The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Should I give up on my starter?

  • Pin It
abbygirl's picture
abbygirl

Should I give up on my starter?

This is day 5 and it bubbles quite a bit but has not risen at all. It is a little cool in my house.  I was just feeding once a day...  Maybe that is my problem? I used rye flour on day 1 and then ditched 1/2 of it and have been feeding with bread flour. It does smell and taste a little sour..  Again just not rising. Any help appreciated.  I am new to this..


Donna

Ford's picture
Ford

Mike Avery said that baking bread takes patience and baking sourdough takes patience squared!


I presume you are starting your own starter with flour and water.  It will take your a month before your starter has really developed, but you will be able to make bread after about 2 - 3 weeks.  If you did not use the pineapple juice solution, you may experience a foul odor after a few days, this too will go away as the starter becomes acidic (sour).  I recommend that you continue your daily feedings and have patience.


Here are a couple of web pages that may help you.




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

  2. www.thefreshloaf.com/node/18697/pineapple-juice-starter

http://www.sourdoughhome.com/starterprimer.html

Ford

 

 

abbygirl's picture
abbygirl

I followed the recipe from a book. Just flour and water. Would it benefit me to add pineapple juice at this point or just continue on as I am doing? Mold is not an issue and it smells and tastes a little sour. Thanks for the links.


Donna

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

let it stand until it tastes real sour.  No need for pineapple juice now.  With the next feeding, don't discard and add more flour to thicken up the starter.  Then keep it warm, like in your pocket.  It's amazing how much heat we give off that can be useful.  I predict that this will then rise a little.  When it appears to stop rising... after about 12 hours, or starts to fall in on itself, discard and feed.  Keep the starter above 75°F or 23°C  for this beginning growing phase.

abbygirl's picture
abbygirl

Now there is an idea! We keep out house a chilly 64-65F.  Right now my jar is under my desk lamp but my partner is going to balk about leaving the light on 24-7. So if I make it thick enough to put in a baggie I will be okay?  I do throw a lot of body heat (thank you menopause) :)

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

Are you going to sleep with it, too?  It's beginning to sound more like hatching an egg ;o)


You can make a simple "incubator".  The easiest is to heat a cup of water in your microwave to boiling and then tucking your starter in the microwave next to the cup of hot water.  The microwave makes a great proofing box and it will stay 75 to 80 degrees in there for 8 or more hours if nobody opens the door (if they do, just reheat the water and put the starter back in). 


Or you can put a cup of hot water in a cheap styrofoam cooler with the starter. 


 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and a big baggy sweater with big pockets couldn't serve me better!  Burp it now and again to exchange gasses.  (gas build up also a sign that things are happening) I don't suggest sleeping with it.  It would just be on delayed timing, sitting out in the cool room while sleeping. Count only the warm hours.


I suggest a freezer sturdy zipper lock style.  Stay away from airports with aggressive pat downs.  :)

Davo's picture
Davo

Erm,. if it's bubbling it's making gas and should rise, unless its a bit thin, in which case the bubbles will just escape and not blow it up. Lemonade doesn't rise, for instance, just lets its gas go. Try thickening it up a bit and see if it rises then.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

.

abbygirl's picture
abbygirl

Well I still haven't given up! I convinced my other half to let me keep the microwave light on where it is a nice toasty 80 degrees. I am still seeing plenty of active bubbles but still no rise so I just fed it and did not add any water..I thickened it up as suggested. How long does it typically take for a rise in this nice environment after feeding?

On another note 3 days ago I started a 2nd one but it is a firm levain. It is certainly tangy and bubbly when I add the water. I also just fed that one so we will see who rises first :) Thanks for all the help! I will get one going one way or another!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

no problem...  take out a little of the starter (tablespoon, discard the rest or set it to the side 'just in case') and blend with water --2x the amount and add flour until it's like toothpaste.  Cover and put it back into the warm spot. 

jackie9999's picture
jackie9999

I have been maintaining my newish starter in my basement...where the temperature is in the low 60's. Previously I was hunting for a warm spot but gave up and decided to try training it to thrive in cooler temps (thanks to the advice from the fine people on this forum). For the past month I've fed it 10:20:30 (starter, water, flour) every 36 hours. I take it out of the basement, feed it and put it back. It's quite happy and taking on a nice sour flavour. The discard I use to bake with and I'm having very good results in my low 67~69 degree kitchen.


Good luck with your starter and let us see some of your baking when it's ready!

abbygirl's picture
abbygirl

The liquid starter is now starting to rise but just the tiniest bit. Nowhere near double. It stays in the microwave with the light on except for about 8 hours at night so I know that is slowing things down. I will try keepint the light on all night without my other half knowing... lol... In the meantime I am enjoying making ciabatta and rye sandwich loaves :)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

The air just seeps out on the surface as bubbles pop.  Thicken it up more like a soft dough and the starter will be able to trap the gasses and rise. 


Something doesn't sound right.  If your starter is in a warm micro for 8 hours per day, it should be perking along just fine, even with 16 hours of 66°F (slowing it down.)  Can you repeat how you feed your starter (amounts) and what routine it goes thru in 24 hours?


Thanks

abbygirl's picture
abbygirl

This is really only day 9 so not bad for a pretty cold start initially.  I left the light on all night last night then I fed it at about 7:30 and it was at 300 grams.  3 hours later and it is almost at 500 grams.  I think my main problem was not having it thick enough in the beginning.


Mini..    I pour off about 1/4 cup and refresh with a slightly larger amount of flour than water so it is like a very thick pancake batter.  So do you all think I am ready to give it a whirl?  Do I use it at the peak of its height or is it ok if it starts to deflate?  I am assuming that after a few more days I can just leave it in my cold house and feed once a week? Thanks again for all the help and answers to my questions.


Donna

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Use most of it into a recipe when it just starts to loose it's dome shape and starts to get a flat dimple in the top.  If it starts deflating thats alright as long as it's cool.  Then keep only about 1/4 cup of the starter to feed and continue like you said.  


You can get your first sd dough boosted with a little warmth too if you need to.   Can't wait to see the 1st SD loaf! 


Mini

abbygirl's picture
abbygirl

SUCCESS!! I do not have a scale yet and I am still trying to learn about the whole hydration thing as I am terrible at math...but I have made enough ciabatta to know what the dough should look and feel like whether I stretch and fold or use the mixer so I needed to make adjustments for the liquid starter. So basically this is 2C bread flour,1C white whole wheat and 1C seminolina 3 tsp salt and a little over 2C water and my 1C starter. It has a mild flavor but I am sure it will improve when my starter matures or if i do an overnight ferment. Here are the stars!


http://i1179.photobucket.com/albums/x382/donna3221960/breadjpeg-1.jpg


http://i1179.photobucket.com/albums/x382/donna3221960/breadjpeg2.jpg

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Hydration is easy to figure with scales...  (water weight divided by flour weight) until then...


The crumb looks very yummy! 


For more sour let your dough ferment at warm temps first at least an hour or two before retarding.  Another trick is to slip one or two slices of this bread into the next loaf, either into the starter or the water.  (I like to crumble it in a blender.)  The starter will eat it just like flour and give you more flavor notes. 


Mini