The Fresh Loaf

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Starting my Tartine starter

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erinda's picture
erinda

Starting my Tartine starter

I bought the Tartine book and am obsessed with getting going on it, I have a small amount of bread experience but have never made a starter. I followed the instructions by filling a container 1/2 with water and a handful of APF I ended up adding a few more handfuls because it said the consistency should be liek a thick batter, once I achieved the correct consistency I covered the container and placed in the microwave just to keep the temp consistant. Its been 4 days and no bubbles but it seems the water and the flour have seperated? So strange, what did I do wrong and should I just start over? Any advice and ideas are greatly appreciated.


Erin

Ford's picture
Ford

Did you turn on the microwave?  If so, you may have killed the spores and yeast.  Starting a starter is a slow process.  The one devised by Debra Wink is nearly foolproof and avoids the problem of smelly bacteria temporarily getting the upper hand.  Always use unbleached flour and chlorine free water in the process.  Some well known bakers say they use tap water without a problem.  I say err on the safe side.


See


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


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


Ford

erinda's picture
erinda

thats funny, no i did ot turn the microwave on its been hot here and I wanted a dark place with a consistant tempeature. I did use unbleached flour and purified water. I really want to try this starter any other ideas? Should I just start over? Should I put in a different spot?

erinda's picture
erinda

Thank you for this info Ford it really is invaluable I apprecaite it.


erinda

LindyD's picture
LindyD

How purified, Erinda?  Check your bottle.  If it states the water was purified by reverse osmosis, that means all the minerals have been stripped from the water.


Yeast feed on the minerals contained in water.   The minerals benefit fermentation.


If you drink and cook with the water from your kitchen tap, it's fine for baking and for sourdough.  If you live in the city and the water has been chlorinated, draw a jug of water the night before and leave it uncovered.

erinda's picture
erinda

well its actually a water filtration system and there are minerals in there I assume (purified was the wrong word) should I start over and maybe let it grow in a different area?

Ford's picture
Ford

I use water that has passed through activated charcoal as well as a fine filter (Pur filter).  That seems to work for me with the city water in Raleigh, NC, USA.  This filter does not remove much in the way of dissolved salts (minerals).


Ford

LindyD's picture
LindyD


 I followed the instructions by filling a container 1/2 with water and a handful of APF



If "APF" means all-purpose flour, I think you forgot about the whole wheat called for at page 45 of Tartine.  It's supposed to be a 50/50 mixture of "bread flour" and whole wheat - although I've no idea if Robertson means all purpose flour or bread flour.


Rather than tossing your culture, try mixing some whole wheat into it (discarding part of the existing culture) at the next refreshment.   Whole wheat carries a lot of wild yeast in it and that should perk it up.


In the interim, do read those links that Ford provided.  They contain a lot of good information.

erinda's picture
erinda

Thanks Lindy,


Actually right after that sentence it says you can substitute for all purpose flour. Which is what I did, I will try your suggestion.  And you are right the info Ford sent is invaluable.


 

erinda's picture
erinda

Well I threw it all away and will begin again, I apprciate all your tips and advice some very good info from you all. Wish me luck and happy baking...

alexlamont's picture
alexlamont

Erin, your description exactly matches mine. I have now made 3 'thick batters' and every one has separated. There is no darkening of the 'crust' and there is no stinky cheese smell. I was really careful to follow the pictures (as the text refers to a small bowl when he is using a medium plastic box thing) but the results are so far away from the description that I am really flummoxed. Is everyone else really getting this starter done as described - with the nice rising and falling cycle? 


Alex

erinda's picture
erinda

Hi Alex,


It finally worked for me after the 3rd time, I decided to try a different location (a dark cupboard) and I started using a glass jar (that I could stick my hand in) it has been doing great for the past couple weeks, I havent used it yet but it is rising and falling and smelling etc... trying to find a full day to make my first loaf. But its working, I wish I could tell you what I have done. It does at times still seperate but I think its when I use a tad too much water. I can only think the glass and the dark spot helped??? Keep at it it will come together.


Let me know what happens.


Erin

alexlamont's picture
alexlamont

Thanks Erin, I just checked this morning and it is dull and separate. I live in Bangkok so have to keep it in a cooler just to get the temperature down to less than 'hot'. The cooler is in the dark. I will try the glass instead of plastic. Do you have any idea of an exact qty for the water and the mix? I have tried what looks like too much before but todays result was a nice thick batter - still has about 1/2cm of water on top.. 


I intend to keep at it as there is no decent bread here. Amused to hear that you are still waiting to find enough time to bake. This all sounds like a full time hobby.


 


Alex

erinda's picture
erinda

Honestly I dont measure, I make it into literally a thick batter, it still seperates a bit but it doenst mater at this point, how is it smelling? Try a glass container with a lid if you can dont out the lid all the way on. I am not sure what else to tell you. I am in LA, obviously we are in very different environments keep at it... when it starts to change in texture and smell you'll have it....


Good luck!


Erin