The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

building a new starter

metropical's picture
metropical

building a new starter

I began with 1 tbsp of rye and ww each and  2 tbsp unb AP and an equal weight of around 90F water.

I've been adding every day or 2, another couple of tbsps and equal water, except once when hooch developed and I compensated the amount of water, based on feel.

It's been smelling quite nice, a little grainy and a little like apples.

I decided to try to activate it more today in hope of making  loaf.

I added 1/2c bread floor and water to about a 1/2 of the starter.  It "grew" about a half inch in a quart jar, then started to fall.

I have it in the oven with just the light on, perhaps 80F

I was expecting more growth.  Is there something more I should do?

Ford's picture
Ford

I cannot tell from your narration how old the starter is at this point, but it sounds to me that it is no older than about a week.  That being the case, it is not yet a mature starter.  It will take about six weeks to get a mature starter, but you might still be able to make a loaf with a good taste much before that.  Go ahead and try a loaf, if you get the starter to double in volume within four hours.  Be careful of the oven with only theoven light on -- mine will get above 95°F -- use a thermometer and do not exceed 85°F for the proofing of the loaf or of refreshing the starter.  Wild yeast are more sensitive to high heat than commercial yeasts.

Ford

 

metropical's picture
metropical

maybe 10 days.

It didn't come close to doubling, let alone 4 hours.

My first starter, years ago, was a Silverton grape starter.  Unfortunately I killed it.

I made the first and many excellent loaves after on about day 10.

Must have been lucky.

All at Sea's picture
All at Sea

... twice a day, as wildman says, not once or every other day, if your ambient temperatures are in the 72-80 df range. Your comment,

"I've been adding every day or 2, another couple of tbsps and equal water, except once when hooch developed and I compensated the amount of water, based on feel."

- suggests that if hooch formed, you have yeast action for sure. But hooch is a sign of underfed yeast. I think your current feeding schedule is too infrequent unless you have very cool temperatures. Also, you need to discard half your mix before feeding the remainder - are you doing that? Forgive me for asking, but it's not entirely clear. If not, then the yeasties are getting even less nutrition than they need.

Wildman's suggestion about increasing the quantity of flour and water to make a larger mass to encourage yeast activity holds good, but you can also raise a totally successful starter with only a small amount of flour and water. I only ever cultivate starters with a couple of tablespoons of flour and water,  reducing the water content to 70% once the yeast begins to bloom - and never have a problem. The key, I believe is heat and regular feedings to suit.  Once broken of its dormancy, yeast will roar away at temps around 78-80 df. And the faster you create a strong colony of voracious, active yeast, the less likelihood that mould and miscreants will infect your culture.

All at Sea

 

metropical's picture
metropical

thanks both.  I hadn't thought about daily double feed though I use to do it with my old starter.  Guess I'm out of practice.

The ambiant is around 54-70F.  I temp'd the starter yesterday as soon as I took it from the lighted oven and it was 82F.

Which do you think would be a better daycare for the starter?

I have not been discarding half until yesterday when I thought I'd try to activate in prep for making a loaf.  

I used 1/2c starter, 1/2c KAb and 1/2c 85F water.  I've been in the habit of using tap as that is what I always used.  Our local water is amongst the highest rated in the state (whatever that means ......... eh?).

 

metropical's picture
metropical

Pulled away as I remembered.  Nice rise after 30 mins or so on the counter.  Next time I'll rise in the fridge as previously.

The result of probably 25% starter and the rest flour and water at 50/50.  Fed once, let it bloom.  Dumped half or more and fed again in the same manner.

The result, tripled, at least, in about 3 hours in the oven with the light on.  Back on track I hope, as long as I can feed and bake regularly.  

Excellent pbj's.  Any turkey sammiches tmrw.