The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Starter Feed

shoshanna673's picture
shoshanna673

Starter Feed

Hi

I need some advice re my starters (4x - I know, too many). I created 2 some time ago, and because I could. I morphed some discards into a wholewheat and a rye starter.  They are all 100% hydration.  I realise now that I don't need all these different types, but can't bear to throw any out.  I decided to reduce the amount of their feeds from 100/100g water/flour to economise.  At 10.ooam I fed all four at the ratio 20/40/40 starter/water/flour and left at room temp.  As at 20.30 tonight. there has been very little activity. and virtually no rise, but with some sub-surface bubbles.  Would the reduced feed amount have affected their activity?  The temp today was only 25C.  They are normally kept in the frig.

I hope I haven't hurt their feelings.

Sondra

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

Show no mercy and reduce your starters down to one. The fact that you utilized discard to establish new flavors of starters should be enough to remind you that needn't keep so many. You can economize by simply using a seed from a starter to build a desired starter in three steps at a moderate room temperature, 70-74F. By the time you've gotten to the peak in your third step, you have a predominantly flavored starter, whether it be rye, whole wheat, or whatever blend you desire. Andrew Whitley, author of "Bread Matters", favors a rye starter for his storage starter and uses it in almost all his breads. Personally, I keep one that is usually dominated by organic AP flour.

From personal observation, I've noticed that the third stage of a build or elaboration at room temperature is usually very vigorous. I've also found that keeping my starter in the fridge required that I maintain the sample at 70-75% hydration for better reliability. The cooler temps do slow down yeast activity but the lower hydration is also important. You may find, as I did, that there's no need to automatically discard and feed your starter every seven days as so many people do. There's a certain amount of casual attitude required to do so but it has worked for me.

Try keeping a smaller amount of starter at a lower hydration in the fridge and using that to build your starters in at least two or three stages when you bake. Since you're using a starter already, the timing management won't be that hard to adapt. If it doesn't work out, you can always return to your current method.

shoshanna673's picture
shoshanna673

Hi Postal Grunt

Great reality check.  Am throwing the WW and Rye starters and will stick with my 2 originals.  I am mathematically challenged, hence the 100% hydration.  Much easier for me to calculate.  I have been totally metricated since 1966.

Sondra

placebo's picture
placebo

Lately I've taken to feeding my starter by mixing about 20 grams each of water and flour and inoculating the mixture with perhaps 5 to 6 grams of starter, and it's been doing fine. If all four of your starters are behaving the same way, I'd suspect the water.

shoshanna673's picture
shoshanna673

Hi Placebo

Thx for your input.  I don't think its the water .. I use bottled spring water only.  Have decided it is prob due to the different temps at the moment .. 25C is very mild for the Aust summer and the starters most likely reacted.  They are more used to 30-43C temps in the time on the counter after feeds. I was interested in your feed ratios which will be of help.  As I stated in my other response above, math is definitely not my strong point, hence the 100% hydration.

Sondra

placebo's picture
placebo

At 25C, my starter would go nuts, which is why I didn't think the temperature would be a significant factor. I am curious how things turns out for your starters.

I'm just shooting for a 100%-hydration starter myself. I weigh the flour and water so that there will be equal amounts. The small amounts are simply to keep the amount of wasted starter low as I don't bake often these days. I don't weigh the starter I add; I just take a small spoonful and add it to the mix. There's no particular significance of the ratio of starter to the flour/water I use other than it shows I'm kinda lazy. ;-)

shoshanna673's picture
shoshanna673

Hi Placebo

I have to admit that I chickened out with my straight AP flour starter and re-fed back to its normal 100/100g water flour.   With the larger feeds I never weigh starter amount, just an eyeballed tablespoon, but I do weigh water and flour.  Left it at room temp o/nite and it reverted to its normal rise habit.  It is now back imto the frig.  I fridged the other 3 after room temp stints and then put them back into the frig.  None of those rose at all, but the WW and Rye have some bubble activity as you would expect.  The 70/30 AP/Rye starter rather surprised me as it did not rise at all.  Will probably bring this one back up to the larger feed, as this one is a proven performer and I would hate to lose it.  The other two, the WW and Rye I will discard.  I only bake, as a rule, every week or two, and I would not call myself experienced at sourdough baking or starters.

Sondra