The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Gigantic petrie dish?

Thegreenbaker's picture
Thegreenbaker

Gigantic petrie dish?

Hi all,

 

My question is this;

How likely is it to grow other organisms in your "newly-being-created" starter?

 

I am doing a 100% rye starter and I kept the lid on after each time I fed it. tonight will be the 4th feeding and possibly go from seed culture to barm. (I am following Reinhearts Sourdough starter recipe in BBA but with the amounts halved.)

I had a friend come over last night who has made sourdough before and told me to take to lid off or I will grow mould and then went on about Ergot-with all seriousness. So now I am a little concerned. :S Should I throw it all out and start again?

Since leaving the lid off, a skin has been created and even though its bubbling it isnt rising much. As I said, tonight is feed 4.

 

What should I do?

Should I do what sour dough lady does and use pineapple juice?

 

Theparanoidgreenbaker.

 

Here it was yesterday before I threw away half and fed it.

 

and here is where my starter is at the moment

 

It smells quite good. sour, just like a sourdough. not bad at all. :S 

 

 

Thegreenbaker's picture
Thegreenbaker

:S  *eeeps*

 

So, when does it become safe to use the starter? I have to throw away half today and then feed it again, and thats the last feed until I am supposed to turn it into a barm (according to BBA) so do I do as he says or keep it as a seed culture for a few more days?

 

theconfusedgreenbaker

 

 

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Thegreenbaker,

All kinds of stuff can grow in the culture over the first 2-3 days, including some nasty organisms like Salmonella or E. Coli. Eventually, certain Lactobacillus and Yeast species will dominate. That's why sourdough cultures work. The right organisms create an environment that other stuff can't survive in easily. There's no way for me to say what's safe or not, and everyone has different approaches and hot buttons, but in general the culture should be ready to use when you can refresh it, it bubbles up properly, smells good, and you can repeat that cycle in a regular pattern. Most things I've read would say you need about 5-7 days for the culture to really be stable, but sometimes it's taken more like 14 days for me if things didn't go well.

By the way, it seems like a common problem is not increasing feeding ratios and frequency once a new culture becomes active.

The only thing I've read about mold is that it can grow on the sides of your container where old culture or flour has accumulated. I generally switch storage containers when I refresh my culture, so it is just poured in, leaving the sides clean.

Mine is not a rye culture, so I'm not sure what people do with their rye cultures. However, I usually refrigerate mine when storing it. That probably would reduce the chances of mold growing or some wrong bacteria getting a foothold, but I'm not sure.

I use a rubber lid that seals the container but allows gas to escape if pressure builds up. Plastic wrap and a rubber band is an example of the same thing. I've heard both tight seals and loose seals can work. Somehow, it makes sense to me that you would want to let the gases building up in a culture escape, but I see the "tightly seal the container" instructions frequently in texts about how to start a culture.

I haven't experienced any mold problems storing mine for weeks at a time in the refrigerator and using a clean container each time. Maybe someone else has more some details about when mold happens, what the danger is, and how to avoid mold.

Bill

Thegreenbaker's picture
Thegreenbaker

Thanks bwraith :)

 

This has helped me alot. I will keep at it and wait till it is active and smells good. :)

I think it just feels like it has been forever as it is. Its only day 4/5 now and it didnt get a feeding last night as the instructions in BBA say if it hasnt risen or doubled in size dont feed it and let it go for another 12-18 hours.  :S  its been another 12 hours and isnt doing much at all, so I think I'll throw half away and refresh it again. :)

fingers crossed :)

 

thegreenbaker 

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Thegreenbaker,

Even though it may not have started rising by double, I would still feed it at least every 12 hours and at least 1:1:1 by weight, as long as it has fermentation smells and a few bubbles.

You may want to read the sourdough starter faq. There is a whole procedure suggested there for getting a new starter to take off.

Good luck with it.

Bill

JerryMac's picture
JerryMac

Follow his instructions to the letter, regardless of what your instinct tells you. I have made this starter and it is fabulous!

You learn by following blindly and watching very carefully (and thinking) !!!!! 

Mangia Bene, :)

Jerry 

 

Thegreenbaker's picture
Thegreenbaker

It is a great starter. Tastes great, but I am still dubious about eating the bread. *laughs*  I still think "what other beasties are in there"

 

Such a silly paranoid woman I am. but, I will get over it :)  I have a huge sourdough lof waiting to be consumed.

 

Mangia bene to you too :)  and we do :)  a little too well;)

 

thegreenbaker