The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

New Starter Question

Skot M's picture
Skot M

New Starter Question

Last early last month in anticipation of making my annual Pandora for Christmas, I tried to revive my sourdough starter to no avail. Oh well.

So anyway I decided after the beginning of the new year I would start a new starter, so last Sunday night  (1/8/12) I got started using the " Artisan Baking Across America" starter recipe, the reason being is it was the recipe I used last time and it worked well for me.

So it's your French -Style starter recipe, using water and Rye flour. So here is where it jumped the track. 12 hours later the "day one" starter had more than doubled. So I waited for 24 hours and decided to refresh (Monday night).  Tuesday morning, 12 hours into the first refresh  and,  the starter has probably tripled and is full of bubbles and smells.

 Quick side note I don't think I have a live yeast contamination problem, all of the containers and utensils used were dishwasher clean.

So anyway my question is how should I proceed ?

 I'm thinking I will move to the next step, that the recipe calls "the third starter"  

Fermented starter     60 grams

Water , lukewarm     45 grams

Bread flour                 90 grams

The thing that is causing me to question, is why my starter seems to be progressing so fast. And if I should do anything differently.                                                                     

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

The microorganisms that populate a new starter are seldom the ones that become mainstay. These earlybird microorganisms process and acidify the environment, making it comfy and habitable for the microorganisms you want in a starter, namely Candida or Saccharomyces yeasts living symbiotically with Lactobacillus bacteriaThink of these first comers as the movers who fill the house with furniture before the real family moves in.

Sadly, their very vibrant (and often noxious smelling) metabolic activity tricks people into thinking all is going so well right before it seemingly dies.

And it was going so good! It happened so fast!


A quick search in the SEARCH box will reveal about 10,000,000 questions like, "My starter was so active on Day 1 and Day 2, but then it just stopped! What happened?"

Nothing happened, at least nothing bad. The movers finished their moving job and now the family will begin to slowly move in.

Don't be tricked by the activity you see in your starter the first few days. It'll go like mad and then just stop. That's just what it should do.

Don't be concerned if you see nothing happening for many days.

Keep feeding it according to your recipe and stand back.

It'll come back to life again eventually, usually around Day 7 - 10, and become a happy home for Candida and/or Saccharomyces yeasts and Lactobacillus bacteria.

Then you enslave them and force feed them flour and demand they make ye bread!

Skot M's picture
Skot M

@thomaschacon   Thanks for the reply and it makes sense. I will drive on with the scheduled refresh's .                         

RobynNZ's picture

Take a look at Debra Wink's very useful explanations in her posts known on TFL as PJ1 and PJ2: