The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pineapple Starter Day 4 Help

kap1492's picture

Pineapple Starter Day 4 Help

Today is day 4 of my pineapple starter and nothing noteworthy has happened. A thin layer has formed on top which tells me that something is happening. Instead of following up with the 2:1:1 feeding ratio, I just added another 2 tbsp of WW flour and juice since there has been no rise and very little activity. I have also replace the cling wrap with the lid that has a few holes poked in the lid and placed it in a cool oven with a temp of 81. Hopefully with these changes, I will see some significant activity and proceed to 2:1:1 feedings. In the event that I don't notice any significant changes, should I continue to just add the 2 tbsp of WW flour and juice or move on with the 2:1:1 feedings? 

I676's picture

I'm new to this too, and the farthest thing from an expert.  I was in the same boat as you, and eventually got a starter to start--it just takes time.

It should happen, though the wait can be excruciating.  I doubt you still need the juice. I also seem to recall reading that the temp you cite might be good for developing the bacteria you want (and initially, that may make the higher temp useful), but once the yeast becomes active, you probably want to be a few degrees cooler than that.

Have you read the original write-up on Pineapple starters by Debra Wink? It's kind of an ur-text; here's the link: .

 I'll quote the basic instructions (and note in particular the Day 4 and beyond piece), but I recommend the whole thing, parts 1 & 2, if you want to get some insight on the process:

There is nothing magic about the two tablespoons of measure used throughout the first three days. Equal weights didn't provide a high enough ratio of acid to flour to suit me, and equal volumes did. Two tablespoons is enough to mix easily without being overly wasteful (and just happens to be the volume of an eighth-cup coffee scoop, which is what I kept on the counter next to the flour and seed culture for quick, easy feeding). These first few days don't really benefit from being particularly fussy with odd or precise measuring, so make it easy on yourself. Keep it simple, and let Mother Nature do the rest.

Day 1: mix...
2 tablespoons whole grain flour* (wheat or rye)
2 tablespoons pineapple juice, orange juice, or apple cider

Day 2: add...
2 tablespoons whole grain flour*
2 tablespoons juice or cider

Day 3: add...
2 tablespoons whole grain flour*
2 tablespoons juice or cider

Day 4: (and once daily until it starts to expand and smell yeasty), mix . . .
2 oz. of the starter (1/4 cup after stirring down-discard the rest)
1 oz. flour** (scant 1/4 cup)
1 oz. water (2 tablespoons)

Organic is not a requirement, nor does it need to be freshly ground.

** You can feed the starter/seed culture whatever you would like at this point. White flour, either bread or a strong unbleached all-purpose like King Arthur or a Canadian brand will turn it into a general-purpose white sourdough starter. Feed it rye flour if you want a rye sour, or whole wheat, if you want to make 100% whole wheat breads. If you're new to sourdough, a white starter is probably the best place to start.

On average, yeast begin to grow on day 3 or 4 in the warmer months, and on day 4 or 5 during colder times of the year, but results vary by circumstance. Feed once a day, taking care not to leave mold-promoting residue clinging to the sides or lid of your bowl or container, and refer back to the different phases to track progress. Once you have yeast growing (but not before), you can and should gradually step up the feeding to two or three times a day, and/or give it bigger refreshments. This is the point at which I generally defer to the sourdough experts. There are several good books on sourdough which address the topic of starter maintenance and how to use it in bread. Just keep in mind that the first days of the seed culture process have nothing to do with developing flavor or even fostering the most desirable species. The object is simply to move through the succession and get the starter up and running. The fine-tuning begins there. Once yeast are growing well, choose the hydration, temperature and feeding routine that suits you, and the populations will shift in response to the flour and conditions that you set up for maintenance.

kap1492's picture


Its funny how thing happen. At 9:30pm I mixed the 2tbsp of flour and juice and placed them in the cool oven and decided to write my post. At 12am i was curious if anything was going on and pow it has risen 1/4in and has some bubble throughout. Finally I can relax and look forward to feeding it tomorrow.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven
eddieh70301's picture

I used the same starter recipe. On day 4, same thing happened. I thought it was dead. My starter was a bit on the runny side and I posted a comment here. I was told to add only flour and no water to tighten up the starter and within three hours, it was all good.

I kept my starter on top of my upright freezer to keep a steady temp. The week I started it, the weather had turned cold in S Louisiana so I had to find a warm place for it to strive.

After about 9 or 10 days, I put the starter in the fridge and feed it once a week unless I need the starter then I go to a two day feeding schedule to produce the amount of starter I need.

kap1492's picture

Since there was some activity last night, I am going to proceed with the first feeding with water as noted. I am also going to keep two starters at this point one for WW and the other AP. 

Kneads_Love's picture

Hi Kap,

I am about 2 hours shy of the end of the third day here in Chilly Broolyn (using a desk lamp to keep starter at "room temps."). I have been using the 2 Tbsp Rye/WW flour (1 of each) and 2 TBS pineapple juice. Its wet and smells like "yeasty paint thinner", which, I understand, is as it should be. I have a thick paste with a wet surface (hooch?) but no bubbles. I am not sure that I am ready to start feeing it yet and was thinking of a 4th day of flour & juice. I was not sure if that was advisable but since you have reported that it worked for you, I am going to try it. I guess it just takes an extra day or so in the winter.  

kap1492's picture


Well I am probably the last person to give advice since I am about the same age as my starter when it comes to baking. I was reluctant to feed on the 4th day and I am glad I did, who knows if would of been good/bad idea. I figured that an extra day would help my peace of mind more than the starter. Yesterday was my first feeding without the juice and man oh man guess they were hungry b/c they doubled in size with hundreds of small bubbles littering the starter. I reserved 2oz of starter and created two starters: one WW and AP 1 oz and 1 oz of water. Mixed at 9pm and by 11pm they were both double in size. At around midnight they had dropped almost to their original size. I am keeping them both at room them which is about 75ish. I also place them in a cool oven around 80 degrees, so maybe that is what gave them a boost, who knows. Since our starters are at the same stage it would be nice to compare notes as to what the progress is, so don't hesitate to send me a message if you have a question. Good luck with your starter.