The Fresh Loaf

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sourdough starter stopped bubbling.

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ribbs2521's picture
ribbs2521

sourdough starter stopped bubbling.

I know this has probably been posted a million times but I looked around and I'm still not sure what to do.  I want to believe there is hope but this is my first starter.

Here are the details:

I am following PR's starter technique using organic raisins soaked in water from his Crust and Crumb book.  I am currently on day five although I have not performed the day five steps yet.  Everything was looking good, I had a decent amount of bubbling under the "hooch".  It wasn't a whole lot but it seemed to match the description in the book.  Yesterday's task was to half the starter and feed it, I did that and now I am 4 hours away from doing day five steps and it looks pretty dormant.  In the book it said to put it in the fridge if it was really bubbly so if it's been 20 hours and it isn't really bubbly at all I'm thinking something is going wrong here.

As you can see, there are bubbles in the "hooch" and, although you can't see it in the picture there are tiny bubbles in the starter, very tiny and far and few between.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/54485125/Sourdough%20Starter%204D%2020H.jpg

EDIT: Sorry if you tried to view this and got some weird download.  I forgot the .jpg on the end of the address so it downloaded the picture with the wrong file extension.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Nothing is wrong. You just need to give it more time, and a warm place. Most starters take a good 10 days to get up and running well. Keep up with your feedings and it will soon wake up and reward you!

ribbs2521's picture
ribbs2521

Well that is reassuring, thank you, so is it safe to half it each time I feed it?  I have five cups of it and I don't need any more than that at any point in time plus I'd like to save on my flour.

Also, the book says to add 2 cups of flour and 1.5 cups of water.  I've read elsewhere that I don't have to double the starter, just throw in a cup of flour to keep it going.  Should I continue with the two cups of flour or can I reduce it and just use one cup?

The book says if the yeast start to die it can alter the flavor and I don't want that so I'll do whatever it takes to get this right.  I love sourdough bread but I've never made my own.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

You can reduce the starter drastically from what you are doing now. Reinhart no longer uses that method in his newer books. He now starts out with only one ounce of flour. Once the starter begins to show activity it is very important that you discard half to three quarters of it before feeding. It also helps to thicken it up when it gets active (more flour/less water) and you will need to feed it two or three times daily to keep it healthy. You don't want to put it in the fridge for the first couple of weeks. Once you do start keeping it in the fridge, you won't need to feed it more than once a week or so unless you bake more often than that.