The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I have bubbling sourdough starter that doesn't stink! But what do I do next? Thanks so much!

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chykcha's picture
chykcha

I have bubbling sourdough starter that doesn't stink! But what do I do next? Thanks so much!

It wouldn't allow me to post in the "body" section from mu phone, but I've won that battle. I started my starter three days ago, with mostly stone ground whole wheat, a little bit of rye, and filtered water. I fed it about every 12 hours, and now it seems to double in size every 5-6 hours. It does not have the sewage smell that I have seen some people complaining about. My question really is: how do I bake bread with it? :) I'm sorry if I sound completely clueless, but that's only because I am. Any advice will be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Natasha

wally's picture
wally

After only three days your starter is still in infancy.  It's not even clear if you've got a healthy colony of yeast and lactobacilli yet.  Most starters take 10 days to two weeks to get established to the point of using them for baking.


I'd continue to feed it twice a day through week one, and then maybe decrease feedings to every 24 hours.


Once it's ready, how to bake with it is easy: just search or browse through any of the thousands of recipes on this site - many, if not most of which, use a starter, which is also often referred to as a 'levain.'


Just remember to always reserve a bit of your starter for future use.  You might also want to buy a book, like Hamelman's Bread which will supply you will lots of recipes, and teach you a lot more about the care and uses of starters (among many, many other useful things).


Larry

chykcha's picture
chykcha

But thank you very much for your response. I have been accused of being impatient and, I guess, those accusations aren't entirely baseless. :) thanks again.

Natasha

chykcha's picture
chykcha

This is what I got from my 3 day old starter. I have not cut into it yet because it is too hot, and do not know how it tastes.  :)

chykcha's picture
chykcha

I finally sliced into it! Let me know what you think. :)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

How does it taste?

chykcha's picture
chykcha

It tasted great! Distinct bit of sourness, crunchy crust, and chewey crumb. Thanks for all your help. :) I am very excited as this is my very first sourdough loaf.

Jeffrey's picture
Jeffrey

It get's better with time.


 

chykcha's picture
chykcha

I am continuing the feeds, it's like having a pet. I casually mentioned to my husband that I need to feed the starter, and he wondered if I fed it bunnies or kittens. :) I am loving all the experimentation and the changes. And thanks for advice and encouragement.

Natasha

sanchiro's picture
sanchiro

Now I am depressed. I have tried with rye, white and a mixture and my sourdough is very well developed after feeding it a couple months, but my bread has yet to rise well. What recipe, complete with all details, did you follow, Natasha, to bake this first loaf?


Scott

rayel's picture
rayel

in an assertive voice, then, mabey the bunnies and kittens?


Hi I really want to know, if not the recipe, whether you used commercial yeast along with your starter. Please tell.  Nice loaf in either case. Good luck. Thanks,  Ray

Islandlakebaker's picture
Islandlakebaker

My career brought me to San Francisco for several decades where sour dough is King.  Boudin's Bakery calls their starter "Mother" and it is over 160 years old!  As Larry stated, always save a bit of your starter to keep it going, to keep the sharpness of the sour.


As time goes by, with proper feeding, your starter will only get better and better.  When work pulled me away from home for many weeks I thought my starter had passed it usable days.  Started a new one, but used half of the old starter.  It retained the sour and was soon viable again!


Natasha, your bread is a beautiful thing!!!


Greg

chykcha's picture
chykcha

First off, Sanchiro, do not get depressed. My guess is that I just got lucky and that's all. I started it in a sterilized jar (well, very well washed and rinsed with boiling water then cooled) with a bit of stone ground whole wheat flour and a few tea spoons of organic rye.


If I don't give exact measurements, that's because I am notoriously bad with those and eyeball everything. If I had to give you a proportion, it would be roughly 3:1 of wheat vs rye. I then added FILTERED water. I have a PUR filter, three stage, the one you mount on your fauced and they sell at Costco. Then I stirred vigorously, covered loosely with a lid and left it alone for about 10-12 hours. Then repeated the process.


The first day and a half it smelled just like wheat flour: no sour, no stink, no nothing. As I continued feeding it, it started smelling sour and bubbling, which is when I couldn't wait and baked with it.


Ray, I did not use commercial yeast as that would defeat the purpose of sourdough, right? :) I went and spoke with a friend of mine, who is a professional bread guy. I did not ask him for their starter recipe because he probably can't give it to me anyway and I did not want to put him in that position. But he did tell me that when they bake with their starter, they use about 29.9% starter (by weight), and hydrate the rest of the flour to 80%. When I cluelessly asked him what 80% meant, he said that it means 80% of flour+water weight is water.


That's what I did when I got home. It took about 2 hours for the first rise to double in size, which is when I folded it, another 2 or so for second rise. I do not have a cloche (sp), so I used an aluminum bread pan lined with wax paper and flour for final rise after shaping.


Then I plopped it out on the preheated stone (500F) with a bowl of boiling water in the oven, scored it with a raizor and baked it.


Most of what I did I learned here and just by playing with the dough, which I love to do. As I said, I am no pro by any means and probably know the least of all the people here.


Good luck and don't give up!


Natasha

chykcha's picture
chykcha

And Greg, thank you so much for your kind words. :) I hope I can keep my starter alive for 160 years... Hmm... Maybe not. :)

chykcha's picture
chykcha

I had to stick my bubbling monsters in the fridge because it was doubling way too fast and I had a mess. Now, if I want to bake with it, do I bring the starter to room temperature? Thanks!

Islandlakebaker's picture
Islandlakebaker

When using a commercial yeast, most recipes have you "proof" your yeast by adding warm water to start the growth process.  With a starter you will have the same issue.  If it is cold, the yeast in your starter is inactive, it will need to warm up to start doing it's thing!  I have used my starter cold, it just takes more time for my dough to double.  When my kitchen is very warm in the Summer or when I have the wood stove ablazing, I find a cold starter works better for me!  If your conditions are normal, I would take out the amount of starter you need and let it warm up to room temp.  If not, just give yourself more time for your dough to rise.


The first time I made a starter, I did not realize how much volume "Mother" would grow to.  Came home one day to find it had grown out of the container, it attacking the kitchen counters and floor!!!  I now use a container that is overly large to accommodate large growth spurts!  Lucky to have two refrigerators one for regular use, the other for my starter, jams, harvests from the garden!


Greg

chykcha's picture
chykcha

Thank you very much for your advice!