The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I'm new - need help

  • Pin It
stefwork's picture
stefwork

I'm new - need help

My question is... sometimes when I leave my starter out after feeding it gets a lite crusty layer on top ~ do I stir that back into the starter or do I take it off? 

Also - what about the hard crusty layer that forms on the side of the jar? I have read that, that can be bad for the starter??? 

Thanks for your help - please email me back at wutz1mor2@yahoo.com - with any help you may be able to give me... :)

 

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

I stir everything I can back into my starter, solid or liquid.  If there is stuff on the side of the jar that is too hardened to scrape down into the starter, then I wash the jar.  I figure otherwise I might end up with mold growing there.

 

stefwork's picture
stefwork

thank you for you hellp

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

FYI:  I gave my brother, a sourdough novice, some of my starter with instructions for its safe keeping.  Three months later he asked me to remind him of what I'd told him.  He'd kept it in his fridge unopened without feeding it at all in all that time.  He said the whole thing was hard crusty stuff.  I suggested that he dissolve the crusty stuff in water, add flour and mix to make a sticky dough then let it stand on his counter to see what happens.  It GREW!  Since then he uses this same starter for his baguettes.  They're great.   Don't give up on that hard crusty stuff, I say.

stefwork's picture
stefwork

thank you - great idea - I will try it!

Mira's picture
Mira

I wonder why you're getting a crust on top of your starter after you've fed it.  If your starter is at room temperature and is freshly fed, it shouldn't be developing a crust or liquid.  Do you keep the lid on your container?

I keep my starter in the refrigerator and only refresh once a week (until I'm ready to bake bread, then I take it out and refresh 2 x a day a few days before I'm ready to mix the dough).  If I leave it in the fridge longer then a week it develops that liquid hooch on top. I mix it back in, say sorry to my starter for starving it and "baby" it with regular feedings on the countertop until it's nice and frothy again.  I also change containers everytime I refresh because I'm afraid of developing mould.

Mira

stefwork's picture
stefwork

Mira - It is happening after I feed it and set it on the counter to rest for the nite before I put it back in the refrig.  I am covering it with a lite tea towel as I was told to do as it is suppose to get some air to be able to receive some of the wild yeast in the air!?  Once I put it back in the refrig I do cover it.  thank you for your help :)

placebo's picture
placebo

You should try using plastic wrap. The crust is probably because the tea towel is letting too much moisture escape.

Don't worry about "catching" yeast. The yeast in the starter comes from what's already in the flour. It doesn't come from what's floating around in the air.

bakingadict's picture
bakingadict

Yup I mix it all back into the starter-just feed and stir-sometimes I empty it into a new container to clean the old.

The trick is not to leave it out of the fridge for a long time. I do however leave the cup or two that i take out to make bread out sometimes a couple days to "age"....good luck, starters are usually not pretty, but if you feed and stir and leave in fridge they will last a lifetime :)

stefwork's picture
stefwork

when you leave your starter out do you cover it with anything?  and what do you mean by age?  thanks 

Mira's picture
Mira

Hi stefwork, 

I'm not sure what bakingadict meant by age?  If I left my starter out on the countertop at room temperature for a couple of days without a feed, it would deflate and not be able to rise my bread.  Bakingadict, are you referring to a long fermentation of your final dough?