The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

85% to 300% in a day

barbarianbaker's picture

85% to 300% in a day

I have a starter that is about 3 weeks old, my first one.   It was started with water and whole wheat flour then transitioned to white AP.   It stalled when first feed the AP then got active.  I was feeding at 12 hour interval using a 1:1:1 ratio, it would grow to about 85% but would never double.   At day 10 I made some bread that came out OK, one straight starter and one with added yeast.  The starter only one was dense but tasted fine. 

A couple more days still not doubling, but  tried again and got another dense loaf.  Got tired of feeding and put the starter in the frig after it was feed. 

A couple more days I took some starter out of the frig and made more bread, again one straight starter and one with added yeast.  The starter was feed before baking and behaved like before growing to about 85%. 

I left some of  the starter out and feed it and it did the same 85% thing but the next  day when feed it not only doubled but tripled.   I used some the next day to make a straight starter bread and got much better results. I am still feeding it and it continues to get nice activity.

I could not  help but wonder if I might have contaminated the starter with the store bought yeast some how,  so I took some out of the frig to see if I could reproduce the behavior.   The starter began more sluggish then before but after the second feeding it was back to 85% then more than doubled after the third feeding.  I did not use any yeast in the kitchen during the experiment but the first starter was covered close by.  Looks like I just gave up too quickly, any thoughts?  

I did not use this site for getting started but  did use it later to calm my nerves, so I want to give a big thank you to all of the people that have asked many good starter  questions and to  all of the people that provided excellent answers and information.

FlourChild's picture

Sounds like your starter is just coming into maturity- either it is only now reaching a stable, active condition, or else you are learning better when and how much to feed it (or both).  Congratulations on creating your own starter! :)

I doubt the commercial yeast, if it did enter the starter, did anything very noteworthy.  I haven't tested this but I have read that commercial yeast don't survive well in a sourdough starter because of the acidity- commerical yeast are not adpated to the higher acidity that sourdough yeast can thrive in.

barbarianbaker's picture

I know I have seen posts about people adding commercial yeast to their starter and  seen directions for starters that said so too.   I had also seen things too that said commercial yeast would not last long and would die off quickly so that had me concerned or wondering if I needed to keep the previously stored starter going.     I dont know if  commercial yeast can survive long term in the main starter, but I do know the bread I made with my sour dough starter and added yeast raised very nicely so in the short term it does not seem to mind, almost seemed to help.   

The weather has cooled down some since the day it took off so that could of had something to do with it.  The bread is still coming out sour so I think I am OK.

Thanks for your thoughts.

dabrownman's picture

They require patience and then a lot more patience if you don't want to be a patient.

barbarianbaker's picture

I read it may take up to 90 days for a starter to settle into it final flavor and character.  I thought if that is 90 days of twice a day feeding I will need to find a babysitter.