdough Problem(s)!

So I made a sourdough starter a week ago. It looked done, because it was sour smelling, had bubbles, and had a hooche. I made a spounge with it by adding 1c water and 1c flour (I used ap). I let it sit for about 12 hours, but it would not make the dough rise, I let all of the rising and proofs sit for like 3 or 4 hours and NOTHING! I kept on with the recipe and it turned out as a extremely small loaf with an extremely small crumb almost like it was just cooked dough, but there were a FEW larger crumbs. What was wrong? Was it just that I didn't allow enough time for rises or was it my starter? I'm confused!!! How long does it normally take to rise sourdough? This was my first atempt ever at sourdoug, so my knowledge of sourdough is as small as the sourdough loaf I made.... :o(

PMcCool's picture

and start from the beginning.  Your starter is a week old, which is on the young side to start baking with, but not impossibly so.  It also has hooch, which usually indicates that most of the food has been consumed by the yeast and bacteria.

You mention that the sponge (1 cup each of flour and water, and an unstated quantity of starter) did not show signs of activity.  That could be for two reasons.  One is if your starter was in a weakened state from inadequate prior feeding and just wasn't active.  The other could be that the sponge is so liquid that the bubbles that formed weren't trapped in the batter.  Since you mention that it didn't leaven your bread, I'm guessing the former is more likely.  By the way, how warm or cool is it in your kitchen?  Even a starter that is active in warm temperatures will be sluggish in cooler temperatures.

Here's a suggestion: take a couple of tablespoons of your starter, add another couple of tablespoons of water and a quarter cup or so of flour; enough to make a soft dough.  Let that sit in a warm place until it has doubled in volume (it helps if you let it ferment in a container with straight sides so that you can mark the original volume and the point at which it will be doubled).  Repeat this process several times (discarding the starter that is left after taking the 2 tablespoons for the next feeding) until your starter is revved up and can consistently double or triple in volume in a few hours time.  Then you can add enough flour and water to satisfy your bread's requirement for starter (don't forget to save some to feed and store for future use), let that sit until it doubles, and then add the ingredients for the final dough.

There is a lot of good advice on this site about the care and feeding of a starter.  Do use the search utility, since that will lead you to a wealth of information.