The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough refreshment error!!!

Flixtonian's picture

Sourdough refreshment error!!!

Hi all.

Need some help working out how to get my starter back on track.

I'm following the Richard Bertinet sourdough starter method from his book "Crust".

Got a great starter and made two sourdough loaves with 400g of the starter leaving me with about 350g left to refresh.

Unfortunately, as it was about 7 am and due to lack of sleep from a crying baby, I switched the flour / water refreshment amounts from his schedule in error!

Instead of:

800g Flour to 400g water... I switched the half water to flour ratio!

I upped the addition of flour to 450g to make up to the 800g for flour (having only 350g of starter)! Then doubled the water to 900g! Should clearly have been 850g of flour and 450g of flour.

Consequently I now have a very liquid starter which I calculate out at somewhere between 50 - 75% hydration?

It seems fine in the fridge (the usual slightly dark water on the top is expected from an earlier time I was running a 50/50 water to flour starter), but I would like to get back to the correct mix or ratio as closely as possible to do his recipes, as the first attempt were really good.

What can I do to get back on track? Clearly I have to add more flour, but in what amount? (Also I don't want to be swamped in starter (yet!) as my wife will not be too happy to share kilos of starter in the fridge!

Incidentally the sourdough loaves seemed pretty good!

Many thanks

Flixtonian (aka Andrew)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

when you mix up the dough.  It will be just fine.   The starter will be ready to use sooner because a more liquid starter will ferment faster.

To get the starter back on track, just make a small maintenance feeding in your normal ratios and amounts and let the yeast catch up before you refrigerate.  Use the discard in pancakes or something.  (It is accidents like these that teach us neat stuff about our starters.)  :)

Flixtonian's picture

Thank you Mini Oven.

I checked it yesterday and it seemed OK. I added 1.3kg of bread four to make up double the addition of water.

It is much stiffer than the starter was originally, and I have a lot more of it, but at least I have nearer the consistency that will be needed for the recipes.

Never mind!  Bumper sourdough loaves baking this weekend then!



Ruralidle's picture

Welcome Flixtonian

You sure as heck have a large amount of starter to bake with!!  I maintain about 400g of starter to Richard Bertinet's method (50% hydration) and bake from it roughly once per week and I only refresh it after use.  I am one of the TFL members who is based in the UK and it tends to be bakers from Europe and the Middle East who refer to M. Bertinet - he doesn't seem to have "cracked" the North American market as yet.  Fell free to ask about UK baking equipment and ingredients if you need to, there are quite a few of us around to help :) .

Flixtonian's picture

But it was my fault for mucking up the refreshment.

The starter looks about the right consistency now anyway. Just have about three times as much starter as I actually need. 

Its trying to climb out of the bowl! 

Looks good just need to bake enough to get it back to a manageable size. Will probably be giving it away at this rate!

Don't know about you, but RB's method seems to produce really good results, but quite messy and noisy! 

The stretch and fold technique seems to involve chucking less dough about with similar results? 

Then again good bread is good bread however you get there I suppose.

Ruralidle's picture

I learned how to bake decent bread from M. Bertinet in Bath so I have a fondness for his slap and fold technique!  I generally use a mixture of techniques, usually starting off with the ingredients in my Kenwood until it's all pulled together into a rough dough, autolysed and then continue with the mixer to incorporate the salt.  I then sometimes use the slap & fold technique, usually for formulae using commercial yeast when the bulk fermentation time is under, say, 2 hours.  Whilst, for long ferment formulae such as the majority of sourdough bread that I make, I use the stretch and fold techniques because the gluten develops naturally (and easily from the baker's point of view) during the extended period of the bulk fermentation.   There is no real logic for why I do this except that I certainly don't want to exert more energy than I have to :) . 

dabrownman's picture

of starter but found out it was a waste of flour for me and it was easier to build stronger levains in 2 or 3 phases that were more sour from less starter.  Now I maintain about 80 G of starter in the fridge and could do less.  I use about 70 g of it for the levain builds for 2 bread recipes (35 g each - building 1:2:3 in 2 stages), take the 10g remainder starter and feed it by adding 40 g of flour (usually 10 g of WW, 10 g whole rye and 20 g of AP) and 30 g water (1:3:4).  Let it sit about 6 hours and chuck it in the fridge.  I usually bake once or twice a week with SD.  I never feed between bakes) It might take 12 hours to do a 3 phase levain build but no starter gets wasted or tossed and the levain is stronger and I think more sour. 

It took me awhile to get to this level, and have been lower,  but it sure is nice once you are there.  I also maintain two SD starters.  One is very old and one is very new.  I also feed them some milk or leftover yogurt whey (maybe 10 g once in a while) and some potato flakes, spelt, farro or oats too (maybe 10 g total).  They like the variety just as much as we do I think plus it keep them on their toses - if they have toes :-)