The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

is my starter considered weak? attempted JH sourdough

koloatree's picture

is my starter considered weak? attempted JH sourdough


i tried to recreate the sourdough breads i baked at my trip to KA and in doing so, i learned that my proofing times were way off. i created the levain using my culture and had it rest for 12 hrs @ 70 degrees. after i added the levain to the dough, i stored it at 70 degrees for 24hrs. no action took place. i then upped the temperature box to 86 degrees and waited many hours before the dough to rise 2x its size. in the book, i read that the first rise is around 3 hours. since the sourdough took many times that, is that an indicator that my starter is weak?


during class, i learned that the starter they use is kept at room temperature all day and recieves daily feedings. my starter is stored in the refridgerator where it is sub 30 degrees i think. i also feed the starter about once a week.


speaking of which, during long starter storage, alcohol builds up at the top layer. does this have any indication that a feeding should take place?




Chausiubao's picture

When hooch starts to collect at the top of the starter, you definitely need to feed it.

I feed my starter daily just to keep it healthy, and it rises for me in about 4 hours. I could leave it out until the next feeding, but i'm pretty paranoid of it exhausting itself so I usually stick it in the refrigerator after I see that it has shown signs of growth. If its super healthy, then I'll let it rise halfway, then let it finish in the fridge, which ensures it won't exhaust itself. 

My suggestion is this; if you're worried about your starter being sick, put it on daily feedings until it bounces back, then you can figure out what to do in terms of regular starter maintenance.