The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Doubling the starter

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ronnie g's picture
ronnie g

Doubling the starter

I keep my 100% hydration starter in the fridge.  I remove it and allow it to come to room temp.  I feed it 1:1:1 and use half in bread recipe.  Then put remaining half back in the fridge.  Is this okay to continue like this or is there something wrong with my method?

ronnie g's picture
ronnie g

then knock it back, divide it in two, half for using in recipe and the other half to save for next time.

G-man's picture
G-man

Though I'm not sure what you mean by "knock it back" when referring to a starter. You are kneading your starter? Gluten formation is not something you're looking for at this stage and any gases will be worked out for the most part during mixing.

ronnie g's picture
ronnie g

I mean I give it a stir to reduce the bubbles so I can measure it accurately in a recipe, or should I just be measuring it by weight and not worrying about how fluffy it is?

G-man's picture
G-man

Just measure by weight.


 


How 'fluffy' it is matters when determining its strength but not so much beyond that in my experience. More specifically, how much it rises and how quickly. If it is doubling within 12 hours, it's good to use in bread. If it is doing more than that, even better.

ronnie g's picture
ronnie g

Not there yet!It's doubling in 2 - 3 hours.  I realised (sheepish grin) that I wasn't feeding it properly.  I said somewhere else on this sight that I've been mixing a lot of information together (not good) and totally confusing myself.  Can't wait for my "Bread Baker's Apprentice" to arrive!  Anyway I realised that I haven't been feeding my starter very well.  I was only feeding it one-half-half.  So I did some experiments and made two loaves using the 1,2,3 (fool-proof recipe - ha!).  I fed one starter as I've been feeding it and used it at it's peak, then fed one correctly by weight (1.1.1) and used it at it's peak in the other loaf.  Both loaves failed to hold their shape. I shape into nice tight boules, but they just sag and flatten out to a not too attractive shape.  I'm using an Austalian unbleached breadmaking flour (it's not specifically for sourdough though, maybe that's my problem.

RobynNZ's picture
RobynNZ

Looks good Ronnie! I'll bet it tastes good.


Your starter will be pleased that you're giving it more to eat. May I suggest you take a look at Debra Wink's recent comments in her PJ-2 thread in which she talks about starter maintenance. They start with this post:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10901/pineapple-juice-solution-part-2#comment-140505


(The whole thread is worth reading!)


I wonder once you have shaped your boules, where you put them to proof? Are you using something to support them during the proof?


Many people buy built-for-purpose banneton, but I use plastic colanders. You could also line a bowl with a teatowel (linen is good as dough is less likely to stick to it, op shops often have 'ugly picture' 100% linen ones for a song). I use a blend of flour and rice flour to dust the colander so that the bread releases easily once proofed.  I place the bread into the colander 'upside down'.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1n_vULE7BY


Once ready,  I put a piece of baking paper over the bottom of the bread and support the bread with that as I upend it onto my 'peel' (it's actually a small cutting board). Then I score etc.


I'm sure your flour is just fine. 


Cheers, Robyn

Porkbutter's picture
Porkbutter

(linen is good as dough is less likely to stick to it, op shops often have 'ugly picture' 100% linen ones for a song).


 


Robyn,


Maybe I'm missing the obvious, but what the heck is an "op shop"?

RobynNZ's picture
RobynNZ

Hello Porkbutter


Ronnie and I both live downunder, sorry I used an abbreviation, she'd understand. Op shop [besides being the name of a popular NZ band:-)] stands for opportunity shop, which Wikipedia tells me are known as charity shops in the USA.


I've always found it very strange that naff souvenir pictures are printed on good quality linen. Such teatowels can be found in 'as new' condition in op shops here, and can be bought quite cheaply. Proofing bread doesn't seem to take offense at the unfortunate picture on the 'couche'.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charity_shop


and as a bonus:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dX7MktaEMh0


Cheers, Robyn


 

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

In the US, they are more often called "thrift stores" or thrift shops, but they are usually operated by charities like Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc, although not always.

RonRay's picture
RonRay

Ronnie, many (most) artisan loaves tend to "sag". It is more a function of the hydration level of the dough than of the starter.


I agree with RobynNZ that Debra Wink is an excellent source for any questions on care & feeding of your starter culture.


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10856/pineapple-juice-solution-part-1


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10901/pineapple-juice-solution-part-2


IMHO; Those two links should provide more information than many writers of "Bread" books even know !


Also, the link below is a thread you will find very informative - with Debra Wink, Dan DiMuzio, and many others.


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/14913/very-liquid-sourdough


I hope that may be of some help. Also, if you would like a free Levain build calculator (Excel or Open-Office spreadsheets required to use it) I can give you a copy,  I sent several out yesterday. Just e-mail Ron@ronray.us and I will send the applications back to you, as a reply.


Ron

ronnie g's picture
ronnie g

as I've made some beautiful sourdough bread for the first time!  Check it out on my blog.  And I would love to have a copy of your levain build calculator.  so I'll email you today.  Thanks so much.

RonRay's picture
RonRay

You should have the appilcations by now. ;-)


Ron