The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Starter not quite doubling every time?

  • Pin It
JessicaW3's picture
JessicaW3

Starter not quite doubling every time?

I have a new whole wheat starter that I began 13 days ago, but was in the fridge for a few days after it was initially built up (bad advice, I know now :) ).  I've had it at room temp for about 5 days now and it has pretty regularly doubled every 8 hours or so.  One time I didn't feel like grinding more wheat to top off what I needed for a feeding late at night so I added bread flour and that time it more than doubled before peaking.  I feed it once it has peaked.  The last few feedings it has peaked before actually doubling.  Am I doing something wrong?  It's a stiffer 67% hydration type starter.  I just don't want to kill it :).

It's like sourdough is a foreign language.  Thanks so much!

PetraR's picture
PetraR

Just keep feeding it regulary and it will be fine.

I stick to one flour kind for the feeding of all of my starters.

My Rye always will be fed with Rye flour, my Wheat 100% hydration always will be fed with Bread flour and the same goes for my 50% hydration starter.

Just keep on feeding with your inital Whole wheat flour from now on and it will just be fine.

Starters have to get used to new flours and sometimes they get a bit * silly * on us :)

 

baybakin's picture
baybakin

"Starters have to get used to new flours and sometimes they get a bit * silly * on us :)"

You mean they might get pouty, angry, or vengeful?

PetraR's picture
PetraR

Oh yes, they can get like that, but they calm down when the get what the want:)

JessicaW3's picture
JessicaW3

So you're telling me that in addition to my five kids I have to deal with tantrums from my yeasts?

I'm becoming less and less sure why anyone choses this whole sourdough thing ;). 

PetraR's picture
PetraR

Once you really got to know your * yeast babies * they are FANTASTIC and give you so much lovely bread and pancakes and cupcakes and and and...

Mind you, when I first started my 100% hydration Wheat starter * his name is Gordon * I asked myself why I ever started this Sourdough Adventure.

Would I do it again?

YES YES YESSSSS.

I named my starters  lol.

133% hydration Rye Starter = Ryan

100% hydration Wheat Starter = Gordon

  50% hydration Wheat Starter = Buttercup

I decided that the 50% hydration Wheat Starter has to be a girl as she was a good Girl from day one, where with Ryan and Gordon we had some teething problems at the start.

My kids call me the * Crazy Dough Lady * rofl

baybakin's picture
baybakin

methinks we should start a "what is the name of your yeasty-beasies" thread.

I only have one  starter (100%), fed a high-extraction flour (central milling's type 70).  He is named Bill.  So named due to the source of said starter:  Bill was an amazing, one-legged, red-haired, scottish homebrewer with a big aussie shepard named Blue who entrusted me with my starter.  I have many times started different hydration starters from scratch, from different flours, but have always ended up falling back to Bill.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

it could be that you need to feed it more food.  If you double your flour amount (double the starter amount) the starter should double, if you quadruple the flour amount it will may rise 4 times the height.   White wheat flour tends to rise the highest, where as heavier flour with more bran tend to rise less. 

JessicaW3's picture
JessicaW3

Thanks for the info! I've been trying to find that kind of information (what factors affect amount of and speed of starter rising) but I couldn't find what I was looking for. 

I've been doing half of what's in PR's ABED book, so 57g starter, 127g water, 170g flour. so it should be tripling?  It never has before peaking and beginning to flatten out and fall. But I am using all whole grain wheat that I'm milling in my Wondermill, rather than white flour. So maybe that's it?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

for other signs of a mature starter when the gluten integrity falls apart or you could knead the starter for a while, developing the gluten, then it would hold the gas coming from the yeast.  Sort of like imitating the recipe action.  I suggest tasting for mature sour.  You do want the starter to be ripe.  You can spit it out after tasting, or if your nose is good, you can go for a distinct aroma with lots of yeast.  

Adding in the AP flour gave you more gluten to trap gas. You can feed it more AP then watch the maturation more easily.  It will still raise whole wheat and a variety of other breads with mixed grains.  Make a habit of smelling your starter too.  IF it meets the four activities of aroma, sour taste and lots of bubbles rising up the sides (or cut open to see the sponge like texture) and the loosening or more liquid feel of the starter, you can be less focused on "doubling."   It is important to let the starter build up enough acid and yeast to continue good growth when more food is added or when mixed into dough.    

JessicaW3's picture
JessicaW3

Thank you!!!

It's definitely loosening up and super spongey/stringy when it peaks. It tastes/ smells sour. I'm not sure I can detect a yeasty smell, but it may be that the whole wheat is super aromatic and I'm used to the smell of commercial wheat in white flour.

I tried the 123 recipe with yesterday's discard and it rose beautifuly overnight after a few hours at room temp and the loaves are rising now, so I think I may be getting somewhere :). Haven't baked yet, so we will see. 

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

science can be fun and interesting, so while working on names, Dan Wing's The Bread Builders provides one of the better resources explaining the dynamics of sourdough cultures and their use in baking. Great book, with a prescient depiction of a young Chad Robertson on the cover.

JessicaW3's picture
JessicaW3

Thanks! I'll add that to my "to read" list :).