The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Why won't this stuff rise?

rodentraiser's picture
rodentraiser

Why won't this stuff rise?

HI! I am new to this forum and I have the same brick problem.


I think I can solve that now that I know I should be adding more water and less flour, but I am so confused by so many other things with sourdough.


I got my starter about a year ago and as far as I know, it's activated or active or whatever. It does not have any commercial yeast in it nor was it started with any rye flour, just regular tap water and King Arthur bread flour. All I know is I feed it and it gets lots of bubbles in it. I've heard people say it's supposed to rise and double though, and I've never seen that. So....it's in the fridge now and here are some of the problems and questions I have:


Feeding: I'm not sure about feeding it when I take the starter out. Do I feed it as soon as I take it out of the fridge or do I feed it after it comes to room temp? When it goes back in the fridge, do I put it back right after I feed it or do I feed it and let it become active and then put it back? If I want to use a part of it, does it even have to come to room temp or could I just take a part out and stick the rest back in the fridge - and does it have to be fed at that point?


 I'm not sure I understand the hydration thing. I'm putting equal parts of water and flour into the starter to feed it now after tossing half . My starter is already thick and goopy. Right now I'm trying to add more water - if I have to cut some water and add more flour, this stuff is gonna get up on its own and walk. So what am I doing wrong here?


 Rising: I have yet to really see this stuff rise. Everybody talks about leaving things out overnight. The last time I left my starter out all night, it almost died. So I did the starter during the day and made the dough at night and left the bread out all night to rise. I have no idea if it rose or not, because it was still sitting there like a lump on a log the next morning.


So the next time, I did the starter in the morning and the dough at night, then put the dough in the fridge all night and left the dough to rise all day the next day where I could watch it (my fridge is too cold for anything to rise). It rose maybe a quarter of an inch? Then after 12 hours (well, I heard some sourdoughs take 12 to 18 hours to rise), when it was starting to dry out, I punched it down, kneaded it a little and gave it a second rise, which was sort of nonexsistent as well.


Kneading: I've heard 15 minutes, I've heard to just fold it over. I've heard give it a second kneading, I've heard not to give it a second kneading. I've heard to give the dough a rest (if I got that many rests I'd be fired), but no one seems to agree on when and for how long.


Baking: Here comes my next problem. If I try to bake it free form as a rounded loaf, I get pizza dough (good pizza dough though). So I put it in a bread pan. Now it's about an inch or so below the top of the bread pan and it didn't rise as it baked. The first loaf never got brown on the top. This last loaf, I let bake in the bread pan until it had a form, then I dumped it out and left it bake on the racks of the oven so it might get a little brown. I did have a small pan of water on the lower rack and I've had people tell me to just throw ice cubes on the bottom of the oven and that's supposed to work. Anyway, this last loaf had good French bread flavor, awful texture, and could serve as a deadly weapon should the need arise. I will solve that with more water the next time I bake, but if I want a round loaf, I need to add more flour if I don't want bread pancakes, don't I?


 By the way, I am in the Pacific Northwest where we have humidity and temperature swings. We just finished having days of over 90° which would have killed the starter. Three days later we are having days of 60° and the starter could go into hibernation. And add to that, it is getting cooler here, especially at night now, and in winter, I don't have the temp in my trailer over 65° and I never have the temp on at night, winter or summer. I don't have a stove where I can turn on the oven light, but I do have a warm setting. I bring my oven up to warm before turning it off for regular bread and that rises fine, but I'm thinking the warm setting is too warm for sourdough, so I just put it on warm for about 30 seconds and then turn it off again.


 So with my starter in the fridge as I type, how do I begin again the correct way if I want to make a loaf of sourdough by Monday morning? Thanks for any hlep you guys can give!


 


 Call me Confuzzled


 


 


 


 


 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Sounds like the weather changes are getting the best of you and your starter.


I'll start out answering some of your starter Q's.


Feeding: I'm not sure about feeding it when I take the starter out. Do I feed it as soon as I take it out of the fridge or do I feed it after it comes to room temp?


That depends on what your starter's condition is.  If the starter was last fed and then quickly tucked into the refrigerator, you may have to let it warm up and rise first to maturity before removing a small amount and feeding that small amount. 


You have to be able to judge how ripe your cold starter is when you remove it from the fridge.  If not much has happened to it, rise wise, and it tastes sour, then your starter could be lopsided in that the yeast population is too low.


When it goes back in the fridge, do I put it back right after I feed it or do I feed it and let it become active and then put it back?


Then again, it depends on what your baking schedule needs are.  If you don't want to use it right away, tucking it into the fridge soon after feeding will slow down the whole feeding cycle (8-12 hour) to very slow (3-5+ days) which can be handy but if repeated to many times in a row, will lead to a weak starter low in yeasts.  I advise you to sometimes leave it out of the fridge for a 12 hour cycle above 72°F (or warmer) so it can build up strength.  (I would advise in your case to do this for a vew days. <later>)  This can be done before using it for baking.  It can also be fed, left out for part of the cycle and then refrigerated, this gives the beasties in the starter a good chance to go thru a generation or two and produce enough acid to protect themselves from invasion by foreign beasties.


If you find your starter has stood out a full cycle, or is peaking but you are not ready to bake with it, stand it into the refrigerator for a day.  You can use it cold but add warm water to your dough.  No problem.  If it stands longer cold, you may want to bring it out and feed it or increase the volume before baking with it.


If I want to use a part of it, does it even have to come to room temp or could I just take a part out and stick the rest back in the fridge?


If your starter is rather thick, and it sounds like it is... (the thicker it is, the longer it takes the beasties to eat thru the fresh flour)  then yes, take out part of it and return the rest to the fridge for a few days later.   You can keep doing this until the starter is too small to use (in that case feed it) or before it shows signs of being hungry (hooch and the like.) 


If you plan on doing this often, you may find this useful: after feeding your mother starter, let it stand for about 4 hours in a warm place, then chill it.  Use a heaping teaspoon of it after its stood cold about 3 or more days and add water and flour and let it stand in a warm spot to mature, then use into your recipe.  I use about a heaping teaspoon of starter for about every half cup of starter that I need.  Yours may vary but I suspect you are currently saving too much old starter when you are feeding.


- and does it have to be fed at that point?  No, you only have to feed it when it no longer looks thick and healthy, when it starts looking thin and before hooch can form.  Then feed it. 


You did not say how much starter you are keeping at the moment but I can tell you about mine.  I keep about 1/2 a cup at all times in the fridge.  When I'm ready to bake, I remove about a heaping teaspoon, maybe two and put the rest back into the fridge.  Add water and stir it up breaking up any clumps, then add flour to a toothpaste thickness, cover with plastic and rubber band and then give it time to rise.  When peaked I use it.  Depending on the temp. that can take anywhere from 6 to 12 hours.  It has to be above 72° for those hours, if cooler, it may take all day.  Sunshine helps immensely.  Warmer temps can be sometimes too fast but you want the yeasts to eat drink and be merrily reproducing and burping out gas.  The acid level of the starter rises as this goes on and when it reaches certain levels, the little burpers stop and save their energy for the next feeding.  That is why we don't save too much old starter to mix with new.


When you feed less starter with more flour and water, you will notice a big difference in rising within the 12 hour cycle.  If you want to increase your yeast strength, I recommend you try the following


Take out a level tablespoon of your starter and blend it with 1/3 c of water and add enough flour to make a thinner starter, sort of like melted ice cream.  Find a warm place for it somewhere between 75°F and 78°F.  If there is not much rising activity repeat the same process and let it stand warm another 12 hours.  


After 12 hours and "doubling" take out a heaping teaspoonful of starter and repeat discarding the rest or making pancakes (use some baking powder with it.)   If you do see improvement now in your starter, remove a heaping teaspoon of it and repeat feeding it again just for good measure.  :)  Then after the next 12 hours give it a little bit more flour until you come up to toothpaste thickness.  Now watch how high it goes.  


Keeping half of a starter to only feed half does not make very happy yeasties.  I like the ratio of 1 part starter to 4 parts water and about 5 parts flour... roughly speaking. I mix it thicker with warm weather and slightly thinner in the winter.


With the next feed, use some of this into a bread recipe and then feed the small portion left to make your mother starter for the fridge.  After letting it mature for about 4 hours, pop it into the fridge and use as a stock pot, granted a little one, until you need to make more. 


Wow, that got long... 


Hope that helps,  Mini

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Confuzzled you may well be!  Let's just focus on one thing for now: your starter.


You mention that you are feeding your starter equal parts water and flour, after having discarded half.  In this case, is a "part" a volume measurement, like a cup, or is it a weight measurement, like an ounce or gram?  


The whole hydration discussion is based on weight measurements, not volume measurements.  I'll direct your attention to the Handbook link at the top of the page, instead of going into a lengthy discussion about it here.


If it is "thick and goopy", I'd guesstimate the hydration at about 80-100% hydration.  In other words, 8-10 grams/ounces/pounds water for every 10 grams/ounces/pounds of flour.  That's not a bad consistency for a starter.  I keep mine stiffer, closer to 50% hydration; others keep theirs looser, 100% hydration or above.  It gets down to personal preference, since the starters can happily exist at any of those hydration levels.


Assuming that your kitchen temperatures are running in the 70-80F range, a healthy starter should double, maybe even triple, in as little as 4 hours or as much as 8 hours.  Remember that higher temperatures lead to shorter fermentation times.  When temperatures drop below 70F, starter activity slows w-a-a-a-a-a-a-y down.  A starter that was doubling in 6 hours at the higher temperatures might well take 12 hours to double if the temps are down in the 60's.  That is perfectly normal.


So, start by checking your starter's level of activity.  Pick a day or a time when you can keep an eye on it over several hours time.  Give your starter a good feed (and yes, you can do that as soon as you take it out of the refrigerator).  If you have a scale, try a 1:2:3 ratio.  That is, 1 part starter, 2 parts water, and 3 parts flour; all by weight.  After mixing that up, put the starter in a straight-sided container that will accommodate the starter after it has tripled or quadrupled.  The container should be clear or translucent so that you can see the starter through the container wall.  Mark the starter's beginning height.  Then, every hour, mark the starter's present height.  At some point, it will not grow any higher.  Compare that maximum height to the beginning height.  You'll be able to see how much expansion your starter has achieved.  Hopefully, it will have more than doubled.


There is nothing magical about the recommended 1:2:3 feeding.  It just works well, for two reasons.  First, you know that your starter is adequately fed.  Second, it is a doughy consistency, so the expansion is easily seen.  A more-liquid starter may be just as active, but it won't show nearly as much expansion because the bubbles leak out of the batter-like starter, instead of being trapped in the dough.


Start with that.  Once you have a notion of how active your starter is, the rest of your questions will be easier to answer because we've taken out some of the guesswork.  Please check back to let us know how the starter behaved.


Paul

rodentraiser's picture
rodentraiser

 Thank you, guys!


  I have noticed one thing and that is, if I can help it, my trailer will never be between 68° and 70° and hopefully never over those temps either! At 70°, I have the fan running because I am already way too warm (I can't wait till I'm an old lady shivering in her sweater!). This summer has pretty much been under 70° for the most part, except for the couple of days we zoomed past 90°. I really can't depend on the weather for any consistency at all. And a cool room to me would be about 60°, so when people speak of cool and hot, I better start adjusting my ideas of those temperatures.


 I have heard about weighing the ingredients instead of measuring them, which is what I'm currently doing, but I'm in a situation right now where I can't spend any money whatsoever on anything except the bills. That's why I thought I would start baking bread instead of buying it. So buying a scale is out of the question at the present time. Likewise anything else to bake the bread in.


 But I will try your suggestions with the starter and see what I can do with it. I thought it was nice and active, but I could have been wrong, so we'll see what happens.


 


  Kelly


 

rodentraiser's picture
rodentraiser

OK, I have tried Mini's way of taking out a tablespoon of starter and adding 1/3 cup of water and some flour to it. I'm not sure if I got a level tablespoon - when I say my starter is thick and goopy, think trying to get a level tablespoon of Elmer's glue - that stretches. Also, I don't know if this is a problem, but I don't have measuring spoons, just regular spoon spoons.


Anyway, I added 1/3 cup of water (measuring cups I have - halleluija!) and a couple of teaspoons of flour. I put it in the newly cleaned jar, put some saran wrap over the top and the jar is now residing outside (not in direct sun although maybe that wouldn't be a bad idea because it's definitely not 78° out there) and I am hoping the ants don't find it. I have the jar marked with tape to see if anything rises in it. WIsh me luck!


 


 Kelly

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

of flour.   A couple of heaped tablespoons or large soup spoons is going in the right direction.   Wishing you luck!


:) Mini

rodentraiser's picture
rodentraiser

I think it ended up being about 5 heaping teaspoons to get it to looking like melted ice cream. I had to start over anyway because Nickie the raccoon showed up and tried to investigate the jar. I had put the jar high up on the dog crate (which is itself on a bench - don't ask!), but Nickie found it anyway. She's a very sweet raccoon, showing up in the afternoons and hanging around a little before going to sleep in the tree or on top of my trailer, but she does check out everything. The starter in its newly washed jar is now sitting atop my stove. I am baking macaroni and cheese for another 20 minutes and the top of the stove is very warm. The starter should be happy there for a bit.


 

alabubba's picture
alabubba

Here is what an "Active Starter" looks like.


http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2984534438693193647#


This starter was from friends of carl, but yours should do the same.


Can I ask a question? How do your yeast breads come out. I have seen several posts lately from people trying to make sourdough bread and I doesn't seem to me that they have basic breads down. I would suggest you start with the lessons at the top of the page


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/lessons/yourfirstloaf


Get comfortable making this simple loaf and all your baking will improve.


 


Allan

rodentraiser's picture
rodentraiser

 That video is helpful - thank you!


 I actually don't have a problem with regular bread, although all I've made is white bread. I usually proof my yeast first with a little honey and warm water - boy, does the yeast like honey! My only problem is I have yet to find a bread I really like - apparently I am the only person in the whole world that doesn't like home baked bread (although I love French bread), which is why I'd like to try sourdough. I like home baked bread when it first comes out of the oven and I love a thick chewy crust. But my white breads don't seem to hold a crispy crust and I just don't like the taste of the bread once it cools off, even though my friends say the bread is great (I don't THINK they're feeling sorry for me) and the bread even slices nicely. So I'm still working with regular breads and trying different recipes and different combos of flour, sugars, salt and oils (butter, olive oil, etc) to see if I can get something close to the only bread I can eat plain with butter - white Wonder bread. Go figure.

kutzeh's picture
kutzeh

after many bricks I used some yeast and wallla!!! no more bricks!

rodentraiser's picture
rodentraiser

But if I have to use yeast, then why make sourdough and go through all this aggravation withthe starter?


 


 OK, I added some more flour to the starter. As far as I can tell, it hasn't done a thing in a couple hours, even though it has lots of small bubbles in it. I guess I just have bad starter or dead starter.

alabubba's picture
alabubba

My starter will double in just under 4 hours. It will raise the dead! However, It took a while to get it to this point.


Put your starter on your counter and feed 1 part starter, 2 parts flour and 2 parts water(By Weight). You don't need a huge amount. Just a couple tablespoons of each.Discard the rest.  Do this once a day until you see it doubling in under 8 hours. Then start feeding twice a day. It should double between feedings.


Don't worry about the discard at this point, Just toss it. Also, if you see a smelly liquid called "Hooch" on top just pour it off.


When you get to this point your starter is ready to go. I see a lot of people wanting to rush this. It can take a week or more.


When your starter is rockin and rollin. You can start keeping it in the fridge and feeding 1-2-2 about once a week.


When I want to bake, I take my starter out, Feed it, and put the discard in a bowl.


Put the starter back in the fridge and feed the discard. Put the fed discard on the counter and wait for it to double.


Now its ready. Use the Phat Phed Happy discard to bake with.


 


Allan

restever99's picture
restever99

The starter adds flavor.  It will be a milder sourdough, but it will still taste like sourdough.

grind's picture
grind

I'm putting equal parts of water and flour into the starter to feed it now after tossing half .


If this is what you've been doing, then you are slowly killing your starter.  Tossing out half is not enough because the half you are putting in is half water and half flour.  Not enough food over time.


Also, the acidity level in the starter is getting too high, which also inhibits yeast growth.  You need to do an acid dump; I throw away everthing, except what clings to the container.  Then I start again and I'm always amazed at how quickly the starter bounces back.


I like to use 10 % stater to whatever my end starter weight is.  So for an end weight hundred grams starter, I like to use ten grams of feed starter ... .  Good luck, grind.

rodentraiser's picture
rodentraiser

 OK,I am putting a tablespoon of starter into a measuring cup. I tried adding only two tablespoons of water and three tablespoons of flour, but I got somethng that resembled dough ready to knead. So I had to add extra water. So now I have 1 part starter, 3 parts water and 3 parts flour. I now have something like about a quarter cup of starter and the whole thing is in a 1/3 measuring cup. Maybe this way I can see if it is rising. When it's in the jar, there's so little of it, I can't tell if it's rising or not. And when I stir it, I get just enough on the sides of the jar so I can't see a thing anyway. I know I posted at about 2pm with starter in the jar and as far as I could see, as of 15 minutes ago, it hadn't risen one iota. So I am starting over again.


Alan and Grind, I have no way to figure any ingredients by weight - or by grams or litres either. Spoons and measuring cups are all I have.


Alan, now I'm confused again. You say you take the starter out of the fridge, feed it, and put the discard in a bowl. Then you feed the discard. So is the discard getting fed twice, once with the starter you just took out of the fridge and again after it's separated from the starter, or did you mean to say you take the starter out of the fridge, pull out what you need (the discard), feed the starter that's left and put it back in the fridge and then feed the discard? See, this is where I get very confused as to who gets fed when. I'm sorry I am so dense about this.


 


 Oh, yeah, I forgot - my kitchen will be at about 65° during the day and the temp may fall to as low as 55° overnight now at this time of year. I'm assuming it will take longer than 8 hours to double at these temps - am I right?

alabubba's picture
alabubba


or did you mean to say you take the starter out of the fridge, pull out what you need (the discard), feed the starter that's left and put it back in the fridge and then feed the discard



Yes, this is what I mean. The kitchen temp will slow down your starter activity, but even at those temps it should still double.


I would HIGHLY recommend you invest in a kitchen scale. Baking is part science/part art. But if your going to get good consistent results you have to respect the science. A decent set of scales can be bought for under $30.00. It is worth the investment.


P.S. This is the method I used when I created my starter. Worked for me. Also, there are many who swear by the Pineapple Juice Method.


Allan

Chrissi's picture
Chrissi

Sorry but to me, this post just comes across as abusive - she has already explained her financial situation and that she simply cannot be buying scales just because it would be "better".  I am in a similar situation right now (but I do have a scale, and I do love it and could not go back to measuring) and it irks me when people say "oh you gotta just get this ONE thing!  It will change everything!"  There are so many little "one things" that will "change everything" that if I bought them all, I wouldn't be able to pay rent.


I really sympathize with Kelly and from my perspective if I had already explained my financial situation and instead of accomodating, people kept bombarding me with "but you need a scale!!!!", I'd just leave this site... there is no reason why you NEED a scale.  Thank you.


 


To rodentraiser: I've noticed that you said when you used the 1-2-3 measurements, you used "1 tablespoon of starter, 2 tablespoons of water, 3 tablespoons of flour".  I could be wrong, but I think that the 1-2-3 measurement is actually supposed to be based on weight - if you use measurement, you will be off by quite a bit - you'll have maybe half, or less, than the amount of flour you were supposed to be using.  I think to get the actual amount of flour that you need you would need to get a conversion... off the top of my head I think a cup of flour is usually 150 grams or so (instead of 250 like water) but I haven't done calculations for this.


Also, it's fine for the starter to seem like "dough ready to bake".  This is called a firm starter.  You punch it down into your container so that it's level on top.

alabubba's picture
alabubba

It was certainly not my intention to be Abusive. I was simply offering my suggestion to help with her problem. I didn't see where she explains her financial situation.


 


Maybe I should just stop trying to help. That way I wouldn't offend anyone!


Allan


 

grind's picture
grind

Sounds to me like you should start from the beginning and just concentrate on getting your actual starter happy.  Too many starters spoil the broth!!  Forget about making bread at the moment.  If you're having trouble seeing the starter, make a bigger one - Say maybe three hundred grams.  That's what I like.


Try this conversion calculator or find a better one online.


http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/cooking-conversions/gram-conversions.aspx


 


 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

than doughs made with commercial yeast. 


OK, I added some more flour to the starter.  As far as I can tell, it hasn't done a thing in a couple hours, even though it has lots of small bubbles in it.


A freshly fed sourdough culture will not do anything for the first few hours.  Your weak starter especially.  A few bubbles is a good sign and so is the raccoon's attention.  They have a good sense of smell and her curiosity tells me that she likes the aroma coming off the starter.  She probably wasn't too happy with the goo though.  So those are all good signs.


Keep in mind sourdough is a culture and is constantly growing.   You don't want to keep too much around because it demands to be fed.  Think of Discards as ripe starter, the little beasties in there have used up their food.  We can't keep them all so we keep a small portion.  You can reduce the amount to just a dirty jar later when the yeasts have returned to larger numbers.  Right now the goal is to improve the starter, once strong, you will only need packaged yeast for emergencies. 


Now about those discards.    One can use them right away in many ways.  The discard or ripe starter will not grow much on its own any more but when flour is added (like the suggestion of using them for the next loaf)  and given some time, they will start to raise anything.  They will flavor stuff even at this weak level so if you use the discard, add some more flour, yeast or other leavening so that what you make will be successful.  Discard can also be dried, spread out thin on plastic wrap letting the water evaporate.  The crushed dried chips can be added to any yeasted bread dough to add flavor just let them sit a little while to soften in the dough water first. 


As long as your starter is weak, you need to keep about a tablespoon to feed.  In a few feeds, you can use less.  Your cold temps will not help the yeast much but I have a suggestion for you.  Put the starter into your pocket, vest pocket and open it once in a while to release any gasses building up (burb it.)  You can use a zipper locking plastic bag pressing out the air or a small jar but do not put a tight cap on it.  Use a rubber band to keep dough from going all over the place and avoid foil if you can. You pocket will be nice and warm from your body heat and the yeasts will love you.  At night, just burp them and park them on a table top stopping the clock, similar to refrigeration.


I guess I just have bad starter or dead starter.  


Not true.  I've never known a starter to die unless it was over heated.  Put it into your pocket to warm it up.  If it tastes sour, time to take out a spoonful and feed that spoonful and wait another 12 hours of pocket time.  We'll have this starter going soon.  Meantime, check your spice cupboard and notice the plants around you outside.  What have you got that's edible?


I recently discovered 3 weeds in my garden that can flavor bread.  I will get back to you with ideas on that subject if you like. 


Raccoon biscuits:  can be made from discards but remember the little rascals wash everything!  Add a little more flour and oil to the discard until a firm dough is formed and shape into ping pong sized shapes and flatten slightly, let rise a little but not double and fry or bake until outside is well browned.  Cool.  A good tight crust is desired to protect it from falling apart in water.  Observe the 'coon.  If your "lotor" breaks it apart before washing make the shapes smaller.  (Lotor is latin for "one who washes.")


Mini


 

rodentraiser's picture
rodentraiser

It's OK, Chrissi and Alan - I know everyone is trying to be helpful. I will take help however it's offered, believe me!


 I am working with just a little starter right now and a little flour and water, mainly because I will be here all day to feed it if I have to, and also because I'm getting low on flour. LOL


Anyway, last night I bit the bullet and turned the oven on to warm and let the temp rise to that, something I haven't tried before. I thought maybe it's just not warm enough here. Then I let the starter sit overnight in the oven. When I got up this morning, the starter had a crust on it, the same as dough gets when it's trying to rise and dries out instead.


 So this time I stirred what I had, took out a tablespoon and then added some water and as much flour as I needed to make it sort of like melted ice cream. It has lots of bubbles in it, but it is still siitting there looking at me. I will give it all day to do something before trying something else.


 You know, this starter came to me dry in an envelope and I didn't open it or use it for almost a year. I'm wondering if I should just start over with new starter.


Mini - your idea about putting the starter next to my body is a good one - I wish I could just turn on my oven so it's warm enough for the starter and leave it there. Apparently the warm setting is too warm.


I don't have too many spices in my cupboard - I hate cooking normally. My idea of cooking is fast food and gourmet is when I have to open little frozen packages and put them in the oven. I think cinnamon is all I have in the cupboard. I don't even have pepper because I don't like it.


 But there are tons of blackberries outside right now and I really have to get some to freeze today or tomorrow. I'm going to try to get a couple large bags full and freeze them. Nothing else out there except the ivy........


 As for raccoon biscuits, unfortunately my little furbags are too spoiled - they have a love affair going with marshmallows right now and are even refusing grapes for the marshmallows. I think I've created sugar junkie raccoons. You are certainly right about them washing everything. They have their own plastic tub filled with water out there and I turn the hose on for them for about a half hour at night, so they can play in the water. I wish I could build them a raccoon lagoon, as one member on our raccoon forum did. He even put a hose and a sprayer in it and called it the Racuzzi.


I have a mama and four kits and I usually throw the leftover cat food out for them. Lately I've been throwing out some grapes and marshmallows into their tub. The grapes sink, so they have something to find when they're "fishing" and the marshmallows float, making it fun for raccoons to play in the water. I've already tried my bread rejects on them and they've been turning their noses up at those, but they did like the pumpkin/yellow cake mix muffins I made and they'll eat anything with whip cream on it. So will I, come to think about it.


As long as I don't have pictures of bread yet, here is one of Nickie on my trailer and one of Mama with the kits: