The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

newbie needs Layman

Clasac's picture

newbie needs Layman



I beleive my starter, of AP Flour and Filtered water is doing what it is supposed to do. Now what am I supposed to do with it, and how do I do it, and when? Okay I love baking and I need help understanding the different starters and how you use them, in recipes, when a recipe is calling for yeast.


Please help.

LindyD's picture

First, welcome to TFL.

Since you appear to be new to sourdough, why use a recipe calling for commercial yeast when there are plenty of wonderful sourdough recipes here?

All you need to do to find them is type "sourdough bread" in the TFL search bar, then start reading.  Am sure you'll find something that looks appealing and if you have any questions about a particular recipe, just ask.

Happy reading and baking...

Clasac's picture

Thank you so much, now how do I do that with anything other than sourdough and what kinds of breads can I use a starter with, I guess I am really stupid about this, my rye is delicious, the light rye using hodges Mill won't rise above the bread pan, and rye is my favorite.  My dark molasses rye rises to the heavens. And what if I just want an Amish wheat or baguette, how does the starter figure into that? Oh and also how do I know my starter is ready? I set it up 3 days ago, I fed it today as it was bubbly, it smells sour, and it is still bubbly after I fed it, I wouldn't necessarily call it a pleasing smell, not like I remember my Dad doing as a child, he passed away by the way or I would be asking him, and he did so years ago. Anyway, I would be willing to start over with a starer just to be on the same page from beginning to end. But again sourdough isn't the only bread I want to make.

clazar123's picture

You may find a lot of help and ideas in the Sourdough forum and in the Handbook. Both links can be found in the brown-colored bar at the top of the page.So, take a look around.

pmccool's picture

odds are pretty good that the bubbliness you are seeing is from bacteria, rather than from yeast.  That's a very typical stage new starters have to go through, so not to worry.  In another day or two, your starter will probably look like it is dead; yet another typical stage in a new starter's life.  Many people make the mistake of throwing it out at this point, thinking it has failed.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Keep feeding it regularly and it will eventually be bubbly again, this time because of yeast growth.  Once it is able to consistently double or triple its volume in 4-6 hours after feeding (assuming that temperatures are in the mid-70s, F), you can rely on it for use in baking.  That might occur as early as 5 days or as late as 2 weeks after you started it.  As it gets older (think weeks and months after starting), it will develop more flavor.

There are several good tutorials on TFL for beginning a starter.  Use the Search function here for Gaarp's sourdough tutorial, Debra Wink's pineapple solution or SourdoLady's advice on starters.  Each is excellent.  Debra Wink's will give you all the information about what is going on at the micro-organism level, in case you are as interested in the "why" as well as the "how".

Have fun watching your starter go through various phases and have fun baking with it.