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Help with starter need ? Answered

kbxkb's picture
kbxkb

Help with starter need ? Answered

Okayn

 I have started my first two sourdough starters with so many recipes out there and methods  I went for the easier process. I tried one using whole wheat flour (2c) and honey and yeast in another jar I used bread flour (1c) and white sugar. They have both done well and on day two I would feed in evening and both double with no issues. I stir in the morning and then stir and feed in evening. When I feed I use a 50/50 ratio of water and flour with a pinch of sugar or honey after pouring out about half of the mixture I add mix and stir. My questions are 

1) when is it ready to use? I am on like day six or seven both have a decent smell yeasty/alcohol ?

2) have I ruined it since I don't measure and weigh everything?

3) when I get ready to use mix it's my understanding to feed it and and once it rises you can use that in eight hours why the wait? 

 

I am just getting myself so turned around by reading so many websites I am a very intelligent person and this sourdough stuff is like quantum physics lol I just want a tangy sourdough bread, the  bakery stuff just doesn't have the bite to it. 

cranbo's picture
cranbo

1) when is it ready to use? I am on like day six or seven both have a decent smell yeasty/alcohol ?

Give it 3-4 more days, 10 days is typical, but it could be ready to use. If it's doubling & starting to collapse back down within a 4 hr period, it's probably ready. If you're doing a 50/50 flour and water mix by volume, will be pretty batter-like, and it may be tougher to tell if/when it's actually doubling. 

2) have I ruined it since I don't measure and weigh everything?

Not at all. I never weigh mine, although I guesstimate the amount of flour that I feed it. However, many recipes call for a specific starter hydration (such as 100% hydrated, which means equal parts flour and water by weight), so if your starter is wetter or drier than specified, it will affect the overall proportions and wetness of the final dough. 

3) when I get ready to use mix it's my understanding to feed it and and once it rises you can use that in eight hours why the wait? 

Your starter is ready to use when it has doubled (or tripled) and just barely starts to collapse on itself. For example, if your starter is in a jar and you hit the jar on the countertop and the starter collapses by half its volume, then your starter is "overdone", and you'll need to feed it again before using. If it collapses only about 1/8" or 1/4" after doubling, it's probably perfect. In 8 hours, your starter will be ready for its next feeding, not for baking, so don't wait that long. 

Also, no real reason to continue to add sugar or honey to your starter once it's established. Once your starter culture is established and healthy, it's perfectly happy eating flour for food; it doesn't need sucrose to live. 

 

thihal123's picture
thihal123

The last point about when it's ready to use is really helpful. So basically, with any "ready" starter, the only time it's ready for baking is a short period after feeding, the period when it's just about to collapse back?

All at Sea's picture
All at Sea

... I'm afraid. You can use a starter while it's still on the rise. That the yeasties are obviously active is good enough. The important thing is NOT to use it after it has run out of food because enzymatic action can then ensue which can have unlovely consequences when added to your main dough.  Those of us who prefer a milder tang to our bread often prefer to use a starter BEFORE it gets to peak ripeness.

All at Sea

 

 

thihal123's picture
thihal123

The important thing is NOT to use it after it has run out of food because enzymatic action can then ensue which can have unlovely consequences when added to your main dough

Ah! That's useful to know. 


Ford's picture
Ford

The use of commercial yeast in the cultivation of a starter, just delays the whole process of making a starter.  The "wild" yeast are already in the flour you use, and they will not take prominence until the commercial yeast hast has died out.  The wild yeast prefer a slightly acid condition and will not predominate until that condition is met.  The same goes for the lactobacteria that make sour dough sour.  The use of sugar or honey is unnecessary as the enzymes will aid in the hydrolysis of the starch to produce the necessary nutrients for the lactobacteria and the yeast.

Check out the "pineapple solution": www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10901/pineapple-juice-solution-part-2

Your starter will not be mature for about six weeks, though you will be able to make bread before that.

Ford