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Starter didn't rise after last feeding

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am529's picture
am529

Starter didn't rise after last feeding

I've had a starter going for about 2 weeks now I think, and it had been fine so far. I didn't know that much about sourdough starters when I first made it, so I used the recipe from a baking book I have (which is equal parts water and flour with one packet of active dry yeast). I've been feeding it twice a day and pouring off at least half every 2 to 3 days.


A few days ago my starter stopped rising/bubbling as much after feeding it and I was a bit concerned, so I decided to stir in more flour so that it was a 2:1 ratio of flour to water. After doing so the starter slightly more than doubled in volume (to 8 cups) within about 2 hours and then gradually went back down to 4 cups over the next day. I tasted a bit of it to see if it was alright and it tasted like yeast, beer (just a little bit), and biscuit dough. The recipe I was going to use it for, was in the book I found the starter recipe in, so of ocurse it required a starter with equal parts flour and water (though I guess I could have used my starter the way it was and just slightly increased the amount of water and decreased the amount of flour in the bread recipe).


So today I mixed in enough water to bring it back to a 1:1 ratio of flour to water, added another cup of fresh flour/water mixture, stirred it up really well, and then pour out about half (since it was up to the top of the container and I didn't want to risk it overflowing). I did that about 4 hours ago now, and the smell, color, and consistency still seem alright, but I'm concerned because the starter hasn't risen or bubbled since then (except for small bubbles on the surface). Has it gone bad, or do I need to do something to revive it?


 


I've been using tap water and bleached white flour, and I'm keeping it in a 2 quart glass container with a towel on top.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Try this:  Take out 1/4 cup of your starter and add 1/4 cup water (60g) and an equal weight (60g) or 1/2 cup of flour.  Stir well and place in a large mouthed jar.  Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and a rubber band.  Mark the level and wait a few hours and mark the level again.  Do this until it peaks and starts to fall.  How long does it take? If it falls before the 8 hour mark, wait until about 12 hours are up and remove 1/8 cup and repeat as above to feed with 1/4 c water and 1/2 c flour. The rest is discard and can be used in pancakes or other recipes along with baking powder or yeast.  Feed every 12 hours.


Once the starter is rising and peaking under 8 hours.  You may reduce the starter to just a tablespoon to feed with about 3 tablespoons of water and flour to thicken to a paste.  Cover loosely with plastic and rubberband and let rise on the counter for about 3 hours, put into the refrigerator until you know what you want to do.  To make a 100% hydration starter from the refrigerated mother starter take out about a tablespoon for every 100g of starter needed add 50g water and 50g flour stir and let rise overnight.  Use in the recipe when it is peaked.


No need to make large amounts to discard.  While you're waiting for that little starter to rise, Park the older big jar of starter covered in the fridge for now.  How much is it?  Depending on how the above suggested mixture reacts, you might be able to make bread from some of this jug.  The sooner the better.  Now you need a recipe.  I'm guessing that maybe one third of it is flour.

am529's picture
am529

thanks for the tips.


I'll try it out tomorrow.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and it still smells like a ripe starter, then you have most likely underfed it.  I suggested reducing the starter or you will soon be swimming in the stuff and have too many underfed beasties.  After reducing and feeding, the starter normally smells like wet flour until the beastie count rises.  The smell of the starter gradually changes while the gasses build thru fermentation.  So your comment that a just fed starter smells right without further explanation is worrying to me.

am529's picture
am529

I had way too much, so I got rid of most of it. I kept 1/2 cup and fed it with 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup of water. It bubbled and rose a bit, but not as much as I expected.


RIght after I fed it it still smelled the same for the most part though. In fact, the smell never seems to change more unless I add a lot of flour (relative to the amount of starter). I think my problem is that I'm not feeeding the starter enough (relative to its volume). It always seems to do best when I add at least 1 cup of flour.

am529's picture
am529

well after feeding it again (a slightly larger amount this time) it seems to be doing really well. Thanks for your help.