The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Day four of Sourdough Starter

chuppy's picture
chuppy

Day four of Sourdough Starter

Good evening everyone!

I recently started my sourdough starter that sourdolady suggested starting with ornge juice. Today is day four and I've only notice about 12 little bubbles in the bottom of the tightly covered glass jar I'm using. I've discarded every thing except for 1/4 cup of the mix and then added the flour and spring water. The smell was quite intense but, I once again wonder if I am on the right track? At this point I will say thank you and wait for some response.

In search of my starter - Chuppy

JIP's picture
JIP

I had the same problem and quit again.  For me I think it was a temprature issue my kitchen was too cold.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Chuppy,

It takes a while to get a culture really working right - more than 4 days for most of us. Think in terms of a couple of weeks. What does it smell like? At this point, it may need more frequent feedings. If the smell is sharp and pleasant after a few hours, then I would feed it a couple of times per day at least. It may help to feed it more often or expand it by more than triple each time. Don't overheat it, but somewhere between 70F and 80F is reasonable. If you're closer to 70F, it will take longer, but it will work very well at that temerature, too. The key is, you have to stick with it for a while. It takes a couple of weeks for the right organisms to establish themselves, no matter what method you use. What typically happens is you think it's not working, but suddenly it starts to behave and in about a 24 hours period it goes from sluggish to just fine, at which point you know it's finally really working. However, that could happen anywhere from day 3 to day 14 or even longer.

Bill

chuppy's picture
chuppy

Bill,

At some point should I be seeing a little or alot of doubling in the mixture? It seems that if it is a starter, it should eventualy double in size because of the yeast, which in part will make bred rise? From what I've read so far this is my understanding.

Thanks,

Chuppy

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Chuppy,

If you thicken it up into a thick paste, as opposed to pancake batter, it should rise by double. However, that may not happen until it has "taken off", as I described before. It will be sluggish, and then at some point you'll notice a change, where it's just much more active. At that point, feeding it more frequently and at a higher ratio should help it come to the point where it will double in 4-8 hours or so. However, rising by double will only work right if you use a thicker paste rather than a thin batter.

By the way, I agree with Sourdough-guy that it normally will take off within 3-5 days, but sometimes temperature, some wrong organisms getting the upper hand in the culture for a little while, or maybe not catching the timing and ratios right on feeding could delay the process. However, it almost always will begin to work after a period of time.

Bill

chuppy's picture
chuppy

Bill,

As we speak I can see quite a few bubbles and a great smell comming from the glass jar. I wish I knew how to post pictures on the blog so I can better explain myself. None the less, I think the starter is doing what it should. At least it hasn't gone flat.

Chuppy

sourdough-guy's picture
sourdough-guy

Hi Bill, A couple of weeks is a really long time 3-5 days is what is normal. I'd have bought new flour and started again if it was taking longer than 7 days. But not all things are equal.

Sourdough-guy

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Sourdough-guy,

Yes, I agree that if everything is going well that's true. However, I think people make mistakes in the early going or get unlucky with early stinky phase, like I have at times. So, I'm just saying that it's reasonable to guess that your first go at it could take a while longer than 3-5 days. It seems like it always does work out, but I think people sometimes give up just before it's about to do it's thing.

Bill

sourdough-guy's picture
sourdough-guy

 Hi Bill, yeah I know you were trying to encourage Chuppy, I was just afraid that at the same time you could be having the opposite affect. 2 weeks is a long time I'm not sure I'd have stuck with it in the beginning if I'd thought I had two winks of the stench bucket. I'd probably have been thrown out along with the starter too. lol

Sourdough-guy

chuppy's picture
chuppy

Sourdough-guy and Bill,

No worries here! All is well that doubles in a lit oven right? I found that after I thickened my starter a little and put it in the oven with the light on, the starter began to double in size! Maybe not exactly double, but a definate sign of growth. I've been at home enough that stirring the mixture every 4 or5 hours tends to do something healthy for it. I think it's the oxygen that stimulates the growth a little. I'll keep you both posted.

Chuppy

P.S. Could someone explain how to post pictures on the blog? I would love to show my progress!

Floydm's picture
Floydm

You can click the little camera icon and upload an image here. It is a little quirky, but it works.

Better yet, get a free account at Photobucket and use their tools to manage your images. If you just copy and paste their image URLs into a post, you should be good to go.

chuppy's picture
chuppy

I'll try it and see. Thanks for the info!