The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Kicking rye starter into shape

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Kicking rye starter into shape

Monday:  My garden is bursting with Spring!  The wind is windy and the birds are joyful!  We have 18°C and the furnace has been turned off.  I've pulled a starter out of the fridge.   A firm rye that was not put into long hybernation (do not fear, my pretties, the prepared starter is the jar next to it also looking none the worse from wear.)  It's wonderful and exhausting to be back in Austria.  Lots of garden work and getting used to stairs again.  Back to the starter.


This overripe goo smells cheese strong and has ice crystals all over it.  (Must have been at the back of the fridge.)  I'm thawing it out and scraping it now to look at the bottom.  This stuff could send me under the table from just breathing it, that with jet lag could be lethal.  It would be wise of me to breathe ever so lightly.  My son thought I should pay a fine, keeping a starter that smelled so strong.  It's criminal!  I laughed and smiled to my inner-bread-self.  I'd be the last one to tell him he could have thrown it out months ago.  Must have been fed last in January. 


(4 pm) I managed to push a top layer aside to get at the most underlying glop.  Rather stiff really, broke some out and reminds me more of fresh yeast consistancy.  It is also brighter in tan color than the top gray layer.  I've mixed water with it and ... um... now some rye flour and we will see what decides to grow.  Oops, got to run out for some rye flour.  Needed milk anyway.  I love being able to read everything on the shelves!  Rye everywhere!  Picked up some spelt berries too.


Tuesday:  (4 am)  The starter sat 12 hours and no action other than it smells sour and no longer like wet flour.  Too much acid for the yeast!  Gotta build up yeasty beasties!  Took out a spoonful and did a 1:5:5 again for the next 12 hours > 20°C in the kitchen.


(8 am)  Cooked some spelt in my rice cooker and because I didn't do too much with water so it would go dry, got some nice browning on the cooked grain...  not a bad way to add color to a loaf...  I ate some for breakfast as a chewy hot cereal.  Spent the day trimming and chipping in the garden.


(6 pm)  Got bubbles! I can see them thru the glass but not on top.  Smells sour but mellow and when I attack it with a spoon the bubbles collapse and I see structure under that smooth exterior.  Very good!  Took out another spoonful and did a 1:5:5 feed plus scrounged around for some old rye bread.  Found sunflower light rye, will have to do and processed it into crumbs, mixed in.  Got that sitting out now until I wake up in the wee hours, but also good until morning if I sleep thru.  


Mini

Comments

wally's picture
wally

Mini, on behalf of your starters, "welcome home!"  Can't wait to see some resurrected results.


Larry

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Coming soon to be photographed in daylight too!


I was happy diluting my starter 1 to 5 than 1 to 1 or 2.  It progressed nicely.

proth5's picture
proth5

your ability to shift continents and still keep up the baking and the starters.  I know from my own life that one gets into a routine around travel and it gets a bit "easier" but it is never a simple thing.


Fortunately I never get the jet lag (just lucky) but the culture shock sometimes threatens to do me in.


And it's always good to get back to the garden.  I know the feeling.


Happy Baking!


Pat

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Gets me often enough.  Then too, there is "return culture shock!"  That's when you've fantasized how good "home" is, and upon returning reality sets in.  Home doesn't match the "ideal" you thought it was.   I need to get my tires changed and forgot to buy coffee.


My starter was looking mighty fine so I made up a loaf.  Rye, 1:3.5:4.16  with 50% rye, bread flour, carmelized wheat berries and the usual bread spices.  First used the berries as part of the flour but needed to add more flour so I would say the berries were like added nuts.  I also added a little more rye altus as I wasn't sure how much rye was in the sunflower rye I put into the starter.  It's rising now... 6 hours down.  Using my double pot steamer.  (Had to clean the oven first!)


Oh, I got to sleep in this morning... made it to 6 am.  Started the dough around 8 am.  We are having such warm weather, that if we get frost (still can until the 15th of May) we would be in serious agricultural trouble.


We just ran out of Kimchee so we will be making some more.

proth5's picture
proth5

You've got it exactly right.  Because on this hitch I was housed mostly in a resort hotel - the transition from having everything done for you (food, bed making, cleaning) to home was a bit tough - even though it is good to be home. (And I do miss those Japanese toilets with the heated seats and the "wash" feature...)


Seems like your area of Austria has a climate like Denver - we get really warm weather and then we get snow in May.  I use a product called Wall-O-Water to surround all my plants so I can get them set out, but they are protected from the frost.  I have to force myself to hold back on planting some seeds even thought it "seems" warm enough...


Happy Baking!

shansen10's picture
shansen10

I got out my 6-month-old rye starter from the refrigerator; it had crusty mold on top.  But underneath looked OK, so I did a 1:4:4 refresh, and after 8 hours it has doubled, is bubbly and not bad smelling.  Should I refresh it again before using it?  Also, could you please elaborate on your formula:  "Rye, 1:3.5:4.16  with 50% rye, bread flour, carmelized wheat berries and the usual bread spices."


Many thanks from a fairly new bread maker.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

The recipe can be found here:  http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/15736/mini039s-favorite-rye-ratio


Enjoy!


Mini

shansen10's picture
shansen10

Thanks, Mini,


Being new with rye, I think I'm going to start with Hamelman's 66% sourdough rye.


I read through your posting about Farmer's Rye Bread with Gebrotwurz - sounds so delicious!  I'm sure I will try it someday.


Sue

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Must be something in the air.  Not too bad.  Here's an outside picture



Guess I could have let it rise more.  My loaf has growth rings!  The top of the dusty white ring was the side of the dough when placed into the form and it was rounded and rose up from there.  The ring where the shiny roughness starter is higher than the form. 


I had made the mistake of opening the top pan after 25 minutes into the cold bake and lost my steam, drying the top skin on the loaf.  I did cover it back up but I should not have peeked.  When I removed the top pan, the cracks were there.  Bake and learn... bake and learn...   Still hot.

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Mini,
can you post an approximation of the volume of your pots and how much dough you fill them with? Thanks.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

The rounded pan on the bottom holds 2.2 liters water to the rim.  I used the 150g starter with my favorite ratio plus a big slice of bread making it close to 1.2kg of dough.  The top pan-cover holds 2.5 liters of water.


Here is the Crumb shot of the above loaf.  I used an electric slicer otherwise it just looked crummy.



This is a rather soft crumb so even as berries, the spelt plays a softening role, although the berries in the crust are quite chewy!   This is a tasty loaf.

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

and your proportions (2.2 litres for 1.2 kg of dough) fit with my calculus. Thanks, Mini.