The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Is my starter doing okay? Am I ready to bake?

dvalentine10's picture

Is my starter doing okay? Am I ready to bake?

After a recent failed attempt to make Tartine's basic country loaf, I decided to change up my starter.

I now feed 50 grams of starter 50 g water + 50 g flour. I feed it every 12 hours. (On a related note, this seems a little too fussy. Do I really need to do this all the time?)

I store it in a glass pint jar on the top of my fridge. I keep it screwed shut.

The starter shows strong bubbling activity, though I can't get it to double in size. It maybe -just maybe - gets to be a third larger in a 12-hour span.

What's most amazing about it is that after 12 hours, it smells extremely strongly of apple vinegar. Also, when I unscrew the lid, the inside of the container is pressurized from all the yeast activity (I assume).

My question for you: Am I on the right track? Is something crazy happening here?


LindyD's picture

Perhaps you'll find this information from King Arthur Flour (KAF) helpful:

Be sure to open the links titled "making your own starter," and "feeding and maintaining your own starter."

They're at the bottom of the page.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

-you have a hungry starter, indicater is the cider aroma.  Feed more food it's hungry!   (reduce the starter to 10g and feed 25g water and 40g flour )  

Let the starter reach peak height and starting to fall before feeding again.  Each time you feed it it will rise higher and fall sooner.  Keep it at 12 hour feeds for another week.  When it's peaking at around 8 hours, increase the starter to make the Tartine bread again.  

-PLEASE stop using a screw lid, the pressure could build to the point of exploding the glass all over the place.  Set on a cover lid that can pop off or burp letting gasses out or use plastic wrap with a loose rubber band.

Once the starter is cruising to peak at 8 hours, you might want to try a cooler place to let your starter grow more slowly.  You could try 4 hours on top of the fridge and then the rest of the day in a cooler corner until it peaks, levels and starts falling down.  Then you might be able to go 24 hrs to the next feed.    

vtsteve's picture

When you refresh, combine the water and starter first, and whip the mixture into a froth for a couple of minutes before you add the flour. Beating extra oxygen into the mix will help the yeast to multiply (they need oxygen to divide). It sounds like you've got more bacteria than yeast at the moment.