The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

why does my SD starter look like a poolish?

nycbaker11's picture
nycbaker11

why does my SD starter look like a poolish?

Hello Bakers, 

I have a SD starter with a mix of white flour and rye.  I took it out of the fridge last night to get it going for next week's Tartine country loaf.  I separated 150 gr.  and fed it with 75 gr of each KABF and spring water.  This morning I see it has doubled but it's not looking like a 100% hyd. starter.  Instead it looks poolish like, full of strands and very gluteny like.  

maybe reason being the BF with high protein absorbed much more water?  anyways, I discarded half and fed again except added more water. let's see what it looks like by this evening.    

TIA

 

Ray

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

that is very rich in protease that "melt down"  the preferment. A tiny touch of salt (0.5 - 1.0% respect to the flour) will solve your problems.

nycbaker11's picture
nycbaker11

I should add a dash of salt in the starter? note: rye % in starter is ~ 15%.  

Thank you, 

Ray

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

but in the preferment (the biga that you prepare before the bread). I mean, the starter can be maintained as it is now, but in order to control how it affects the dough you need salt in the biga.

jcking's picture
jcking

Ray,

I believe you have the correct idea. Switching to a different type of flour is likely the cause. That is the reason P. Reinhart says "let the dough tell you what it needs". In addition switching flours can cause a starter to slow down or speed up for a short time until stability is resumed. By the way most seem to use starter equal to, water and flour or less of the storage starter when refreshing. So you may try, storage starter-water-flour, 1-1-1, or 1,2,2,...

Jim

nycbaker11's picture
nycbaker11

I guess I need to start feeding it with AP flour and just a tiny bit 5-7% of rye and see what happens. 

 

Thank you, 

Ray

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Going by your descriiption, my ripe levains (100% Hydration), built from a small amount of stored seed starter (also 100% hyd.), and fed usually with KA bread flour alway look that way "full of strands and very gluteny like" at their peak. They triple their volume in about 7 hours at room temperature, and produce excellent breads. Am I missing something here?

David G

nycbaker11's picture
nycbaker11

Hi David, 

I'm new to SD starter.  I've had mine in the fridge for a few weeks now (never baked with) . I take it out once a week discard half, feed it and put it back in fridge.   Due to next week's bake I'm trying to refresh it and feed it twice a day at 100% hydration and  keeping it on kitchen counter.  I always see 100% hyd. starter images on here as being very liquidy , so this is where I was concerned.

Thank you, 

Ray

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Your starter sounds fine to me.  I was reluctant to jump in with a lot of advice, not knowing you were new to sourdough.

I've baked sourdough with success for about a year and a half before my maintenance  practice--identical to yours--ultimately resulted in a runny, smelly seed starter that lost most of its leavening power. Not knowing enough, then, I trashed my long-used starter, and initated another. Sadly, it behaved exactly as my former, mature starter. At that point I turned to TFL's best source: Debra Wink.

With her gracious help and guidance I was able to save my new starter. Now, I'm once again making excelllent sourdough loaves weekly. More importantly, I've changed the way I maintain my seed starter, again based on Debra Wink's guidance. At this point, you appear to have a healthy starter, but I suggest you change your maintenance method. It doesn't require any more work, just a change in procedure.

Here's what I'm doing now. Each time I build a levain for baking I make enough extra to entirely replace my existing seed starter.

Yes, you read it rightly. I only keep 60g of seed starter, stored in the refrigerator. Each time I make a levain (almost weekly) with the same flour I use to maintain the seed starter I make about 40g more than I need. I discard all of my remaining seed starter, wash out its container, and place 20g of ripe levain in the clean container. I then feed it with 20g of  KA Bread Flour, and 20g of our great, unclorinated, well-water, andd return it to the refrigerator. (The other extra 20g disappears in the levain's respiration, or stuck to the plastic spatula.) During those weeks I only build levains with Whole Wheat, Rye, or mixed flours I seperately make about 50g of fresh levain with bread flour, and use it to replace/refresh my seed starter.

Here are four links (all TFL threads) I highly recommend you read, or at least scan, and save in your favorites. The first three are from Ms. Wink, and contain a wealth of correct information regarding sourdough: science, not foklore, misinformation, or opinions. The first one is the genesis of the maintenance procedure I now use, and recommend to you.  The last one is my posting of how I still build my ripe levains for dough-making. I started doing it two years ago, and haven't changed. There are other ways, easier and less time consuming, that are probably as effective.  Nonetheless, the 3-build, 24 hour approach I use has never failed me. The second thread also contains the blow-by-blow exchange of information between Ms. Wink and me when we (mostly she) saved my new starter.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10901/pineapple-juice-solution-part-2#comment-175526

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10856/pineapple-juice-solution-part-1

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10901/pineapple-juice-solution-part-2

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/12766/building-formulaready-levain-starter

Welcome to the world of sourdough!

David G

 

nycbaker11's picture
nycbaker11

Thank you David, some great reading there... some of it a bit deeper than I want to dive into LOL.   PS: I'm glad to report to you that my starter this morning looked great...full of large bubbles.  There's still one very important aspect I've yet to understand... when using SD starter to bake with...Need I wait till full peak time or I can use it the morning after the night feeding where it falls back some YET it's full of bubbles.

Thank you in advance, 

Ray

davidg618's picture
davidg618

BUT it's best used at its peak. Using it post peak will result in less vigourous bulk fermentation, and longer final proof times. That said, it may not be noticeably significant. It depends on how soon after it peaked, it was used, and its emvironment's temperature. Change happens relatively slowly in sourdough cultures. Some formulae specify leaving levain pre-ferment for 12 to 16 hours. At room temperatures (72°F - 76°F) I think most home bakers' levains will peak approximately 8 hours after feeding; longer levain fermentation builds more complex flavors, and can increase sourness, but don't expect puckering sour, again influenced by temperature. As I recall Chad Robertson makes this point frequently in his book, Tartine Bread. (I don't recommend this book, despite its and its bread's enormous popularity).

I recommend you get to know your starter--each one has its own "personality"--by adjusting your timing to, at first, work with it as close to its peak as possible. The best single piece of advice I received when I started baking sourdough was, "Learn one formula at a time". My mentor, then went into a long diatribe why this so important.  I recently wrote another blog entry http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/24931/baguettes-and-kiss-principle that says more about this discipline you may wish to read.

There are some star home bakers on TFL (I'm not one of them...yet.) who frequently share their experiences and insights. I've got a handful I turn to, frequently, for advice.

Please post your results next week, pics if you can. A crumb shot is obligatory;-)

David G

P.S. Yes, Debra's Pineapple Solution 1 and 2, are heavy going. Nonetheless, its worth reading, and re-reading, occasionally, as your own knowledge and experience with sourdough grows.

nycbaker11's picture
nycbaker11

Thanks for clarifying a few points on SD starters David.  Appreciate all your input on this subject. 

PS: I very much enjoyed your KISS baguettes blog from last week ;)... It's nice to simplify bread baking when at times you feel like you're in Calculus course back in college LOL.

Ray

jcking's picture
jcking

David,

No worries mate. I'm sure if you altered your process, such as switching flour, something would seem different. Your starter seems to be stable and that's the point. No matter flour, hydration or procedure a stable starter is the goal. Soupy, strandy, soft or firm; different bakers can get the desired results using somewhat different starters. Don't fix what's not broken.

Live long and bake often...

Jim

nycbaker11's picture
nycbaker11

Great...will see what it bakes next week. 

 

Ray

davidg618's picture
davidg618

 

Regards,

David G

davidg618's picture
davidg618

If you look at the pictures that illustrate the last reference I posted above--Making Formula-ready Levain--you'll see 100% hydrated levain builds at their peak. Their surface is irregular, with many unbroken gas bubbles--much like a proper, ripe poolish looks. I'll go out on a limb here, and suggest photos you've looked at of liquid levains with many, many bubbles on their surface--some even frothy with bubbles on bubbles--and level or slightly sunken surfaces are past the peak of their leavening power, or at hydration higher than 100%. I try to use ripe levain at its peak.

David G