The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Tartine Starter rising too quickly

bze deb's picture
bze deb

Tartine Starter rising too quickly

Great forum!  I've started my Tartine starter.  I live in the tropics and my house is probably 80 degrees or so.  After less than 24 hours, my starter had grown right out of it's container - more than doubling in volume.  I decided this was a good thing and ignored it for another 24 hours.  When checking it today (after 2 days) it has separated.  It smells "sour"  and there are bubbles on the water.  I stirred it in, dumped the 80% and fed it, hoping it's okay.  Should I feed more frequently due to the heat here?  Should I have fed it after one day since it was already bubbling?

cranbo's picture
cranbo

I'm sure it's fine, but because of the heat, you'll probably have more challenge keeping the starter cool on a regular basis. 


If it's too fast, you may not be able to match it to your baking (and starter feeding) schedule. 


In your case, some refrigeration of your starter may be necessary. 


 


 


 

totels's picture
totels

You should definitely feed it more frequently due to the heat. Temperature makes a huge difference in the activity of the yeast. You will want to pay attention to the way your starter acts and not the printed times, to begin with.

Tartine is based in San Francisco, which is generally about 30ºF cooler at this time of year.

Depending on how often you plan on using your starter, you can put the starter in the refrigerator to retard it's growth. After feeding, let it rest about 30min then put it in the fridge. The starter should still be active in the colder temp, just slower(sometimes this is preferred as it promotes the production of different types of acids). You will still want to keep an eye on it to learn the rise and fall of your starter.

For reference, baking in London, UK(40ºF right now) I feed my starter once a day while maintaining, and twice a day 48hours before I plan on using it.

bze deb's picture
bze deb

Thanks for the tips.  Once I got the starter going, I was planning to store in the refrigerator anyhow.  Summer, esp. is just too hot to keep it out ( I don't have air conditioning).  


I notice that about 4 hours after feeding (now) it has some small bubbles in the liquid.  I guess it's on the right track.


 


 

totels's picture
totels

In the Tartine book, p46 the last two paragraphs talk specifically about what to look for in your starter.

You can also see some action shots here: http://www.northwestsourdough.com/

yy's picture
yy

you can also try diiscarding even more starter each time you refresh it. Just save a tablespoon of it. That's enough to keep the culture going.

bze deb's picture
bze deb

I decided to give up on the first starter.  It was watery and not too bubbly.  Flour is cheap, so I started again.


 I picked a cool, rainy day (76 deg).  It's been 24 hours.  The starter has doubled in size, is bubbly, smells sweet, not sour yet.  Because my environment is so different from where Tartine is, I need some advice on when I should feed.  I think last time I waited too long - (2 days - it rose out of jar and then went dead).  The book says wait until it smells ripe and is bubbly. Well, I have the bubbles, just not the ripe yet.  Hints?

cranbo's picture
cranbo

Hi bzedeb,


If it has doubled in size, then it's working, and your starter is ripe! 


I suggest feeding your starter when it just starts to collapse on itself.  You'll have to figure out how long it takes to start collapsing, could be 4 hours, could be 6 hours, could be 8 or more, you'll need to pay attention to it. 


After 2 days, it most certainly won't be dead, but it will be very hungry.


I think most people here agree that 2x a day is a good feed schedule, especially if you will be baking. 


When not baking (assuming you're storing your starter in the fridge), you can feed it 1x per week, or even less if you have a very firm starter. 


Good luck! 

bze deb's picture
bze deb

Thank you!  Just the info I was looking for.

bze deb's picture
bze deb

Update:  My starter is just beautiful!  I've been feeding twice a day as suggested due to the heat. It rises, it falls, it's bubbly and smells great (sweeter after feeding- more sour 12 hours later.  I am hoping to give the bread a try this weekend.  

cranbo's picture
cranbo

happy to hear it's working well for you now.