The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Question

Tinapoy's picture

Sourdough Question

Reading Debra's method of starting a sourdough starter, she mentioned that on some cases using flour and water to start your starter may grow bad bacterias during the second day of the starter. Now I want to ask if I have a starter and I fed it with the ratio of 1:2:2 (s:w:f), How will I know if on the second day its actually the good bacterias are making the starter rise rather than the bad ones?


I maintain a 120g starter and I just used 90g of it. I fed the remaining 30g with 60g:60g (w:f) will it be ready for baking after 24 hrs?

Yumarama's picture

The "false rise" bacteria are only good for one round and once they're done their expanding thing, the starter deflates and remains flat for several days. It may also stink like crazy.

You keep doing the normal feeds as stated and you may see bubbles in the starter in a few more days. That will likely be the 'real' starter starting up. So give it time and see what happens in the next several days. Don't expect FAST results, it will get there when it gets there on it's own schedule. "Patience" is probably the most important ingredient that goes in sourdough starters. And the one most usually missing.

Time for this will depend on several factors, some within and some not in your control.  The number of beasties in the flour soup is not immediately in your control, it's what came with your flour. If you used a stnadard, bleached All Purpose there are a LOT less yeasties available and it will take longer to get them duplicating. If you used whole grain and less processed flour, rye in particular, you're introducing much more of the beasties you want to cultivate. AP can still work but will just take longer.

Something that IS usually in your control is the temperature. If you keep your starter at 70 -75ºF (20-24ºC) this will help give you a faster generation than below 70º. Try to find a cozy, steadily warm spot for your new born starter to avoid a very slow cultivation.

If your starter is just 2 days old, it's not likely ready to make bread. Keep feeding for a few more days and if it's doubling or better within 3-5 hours each time, then you've got the yeasties you want. But they could easily do with a week, possibly two or three, of regular twice-a-day feeding to get the culture stronger andwell established and to give it time to start developing some character. 

Your starter size and feed ratio, however, are fine.

Lastly, what do you mean by "I just used 90 g"? If you're not past that first and possibly "bacteria" rise, that's hopefully not gone into bread or pancakes. It may be pretty nasty culture. 


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