The Fresh Loaf

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Understanding newborn starter maintenance

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Nepakshi's picture
Nepakshi

Understanding newborn starter maintenance

Hiee :-)

I tried making a wild yeast starter over a year ago and after two failed attempts (lack of patience) gave up.  Now again i am bit by the bug and am on the 2nd week (10th day) of my new starter. This time i loaded myself on patience and seem to be doing well so far.

I scoured the web and tried to equip myself with thorough reading on sourdough and also articles posted by Debra Wink. All seems well with my starter but few basic questions which i am unable to get help on.

This starter was created with freshly squeezed pineapple juice and fresh ground whole wheat flour. I was discarding n feeding it in 24hrs cycle as 2 oz of starter + 1 oz of water + 1 oz of wheat flour till a day ago and lately I saw it would double in about 12 hours.

Now from today 1oth day - I changed it to 1 oz starter + 1 oz water + 1 oz flour. 

As a 2nd step now I want to understand the maintenance of this starter as I believe it seems to be developing well. I went thru this link (of dlstanf2) and was trying to understand the maths and hydration etc. He has mentioned about how much flour and water to take to reach a certain hydration, which looks quite helpful.

What I didn't get was how much of starter to add to it to maintain that hydration ? Will try to understand this by an example again from the same link :

for 67% hydration - I should take 20 gr water and 30 gr flour - however, I am clueless on how much starter I should add to this ? (I am mathematically challenged :( and hope my question doesn't have something to do with that - that teeny weeny feeling inside tells me it must be some calculation part that i am missing on).

My starter is yet to develop its full potential and I am trying to understand the feeding/maintenance that will help me grow it well. It will be helpful if someone can guide me to a one day/24 hr feeding cycle that will yeild a robust active starter.

I am not so rigid on whole wheat flour or AP flour, I had fresh ground whole wheat flour handy and so have been using it for the starter.

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

dlstanf2 starts with 50g to feed to make approximately 100g total.   

My personal opinion is that dlstanf2's starter is maintained on the verge of starvation.  

See what feeding (1:1:1) does and watch your starter not only double but peak or reach maximum height.  Use a narrow marked container to measure.  When the starter is peaking and starting to fall back on itself under 12 hours, then I would feed more flour for maintenance.   

Mini

 

Nepakshi's picture
Nepakshi

Thanks Mini Oven !

I haven't seen my starter more than double and neither does it fall. Even when it was doubling at 12 hrs, i would wait for another 12 hrs to see if it would triple. It will go a lil above double but not more than that and would not fall. I would see a thick blanket like skin forming on the top - which if stirred would get lumpy and wouldn't mix with rest of the starter. So i remove the thick skin layer and take the remaining bottom of the starter for next feed.

I assume this may be cause of the whole wheat flour that I am using. I do loosely cover the lid, is it the air that is causing the dry thick layer on the top ?

Yes I will maintain it at 1:1:1 for few days and check its development.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I like to use plastic and a loose rubber band but you can easily invert a bowl over the top or a small plate.  Just don't make it too tight so gasses can't excape and you keep bugs out.   I'm guessing that the surface is drying out.   :)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and fallen back on itself, do not discard but stir in more water and flour.  After 12 hours reduce the size of the starter to feed 1:1:1  again.  You should see the peaking times getting shorter.  

The link and your post do not mention room temperature or the temp of the starter but if your room is below 72°F or 22°C your starter will react slowly.  Should you find a warmer place for it to stand, your yeast will multiply faster.  Look for a spot above 75°F.  Put a dish under the starter so if it goes over, clean-up is easier.

Nepakshi's picture
Nepakshi

The room temperature ranges between 25°C to 28°C and will gradually get warmer as we are into summers now.

I have never seen my starter fall onto itself even if I wait for 24hrs. What it does so far is - gets a lil over double in about 12 hrs and then for another 12 hrs nothing happens. So in a span of 24 hrs, it rises - gets double in about 12-13hrs and after that it gets steady - no rise, no fall. 


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Do you stir your starter anytime during the first 12 hours?   What happens when you try to stir at about 12 hrs?  Does it then fall?  What do you see when you tear open the top?   

Try making a little loaf using some 12 hr old starter.    :)

Or take about 1/2 oz starter (12 hrs old) and feed 2 oz water and 2 oz flour and see what happens...  (aside from the maintained starter)  and then make a loaf from this starter experiment.