The Fresh Loaf

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Weight of sourdough starter?

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NillaFish's picture
NillaFish

Weight of sourdough starter?

Hello, I'm just going to ask a possibly silly question.

 

My starter's total weight is 120g. About three days ago I had doubled the amount from 60g to 120g. After that, I started discarding 60g.

 

But today, after feeding it, I noticed that there seemed to be less starter. So I weighed it, and found the total weight is 90g! 

 

Why is this? Is it because the starter becomes lighter after rising? So now I discard 30g and that seems to be working. Can I do that? Or is something just wrong with my starter/me?

 

Thanks in advance. 

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

Need more input! Tell us what all of your measurements and procedures are for feeding, discarding, etc. We don't know how much you're adding to the starter at feeding time, just how much you were taking out. The weight shouldn't change significantly through fermentation. There is somewhere else the weight is going.

NillaFish's picture
NillaFish

Every morning, I take out 60g of starter. I then add 30g of water and 30g of flour. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

How old is the starter?  Are you trying to start one up from scratch?  Sort of sounds like it.  

Put a cover over it to prevent it from drying out, my favorite is a plastic bag and a rubber band loosely holding it in place.

If you are just starting a starter, stick with the 90g of starter and add just enough water to keep everything moist.  Add one level Tbs of flour per day (no discarding) and enough water as needed (one or two Tbsp) to keep moist.  Do this until it smells good and beery or yeasty. (then you can do the discard and feed bit)  

Don't worry about rising and falling and catching gas right now, think more about fermentation and keeping the starter wet enough to ferment.  Water is transportation for the bacteria and yeast that you wish to grow, they need to mingle and circulate in the mixture and sort themselves out.  It doesn't have to be watery (which is fine) just nice and goopy, it can even be a soft dough, but not stiff or dry for best results.  It does help to get the goop up to 75°F or 24°C.   

NillaFish's picture
NillaFish

My starter is maintained for over a month now. 

 

I dohave a cover over it, a loose cover for my crock, though I may try your suggestion. I don't think the lid is too loose that it allows evaporation, but I will change it to plastic to note the change. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

but you are maintaining a starter.  Does it ever sit on the counter?  Is it just fed small amounts and popped back into the fridge?

NillaFish's picture
NillaFish

It sits on the counter and has never been in the fridge.

placebo's picture
placebo

The simplest explanation is that you screwed up somewhere. You took out too much or didn't add back enough. I'd guess that out of habit, you only fed it 15 grams each of flour and water like you used to do when you kept only 60 grams of starter.

If you're convinced you didn't make a mistake, I'd say try to reproduce what you think you saw, being very careful to note the amounts you're using each time. If you're right, you'll easily reproduce the deficit.

NillaFish's picture
NillaFish

Could have been my mistake, but I don't think so. Sure, next time I'll note what I do.

Ford's picture
Ford

At least a part of the loss is due to the carbon dioxide gas produced and dissipated into the atmosphere.   For every gram of starch digested by the yeast almost a half a gram of carbon dioxide is produced.  Many people do not realize that the gas has mass (weight) and as it is loss, weight is reduced.  Part of the loss could be evaporation of the water.  Part of the loss could be that that clings to your stirring utensils.  However, the loss of 30 out of 120 grams would be an exceptional amount of carbon dioxide produced, a lot of evaporation, and a lot of starter clinging to the utensils.

Ford

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

using 75 g each of whole grain flour and water and 10 g of rye starter seed, it starts out at exactly 160 g.  12 hours later it goes in the fridge and 24 hours after that it is used to make bread.   It only weighs 155 g at that time - 5g is missing.  Plus the original color of the whole grain levain is much lighter because the acid bleach's the color out.  What I think happens is that as CO2 gas is produced, about 5 grams of it escapes.  I know some gas is escaping because it blows the lid off the container the levain is in several times while on the counter.  I weigh the before and after levain every time and it is pretty consistent how much weight is lost and amazing how much this gas weighs. 

WoodenSpoon's picture
WoodenSpoon

It escaped and crawled away! Thats one active chef

NillaFish's picture
NillaFish

Maybe it did ;)