The Fresh Loaf

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starter feeding

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ghazi's picture
ghazi

starter feeding

Hello everybody

I have got 2 starters going now, 1 is a WW and the other rye.

Both are more than a month old, the WW being more mature. Although I find when It comes to bake sourdough without a tiny boost of commercial yeast, the dough does not rise especially when formed for final proof.

Heres a recipe I am using from River Cottage handbook

Sponge - kept at around 70 degrees

250g strong white flour

350ml warm water

100g starter

After 12 or so hours

I add 300g string white flour and 12.5g of salt, knead long enough so its strtchy then leave for bulk fermentataion

The recipe says to deflate every hour for next 4 hours, what is difference if I just left for a long bulk istead?

When shaped the dough takes forever to change, in fact I don't see much difference

I maintain my starter at 100% hydration by adding 50g flour 50g water to 50g starter.

In the book it says to feed the starter its weight so 25g flour to 25 water for 50g starter. Might it be that I am overfeeding the culture before it has developed to maintain at high feedings?

Since I live in a very hot climate the starter lives next to A/C which is on at 22 degrees c. What measures can I take to make sure my starter is very active, I don't intend to keep in fridge since I want to develop flavor for as long as possible before I have to put in fridge.

Ghazi

 

aroma's picture
aroma

.... there's nothing unusual in the ingredients or quantities and strong white flour should respond adequately providing your starters are up to the mark.  Personally, I would question the need to 'deflate every hour for 4 hours'.  I would prefer to let the dough rise during the bulk fermentation and then carefully divide and shape for the final prove without deflating the dough.

You could do a batch of bread with just dried yeast and see what happens - if the loaves rise then there has to be a problem with your starter.  I would certainly keep the starters in the fridge after feeding once a week - an ambient temp of 22 deg is too high

Cheers

 

ghazi's picture
ghazi

Thanks for your response. Dough is rising very slowly though should take no more than 4 hours for final proof ? Mine is looking to go for the 8 hour mark soon

Anyway, yes it seems the fridge is the only way to go. I though around 70 degrees F is a good temp for sourdough to stay in?

 

PetraR's picture
PetraR

When my Starter was still very young it took about 13 hours to double in size and than another 10 hours or so to for the finall proofe.

With age of the Starter it goes all much faster.

 

How old is your Starter?

Heath's picture
Heath

your starter the correct amount if it has peaked and has just started to fall when you feed it again (you can tell this by the line around the side of the container your starter is kept in).

Since your starters are over a month old, it's perfectly acceptable to keep them in the fridge now.

Like Aroma says, the "deflate every 4 hours" instruction seems a bit strange.  We usually try not to knock out the bubbles when making sourdough.

Ford's picture
Ford

I can tell you the procedure that works for me. I keep my starter at 100% hydration, i.e. equal parts of flour and water by weight.  I store about 3 ounces (85 grams) of refreshed starter in the refrigerator and feed about every two weeks. or more often.

The day before I am ready to bake, I take the starter out of the refrigerator and weigh out about one ninth of what I need. Then I add an equal weight of flour and of water.  This I mix and let ferment for about six hours.  I then again add flour and water each in the amount of the weight of the present weight of the starter.  This I ferment over-night.  The starter is ready to go in the morning.  I do not need to add any commercial yeast.  The final dough will take about two hours to double at a room temperature of 78°F (26°C).

Ford

ghazi's picture
ghazi

I surely am making this more complicated than it is. Its just that ive been getting so much information from everywhere and not following one thing only. Maybe my starter has given up on me from how much I am changing routine.

Ford when you say you feed your 85g starter, how much do you feed and how much is discarded? You then only take out one ninth, how much is this in grams for instance if I needed a total of 150g starter? Sorry I really am bad at math and actually have been avoiding the bakers percentage. I bake with a very general wing of things which is not very good but works ok for me most of the time

 

 

 

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Okay So here is your formula 

Levain

100g Starter (50flour/50h20(

350  H20

250  Flour

---------------------------------------

700g total @ 133% hydration (a liquid levain)

--------------------------------------

Final Dough

-------------------------------------

300g  Flour

12.5 g   Salt 

------------------------------------

total flour  600  (50% prefermented)

total h20   400  (66.6% hydration)

total dough  1012.5  

--------------------------------------

The recipe seems in order with a high percentage of Levain.  

A few questions.  

Are you using your starter when it has peaked?  

What temperature is your final dough?  

What temperature is your room?  

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As for the punch down every hour.  This is a rather old book and this idea has  been mostly replaced with a stretch and fold.  But the idea is to push out the excess C02. Using folds instead accomplishes this while retaining some of the air and it evens the overall dough temp while adding strength to your dough.  

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

With so much levain making up the dough I'd think this dough would be quite swiftly so I'm guessing that maybe your levain/sponge might not be ready when you make the dough.  But if you can answer those few questions maybe i can offer some advice. 

 

Cheers

josh

 

 

Ford's picture
Ford

It really is simple so let's keep it so.

I do not want to keep a lot of starter, nor do i want to waste flour.  For refreshing the starter I will weigh out 30 grams of starter and add 30 grams of flour (all-purpose or whole wheat, depending which starter I am refreshing) and 30 grams of chlorine-free water.  That gives me 90 grams of starter.  (This is a ratio of 1:1:1 :: starter:flour:water.)   I thoroughly mix it, let it ferment for about an hour, and place it back in the refrigerator.  The rest of the old starter, I discard unless I have immediate use for it.

You need 150 grams of starter for your bread.  One ninth of 150 is 16.66667.  Let's keep it simple, and take 20 g of old starter out of the refrigerator, add 20 g of flour and 20 g of chlorine-free water.  This gives us 3 x 20 = 60g of starter.  Let this ferment for 6 to 8 hours then add 60 g of flour and 60 g of chlorine-free water.  Let this ferment overnight.  Now, we have 3x60 or 180 g of starter.  The next morning when we are ready to bake we take the 150 g of starter we need and put the left over starter (30g) with the starter in the refrigerator.

I hope this clarifies things for you.  If not, ask me again; I am patient.  In any case, if a method works for you, then that is the way to go.

Ford

PetraR's picture
PetraR

Thank you for the explanation Ford:)

 

ghazi's picture
ghazi

Wow, that really clears things up for me.

Josh my starter sits at 22 degrees c with a/c on and I feed it twice daily to a not so thin consistency say 100% hydration with a little extra water. I think what is happening is that I use my starter after the 12 hours and it has lost its vitality therefore not rasing the bread as it should. You say amount of leavin is correct which from looking around seems good amount. I have fed my starter a 1:2:2 with more water yesterday and got very nice fermentation within 3 hrs. I have to say when it is wetter I can more better gauge when it needs to be fed. Saying that it will need multiple feedings a day if kept at a thick batter. This has cleared things up for me. I cant stress how much this was picking at me since I have nurtured this starter for a long time and still hadent got a decent loaf to rise on its own. As you say the peak is very important . Thanks for your breakdown it was very informative

Ford the way you describe the feedings is just what I needed. My question though is what if you go ahead and use 30g starter and feed 60g flour, 80 water . will this be ok or is it better to build slowly? Or as ive been reading this will just create a less sour dough?

Thanks for your patience

Ghazi

PetraR's picture
PetraR

Once your Starter is risen and all bubbly, fill some water in a bowl, take out some Starter with a teaspoon and carfully drop it in the water.

When it floats it is ready to bake, when it sinks it needs more time.

In time you will know when it is ready.

This has helped me in the beginning.

You can tell when you missed the mark, when the starter is much thinner with lots of tiny bubbles, almost foamy, that is a hungry Starter.

Ford's picture
Ford

Ghazi-

Do not add more flour than the weight of the starter you are refreshing.  Keeping the flour to this amount will give adequate feeding for the yeast and the lactobacteria without adding new strains of yeast and lactobacteria that might change the flavor of your bread.

Ford

ghazi's picture
ghazi

Thank you for that pointer Ford. I have been feeding 1:2:2 last 2 days and felt it was going fine, though it makes sense not to rush/force

Slow seems to be the only way

Thank you so much for your input, you've been really helpful:)

Ghazi

PetraR's picture
PetraR

You feeding it correctly:)

For example, I have a 60g Starter which I feed with 60g of flour and 60g of water.

The book would suggest that I feed my 60g Starter with 30g of flour and 30g of water, I never done that and my starters are doing just fine.

ghazi's picture
ghazi

Yes  it seems they need more food to thrive and feeding the starter in weight will not give the yeasts the food they need to raise dough.

The float test is a good one Petra will try that, am very delighted now that I have more of a feel for maintaining the starter so its veryhappy:)

Thank you