The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rye Bread Starter - Help!

  • Pin It
kathunter's picture
kathunter

Rye Bread Starter - Help!

Hello,


I'm trying to make my second rye starter. The first one is a big lump in the refrigerator waiting to see the bottom of the trash can.  With the second start I have going, I should be ready to start Phase 4 according to my recipe but the starter does not look like what the description in the recipe tells me it should look like.  Through the glass bowl I can see it is bubbling on the bottom but it has not doubled in size.  Should I go on to Phase 4 or wait another day?


I've been using all rye flour and pineapple juice.  My recipe is from Peter Reinhart"s ARTISAN BREADS EVERY DAY.


Thanks for your suggestions,


Kathleen

JeremyCherfas's picture
JeremyCherfas

What, exactly, is wrong with the first attempt that you are about to trash it? I would be tempted to keep feeding it regularly until you are absolutely certain that it is completely and utterly dead.


Jeremy

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

"in the refrigerator"   Why is the first one in there? 


Starters get started better in a warmer place.   Take it out (dead or alive) reduce it to just a tablespoon, give it 3 to 5 times more water and add rye flour to make a paste.   Sprinkle the top lightly with rye flour so you can see cracks form as it ferments.  Cover and sit out at about 75°F or 24°c and let it sour.  Better to have two chances going than just one.  They can race.


Bubbles is a good sign, keep going.  How's the smell?

kathunter's picture
kathunter

Thanks for your reply.  I put the first one in the refrigerator because that's what the recipe said to do at the "Mother Starter" stage.  It also said I could keep it in there for 5 days.  Today is the 5th day.  It's very thick and sticky and has a definite smell that I can't quite identify. 


The second one, this morning I stirred it as instructed and since it wasn't getting much larger, I put the bowl, covered with plastic wrap into the oven.  The oven was not on, but just free of cold drafts.  I've kept my house warmer, too, during the process of getting the second starter to do it's thing. 


I'll go ahead and try what you suggetsted with the first starter.  Should I also try to use it to make a loaf, too?


Cheers,


Kathleen

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Then why not?  Use the new fed starter before it deflates.  Save a spoonful to continue the starter and try using some of it in a simple recipe like 1-2-3 using some wheat flour.  (1-2-3  or S-W-F)  If the starter is 50g, then use 100g water and about 150g wheat bread flour.  Work it to make a medium dough and let rest in a covered oiled measuring cup.  After about an hour, sprinkle up to 1/4 tsp salt on it and work it in. Time it and fold when it needs more structure as it rises.  Always just gently fold and don't bang or knead out the bubbles.  Poke any very large ones and shape a small loaf for the oven.  This will take anywhere from 4 to 16 hours and will be to test it.  So just go with the flow and take notes.


Mini

will slick's picture
will slick

This is day three going on four. I have bubbles, no growth yet. Looks good to me. I named him Slow Moe. Tonight I will be discarding all but a 1/4cup and switching to water & white flour. Should I clean the container or just put the 1/4 cup back in? My guess is for now just put it back in. Then once its up and going I plan on having a sterile container ready to switch out on feeding day. Thanks for any advice. Oh I just though of another question! Would it be wise to use the discard tonight in a white bread for flavor? As long as it will not make me sick i would like to give it a try.


flournwater's picture
flournwater

I'm curious about the container you're using.  I learned that it's best to maintain starter in a container with a lose fitting lid so that the CO2 pressure doesn't build up and work against the physical growth of the starter.  Your container appears to be one that seals air tight.  The method I learned may be an old wives tale, I really don't know, but it makes sense to me and I thought that might be a contributing factor to your issue.

will slick's picture
will slick

The starter in the photo is not the original posters starter. I thought I would ask my question here instead of starting a new thread. I took the rubber seal out of the top and still i do not latch it tight. I just hook the catch but i do not pull it down leaving a nice space for air.

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Hi, Will


If you are at the Day 3 - Day 4 point, the bubbles you are seeing may still be more from bacterial action than from yeast action.  That assumes that you are beginning a brand new starter, not transitioning to a rye starter from another established starter.  


From the photograph, it appears that there actually had been some inflation of the starter and that it has begun to subside in the middle.  If so, it is ready for another feeding.  You should be alright to do the discard and then feed again using the same container.


You can try the discard in a bread, but I suspect that you may have to add yeast to get a good rise.  Your starter probably needs a few more days of regular feedings for the yeast population to develop and provide the leavening that you want for bread.


Switching to bread flour will add gluten to the mix, which will make it easier to observe growth in the starter.  An all-rye starter will expand, but not as dramatically as a starter containing wheat flour.  And thicker starters tend to expand more than thinner starters, since there is more gluten network to trap the bubbles before they escape.


Hope that helps.


Paul

will slick's picture
will slick

Would it be better to wash the container tonight or better to leave what ever yeasty are hanging around. It is a new starter made with pineapple juice and rye flour. It seems to be still expanding in the middle after that photo. I was not hoping to use it as the leavening agent for tonight's bread just some extra flavor. But if there could be other Bactria maybe ill wait. Just an hour and a half and now its really frothy I am getting excited. Like when my kids where born! LOL OK not that excited.


Slow Moe Looking good!


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

or was it the warmth from your hands?  Give it a gentle stir....  What does it smell like?


It looks thinner now...

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Rye starters don't rise as high as wheat starters do.  They bubble and pop.  Thick rye starters swell and crack on the surface.  If Will's starter were thicker, it might rise a little more but it makes no difference, it is active but needs another feeding!  Like Paul, I see that it was a little higher before the picture was taken.  I would just scoop out lots of starter and leave some sticking to the sides, add water and flour and watch the second round. 


I also like to add walnuts to early rye doughs, seems to balance out the flavors better in the bread until the starter gets older.  Will, I've got my nose in my rye starter refreshed this morning, it's now ripe and it looks a little bit younger than yours in that it hasn't peaked yet.  It smells nutty with a light sour aroma.  Maybe it rose about 1/3 higher than original.  It gets reduced and then will be well fed (overnight) before I use it in bread.


Remember rye has no gluten to trap the gasses and then rise up with the gas.  This "no growth" is no big deal if you're aware of it.  Stir the new starters often and notice how they get more fluid and foamy, bubbly and flatten out with time as fermentation builds, peaks, and breaks down the mixture.  They peak and sink...only not as dramatic as wheat starters. 


Mini


 

will slick's picture
will slick

I have been stiring in 2TBS of rye and t2TBS of juice for the last three days. Right in the jar like sowerdough ladys instuctions. Today I will keep a 1/4 cup and add 1/4 cup spring water and 1/4 cup APF. He smells nice not very piunapplely but sweet. Mini no i only stried it when I added the feedings

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

You set me up!  Stick to SourdoLady's instructions but you're coming along great!  Discard excess and don't keep it for another recipe.  Too early yet.  But you can stir a couple of times a day, it helps the starter. 


Mini

will slick's picture
will slick

But its to late I just fed the bad boy and used the discard in my maltese bread that is now in autolite. Im sure the extra feeding wont hurt the little guy. As far as the bread who knows. LOL. Live and learn.