The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Starter stays peaked for 5 hours

LisaE's picture
LisaE

Starter stays peaked for 5 hours

Hi All, I was wondering if maybe someone else has seen this in their starter. My starter (100% hydration white starter) has started to stay peaked for hours and hours, I fed it this morning at 7:00 AM. It has been peaked since 3:00 PM and as of yet (8:30 PM) has shown no signs of falling. It's quite perplexing and I am wondering if any of you fine bakers have seen this in their starter. Is it normal of a good established starter or not? I might need Debra Wink for this one.....It smells normal and does not show any difference from when it would sink an hour after peak.

Lisa

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Hi Lisa,

You are going to get a lot of comment on this one.  Nothing is stagnant and that certainly includes starters.  Use your nose, smell it when first mixed (refreshed) and then as it is fermenting, when it reaches a visual peak, and some time after that.  Your nose will tell you more than any other indicator.

Jeff

LisaE's picture
LisaE

Yes, I use my nose to tell me when to feed it, when it's ready, it smells of brandy and bananas (I love that). Thanks for the comment.

Lisa

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

I suspect you are using a fairly strong flour, but it is not uncommon to have a starter hold together for quite some time before it starts to leak and recede.

I haven't actually measured how long mine stays close to peak, but it seems pretty long (mix at 1900, nice dome in the morning, probably peaks mid morning and stays there until mid afternoon (100% hydration, fed with high gluten flour).

LisaE's picture
LisaE

Wow, I hadn't thought about it before I read your comment but this is really interesting. My starter has typically lived on KA bread flour and sometimes spiked with dark rye. But recently I decided to just use KA AP flour because I read it's not necessary to give it stronger flour. Now that it's on the AP I noticed the peak stays longer. Isn't that strange? Thank you.

Lisa

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

I have noticed that if I stir it more than once, the starter seems to develop some gluten in the cup and change the texture of the mix.  Not sure that it affects the timing of peak but it might affect the tendency to leak CO2.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

when it peaks, it should satay that ways for a couple of weeks.  After 3 days in the fridge, it is ready to make a nice sour loaf if you like sour.  I just warm it up on a heati9ng pad while the flours autolyse for a couple of hours.  I don't keep a white starter though.

Happy baking

LisaE's picture
LisaE

This is a great tip. I usually refrigerate my discards after the starter is mature, and I sometimes refrigerate my starter just when it becomes visibly active. I am going to try to do a build for my next loaf and refrigerate it for 3 days. My loaves are only slightly sour, I haven't yet been able to achieve a really nicely sour loaf, and yes, I love sour! I also may try to convert my starter to a rye sour (is that the right term?) Thaks for the tip Brown Man!

Lisa

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

then cold and hot is your friend.   Labs that make sour in SD reproduce at 3 times the rate of yeast at 36 F and 88 F and about the same rate at room temperatures.  Even though neither like the cold much with labs reproducing so much faster than yeast in 36 hours in the fridge they will have reproduced the same as at 1 hour at room temperature.  So 3 days in the fridge for the starter and 3 days in the fridge for the levain after it has peaked and then an nice 18 hour retard of the bulk ferment followed by a warm up, shape and final proof at 85-88 F (where Labs an yeast are really cooking with labs still 3 times faster then yeast)will give you as much sour as your starter can give up.  Now build your starter with rye at 100% hydration until it peaks then feed it rye flour to get it to 85% hydration, let it sit on the counter for an hour and then refrigerate it for 3 days - will also improve the sour in your bread.  Add a little minced onion to it and make a really rye sour starter and that too takes the sour up another notch.  Its fun to try to get sour out of bread by using fllours, temperature, time and add ins. 

Happy experimenting.

LisaE's picture
LisaE

I knew that LABs like it warm, around 90 degrees, because of what I have read from Debra Wink's blog and other posts. I will try these variations on some loaves and see if my bread will get more sour. I guess I should enjoy my nicely non sour starter, from what I read here, it's kind of rare, but I am definitely ready for some extra sour sourdough! Rye Starter....here I come! Thaks so much for your suggestions.

Lisa