The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

First starter--am I doing this right?

elissabee's picture
elissabee

First starter--am I doing this right?

On Sunday I made my second attempt at a starter, following Chad Robertson's (Tartine) directions from a recent artlcle in Martha Stewart Living. I mixed the flours and water, weighing all ingredients carefully. The starter bubbled and grew predictably over the last couple of days. This morning I attempted to make the first feeding. Per the instructions, I removed 75g of starter and discarded the rest, then added 150g flour mixture and 100g warm water to the 75g of starter. The instructions say I should have a "thick lump free batter" but my result is a dry-ish ball of what looks like dough! I know I followed the directions exactly because like I said, this is my second attempt. First attempt was last week, on Thursday. The result I got on Saturday when I tried to feed my starter was exactly the same. Does anyone have Robertson's book or know whether the recipe in MSL could have been a misprint? This doesn't seem right and I'm weighing my flours and water on a metric digital scale.

VeeFu's picture
VeeFu

I have the Tartine book and have been working on a starter for some time. Feeding instructions are to discard 80% of the culture and to feed with equal amounts of water and the 50/50 (white/wheat) flour mixture. For consistency, I calculated this out to:


 



  • 40g retained culture

  • 80g flour mix

  • 80g water


 


After mixing it up, the resulting mess looks and feels like a very thick, wet batter, not a dry ball. Seems like the instructions you are following have a lower hydration level and a higher retention level. If the article claims this starter recipie is from the "Tartine Bread" book by Chad Robertson, then it is most certainly mistaken

elissabee's picture
elissabee

Thanks so much! The printed article did state it was an excerpt from Robertson's book. So, I did some googling and found the starter recipe posted on the MSL website. Lo and behold--the online version of the article stated to feed with 150g each of the flour blend and water. I added an additional 50g of water and now my starter looks more like I expected it to. I guess it was indeed a misprint!