The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Did I mess up my levain?

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Nothus's picture
Nothus

Did I mess up my levain?

Hello,

First time poster here.  I apologize if this has been answered in another post but I didn't see anything quite like it in other posts.

I have been reading Ken Forkish's book "Flour, Water, Salt and Yeast," and have been building a levain culture so I can make some pain de campaign this evening/tomorrow.  The culture is about 8 days old now.  On the first day of maintenance feeding, I misread the instructions and fed only white flour instead of white and whole wheat.  I used the correct formula the next morning when I noticed my error.  I didn't think it would be a huge deal, but the character of the levain has changed.  Where it used to smell intriguing and earthy, now it just smells rancid.  It doesn't smell like something I want to put in food.  I have read that the levain can get a little funky smelling after a week, but such a drastic change is alarming.  It bubbles a little, but there is not much growth - maybe 30% per day.  Temp stays a pretty steady 75 degrees in the place I store it. 

I guess the short version is: did a day of only feeding white flour irreperably change the character of the levain or will it sort itself out in the end?

Thanks,

Justin

cranbo's picture
cranbo

Feed it 50/50 whole wheat and white for the next 5 days or so; or, just feet it whole wheat for the same duration, then switch to 50/50 and then back to white. Whole wheat is best for innoculating your initial culture. 

Just keep going, it takes up to 10 days of regular feeding for the "funk" to go away and the starter to grow and be happy. 

Just be patient :)

If the funk is not gone after 10 days, try following Debra Wink's instructions and feed with some pineapple juice, and the funk will quickly go away. 

Nothus's picture
Nothus

Thanks for the reply, I am on it!  I am making some bread with it to test it out, if nothing else I get to practice folding.  So far so good, it may turn out decent loaves afterall - definitely upping the wheat for feeding though.

Cheers,

Justin