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HELP! I am really missing somthing about the feeding and keeping sourdough

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Eyes_green's picture
Eyes_green

HELP! I am really missing somthing about the feeding and keeping sourdough

Glad I found this forum and would appreciate if you guys can helo me out.  I am VERY new to baking, only made 5 loaves so far.  but I wanted to make one specific bread for my Dad (Soviet Borodinsky Rye bread) and it calls for 100% Rye Sourdough starter.  So I am now growing one and currenly on Day 4.  I understand the whole process of growing, but something I miss about the feeding and keeping - let's say my starter just finished growin (Day 7-8, whatever).  So please let me know if I understand it correctly:

I have about 200 grams of starter.  I take 20 grams and discard the rest.

 - First question - where can I use 180 grams that I am about to discard?  I kind of feel bad to through it away... Any recipes?

20 grams of starter put into loosely closed container, add 80 g rye flour and 80 grams water; Mix well, let it double in size and then refrigirate. Will it kill my very brand new starter?  I read that its better to keep it on the counter for a week or two and feed every 3 days, before it is ready to be refrigirated.  But this means I have to throw out a lot fo starter before each feeding and after each feeding?  This is what I am missing... It is confusing....  I bake once a week, sometimes once in two weeks. 

Please help me understand what I need to do.. It will be Day 5 tomorrow and I am hoping it will grow.

 

 

linder's picture
linder

Hi, some ideas from this site - sourdough crackers, pancakes, waffles.  I'm sure there are other ideas out there too.   Also check out this topic : http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/15584/my-123-bread-using-discarded-starter

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Scale down your starter. You can do just fine with a refresh cycle that is 3g starter, 15g water and 15g flour.  The whole thing will fit in a 5.5 oz poly cup with room to spare.  Yes, THROW OUT THE OLD STARTER after the new batch has been refreshed again (so keep the remainder of the one ounce from yesterday as your reserve while the current one ounce grows, then when you make a new batch, throw out the oldest one and keep two). 

Refresh more often.  At 77°F a 1:5:5 refresh will be ripe in 8 or 9 hrs so refresh after 12 hrs; at 68°F a 1:5:5 refresh will be ripe in the inconvenient time of 14 to 15 hrs so it is generally more convenient to refresh at 1:2:2 and continue to refresh every 12 hrs.  Done right (one ounce/30 g of starter after a refresh) will use about 1 oz of flour per day or about 2 lb per month if you refresh daily.

If you are going to refrigerate your starter, refresh at 1:10:10, and wait only an hour after mixing before you put it in the refrigerator.  This is enough time for the microbiology to get the growth started.  Make sure the refrigerator is cold (between 36 and 39°F) and don't let the starter go longer than 7 days before bringing it (or some small part of it) back to room temperature and rebuilding it.  The LAB will actually grow well in the cold, but the yeast will not.  After 7 days in the refrigerator without a refresh everything is dying.  Make sure you refresh it at least twice (at 1:5:5) at room temperature before you make bread with it and refresh it again before you put it back in the refrigerator. [Note: if you are maintaining 1 oz of starter in the refrigerator and you refresh it once at 1:5:5, you have after 12 hrs a total of 6 oz of starter; do it again; 6:30:30 will give you 2 lbs of starter plus an ounce to refresh before refrigerating it and some stuck to the container]

Eyes_green's picture
Eyes_green

You will see below what I did today (1:4:4) and on Friday mornign I intend to feed at 1:10:10 ratio and put in the fridge.  Do you think it will survive one week?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

20-80-80 (or 1-4-4 feed ratio) refrigeration would work for an established starter.  Yours is still young and unbalanced.  Keeping it on the counter top at 75° requires two feeds daily at lower ratios like (1-1-1 or 1-2-2) until the starter has balanced out and shown predictability.  Why? When a starter is young, it is very adaptable to the environment you give it, the yeast and bacterial soup holds a variety of fast and slow producing organisms that when given time, will work out amoung themselves which ones servive in that environment.  You want yeasts that fit to your baking style.  I know that sounds complicated but it really isn't.  If you feed them plenty, setting them up with no limitations you are actually promoting very speedy yeasts that soon demand to be fed too often.  Fine if you have to pump out lots of bread dough three times a day.  For home baking, this type of starter can be an uncontrollable nightmare!   For home baking, and a rye starter, it is good to have one that rises to peak anywhere from 6 to 12 hours at 75°F.  If you over limit your hungry yeast by feeding them once every 3 days at the same temp of 75°F, they will very soon go dormant on you so that they can survive when their environment improves and more food is available.  This can be frustrating and it delays balancing the starter culture, because a dormant yeast will not raise any dough.  You just spent 4 days waking dormant yeast and you would find yourself repeating this process all too often.  Once the starter is balanced and predictable and the yeast population is raising dough, then you can start playing with storing it for longer periods of time in cool conditions so that all you need to do is remove some starter from the fridge, give it food and water and have it ready to mix into dough.

If you want less discard, reduce the amounts of starter you feed.  Simple enough.  If you start seeing growth today, I suggest you feed 20g starter with 20g water and 20g flour and time it recording the temp and how long it takes to peak.  Use a narrow juice glass so you can see and mark changes easily.  If it peaks under 12 hours, fine.  But don't feed it until the 12 hours are up.  If it takes longer than 12 hours than so be it, if it just smells like wet flour, let it go another 12 hours.  

edit:  I see Dough doc beat me to a reply.  I would not go as low as 3 g with a new starter.  Too risky!  The chance of invasion too great.  Maybe next week reduce the 20g to 10g but 10g would be the lowest I would go...  for now.  

Eyes_green's picture
Eyes_green

for your comments!  Its very helpful.  Since I am pressed for time -  leaving on Friday afternoon, I decided to keep 1:4:4 ratio for today and tomorrow - my logic is that it will give them enough feed to be able to sustain in the fridge.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Mini - while I am in general agreement with your guidance and rationale for smaller room temperature feedings at a higher frequency while letting the multiple species in the mix compete with high growth rates, I question the rationale for not going to small total quantities at this point.  With 10^7 organisms per gram the difference between a 3 g retained quantity and a 30 g retained quantity is only one factor of 10.  And the source of "contamination" is the flour you use for the refreshment and not something that is floating around in your kitchen.  If you increase the amount of flour in the feeding, you increase the amount of "contaminant" that you introduce, and the ratio remains the same so long as the refresh ratio remains the same.  It all works out to the same end point.  When you take a small sample, you exclude a lot of contaminants that may be in the mix already.  If you go to extremely high refresh ratios (1:1000:1000) you do create the potential that you introduce a significant number of foreign components and the pH stays high for a long time, giving them a much longer opportunity to grow without the selection pressure of the LAB-produced acid.  But on the other end of the scale, 1:1:1 produces a post-refresh pH that is very close to the cross-over point where LAB growth rate and yeast growth rate are the same - and the harmony of LAB and yeast in sourdough starter depends on the LAB self-limiting its own growth based on pH while the yeast growth is limited by available sugars (my belief based on personal observations/data and as supported by Ganzle's data and growth model).

(edited to correct spelling and grammatical atrocities)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

33g of starter is small enough to dry out if the cover falls off.  

I'm glad to see the starter triple on day 5!  (No need for 1:1:1 feeds as the assorted LAB have kicked in and done their job lowering pH)  I am still not keen on raising feed ratios too high.  I used to believe otherwise but if the starter is fed and left alone for a week with a 1:10:10 feed, allowed an hour to feast and then chilled, it should survive the week alone intact.   

I would remove it from the fridge upon returning and let the starter warm up and make sure it has gone thru most of its food before reducing and feeding.  The week old cold starter will not have much elasticity or height but if you rip the top of the starter open with a spoon, it is easy to tell if the yeasts have been busy.  If activity has been low and the aroma is of wet flour it is not ready to feed and should sit out and ferment more.  The starter is ready to feed again when you detect sour nutty yeasty aromas when warmed up to about 75°F.  

Active rising activity may or may not be present in the week old cold starter until the next feeding with fresh flour so don't worry if it smells great but looks flat.  My favorite thing about rye starters is that they don't really expand much in the refrigerator.  Not like wheat starters that need plenty of space.

Eyes_green's picture
Eyes_green

Day 4 feed last night at 7Pm and today, Day 5 7AM - starter almost tripled in size!  So this is what I did, and please comment my actions:

1 jar - 20 grams of rye starter+80 grams of white, all purpose flour+80 grams of water, mix, close lid, left on the counter.

2 jar - 10 grams of rye starter+40 grams of whole rye flour+40 grams of water, mix, close lid, left on the counter.

I intend to feed it again at 10pm tonight, 10am and 10pm tomorrow and put in the fridge on Friday morning.  Do you think they both will survive until I come back the following Saturday?

By the way, I used 40 grams of the left overs to start a plain rye bread. 

 

 

 

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Don't wait for the starter to mature before you refrigerate it. If you feed it in a ratio of 1:10:10 on Friday morning, wait an hour and then refrigerate it, you will be fine for a week away (assuming that the refrigerator is actually cold, i.e., <39°F).  If you feed it on Thursday night and don't feed it before refrigerating it on Friday morning, while it won't be completely dead when you return it will not be as healthy as it otherwise could be.  If you don't have time on Friday AM to do it, then back up your feeding on Thursday PM by an hour and refrigerate it before you go to bed.

Eyes_green's picture
Eyes_green

Thank you both! I will keep you updated upon my return!

Baker Frank's picture
Baker Frank

Below is the method I use. The information stated comes from Peter Reinhart and Chad Robertson and my interpretation of it works well for me.

Refreshing the Firm Mother Starter: Ratio 3:2:1

Flour:

Whole Wheat

Whole Rye

Unbleached Bread*

100%

85 grams

150 grams

Water (70- 80 degrees):

Filtered

Spring

 

66% to 75%

* Lower hydration for unbleached bread flour and higher hydration for whole-wheat flour.

56.5 to 64 grams

100 grams

Old Mother Starter

33%

28.5 grams

50 grams

 

Directions:

1st.    Dissolve the old Mother Starter into room temperature water.2nd.  Add the flour. Best to use 50% whole wheat bread flour and 50% white bread flour.
3rd.   Combine all ingredients by stirring with a spoon or in a mixer with a paddle attachment until the     flour is completely hydrated.
4th.    Transfer the Mother Starter to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 2 minutes, until the starter is fairly smooth and all ingredients are evenly distributed.
5th.    Place the Mother Starter in a lightly oiled bowl that is large enough to contain the starter after it doubles in size.
6th.    Cover loosely with plastic wrap to allow the escape of carbon dioxide gas.
7th.     Leave Mother Starter at room temperature for 4 to 10 hours until it doubles in size. The pH should read 4.0 or lower if tested.
8th.   When the Mother Starter is fermented, degas it by kneading it for a few seconds.
9th.    Form the Mother Starter into a ball, place it into bowl, cover it tightly, and place it into the refrigerator.
10th.  After a few hours in the refrigerator, vent any carbon dioxide build-up by briefly opening the plastic wrap.
11th.   The Mother Starter is now ready to use for up to 3 days
12th.   The Mother Starter will need refreshing about every 7 days.

Converting A Firm Starter Into 100% Hydration Starter: Ratio 2:2:1

Flour:

Whole Wheat

Whole Rye

Unbleached Bread*

100%

200 grams

100 grams

Water (70- 80 degrees):

Filtered

Spring

 

100%

* Lower hydration for unbleached bread flour and higher hydration for whole-wheat flour.

200 grams

100 grams

Old Mother Starter

50%

100 grams

50 grams

 Directions:

1st.   Mix vigorously 50 grams of the firm starter with 100 grams of 50/50 flour, a blend of white bread and whole wheat bread flours, and 100 grams of 80F of water. The starter should have the consistency of a thick batter with no lumps.
2nd. Cover loosely with a plastic wrap and allow the starter to rise overnight at a cool 65F.
3rd.  The volume of the starter increases over the next several hours and then begins to collapse as the cycle winds down. Depending on the strength of the starter and the ambient temperature the process should take between 2-8 hours. The odor should also change during this time period from stinky and sharp to sweet and milky.
4th.  Repeat this process every 24 hours. After the initial day of conversion use the 100% hydrated starter as your basis for further development. It is best to do the re-freshing at the same time each day.
5th.  When the starter ferments predictably it is ready to use.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Here is a photo of a starter sample that was refreshed 11 hrs ago with ~5 g of starter + 14 g water + 14 g flour (a little under 1:3:3).  The container is a Dart 5.5 oz polypropylene food service cup with a matching lid. After the refreshed starter is stirred and tapped on the counter to settle it in the bottom of the cup, a piece of 3/4" blue masking tape is applied so that the bottom edge is aligned with the top of the starter. The time and refreshment amounts are written on the tape (usually before putting it on the cup). After 11 hrs at 22°C it is past its peak and is ready to be refreshed again.  At this point it is still more than double the original volume (~65cc vs ~27cc at the start). There is no risk of overflowing the container, and it is not tight enough for the CO2 to pop the lid.  One advantage of small sample size is that it cools off quickly when refrigerated (which only happens when I travel).

If I was going to bake tomorrow I would use 5 g to refresh the starter and use the remaining ~25g to seed a 500 g batch (25 + 240 + 240) that would be ready to mix in mid morning (the timing can be modulated a few hours either way by using cold water and leaving it in the pantry to slow it down or putting it over the refrigerator overnight to speed it up).

 

Eyes_green's picture
Eyes_green

Feeding last night at 10PM

1 jar - 20 grams of rye starter+80 grams of white, better for bread white unbleached+80 grams of water, mix, close lid, left on the counter.

2 jar - 5 grams of rye starter+20 grams of whole rye flour+20 grams of water, mix, close lid, left on the counter.

Jar#1 didnt rise...  Jar#2 more than doubled overnight.  What went wrong with jar #1?  The only different thing I did is added different flour this time (bread flour vs all purpose).  Should I discard it and continue only with my rye starter?

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

No need to discard.    Continue feeding the rye starter rye (after a discard) and then blend in about 40g of rye flour (and a little water but leave it thick) into the #1 jar.  It is just protesting as your beasties prefer rye flour because they were geared for it, looking for it, and couldn't find it.  :)

When making a change in type of grain, it is often better to still include rye but substitute part of it with the other flour.  Over the time of several feeds you can decrease the rye and increase the wheat.  It will come along it just needs to adjust.  

Because of your week long plan to refrigerate, I would feed it the 40g rye and immediately refrigerate and come back to it later in a week.  It will be able to cope.

Continue with #2 as planned.

I find it always good to give the starter little jolts of other types of flour, makes your beasts a little more compromising for food.  

Eyes_green's picture
Eyes_green

did you mean to add a blend of rye and white flour into jar#1? 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

stir and refrigerate.   I would blend the flour when you get back and start feeding again.   Then you have time to work on the starter to convert it to wheat.  And while you're away, the refrigerator yeasts will have the rye and the rest of the wheat to work on.  Give them some extra room for the wheat to expand and then forget about them and enjoy your trip.