The Fresh Loaf

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starter is very thick and stretchy

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CSBaker's picture
CSBaker

starter is very thick and stretchy

This is my first starter, and I know its alive because it bubbles when I feed it.  But, I keep reading that it will be the consistency of pancake batter, and mine is very thick and very stretchy. For example, it won't "pour" it more just globs. Is this the way it's supposed to be, or do I need more hydration?  

jcking's picture
jcking

It seems you are measuring not weighing. To get the batter effect add a little more water. Use a chop stick to stir as often as every 3 hours if possible, wild yeast like a little air. What method are you following? What type of flour is in there?

Jim

CSBaker's picture
CSBaker

I followed Floyd's instruction from this forum.  I am weighing, so that's not the problem.  I started with rye flour (per Floyd's instructions) and then fed with bread flour.  

jcking's picture
jcking

Rye flour comes in different grinds and each one absorbs water differently, more or less. It's the same with bread flour though not as much unless you're using King Arthur Bread flour with it's higher protein level. If using KA Bread, switch to AP. Keep stirring, feeding and watching the progress and your're on your way. Recipes/instructions are a guide. With practice, trial and error, and a feel for the dough, a bakers' skill improves.

Good bakers doesn't have mistakes, they have learning experiences {:-)

Jim

CSBaker's picture
CSBaker

Thanks, Jim.  If it's not too much trouble, can I ask you one more question . . . I am looking for my first recipe to use my new starter.  But, they all give the hydration ratios for the starter.  But, because I have messed with it (I am guessing everybody does) I don't know anymore what the hydration ratio is.  For example, today I fed the starter and added a little extra water because of the stretchiness.  So, when I find a recipe that calls for a starter of 100% hydration, how do I know if I have that?  Or, do I create that when I feed the starter before beginning the recipe?

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

That's what I do.  I don't bother anymore to weigh the flour that I am using to maintain my starter.  I measure in the water and then add approximately enough flour to make it look and feel as I am accustomed to it looking and feeling.  But I do weigh what I feed it the night before I want to bake with it.

jcking's picture
jcking

CS,

Since a small portion of your starter goes into the first build, I wouldn't worry too much. If you've gotten your storage starter to the batter stage you should be alright.

Personally I keep a 66% storage starter. That way it's very close to the final dough % of most breads, with a medium sour flavor and good rise. Keep in mind a SD  bread follows a different path than a commercial yeast dough.

Jim

jcking's picture
jcking

Did I break something?

Jim

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Nah, the database just acted up this morning.  I think I've got everything back to normal now.

-Floyd