The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Have Starter but now what...

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Have Starter but now what...

I have the Starter from SourdoLady and her recipe and am ready to go with my first Sourdough Loaf but do not know how to go from the 1/4 : 1/4; 1/4 (flour, water, starter )to the next step of one full cup of Starter. Should I just have the next batch be....1/2, 1/2,1/2? How does one expand this stuff and what is the limit?  A week ago SourdoLady said she was changing computers and I never saw anymore posts by her.  Is she ok? We love you where ever you are SourdoLady...

Kate's picture
Kate

If I have a cup of starter I generally feed it a cup of flour and a little less than a cup of water - so about equal all around. See about how much you have and put in the same amount of flour, would be my suggestion. Every day before I feed my starter I dump off all but about a cup, except some days I don't and I have more than a cup, but I still feed it a cup of flour (and an equal weight of water) and it all works out. 

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Nice Kate, but it is not an answer to the question.  Please read the question....SourdoLady where are you???

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

Countryboy - if you have some ripe starter, that's great. Now to increase the amount of starter from what you had been keeping all this time, just do not discard all of the old starter like you usually do.

 

For example, you currently have 1/4 cup of ripe starter. It is time to feed it. To do that you were probably saving a little more than a tablespoon of ripe/old starter, throwing the rest out, and feeding it another tablespoon of flour and another tablespoon of water each feeding, which would give you about 3 tablespoons to 1/4 cup total (depending on how accurate your volume measurements were), right?

 

So to expand it, rather than discarding any of the starter, keep it all (1/4 cup total) and feed it with 1/4 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of water. You now have 3/4 cup of refreshed starter, and in about 4-8 hours that refreshed starter should be ripe again (you'll know if it doubles), depending on how warm your place is and how active the original starter was. If you need more than 3/4 cup for a recipe, you can refresh it with more than 1/4 cup each of flour and water, it just may take a little longer to double in size again, but probably not much. So take your 1/4 cup of ripe starter, and feed it 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of flour - now you have 1.25 cups of refreshed starter that will probably be ready to use in 6-10 hours or so. If you need at least 2 cups of starter for a recipe, take your 1/4 cup and feed it 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water, now you have 2.25 cups, and it will probably take longer to be ripe and doubled, maybe 12 hours, maybe 18. 

 

I think Jim (jm_chng) stated on another post that ideal refreshment to keep a starter healthy and well-fed was to use the ratio 1:6:6, so if you had 1 tablespoon starter, feed it 6 tablespoons flour and 6 tablespoons water. I'm not sure how long that would take to be ripe after feeding, so maybe Jim can chime in here. I usually refresh at the 1:1:1 ratio, but I also keep mine in the fridge so that seems to work for me. If I were using it more often and keeping it out more, I'd probably take Jim's advice and refresh at 1:2:2 or 1:4:4.

 

If possible, you should consider getting a digital scale with a tare function, it is so much easier to measure more accurately your ingredients than using volume measures. 

 

Hope that helps...good luck. 

jim2100's picture
jim2100

T H A N K S

This is just the answer I was trying to get. In fact I just started a post asking this question. Thanks for going into detail for those of us who are new to this subject and the terminology.

Now one other thought. With the feeding as you state here.

"I think Jim (jm_chng) stated on another post that ideal refreshment to keep a starter healthy and well-fed was to use the ratio 1:6:6, so if you had 1 tablespoon starter, feed it 6 tablespoons flour and 6 tablespoons water. I'm not sure how long that would take to be ripe after feeding, so maybe Jim can chime in here. I usually refresh at the 1:1:1 ratio, but I also keep mine in the fridge so that seems to work for me. If I were using it more often and keeping it out more, I'd probably take Jim's advice and refresh at 1:2:2 or 1:4:4."

refreshment to keep a starter healthy and well-fed was to use the ratio 1:6:6, so if you had 1 tablespoon starter, feed it 6 tablespoons flour and 6 tablespoons water.

Is this the regular feeding i.e. refreshment.

Or do I go back to the one Tlb. of each again in the fridge until I want to use it again and build it according to the above method?

Is this a better method of the regular feeding / refeshment, I Tlb. starter, six parts each flour and water?

I'll get it with your concise answer.

 

Hope I am making sense. I simply want to know

 

And, then do I go back to the three tablespoons in the fridge with a weekly feeding?

Thanks

Jim

 

 

 

 

I enjoy cooking with wine. On occasion I even include it in the recipe.

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

Jim - since I wrote that post above back in Jan. I began feeding my starter at the ratio 1:4:4 each time I took it out of the frig. for the week to bake with it. But keep in mind I also use weight measures, not volume, and equal weights flour to water will give you a batter-like starter. If you use volume measure and use those ratios you will get a stiffer starter, which is fine too, it's up to you what is easier.

 

I think what you are asking is that if you do not use the starter to bake with, and just want to maintain it, can you get away with a 1:1:1 feeding if it is kept in the fridge? I am not sure, as I have not been maintaining starters very long, so there are others here who can comment on that better than me. I have read that some people do just that, while others insist that maintaining at that ratio may cause the starter to degrade over time, and that feeding more food at 1:2:2 or 1:4:4 would be healthier for the starter. Right now I am sticking with the 1:4:4 feedings both for maintaining an unused starter and for refreshing a starter before baking with it, but if I learn of a better method over time as my starters age, that could change. I'm keeping an open mind! Good Luck...

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I'm here and I have posted a couple of times since I switched computers but I guess you didn't catch it. Thanks for missing me!

 

The feeding of the starter doesn't have to be so complicated. The main important things to do are to always dump out most of it before feeding because it is "waste" after the starter has consumed all the nutrients, and always feed no less than twice as much new food as you have old starter (even more is better). For instance, if you save 1/4 cup of old starter, feed 1/2 cup or more of flour. If you prefer to weigh you can, and you can do equal weights if you want a thicker starter.

 

The starter isn't fussy about being fed too much--in fact starters are very hungry beasts. They will thrive on being well fed. I would err on the side of feeding too much rather than too little. I don't measure or weigh anything when I feed my starters. I just dump in some water and then add enough flour until it is of the consistency that I like it. All this talk of ratios is just too confusing and not necessary. Good luck with your bread! I'll be waiting to hear how it turns out.

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

The big day approacheth...will report results on Friday. 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Sounds like JMonkey answered your questions well. I see I am not the only one who has many starters. You asked about the Russian--I have it and it is a mild flavored fast riser.

pumpkinpapa's picture
pumpkinpapa

I am using SourdoLady's recipe for a Spelt starter though I've had to modify it a little, less water to flour ratio. It followed the usual routine as my whole wheat starter did though it didn't blow the lid off the container on the fourth day as the WW did <gassy wheat>.

I know others on this list have used Spelt but has anyone done a pure starter? I know Spelt has a weaker gluten but higher protein and requires less water than wheat but it seems to demand far more attention.

Anyone? 

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

I've not used a spelt starter myself, but in the King Arthur Flour Whole Grains Baking">, they have a number of recipes that use spelt starters. I know that when they were putting the book together, they experimented with a boatload of grains, and they loved spelt, especially in sourdoughs. Spelt, they said, ferments very readily but, like you said, doesn't have the same strength as wheat.

When I get home tonight, I'll look it over and see what they have to say. I've been curious about spelt bread, myself. I'd be interested to hear how it comes out.

Squid's picture
Squid

I was just reading Ed Wood's book called Classic Sourdoughs and was very intrigued by the section on Spelt, being that my mom is wheat intolerant. He mentions to just substitute exactly the same ratio of spelt:wheat.

I think I'm going to make a sourdough starter for my mom since it seems to be the consensus that spelt makes a great sourdough. It's certainly a challenge with yeast so I'm very curious to see what happens. She'd be thrilled to eat a bread that doesn't have the consistency of a brick.

I'd be interested in hearing about your experiences with spelt and sourdough.